The Quick Report

The Best and Most Beautiful Hiking Trails in Every State

Who doesn’t love taking a nice, long hike in the great outdoors? From beachside strolls to journeys up into the mountains, there are tons of amazing outdoor trails in the United States. Today, we’re looking at the best hiking trail in each state. Which great hike is near you?


a train crossing a bridge over a body of water
Photo by Mark Harpur via Unsplash

The Sipsey Wilderness in northeast Alabama is full of waterfalls and dotted with sandstone chasms. These chasms help create some of the tallest waterfalls in the Southeastern US, including 90-foot-high Fall Creek Falls. These trails can be easily accessed after a short hike from Sipsey Recreation Area!


Harding Icefield Trail
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There are some seriously remote hiking trails in Alaska, but it’s best to stick to the more well-trod trails if you’re a visitor to the harsh region. Harding Icefield Trail is a popular hiking destination in Kenai Fjords National Park that starts at Exit Glacier and leads you up to a stunning icefield vista.


brown rocky mountain under white clouds during daytime
Photo by Omer Nezih Gerek via Unsplash

The Grand Canyon is in Arizona, so it’s no surprise that the best hiking trail in the state is around the iconic gorge. Hiking rim-to-rim along the 21-mile trails through the canyon’s Kaibab trails is a taxing but rewarding endeavor.


the sun is setting over the mountains and trees
Photo by Derek Livingston via Unsplash

Whitaker Point in Arkansas is known by a few other names, such as Hawksbill Crag. Locals will tell you the best time of year to visit this mountainous vista is in the fall. Orange, yellow, and red leaves fill the valley beneath Whitaker Point with the fantastic colors of autumn.


reflection of mountains on water
Photo by Kevin Brunet via Unsplash

California is full of wonderful hiking trails, but one of the best is John Muir Trail. This iconic hike takes you from Yosemite to the top of Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the continental US. Hiking the whole trail can take up to a week!


a view of a mountain range
Photo by Caleb Jack via Unsplash

It should come as no surprise that states in the Rocky Mountains have some of the coolest trails in the US. Colorado’s La Plata Peak offers soaring views of the surrounding mountain range after just a ten-mile hike from the trailhead.


body of water and snow-covered mountains during daytime
Photo by Tim Stief via Unsplash

If you’re looking for an iconic New England hike, try the trail from Bear Mountain to Lion’s Head in Connecticut. This is part of the absurdly long Appalachian Trail, a legendary mountainous path that ranges all the way from Maine to Georgia.


Flooded Brandywine Creek State Park.
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If you’re looking for a scenic hike in Delaware, check out Brandywine Creek State Park. This sprawling natural area is home to numerous unmarked trails for adventurers to traipse through. You can even catch a glimpse of beavers and turtles in the sprawling Brandywine Creek!


coconut trees and body of water
Photo by Amanda Phung via Unsplash

For the best hiking in Florida, you need to leave the mainland. Head to the small town of Apalachicola and hop in a boat to Little St. George Island and you’ll find dunes, campsites, and a complicated knot of hiking trails spanning the small island. Visiting here is perfect for any old-school style camping vacation.


Blood Mountain Georgia photographed in 2015
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The best hiking trail in Georgia is at the creepily named Blood Mountain. Like many trails on the East Coast, this one is part of the Appalachian Trail. Getting to the top of Blood Mountain affords a rare unobstructed view of the surrounding wilderness, including Vogel State Park and Bear Hair Gap.


green and brown mountain beside body of water during daytime
Photo by Alain Bonnardeaux via Unsplash

There’s no shortage of natural beauty in Hawaii. For some of the most stunning views the state can offer, check out Kalalau Trail. The trail starts at Kauai’s Ke’e Beach. You’ll be awarded for your trek with a glorious view of the Na Pali coast as well as a chance to sneak under a 300-foot waterfall further inland.


man standing on cliff
Photo by Lionello DelPiccolo via Unsplash

Believe it or not, Hells Canyon in Idaho is even deeper than the Grand Canyon. Despite this, it receives far fewer visitors. Sure, it might not be as visually arresting as the Grand Canyon, but Hells Canyon offers some phenomenal hiking trails that are particularly stunning when the flowers start to bloom in the Spring.


