It’s that time of the year again. Finally the winter chill has disappeared, and everyone is crossing their fingers for a long, hot summer. If you’ve been stuck inside for most of the winter, take the opportunity to get outside in the fresh air and explore some of our beautiful country.
Hikes range from the easy walk to week-long, high-elevation challenges. If you’ve always wanted to be one of those super-fit, outdoorsy types of people (or even if you already are), here are five of the best spots to hike in the United States:
The Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail is a series of trails stretching from Georgia to Maine and passing through fourteen states. One of the most famous hiking trails in the world, at 2178 miles long, this is the longest marked trail in the United States and maintained by over six thousand hardworking volunteers.
For experienced hikers, the challenge is to hike the whole thing in a single season. These are called thru-hikers and many books have been written about the challenges they will face, and the preparations necessary for the hike.
The John Muir Trail
You’ll find the John Muir Trail in the Yosemite National Park, and the trail was built and named for the man who dedicated his life to protecting it. This 215 mile hike is not for the faint hearted, but those who can brave the elevation (the highest point is 14,505 ft) will be rewarded with incredible views of cliffs, canyons, and mountain lakes.
Yosemite National Park
The Yosemite National Park is around the same size as Rhode Island, and with 800 miles of different hikes there are options for both beginner and experienced hikers. If you’re reasonably fit and have around twelve hours to spare, head to the half dome, which is the most iconic hike in the area. In the Yosemite National park you’ll be spoiled for choice, with the chance to get up close to some of the most incredible waterfalls around as well as the famous giant Sequoia trees.
Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon sees around five million people every year. The best time to hike it is in spring or fall, and it can be dangerous to attempt to hike it in the summer months when the temperatures can get as high as 106 degrees. There are plenty of day hikes on either the north or south rim, so for the less experienced hiker this is a good option. For those who want to descend into the canyon, there are fifteen official trails leading into the Canyon, but you’ll want a few hikes under your belt before attempting them.
This one is for experienced hikers, as only half of the people who attempt the hike actually reach the summit-usually due to altitude sickness. Located three hours from LA, you’re looking at a 22 mile round trip, and an elevation of 6,100 feet. With an incredible 360 degree view it’s definitely worth it, although you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared and take plenty of water.