With a lot of international travel on pause or delayed right now due to the pandemic, there is no better time to explore the US, whether in an RV or for shorter trips. From ancient forests to amazing gorges and canyons the US has a wide variety of hiking trails for all ages and fitness levels. To help you start planning your trip, below are the 6 best hiking destinations in the US.
This trail is found on the east coast and runs through 14 different states from Maine down to Georgia. At 2190 miles long, there are plenty of hikes available along the way. The majority of people opt to hike smaller sections of the trail on day hikes, however, you can hike the whole length if you have a spare 5-7 months. Each state has various trails you can hike, suitable for all skill levels. Some of the most popular destinations include the Historic Delaware Water Gap and Harpers Ferry Parks.
This National Park is home to many giant sequoia trees and is located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. There are a large variety of hiking and walking trails, from short paved walks to mountainous overnight and backcountry hikes. Some of the most popular attractions include Tunnel View, Bridalveil Falls, and the cliffs at Half Dome. You should plan ahead and check what permits you require for your desired hike. Some areas of the park have a limited number of passes available per day, so ensure you book far enough ahead for any overnight or backcountry hikes. Bears are also a common occurrence at Yosemite, so be sure to follow all food guidelines and pack your food in correct containers.
The Grand Canyon rim is a popular destination for tourists from around the world. However, for experienced hikers, the Grand Canyon offers a few amazing hiking opportunities. One of these hikes is the rim to rim, which takes 12-15 hours including breaks. This hike takes you into the canyon and through its 5 ecosystems, from desert scrubland to boreal forest. For less experienced hikers there are many shorter, less strenuous hikes at both the North and South Rim. Just be aware that any hike into the canyon itself will take longer on the way out due to the steep trails.
The red rocks of Sedona, Arizona are perfect for hiking, especially in the cooler months. The desert landscape is shockingly lush and many of the trails give you that backcountry experience without hiking for miles. Many of the natural wonders are accessible by a short hike and minimal elevation gain. This makes it an ideal family hiking destination. One of the most popular hikes is Soldiers Pass, which is a 4.5 mile round trip. This trail takes you past sinkholes, the Seven Sacred Pools, caves and more! Most of the trails are even shorter than this, making Sedona the perfect hiking spot for half-day trips.
Located just one hour away from New York City, Bear Mountain State Park is part of the Appalachian Trail mentioned earlier. In fact it was where the first section was built, leading south to the Delaware Water Gap. The park also offers over 200 hiking trails, so there is something to suit everyone. One of the most popular hikes is to the summit, featuring over 1000 hand-placed stone steps. Additional features of Bear Mountain include the Popolopen Creek suspension bridge, wooded trails along the river and a lake trail.
This section of California’s coastline is perfect for those who prefer shorter hikes. With most of the major attractions less than 4 miles round trip, Big Sur is perfect for those who like to do several hikes in one day. Just be sure to plan ahead, and take extra layers as the weather can change drastically in the redwood forests. With short easy hikes through redwood forest ending at gorgeous waterfalls like Pfeiffer and McWay, this is a destination you don’t want to miss.
There you have it, 6 of the best hiking destinations in the US. Perhaps it’s time to try RV living and experience them all this year. All of the above locations offer a wide variety of trails, making them a great destination no matter your current fitness level. Not to mention, as you progress on your health and fitness journey you can return and try some of the hard trails. Which will you be trying first?