Garden of the Gods, Shawnee National Forest.
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You can find plenty of trails in the sprawling Shawnee National Forest in Illinois. If you’re looking for a particularly striking view, try out the Jackson Falls Trail. This winding path terminates at a 70-foot waterfall. If you bring climbing gear, you can also try to scale the sandstone edifice!


Elk Creek Lake
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Indiana isn’t renowned for its hiking scenes, but there is an exception: Knobstone Trail. This 58-mile path through Deam Lake wilderness to Elk Creek Lake offers lush views of low foothills and plenty of opportunities to break off for rough camping.


Effigy Mounds National Monument
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Effigy Mounds National Monument on the very Eastern extremity of Iowa offers the state’s finest trails and views. The region preserves earthworks that resemble local wildlife. The burial mounds were actually created nearly 2,000 years ago by ancient Native American Tribes!


Fly Fisherman on Firehole River at Freight Road Trail Head (Fountain Flat Drive)
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Kansas is well-known for its flat topography, which is great for farming but a bit boring for hiking. However, the Elk River Hiking Trail feels like a slice of land from a different region of the country! The trail skirts around a deep reservoir, offering stunning views that will make any hiker happy.


Berea Pinnacles
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Conventional wisdom holds that the best wilderness hikes in Kentucky can be found at Red River Gorge. There’s just one problem with that: Red River Gorge is crowded with tourists! If you visit Berea, Kentucky, however, you’ll find the soaring Pinnacles. These trails offer a wide range of length and skill requirements!


Kisatchie Hills Wilderness
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Louisiana is famously low-lying. As such, the state’s highest points like The Backbone Trail in Kisatchie Hills Wilderness are rare exceptions from the swampy terrain. This nearly 8-mile trail through sandstone hills offers soaring views of this unique region of the United States!


100 Mile Wilderness sign
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Maine offers long, unbroken stretches of wilderness far to the north of regions most Americans find comfortable to inhabit. As a consequence of this, you get trails like 100 Mile Wilderness, a literally named hiking path in the northernmost stretch of the Appalachian Trail.


Swallow Falls State Park in Maryland
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Maryland sits along the path of the Appalachian Trail, which means it’s got some stellar hiking paths. South Mountain State Park offers a two-and-a-half-mile hike to Annapolis Rocks that offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding hills. Go another few miles and you’ll find Black Rock Cliff, an even higher perch for surveying the landscape!


Bash Bish Falls, Mount Washington State Forest, The Berkshires, MA
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You might find it hard to believe that a waterfall could be haunted, but locals swear Bash Bish Falls is home to numerous ghosts of people who have died falling over the edge. Whether or not it’s home to ghosts, Bash Bish Falls is the site of the state’s best hiking trails.


Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
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Michigan’s best hike is great for families or inexperienced hikers. Pyramid Point in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers a gently rising walk to the top of a sand bluff near Lake Michigan. You can also find the iconic sand dunes at the end of this easy-going trail.


Mountain Lake from the Border Route Trail
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Border Route Trail in Minnesota is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a 65-mile path that hugs the border between the US and Canada. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was chosen as the border between the two countries due to its remoteness, and that same isolated topography makes this area quite peaceful.


Footsteps in white sand
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Exploring Black Creek Trail in Mississippi is like stepping into a painting. The Black Creek has soft, white sand that would look more at home in the Bahamas than the American Southeast. Over 40 miles of hiking paths hug the Black Creek and offer plentiful chances to take a dip in picturesque swimming spots.


