John Muir once said that “the clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” The United States is filled with forest wilderness that make up the best hiking spots on Earth. You won’t want to miss these beautiful trails:
The Pacific Coast Trail
Recently made famous in the Academy Award-nominated film Wild, the Pacific Coast Trail (or PCT) is one of the best hiking spots on the west coast. The trail is a whopping 2,650 miles long, but every inch is awe-inspiring.
PCT hikers hike through three states (California, Oregon, and Washington), and see gorgeous natural sights. Of course, if you don’t want to hike the whole trail, its close proximity to cities like LA, Portland, and Seattle make weekend adventures an option.
Sometimes, the best hiking spots are about the destination, not the journey. The Awa’awapuhi Trail in Kauai, Hawaii, is a great example; the 3-mile hike to the trail’s peak surrounds you with simple highland forestry, but the lookout point is breathtaking.
At the lookout, hikers are treated to stunning views of the rugged cliffs around the Hawaiian island, as well as a lovely view of the Pacific Ocean. This hike is worth every step -- not to mention the trip to Hawaii!
Harding Icefield Trail
The Harding Icefield Trail in Alaska is a far cry from the beaches of Hawaii, but it is every bit as spellbinding. This trail at Kenai Fjords National Park gives hikers an up-close look at the glaciers of the last frontier.
But the glaciers aren’t all you’ll find on this trail! Through the 8-miles, you’ll see alpine meadows, forested areas, and panoramic views of Alaska’s landscape. These varied settings easily make this one of the best hiking spots in the US.
The Mist Trail
The Mist Trail at Yosemite National Park is one of the best (and wettest) hiking spots in the park. It’s located between Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall, and the spray from these two falls creates an otherworldly haze along the path.
This trail has two options: a visit to Vernal Fall is 2.4-miles round-trip, while Nevada Fall is 5.4-miles round-trip. Both views are truly beautiful -- but take care that you don’t slip on the wet rocks as you hike!
The Ocean Trail
If you’re looking for a family-friendly hiking spot, the Acadia National Park in Maine is one of the best. The Ocean Trail is a particularly great hike for a family visit, as you’ll see the beauty of the eastern seaboard.
This trail is largely flat, making it great for families. As you walk, hikers will spot rocky coves, rugged cliffs, and even a few pink granite rock formations! This trail yields some of the most spectacular views on the east coast.
What are you waiting for? Pack a bag, strap on your good hiking watch (an all-wood one should do the trick), and start exploring the forest wilderness all over this country. You just might understand what Muir was saying!