7 Incredible Day Hikes In The US For Your Summer Adventures
We're loving that longer days means we get more fun in the sun. Our favorite outdoor activity right now? Hiking. And there are plenty of trails to explore in the USA. You can rent an RV and make your way through the 50 states — think about all the different environments and nature you'll see!
Drive to a national park and ditch your wheels for a walk, or pack enough camping food and resources for the long haul and head into the woods for days or even weeks. We've rounded up a range of trails that will be kind to your feet (that is, hikes you can complete in a day) and totally worth it (thanks to the breathtaking vistas you'll encounter along the way). No matter where you are in the States, you'll certainly find one of these incredible hiking trails a true inspiration for the rest of your summer.
If you’ve been to Big Sur, you know there really are no bad trails to hike. It’s one of the most picturesque spots on the planet, and by hiking this area, you’ll get to take in plenty of outstanding vistas for little effort. Under a mile long, Overlook is a great hike to go on while enjoying views of the cliffs as well as the 80-foot McWay Falls.
At just over two miles, Middle Emerald Pools is a remarkably refreshing hike to take during Utah's sunniest days. Along with the unpaved climb to a sandstone ledge, you'll connect to the other Emerald Pools trails and the Kayenta trail on your way to the pool and waterfall.
Northeasterners, you may want to drop want you're doing and make a beeline to the Adirondacks for some time in nature by way of the Cascade Mountain Trail. A little over five miles there and back, this scenic trail is fairly popular in the summer months with a few steep areas and plenty of wildflowers. It's an excellent hike to do solo, your social bubble, or even alongside your family.
Located within the Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve, this 1.5-mile roundtrip hike will take you through dune forests, salt marsh, and live oaks until you reach the coast. Gorgeous flowers and an array of vibrant birdlife occupy the area. There are several other trails in the areaas well if you feel this one isn’t challenging enough.
Who wouldn’t want the chance to hike around a volcano? It’s only five miles out and back, so it’s definitely doable even for a less experienced hiker. NorCal summer weather stays fairly cool with highs just in the 70s, so a hike up this active volcano won’t leave you too hot. Plus it’s clearly an out-of-this-world experience.
Looking for an all-day, challenging hike with a huge payoff for your fitness *and* Instagram feed? Look no further than the Reed Lakes Trail, an nine-mile roundtrip hike where you'll gain thousands of feet in elevation through meadows, boulder fields, and up into the mountain. You'll finish with some jaw-dropping panoramic views.
In our opinions, these are some of the best hikes in the US, and even if they can be done in a day, that doesn't mean your explorations have to stop there — there's usually a town nearby with some local cuisine. So figure out which of these hiking trails you'd like to conquer and go for it!
What do you think the best hikes in the US are? Let us know on Twitter!
This article has been updated from a previous post.
- Virtual National Park Tours to Explore at Home - Brit + Co ›
- The 6 Best US Spas to Get Your Forest Bathing On - Brit + Co ›
- Brit-+-Co-FOMO-Free-Guide-to-Summer ›
- 5 Off-the-Beaten-Path Hiking Trails to Tackle This Year - Brit + Co ›
- 11 of the Best Summer Hikes Across America - Brit + Co ›
- The 16 Best Summer Bachelorette Party Destinations in the US - Brit + Co ›
- These 17 Boots Are Made for Glamping - Brit + Co ›