The United States boasts phenomenal hiking trails with astonishing views, remarkable wildlife and exceptional geological diversity. From coast to coast, the United States' many national parks have hiking trails that rival the best in the world. It's impossible to choose the absolute greatest hiking trails in the United States because so much is left up to personal taste, but if you are planning a cross-country adventure, these are three trails that provide countless opportunities for enjoyment.
Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
As the park's name demonstrates, here you can find one of the Natural Seven Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon. This marvelous Colorado River gorge commands everyone's attention. Its unparalleled majesty and bold sedimentary rocks overwhelm visitors. The Bright Angel Trail is a great dirt trail that winds through some of the Grand Canyon’s most picturesque environments. It has much more shade than other wonderful trails, such as the South Kaibab Trail, which adds an extra level of pleasure to the Bright Angel Trail. After spending a good portion of time at the Grand Canyon you will be thankful for the shade. The trail is steep but worth the hike because it affords mind-blowing views of the canon.
The Mist Trail, Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite National Park is one of California's many state treasures. With luscious waterfalls, breathtaking granite cliffs and gorgeous giant sequoias, it's no surprise that this park has been designated a World Heritage Site. You can follow the clear rivers and streams as they flow through the wilderness. The park hosts a wide range of fascinating plants and animals, making the park a marvel for scientists and casual tourists alike. One stunning way to enjoy the park is to venture along the Mist Trail. On this popular path you pass two humungous waterfalls: Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall. When you pass these waterfalls, you will understand why this is called the Mist Trail.
Canyon Overlook Trail, Zion National Park, Utah
Zion National Park's many desert canyons and sandstone wonders make it one of the United States' greatest destinations for hiking. The gigantic canyon walls and lofty red cliffs will inspire you with their quiet dignity and colossal grandeur. You will understand why the park took its name from a synonym for heaven. The Canyon Overlook Trail is one of the park's preeminent hiking trails. It enables you to reach high points from which to appreciate the scenery without the taxing efforts required by some other trails.
This one mile round trip hike is easy for most adults and moderately challenging for kids. If traveling with children, keep a close eye on them because there are exposed cliffs that could prove dangerous. The trail begins with sandstone steps that take you above the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. On the way, you will experience the beautiful Pine Creek Canyon. Near the end of the hike, you can look over the cliff edge to enjoy views of the Beehives, West Temple, East Temple, Switchbacks, Towers of the Virgin and the Streaked Wall, all famous sites in the lower Zion Canyon.