Across all fifty states, you will unearth trail after trail, some more famous than the next, but all with the means to see a part of the country you may have overlooked. From the prairie of Kansas to the beautiful beaches of Florida, each state boasts several distinctive hikes, ones that make that piece of the American pie truly unique. Grab your hiking boots and head for these must-do hikes that range from quick less than one milers, to long, multi-day treks.
Alabama - The Walls of Jericho Trail
Located in Estillfork, the Walls of Jericho Trail sits near Alabama’s border with Tennessee. Over three miles long, the trail drops 900 feet to waterfalls and rock formations resembling walls. The Walls of Jericho Trail is particularly significant to Alabama as Davy Crockett is rumored to have hunted around these parts.
Alaska - Flattop Mountain at Glen Alps
Alaska is littered with famous hikes but its most visited peak is easily Flattop Mountain. You can take the 1.5-mile trail up the mountain, which ascends 1,350 feet. Hikers are rewarded with panoramic views of Mt. McKinley and the Aleutian Islands.
Arkansas - Ozark Highlands Trail
Set up in northwest Arkansas, the Ozark Highlands begins at Lake Fort Smith State Park and stretches all the way to Buffalo National River, climbing some of the highest Ozark peaks. Measuring in at 218 miles, you can explore several loops and sections for a weekend getaway or set aside some time to traverse the entire route through Ozark National Forest.
Arizona - Bright Angel Trail
First built by western pioneers in 1891, Bright Angel Trail has become the premier hiking trail through Grand Canyon National Park. The trail follows the head of the canyon and includes cliffside views along with a 4,300+ foot decent to the Colorado River. Have your camera ready for spectacular views of the Grand Canyon along the way.
California - Half Dome Hike
Settled into Yosemite National Park, the Half Dome Hike has become an iconic California must-do. Rising nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley, the difficult trail measures 14 to 16 miles round trip. It is also famous for its cable ascent that assists hikers up the last 400 feet.
Colorado - North Mt. Elbert Trail
With the trailhead beginning just south of Leadville, North Mt. Elbert Trail provides the means to climb both Colorado’s highest peak and the second highest peak in the lower 48 states. With an elevation of 14,433 feet, the trail spans 4.6 miles long with an elevation gain of 4,500 feet for a true high point.
Connecticut - Lion’s Head Trail
Located in Salisbury, Lion’s Head Trail provides a short hike with great views of western Connecticut. Proudly identifying as a section of the Appalachian Trail, Lion’s Head Trail is 2.7 miles to the lookout at an elevation of 1,738 feet. From the top, you can appreciate views in all directions, noting Salisbury, its lakes and the Berkshires.
Delaware - Twin Valley Trail
3.9 miles round-trip, Twin Valley Trail in Delaware takes hikers through beech, maple and tulip forest. In addition, you can pass by the Arc Corner Monument, which marks the point where Delaware and Pennsylvania meet. Located in White Clay Creek State Park, Twin Valley Trail also is a great spot to see wildlife and birds.
Florida - Santa Rosa Island Beach Hike
Part of Florida’s National Scenic Trail, Santa Rosa Island Beach Hike sits atop historic Fort Pickens. The hike includes stretches along Gulf Islands National Seashore. In fact, it is the only section of any National Scenic Trail that flows through an ocean beach. Hikers can sink their tired feet in sugary white sands along the barrier island route and take in the salty breeze.
Georgia - Hike Inn Trail at Amicalola Falls State Park
Roughly 10-miles round-trip, Hike Inn Trail heads through Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia. Perhaps its most appealing stop is Amicalola Falls, the tallest waterfall in Georgia, which is a whopping 729 feet tall. In addition to the waterfall, hikers can expect to see giant hickory, pine and oak trees. The trail leads to a rustic inn accessible only by foot.
