Planning your next backpacking trip? Looking for the picture-perfect place to pitch your tent? Whether you want to go on a camping trip for a couple days, or you’re simply deciding where to head on your next day hike and which peak to sag, we can help.
We’ve already presented you with the top hiking places in South America, but today we’re giving you a list of the top four places to hike in North America, with options for all different intensities, such as family-friend fun that all ages can enjoy, and technical terrain that’d be an ultrarunner’s paradise. Gather your gear, grab your hiking shoes, and get ready to explore outdoors!
- Timberline Trail – Mt. Hood, Oregon
Located in the Pacific Northwest is Oregon’s gentle giant, Mt. Hood, the highest summit in the state and the fourth highest in the Cascades mountain range. Surrounding the volcano you’ll find epic waterfalls, massive glaciers, and the historic Timberline Lodge, built by local artisans during the Great Depression. You can stay at the lodge and use it as a starting point to trek down Timberline Trail.
We like this trail system because it connects to the Pacific Crest Trail, allowing you to hike all the way from the Cascades through the Sierras and down to Mexico, if you’re up for that sort of challenge. But it also offers plenty of day hikes suitable for children at least seven years of age, with cozy accommodations you can retreat to once you and the family have seen all the sights.
- The Lost Coast – King Range National Conservation Area, California
The Lost Coast gets its name because this forgotten stretch of land is left untamed by roads, unlike Big Sur, as the land was too steep and rugged to build on. Getting to the trailhead is a journey itself but traversing the 25 miles from Shelter Cove to Mattole Beach will reward you with some of the breathtaking views of the pristine California coastline, untouched by man.
It’s a great place to spend an anniversary by the sea, off the grid without cell phone service, but be warned: you’ll have to earn these epic views. Although the stretch is mostly flat, the terrain is extremely challenging and varies between soft sand that sends your pace to a slog, to rocks the size of bowling balls that make you question every step. You’ll also need to time the tides, because it’s known to completely cover certain sections when it’s high. But if you go at the right time of year and get blessed with beautiful weather, the reward is oh-so worth it.
- The Narrows – Zion National Park, Utah
In Southwest Utah, the Virgin River flows through the Zion Narrows—a narrow gorge that, in some places, is no more than 30 feet wide by a thousand feet deep! It results in thin canyons all throughout the park, but the Narrows is a great choice because it does not require any technical equipment to traverse, plus it’s easily accessible for an out and back hike through the Temple of Sinawava trailhead.
When planning a trip, you’ll need to plan around good weather, because you do not want to venture into the narrows if the flashflood forecast is anything but “low”. June, September, and early October are the best times to go because the water is still warm, and the danger of sudden rainstorms is relatively low.
- Havasu Falls – Havasupai Indian Reservation, Arizona
If you’re checking out the exciting sights in Sedona, you can’t miss the amazing adventure of a hike to Havasu Falls, located in the Grand Canyon on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. The place is truly magical, a hidden paradise known for its crystal clear, bright blue waters that flow lazily from the fall to the shores.
You’ll need to make a reservation prior to arrival, and you’ll have to hike your way in on a 10-mile trailhead. It’s a pretty easy trail to navigate, but the walk can feel rather long in the hot sun, so it’s best to stay a night (or two!) at the campground before turning around and heading out the way you came in.
Where are your favorite hikes? Let us know in the comments below!