Top 10 Best Hikes in America

There's nothing like a long hike through America's most beautiful national parks, and with so many to choose from, it may be hard to settle on one.

Jay Brownstein | Oct 31, 2019

There's nothing like a long hike through America's most beautiful national parks, and with so many to choose from, it may be hard to settle on one. We've compiled a thorough list of what we think are the top 10 hiking trails in the United States based not only their popularity, but on how much of a pure hiking spot they are.

10. Prospect Park, Brooklyn NY

Head to Prospect Park in Brooklyn if you'd like to partake in a bunch of different activities -- everything from hiking to tennis to bird-watching. There's also miles of roadways and paths, including a running lane along Park Drive that stretches for more than 3 miles.

9. Shenandoah National Park, VA

Virginia's most notable park is just 75 miles from the nation's capital in Washington, D.C. It is spread over 200,000 acres of protected lands, which is home to deer, birds, and even bears. It also features 500 miles of hiking trails, including a 101-mile stretch of the famous Appalachian Trail.

8. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN & NC

The towering mountains in this park essentially serves as the state line between Tennessee and North Carolina. It is well known for its animal life and awesome hiking trails, with a "Hike the Smokes" challenge that rewards hikers who have explored at least 100 miles of the park with a special mileage pin.

7. Central Park, NY

The crown jewel of Manhattan is Central Park, and more than just being an oasis in the hustle and bustle of the city, it's a great place to hike. Harlett Nature Sanctuary near Wollman Rink is a particularly great place to do your hiking, as it was just reopened in May of 2016.

6. Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

The Grand Canyon is arguably America's most iconic park, and it's also an excellent place to go hiking. There are all sorts of trails running through the park, some for beginners and others should only be attempted by experienced hikers with plenty of gear. You don't have to hike far to get a spectacular view.

5. Glacier National Park, MT

Montana's Glacier National Park serves as headwaters for streams that eventually make their way to the Pacific Ocean, as well as the Gulf of Mexico and Hudson's Bay, so it's quite an important source of water in America. It has several trails for hiking, ranging from easy to very difficult around Many Glacier. It has many cool critters too, like the pygmy shrew or the majestic elk, and a variety of birds and reptiles.

4. Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

The Grand Canyon may get all the attention when it comes to canyons, but Bryce Canyon in Utah is pretty underrated as a hiking spot. The canyon looks very different from its bigger cousin, with "hoodoos" -- bizarre pillars of rocks that are the result of erosion -- offering a spectacular site along the trail.

3. Multnomah Falls, OR

Mulnomah Falls is one of the lesser known spots on this list, but it is no less spectacular. Its waterfall is more than 600 feet high, and you can reach it after hiking for just 5 to 10 minutes. Of course, it's not unknown to locals, so you'll need to get to the falls early if you want to get there without a whole bunch of crowds.

2. Zion National Park, UT

Utah's first national park is famous for its beautiful sandstone cliffs, natural stone arches, and, of course, lots of hiking trails for every experience level. It's best to head out at sunrise in order to catch the park in all its glory, and the Upper Emerald Pool trail is not to be missed.

1. Yosemite National Park, CA

There's probably no matching the pristine natural beauty of Yosemite, and to us, there's no better place to hike in the United States. Its trails will keep you busy, with one trail that is a 16-mile round trip. However, that trail is for experienced hikers due in large part to the high elevation, and the fact that it takes up to 12 hours to complete.