Hawaii - Diamond Head Summit Trail
Built in 1908 as part of Oahu’s coastal defense system, Diamond Head Summit Trail leads up to the top of Diamond Head Crater. Through a series of switchbacks and stairs, hikers gain a look at the unique geological and military history of the volcanic crater with views of the shoreline. The trail is just 1.6 miles long round-trip.
Idaho - Iron Creek to Sawtooth Lake Trail
Just two miles west of Stanley, Iron Creek to Sawtooth Lake Trail begins where alpine meadows and forests are there to welcome hikers. Around 10 miles total, people traverse the trail to photograph Alpine Lake, Sawtooth Lake and Mt. Regan.
Illinois - Starved Rock Trail
Just 0.3 miles long, Starved Rock Trail is certainly not Illinois’ longest trail. However it offers an incredible overlook of the Illinois River and Dam at the highest point in the park. Starved Rock Trail also boasts a rich history linked to the American Indian tribe who lived in the area.
Indiana - Hemlock Cliffs National Scenic Trail
Located in Hoosier National Forest, Hemlock Cliffs National Scenic Trail runs along a valley in Southern Indiana. The trail takes hikers past sandstone rock formations, unique trees and seasonal waterfalls down into a canyon.
Iowa - Ledges State Park
Settled near Boone, Ledges State Park is home to four miles of hiking trails that head up and down steep slopes and scenic overlooks. The park has become a favorite spot for adventurers for its beautiful wildflowers and dramatic cliffs. The park is also home to archaeological evidence dating back around 4,000 years ago.
Kansas - Prairie Fire Palmer Creek Loop
Located in the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, the Prairie Fire Palmer Creek Loop provides hikers with the chance to roam Kansas’ wide-open spaces, one of the last remaining examples of a plains ecosystem. The six mile loop takes hikers through the heart of the preserve with plenty of vista views along the way.
Kentucky - Sal Hollow Trail
Located in Mammoth Cave Park, Sal Hollow Trail is one of the many trails on site, spanning 8.1 miles through the woods and hills of Kentucky. Mammoth Cave Park is worth exploring afterwards to see the largest cave system in the world. The site boasts more than 350 miles of underground passageways.
Louisiana - Wild Azalea Trail
The longest trail in the state at 26 miles, Wild Azalea resides southwest of Alexandria. A favorite for experienced hikers, the trail traverses several creek crossings, best visited in the spring when you can see the azaleas for which it is named in full bloom.
Maine - White Brook Trail
Ascending up White Cap Mountain, White Brook Trail takes hikers up to the highest point on the Appalachian Trail. Measuring in at 4.2 miles round trip, it's a moderate hike with outstanding views from the top of the Appalachian range.
Maryland - Billy Goat Trail
Appropriately short and steep, Billy Goat Trail provides beautiful views of the Potomac River and its falls. Featuring wildflowers and scenic river views, the trail measures 7.3 miles on a loop as part of Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.
Massachusetts - Great Barrington’s Monument Mountain Trail
With just under a three-mile loop, Great Barrington’s Monument Mountain Trail has history on its side. It was this hike that friends Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville used for inspiration. Besides following in literally footsteps, hikers can appreciate views of the Southern Berkshires, caves, and Housatonic River Valley.
Michigan - North Country Trail
Part of a trail spanning seven states, the Michigan portion of the North Country Trail averages an incredible one waterfall per mile. Just north of Bessemer, the trail hits seven waterfalls before eventually meeting Lake Superior. The 11-mile jaunt follows where the Black and Presque Isle Rivers run parallel.
Minnesota - The Superior Hiking Trail
Between Duluth and the Ontario border, the Superior Hiking Trail is often ranked as one of the best in the country. The 310-mile footpath flows the rocky ridgeline above Lake Superior. There are trailhead starts and parking lots every 5 to 10 miles, making it easy to pick and choose which sections you want to explore.
Mississippi - Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail
Covering 450 miles of foot paths, the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail was once the lifeline of the South, connecting Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. Today, it boasts several trails you can take that span just over 60 miles. In Mississippi those include Rocky Springs Trail, Tupelo Trail and Ridgeland Trail.