Hercules Glades
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Hercules Glade Wilderness Area is a rough, rocky region full of advanced hiking trails. Missouri natives looking for a challenge or travelers who want to conquer stunning wilderness regions can piece together exciting hikes of various lengths from the winding region.


Bowman Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana (USA)
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Outdoor enthusiasts know how stunning it is to explore Montana. Glacier National Park offers some of the best hiking trails in the country, let alone the state. The Dawson-Pitamakan Loop is a legendary circuit that takes visitors around Rising Wolf Mountain and over rushing water.


Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska
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There are few hills in Nebraska, so it’s not easy to find engaging hiking trails in the state. Thankfully, Saddle Rock Trail offers exciting buttes and soaring rock faces that break up the otherwise flat landscape. The trail passes through Scotts Bluff National Monument, ending on an elevated crag overlooking the green landscape.


Freel Peak from Tahoe Rim Trail
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Nevada is renowned by hikers for its natural beauty. If you want to experience this rugged state in all its glory, try the Tahoe Rim Trail the next time you visit. This winding 165-mile path takes you across rolling hills, soaring granite rock faces, and through inviting pine tree forests.

New Hampshire

Alpine zone, Mount Washington, New Hampshire, USA
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You can scale Mount Washington in New Hampshire the easy way by strolling up Tuckerman’s Ravine. This is certainly the fastest way to the top of the mountain, but a much more engaging way to do it is by taking the Crawford Path through the White Mountains. This adventurous journey will keep you above the tree line for most of the trail!

New Jersey

Sunfish pond
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You might find it hard to believe that there are natural landscapes in New Jersey due to its immense population density, but there are some stunning hikes if you know where to look. Sunfish Pond in the Jersey section of the Appalachian Mountains offers a relaxing series of trails dotted with bubbling waterfalls.

New Mexico

Santa Fe Baldy, 2010
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The Anatoli Route in New Mexico allows visitors to scale Santa Fe’s Baldy before ranging to Deception, Lake, and Penitente peaks. The route takes it name from famed Russian outdoorsman Anatoli Boukreev, who used this route to train for rugged mountain expeditions.

New York

Hurricane Ridge
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New York State is far more than just the sprawling metropolitan area that shares its name. Take a trip up into the Adirondacks in the fall and summit Hurricane Mountain to see the glorious Upstate region in all its natural splendor. You can even scale a fire watch tower and get a more stunning view!

North Carolina

Appalachian Trail at Carver's Gap
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The Appalachian Trail takes a wandering path through North Carolina and has one of its notable highlights between Carvers Gap and 19E. For 13 miles, the trail dips above and below the tree line and offers views of the beautiful rolling hills of the American Southeast.

North Dakota

Maah Daah Hey Trail, North Dakota
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The scarce population density in North Dakota makes it a popular destination for hikers looking to go somewhere remote. The Maah Daah Hey Trail in Western North Dakota offers some of the most rugged and wild hiking you can find in the continental US, including chances to spot wild horses, bighorn sheep, and bison.


Brandywine Falls, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
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Ohio is replete with scenic vistas and exciting nature trails. The finest of these is the Ledges Trail in Cuyahoga National Park, which terminates at the titular Virginia Kendall Ledges. These sheer sandstone cliffs hang a few hundred feet above the Cuyahoga River and provide a breathtaking view of the park.


Ouachita Trailhead in Talimena State Park
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The sprawling Ouachita Trail covers nearly 200 miles of wilderness in Oklahoma. It can take between three weeks to a month to traverse this path, which ends in neighboring Arkansas. The highlight of the trail, however, starts in Talimena State Park and ranges east into Holson Valley’s spur paths.


Trail of Ten Falls Loop Hike
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You’d be hard-pressed to find a bad hiking trail in Oregon, but for the best views, check out Trail of Ten Falls Loop. As the name suggests, this circuit through Silver Falls State Park treats you to soaring sights of ten majestic waterfalls surrounded by towering Douglas fir trees.


