7 Incredible Day Hikes in the US for Your Summer Adventures
Summer is upon us and that means longer days for fun in the sun. And what better way to enjoy the great outdoors than by hiking? It can be as simple as driving to a national park and ditching your wheels for a walk, or as involved as packing enough camping food and resources for the long haul and heading 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 hikes a true inspiration for the rest of your summer.
At just under six miles, Ouzel Falls is a remarkably refreshing hike to take during Colorado’s sunniest days. Aside from plenty of foliage around you, you’ll also be treated to numerous cascades, creeks, and lakes that can help keep you cool. It starts at the Wild Basin Trailhead and takes you across the 40-foot-high Ouzel Falls, among other beautiful sights.
If you’ve been to Big Sur, you know there really are no bad trails to hike (except for the ones that remain closed). 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.
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, with your girlfriends, 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 area as 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.
This hike is just a bit over a mile each way, so it’s ideal for those who don’t exactly hike on the regular. It’s also best left for a hot day since it offers plenty of shade for cooling off. The trailhead starts at a cave then takes you past 19 different waterfalls, a feature few other trails could boast.
Looking for an all-day, challenging hike with a huge payoff for your fitness *and* Instagram feed? Look no further than the Harding Icefield Trail, an eight-mile roundtrip hike where you’ll gain thousands of feet in elevation through forests, alpine meadows, and a seriously impressive icefield. On top of the jaw-dropping, icy panoramic views at the end, you might also get a peek at a bear or two (so be extremely prepared).