Site Overlay

20 Amazing Day Hikes In The National Parks USA

Crossing through the Keyhole dramatically changes the character of the hike from a steady, class-2 cruise to a wild, exposed, class-3 scramble along well-marked ledges. A hard push up “The Trough”, a loose gully, climbs to 14,000 feet. There is still work to be done. A steep scramble through the “Home Stretch” exits atop the surprisingly flat, broad summit block. After all that work, there’s still the challenge of getting down safely.

hiking in the united states

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park provides visitors with the once-in-a-lifetime experience of getting up close and personal with the extreme heat of a volcano. Grab your hiking boots and a water bottle to go on your next adventure. Clouds Rest backs up its dreamy name with views to go along with it. John StrotherThe 14.2-mile round trip hike to Clouds Rest summit gives you a unique taste of Yosemite National Park. It leads you through old-growth hardwood forest, on log bridges over gushing mountain streams, and up stairways cut into the living rock to the massive rock overhangs for which the trail is named. Yellowstone is the first U.S. national park, boasting approximately 900 miles of trails.

The total elevation gain is a modest 1,350 feet, although the 7.1-mile length of the trail does require a bit of endurance. The midpoint is the main draw of this out-and back trail. In the fall and winter, summit visitors can spot the first rays of sunlight to touch the eastern seaboard. Amid the brilliant foliage and evergreens of Acadia National Park, it’s one of the most spectacular sights and day hikes in the United States. Be prepared, however, as the summit is also accessible by car, so expect company even in the wee hours. Zion National Park, Utah’s first national park, is famous for its massive cream, pink, and red sandstone cliffs, free-standing arches, and hiking trails suitable for all experience levels.

In one hike, you can see forests, ancient redwood trees, the Pacific Ocean, and more. There are many up-and-down climbs and 2,000 feet elevation gain. The trail is also full of obstacles. If the name of the trail sounds familiar it might be because it’s the home to a famously difficult run, the Dipsea Race. This is one of the most popular hikes in Yosemite National Park–and the greater West–for good reason.

There are 63 national parks in the United States and thousands of miles worth of hiking trails. This makes it easy to explore these parks. We have narrowed the list to 20 of the most popular day hikes in national parks, which are 20 incredible ways to explore this beautiful country. Ben WLocated on an island in Lake Superior that’s 45 miles long and just nine miles wide, this national park is so remote you’ll have to take a ferry or seaplane to access it.

Hikers should attempt to visit for sunrise and sunset to snap breathtaking photos of sunlight splashing off the cliffs and into the rivers below. For a short hike to sparkling waterfalls, try the Upper Emerald Pool Trail. The park also has more than 500 miles of hiking trails, including 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail, which you can hike a small section of for a day hike. Each trail offers something new, including waterfalls, viewpoints, and deep forests. Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center in Juneau, Alaska is an epicenter of hiking around the Mendenhall Glacier and the Tongass National Forest.