Waterfall on Tumbling Waters Trail
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The Delaware River Valley offers some of Pennsylvania’s most breathtaking vistas, including the iconic Tumbling Waters Trail. This three-mile circuit through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area offers views of meandering, gently flowing two-tier waterfalls framed by red cedar trees.

Rhode Island

Long Pond woods
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Rhode Island might be the smallest state in the US, but it offers up some wonderful outdoor walking paths at the Long Pond Woods Wildlife Refuge. This 220-acre landscape belongs to the Audubon Society and is particularly prized for its numerous birds, such as warblers and hooded mergansers.

South Carolina

Jones Gap State Park
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It should come as no surprise that South Carolina’s best hiking trails are in Jones Gap State Park, a short distance from the border with North Carolina. The Saluda River runs through the park and offers pristine swimming holes, charming vistas, and numerous branching hiking paths.

South Dakota

Black Elk Peak
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South Dakota’s finest hiking trails can be found at Black Elk Peak. Some locals might still know the region by the name Harney Peak, which it bore for over 100 years until being renamed in 2016. When you ascend the path, you can see the soaring Cathedral Spire rocks in the distance.


Great Smoky Mountains State Park
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Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to all of Tennessee’s best hikes, including the iconic Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte. However, it’s hard to go wrong with any of the 850 miles of trails that zigzag through the gorgeous old-growth forests in this smoky region of the Southeast.


Gaudalupe Mountains National Park
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Gaudalupe Mountains National Park offers visitors a stunning assemblage of wildlife, limestone peaks, and maple trees. The unique surroundings make the hike up McKittrick Ridge a satisfying and one-of-a-kind trip for outdoor enthusiasts in Texas. There are also plenty of camping spots for guests who want to watch the sun rise at 7,700 feet above sea level.


The Wave Utah
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This one is a bit of a pain point for dedicated hikers. The Wave, a stunning sandstone rock formation, is among Utah’s most gorgeous natural landscapes. However, it can only be accessed by a handful of lucky lottery winners as a way to reduce crowds and preserve the fragile landscape.


Camel Hump Park
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The Camel’s Hump in Vermont isn’t the state’s tallest peak, but it does offer one of the most interesting hikes. It’s a perfect day hike that climbs 2,000 feet to the summit and past the ruins of a crashed plane. You can do the whole trail in a day and be back in time for dinner!


Ridge Hike Panorama
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By this point you won’t be surprised to hear that the best hike in Virginia is through its stretch of the Appalachian Trail. The Three Ridges Hike through George Washington and Jefferson National Forests is a fourteen-mile circuit that makes for a great overnight opportunity for new hikers.


Yellow Aster Butte Trail
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The hike up Yellow Aster Butte in Washington doesn’t need special hiking equipment or even that much experience. It climbs 2,500 feet over seven-and-a-half miles to a stunning 360-degree view of the Pacific Northwest. You can even see far over the hills into neighboring Canada!

West Virginia

Shavers Fork Monongahela National Forest
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If you’re looking for a little slice of the Pacific Northwest in the American Southeast, check out Spruce Knob and Seneca Creek in West Virginia. The nearly 17-mile loop in Monongahela National Forest takes you through evergreen glades, over rugged hills, and past cascading waterfalls.

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Devil's Lake State Park
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Devil’s Lake Loop in Wisconsin isn’t the longest hike in the state at just five miles. However, it makes up for its short length with its astonishing views of the densely forested East Bluff Woods. The towering quartzite cliffs near the lake are perfect for rock climbing, too!

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Lonesome Lake Trail
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Wyoming’s absolutely loaded with beautiful natural vistas, and one of the finest can be found on the Cirque of the Towers Trail. This path takes you through the Wind River Range and offers up phenomenal rock climbing, views of nearby lakes, and the chance to spot rare wildflowers.

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