Missouri - Ozark Trail
Covering more than 360 miles, the Ozark Trail winds through the Ozark Mountains in the southeastern portion of Missouri. The trail features forest covered hills, knobs, valleys, waterfalls and streams. Perhaps its finest section can be found at the highest point in the state at Traum Sauk State Park, which shoots you out at Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park.
Montana - East Rosebud Trail
Considered one of the best hikes in the Rocky Mountains, the East Rosebud Trail spans 26 miles between Red Lodge and Cooke City. It is often referred to as the Beaten Path due to the amount of crowds that descend in the summertime, eager for one of the most scenic trails in the Beartooths.
Nebraska - Indian Cave State Park
Named for large sandstone caves, Indian Cave State Park borders the Missouri River. With 22 miles of hiking trails, the park is one of the best in Nebraska if you want to see hardwood forests and views of Missouri.
Nevada - Mt. Rose Trail
With something for everyone, Mt. Rose Trail provides views of South Tahoe and Lake Tahoe. Part of the northern Sierra Nevada Range, the Mt. Rose Trail heads up the second highest mountain in the Lake Tahoe Basin, winding through woods of pine and hemlock.
New Hampshire - Mount Eisenhower Loop
Covering 6.6 miles, Mount Eisenhower Loop in New Hampshire begins on Mount Clinton Road in Crawfords Purchase. With an elevation change of 4,760 feet, the loop lends hikers a sweeping panorama of peaks at the top.
New Jersey - Stairway to Heaven Trail
Near Vernon, Stairway to Heaven Trail covers boardwalks, a suspension bridge and hardwood forests. Offering one of the best viewpoints New Jersey, the trail includes a series of rock slab steps heading up Wawayanda Mountain.
New Mexico - Gavilan Trail
Set up in Northern New Mexico in the Carson National Forest, Gavilan Trail heads up the mountains of the Columbine Hondo Wilderness. It serves as the steepest and fastest route to the ridge connecting the highest peak in the state. Hikers are not just treated to New Mexico landscapes but also Colorado views from the trail.
New York - The Finger Lakes Trail
Snaking from the Pennsylvania border to the Catskill Mountains, the Finger Lakes Trail covers 558 miles. Hikers can select from endless sections, including trails that run up to Niagara Falls or over to Canandaigua Lake. You can hop on for a day hike or attempt the entire route, which happens to be New York State’s longest footpath.
North Carolina - Mt. Mitchell State Park
The highest point east of the Mississippi, Mt. Mitchell ascends 6,684 feet. The inspiration for one of the nation’s first state parks offers both long and short hikes, the highlight being Mt. Mitchell Trail, measuring in at 6 miles.
North Dakota - Maah Daah Hey Trail
Covering 144 miles, Maah Daah Hey Trail is ideal for hiking and biking. Running from Theodore Roosevelt National Park through the Little Missouri National Grasslands, the trail hits majestic plateaus, jagged peaks, valleys and rolling prairie. There are six points of access for hikes of varying lengths.
Ohio - Covered Bridge Trail
Perched in Wayne National Forest, Covered Bridge Trail runs through forestland and two covered bridges heading over the Little Muskingum River. The five-mile trail sits between Haught Run and the Hune Bridge Campgrounds.
Oklahoma - Charon’s Garden Wilderness Trail
Located near Lawton in the Wichita Mountain National Wildlife Refuge, Charon’s Garden Wilderness Trail provides fine views of the Oklahoma prairie. Don't be fooled by the name though, as this is no walk in the park. The 2.4-mile trail goes through plenty of boulder fields so you can test your skills at boulder hoping.
Oregon - The Watchman Peak Trail
Located in Crater Lake National Park in Southern Oregon, the Watchman Peak Trail offers incredible vistas of Crater Lake, Wizard Island and the Rogue River National Forest. Only 1.8 miles roundtrip, this moderately trafficked trail is perfect for both nighttime stargazing and sunrise chasing.
