It goes without saying that summer is the time of year to really sink your teeth into your favorite activities. This is especially the case if hiking is your activity of choice. Plenty of sunshine, an abundance of fresh air, and Mother Nature at her most beautiful – what could possibly make for a more fulfilling experience?
However, even the most avid hikers eventually get tired of hiking the same trails at the same sites, over and over again. The following are our picks for the best summer hiking in 2016. We promise they’re well worth traveling for!
1. Glacier National Park
Located in beautiful northwestern Montana, Glacier National Park is nothing if not a must-see destination. It’s definitely someplace that should be on every hiker’s to-do list. At Glacier, you’ll have the opportunity to explore over 700 miles of top-notch hiking trails. (Try Hidden Lake Nature Trail, in particular.)
Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to observe plenty of indigenous wildlife in its natural habitat. You stand an excellent chance of seeing elk and mountain goats. You may even spot the occasional grizzly bear near one of the park’s many freshwater streams.
What outdoor enthusiast wouldn’t welcome a chance to experience a hike in beautiful Hawaii? If scenic cliff sides and breathtaking ocean views are your thing, consider paying a visit to Kauai this summer. Looking to test your stamina? Make sure you give the 11-mile Kalalau Trail your attention.
Kauai has plenty to offer nature lovers as well. Check out the beautiful green paths of Waimea Canyon for some truly stunning photo ops. Just make sure your hiking boots are up to the task. The trails in Kauai are known for being challenging.
3. Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is more than just a great place to stop, take some photos, and consider how beautiful America can really be. It’s also one of the best places of all time to go hiking in America, and this year is no exception.
If you don’t mind sticking to the most popular trails, you’ll love the experience of hiking along the canyon’s South Rim. (Rim Trail and Bright Angel Trail are top picks for a reason.) However, there are plenty of opportunities along the North Rim for those that prefer a quieter, less people-filled experience.
4. The Adirondacks
If you’re planning a summer jaunt out to the East Coast and would welcome the chance to enjoy a bracing hike while you’re there, consider spending some time in upstate New York’s stunning Adirondacks. The entire area is packed with opportunities to experience some truly life-changing views. In fact, with over 2000 miles worth of trails and 46 different high peaks, it’s more than possible to visit the Adirondacks multiple times and enjoy a completely different hiking experience each time.
The Adirondacks are a great place to really immerse yourself in the outdoors with a little camping. Not a big fan of roughing it in the woods? Spend the night at one of the area’s many luxury cabins or lodges instead.
There’s a reason why Sedona repeatedly pops up on any number of lists detailing the world’s most beautiful places. It boasts one of the most colorful landscapes anywhere in the United States. Crystal clear blue skies combine with majestic red rocks and sprawling sandstone buttes for a truly unforgettable experience. No wonder Sedona attracts artists and filmmakers from all over the world!
It’s also an excellent place to enjoy a little summer hiking. Visit gorgeous Red Rock State Park for a jaunt through picturesque canyons you won’t soon forget. Interested in exploring the heritage of Sedona’s indigenous peoples? Check out the ancient Hopi dwellings of the Palatki Heritage Site instead.
If there’s any American destination that is an absolute must for any serious hiker, it’s Yosemite, and with good reason. The park’s valley trails are among some of the most challenging and popular trails in the entire country. (Half Dome in particular has made plenty of bucket lists!) Its back country trails are also among the most tranquil.
Yosemite is one of the most enormous national parks in existence, so you’ll have the opportunity to see plenty of natural wonders. Marvel at giant Sequoias that are 1000 or more years old, as well as some of the most distinctive rock formations in the country. Don’t forget to take a peek at Yosemite’s stunning waterfalls while you’re there.