Great Hiking Trails

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August 17, 2011

With a rich network of national parks all across the U.S. and Canada, there is no shortage of inspiring vistas and natural beauty just waiting to be discovered. In this post you’ll find some top parks to visit and great trails to hike, as well as some tips on what you’ll need for a fun and safe hiking experience. So check it out, then lace up those shoes and hit the trails!

Jenny Lake Hidden Falls (Grand Teton National Park)
This crystal blue lake formed by melting glaciers over 60,000 years ago is one of the highlights of Grand Teton National Park and features several fun hiking trails. You can take the boat shuttle across the lake to the Hidden Falls Trail and discover a beautiful waterfall. This hike is less than a mile, but if you’re up for a longer route, you can take the 2.5-mile Jenny Lake Loop Trail which follows the shoreline back to the boat dock and parking lot. Or check out more hikes in the Jenny Lake area.

Rim Trail (Bryce Canyon National Park)
With the best view of the hoodoos (rock spires), this partly paved trail follows the rim around the main amphitheater. A total of 5.5 miles long, you can also just go as far along as you’re comfortable with, or stick to the easiest section between Sunrise and Sunset points. There are a few other easy hikes through Bryce Canyon, as well as several moderate or difficult trails.

Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Probably the most famous hiking trail in the U.S., the Appalachian National Scenic Trail is around 2,180 miles long and spans 14 eastern states as it follows the Appalachian mountain range. It connects a string of national parks and national forests from Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia. While many sections can be very strenuous, there are also easy to moderate sections in every state. See here for the state-by-state guide.

Pine Island Hike and Bike Trails (Everglades National Park)
Choose from several short (0.8 miles and under) paved and wheelchair-accessible trails. Or, from the main park entrance in Homestead, Florida you can drive 6 miles and park at the Long Pine Key picnic area to enjoy a picnic around the lake and explore the surrounding network of pineland trails (28 miles of connecting trail in total), including the paved Old Ingraham Highway.

Day Hikes in Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park has dozens of easy day hikes, from 0.1 to 6 miles long and including several wheelchair accessible options, through temperate rain forest, lowland forest, mountains or along the beach. See scuttling crabs in tidepools, or one of many waterfalls, or hike up to panoramic mountain views when you choose from one of these hikes. Leashed pets are also permitted on Rialto Beach, Kalaloch beaches and on the Peabody Creek Trail.

Berry Hill/Berry Head (Gros Morne National Park of Canada)
There are three easy to moderate trails that start from the Berry Hill campground which take you to Baker’s Brook Falls, for a stroll around Berry Hill Pond, or up to the top of Berry Hill for a fantastic view. Not far away is also Berry Head Pond, which is ringed by a forest-lined trail that is partly wheelchair accessible. See here for more day hike options in the Gros Morne National Park.

Valley of the Five Lakes (Jasper National Park of Canada)
This family-friendly hike takes in five small mountain lakes, lodgepole pine forest, wildflower-filled meadows and wetlands along Wabasso Creek. You might even spot a beaver! There are also several other easy lake trails, including Cottonwood Creek and Pyramid Lake Loops, Patricia Lake Circle, and Mina Lakes – Riley Lake Loop. More details can be found on the Parks Canada website for Jasper National Park.