If discovering hiking trails in the U.S. is on your bucket list, your choices are vast. There are 61 national parks and more than 10,000 state parks in which to surround yourself in the beauty and splendor of the great outdoors. We picked seven unique hiking trails that are peppered across our country’s natural areas, all that are sure to inspire you to get back in touch with nature. Just writing this article makes us want to leave our desks behind and go outsi…
Hike 1: Hanging Lake Trail
Distance: 3 miles round trip
Location: Near Glenwood Springs, Colorado
More Information: AllTrails
Located in the heart of Glenwood Canyon in the White River National Forest, Hanging Lake is a rare example of a travertine geological formation. The 1.2-mile trail to get there is steep and rigorous, but the gentle Colorado waterfalls and the green waters of the lake are worth the climb. You’ll hike along Dead Horse Creek and the rocky Glenwood Canyon. Behind Hanging Lake is Sprouting Rock, a waterfall that hikers use to cool off. We recommend allowing two to four hours for this hike, which is best completed March through October.
Tip: You must reserve a hiking permit either here or at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center when you arrive.
Where to Stay: Glenwood Suites, an Ascend Hotel Collection Member
It’s all about the destination at the Glenwood Suites, located in the heart of Glenwood Springs. After hiking to Hanging Lake, enjoy nearby destinations like Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Glenwood Hot Springs, and Iron Mountain Hot Springs.
Hike 2: Hoh River Trail
Distance: 17.4 miles to Glacier Meadows (32.8 miles total)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Location: Olympic National Park, Forks, Washington
More Information: Hiking Project
Don’t be turned off by the distance of this one. The Hoh River Trail is basically flat for the first 13 miles then becomes steep to Glacier Meadows. However, if you’d rather not to do the full trail, simply turn around at any point. We promise you’ll still enjoy the beauty of this fascinating area, no matter how short or long you make your hike. As one of the wettest regions in the area, you’ll find a moss-hung rainforest and subalpine meadows. Hundreds of shades of green will surround you at every turn. You’ll navigate one river crossing and some small stream crossings on the way to Glacier Meadows. This trail is best used from April through October each year.
Where to Stay: Days Inn by Wyndham Port Angeles
Centrally located in an area known for its year-round breathtaking scenery, the Days Inn Port Angeles is just two miles from the city center and a short trip from Olympic National Park. After a day of hiking, relax in their 80-degree seasonally heated outdoor pool or soothe yourself in the hot spa.
Hike 3: South Kaibab Trail
Distance: 1.5 miles to Cedar Ridge (3.1 miles total)
Location: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
More Information: NPS.gov
The South Kaibab Trail is a steep, well-maintained dirt trail that descends the ridgeline of the Grand Canyon. At 0.9 miles, you’ll get a spectacular view at the aptly named Ooh-Aah Point, looking out over red rocks and the canyon itself. Continue on to Cedar Ridge point, but make this your final stop if hiking during the summer. Although the trail continues further into the canyon, the intense summer heat, sun exposure from lack of shade, and no water stops along the trail make descending further a danger in high heat. Cedar Ridge is listed as a good turn-around for first-time canyon go-ers, inexperienced or casual hikers, and late starters. The trail is best used from March until November.
Where to Stay: Grand Canyon Plaza Hotel
The Grand Canyon Plaza Hotel updates their guest rooms each winter to modernize your stay, adding details to make your stay more enjoyable and eco-friendly.
Hike 4: Pinnacle Trail
Distance: 3.5 miles to The Pinnacle
Location: Pinnacle Park, Sylva, North Carolina
More Information: Asheville Trails
It’s a steady uphill climb at the beginning of this challenging hike that takes you to remarkable views of Pinnacle Park. At the summit, you’ll have climbed 2,000 vertical feet through the creek-filled forest to an altitude of 5,008 feet. Here, you’ve reached “The Pinnacle,” the name for this knobby-shaped Appalachian summit. The views from atop this craggy peak will not disappoint.
Where to Stay: Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Sylva Dillsboro Area
You’ll find easy access to outdoor recreation at this hotel located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. Start your day before hiking with the complimentary deluxe continental breakfast. If you plan several day hikes, the rooms offer refrigerators and microwaves ideal for longer stays.
Hike 5: The Lakes Trail
Distance: 7 miles each way (14 miles total)
Location: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, Three Rivers, California
More Information: Modern Hiker
This national park duo is home to the largest tree in the world, the General Sherman. On the Lakes Trail, you’ll climb through dense forests to view four subalpine lakes with backdrops of rugged ridges and maybe even some snowy peaks. If you’d like to opt for a shorter hike, turn around at Heather Lake (at about four miles) or the Watchtower (at 3.5 miles). This trail is best used from June until October, as the trails and lakes can be icy during colder months.
Where to Stay: Comfort Inn & Suites Sequoia Kings Canyon
The Comfort Inn & Suites Sequoia Kings Canyon hotel in Three Rivers, California, offers plenty of space to stretch out between hikes. Nearby destinations include Kaweah Lake, Lemon Cove, Three Rivers Historical Society, and Stanislaus National Forest. You’ll enjoy amenities like free hot breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and guest laundry facilities at the hotel.
Hike 6: Devil’s Garden Loop Trail
Distance: 7.5 miles
Location: Arches National Park, Moab, Utah
More Information: SoCal Hiker
You’ll find the most concentrated collection of natural sandstone arches in the world located in Arches National Park on the Devil’s Garden Loop Trail. Your hike will take you past a world of arches, spires, and narrow rock walls called “fins” (pictured above.) These fins eventually erode and give way to the formation of arches like the Landscape Arch, the longest arch in the world. This trail is accessible year-round. How many arches did you find while hiking this trail?
Where to Stay: SpringHill Suites Moab
There are plenty of water activities at the SpringHill Suites Moab for recreation after your hike—multiple pools, hot tubs, and even a kids canyon, complete with a splash pad and waterfalls. Enjoy the complimentary hot breakfast buffet, then grab a quick snack at the Corner Market to take with you for the trail.
Hike 7: Precipice Trail
Distance: 2.1 miles
Location: Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine
More Information: Maine Trail Finder
Prepare for a heart-pounding hike to the amazing view at the top of the Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park. Although it’s a short hike, there is some climbing involved as the trail ascends an almost vertical 1,000-foot climb up the east face of Champlain Mountain. At exposed cliffs, iron rungs and ladders help you navigate your way and stay steady during your ascent. Because of the climbing involved, this hike isn’t recommended for small children or those with vertigo or a fear of heights. For brave hikers who dare to complete this trek: you won’t be disappointed with the views that await. But plan ahead; the Precipice Trail is often closed from mid-March through mid-August each year to protect the endangered peregrine falcons that nest here.
Where to Stay: Holiday Inn Resort BAR HARBOR – ACADIA NATL PARK
Enjoy the views along the hike, then settle into your room at the Bar Harbor Holiday Inn Resort with over 1,000 feet of ocean frontage. The resort offers luxuriously appointed guest rooms and suites, recreational facilities, two restaurants, and an oceanfront lounge for relaxing after a strenuous day of hiking.
Whether you choose the desert or the mountains, you’ll need a place to rest your tired feet after a long hike. Visit roomkey.com to search hotels all over our beautiful country and compare prices with lower loyalty rates to find the best deal out there.
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