Pennsylvania - Susquehannock Trail System
The 85-mile loop of the Susquehannock Trail System takes you through some of the state’s oldest forests. There are roughly 60 different trails to explore that stretch across north central Pennsylvania. Elevations range from just over 1,000 feet to up to 2,500 feet.
Rhode Island - Cliff Walk
Perhaps a bit more unconventional, the Cliff Walk in Rhode Island doesn’t necessarily get away from it all -- but it has been an official national recreation trail since the '70s. A designated foot path, the 3.5 mile route through historic Newport rewards walkers with the beauty of Narragansett Bay along with vistas of the city’s famous oceanside mansions.
South Carolina - Raven Cliff Falls Trail
Located in Caesars Head State Park, the Raven Cliff Falls Trail in Greenville County leads to Raven Cliff Falls, a 420-foot waterfall. In order to reach one of the overlooks, you have to walk over a somewhat nail-biting suspension bridge.
South Dakota - Door Trail
In the iconic Badlands National Park, Door Trail measures just 0.75 miles. Don’t let the shortness of the hike fool you, though, it's still challenging. The trail leads through a break in the Badlands wall known as the door. From this perch you can gain a great view of the park or continue on an adjoining trail.
Tennessee - Alum Cave Bluffs Trail
Located in the Great Smoky Mountains, this Tennessee trail covers old growth hardwood forests, a narrow tunnel of Arch Rock and rugged valleys. The bluffs themselves are 2.3 miles from the trailhead, which is 5-miles in total.
Texas- Santa Elena Canyon Trail
Big Bend National Park is known for housing the largest expanse of road-less public lands in Texas. Travelers can find more than 150 miles of trails in the park, a favorite being the Santa Elena Canyon Trail. Covering 1.7 miles round-trip, the hike is a Big Bend classic with views of the stunning Santa Elena Canyon.
Utah - Queen’s Garden Trail
Set up in Bryce Canyon National Park, this 6.5-mile loop has become a signature trail in the park. Considered the least difficult trail to get from the canyon to the rim, you can expect to see many wonderful rock formations along the way.
Vermont - Sunset Ridge Trail
Easily one of Vermont’s most scenic trails, Sunset Ridge Trail finds a home in Underhill State Park. The trail leads through an expansive forest up to the state’s highest peak. The trip to the summit is 3.2 miles and remains the most popular hiking trail at Underhill.
Virginia - McAfee Knob
Chances are you have seen a photo of McAfee Knob in Virginia. Arguably the most photographed spot on the Appalachian Trail, this challenging yet rewarding hike leads to a cliff clinging perch atop Catawaba Mountain. The six-mile round-trip trek lends not just a great photo but also views of the surrounding mountains.
Washington - De Leo Wall Loop
The 4-mile loop in Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park has become a favorite amongst hikers in Washington. The trail is most famous for its midpoint when the narrow path clings to a 600-foot bluff. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Mount Rainer.
West Virginia - Maryland Heights Trail
The Maryland Heights Trail in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is frequently hailed as one of the best spots to walk in America. You can see many aspects to the park on this hike including spectacular scenery, Civil War history and a footbridge over the Potomac.
Wisconsin - Geneva Lake Shore Path
Not all hikes have to be arduous. In Wisconsin, the Geneva Lake Shore Path provides a leisurely stroll, spanning 21 miles around Geneva Lake and the surrounding mansions. Best in autumn, the leaves are eye-popping colors and offer some of the Midwest's more remarkable views.
Wyoming - Teton Crest Trail
Frequently deemed one of the best hikes in the United States, it comes as no surprise that the Teton Crest Trail (40 miles) is a favorite in Wyoming and a signature hike along the Grand Teton Range, offering views of Jackson Hole, the Teton Valley and wildflowers along the route.