Do you wish that you could escape the city, cell phones, work and maybe even life? Do you wish for a vacation where you will not have to deal with emails and text messages? Are you craving a getaway where you can discover yourself and experience something new? A hiking vacation might be just what you need.
There are hundreds of options for hiking vacation destinations, but here are just ten:
1. Yellowstone National Park
West Yellowstone is 2,219,789 acres of ground covering parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Within this vast area are thousands of miles of hiking trails. The hikes range from short, easy day hikes to overnight hikes. The best way to explore West Yellowstone is on foot. Hikers will come across deer, elk, bison, moose and bears. Hikers will also enjoy beautiful waterfalls and soak in warm springs under the starry sky. Some of the more popular hikes include Fairy Falls, Mystic Falls, Heart Lake and Ice Lake.
2. Zion National Park
Located in Utah, Zion is famous for its deep, colorful canyons. Zion offers hiking for every experience level. One of the more popular and easiest trails is the Canyon Overlook. The Canyon Overlook trail is only one mile roundtrip and gains very little elevation. It offers a spectacular view of the entire canyon and it is one of the most photographed areas in Zion National Park. The number one hike in Zion and one of the best canyon hikes in the entire world is The Narrows. The entire trail is sixteen miles long although most visitors only go a short distance. At the bottom of the canyon, hikers have to wade or swim through the river – which makes it even more fun.
3. Grand Canyon National Park
Hiking in the Grand Canyon is radically different from hiking in other national parks. Since it is a desert, the weather conditions can be harsh. Hiking through such steep terrain can leave even the most physically fit person sore and tired. The trails here are challenging but rewarding. The views from the top of the mountains overlooking the canyon are spectacular and breathtaking. Guided hiking tours are available and even recommended.
4. Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park, located in northern Montana, has over 700 miles of hiking trails. This beautiful area has over 130 crystal clear lakes, some that are only accessible to hikers. Hikes are generally open in June but trails that are in the higher elevations usually do not open until July when the snow has finally melted. The most popular day hikes include Lake McDonald, Many Glacier, Two Medicine and St. Mary/Logan Pass. Since bears and mountain lions are often spotted, visitors should use caution while hiking.
5. Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake in Oregon is a special and inspiring place. It is famous for its deep, clear, blue lake surrounded by cliffs two thousand feet high. In the center of the lake are two islands. The lake is usually calm enough that the surrounding cliffs, the islands and the sky all reflect in the water. There are close to 100 miles of hiking trails along the Crater Lake. The trail Cleetwood Cove takes hikers to the lake’s edge where they can enjoy swimming and fishing. The Mt. Scott trail is difficult, but since it is the highest peak in the park, it offers an amazing view of Crater Lake.
6. Yosemite National Park
Yosemite is most famous for its waterfalls. Those who choose to take a hiking vacation here will not be disappointed. Hikers can explore peaceful meadows, swim in hundreds of lakes, play on beaches and discover breathtaking waterfalls. There are 800 miles of trails that range from paved, easy walks to strenuous and remote trails.
7. Grand Teton National Park
This national park is most famous for the Grand Teton which stands at 13,775 feet. There are over 200 miles of trails inside this park, and they range from easy to strenuous. Multiple camping sites are available for hikers that choose to backpack into the mountains and spend several days exploring. One of the most popular hiking areas is in Cascade Canyon. Visitors can hike around Jenny Lake where they will probably see moose. A ferry is also available to take across Jenny Lake; those who take the ferry often have a spectacular view of the Tetons reflected in the water. Hikers in Grand Teton can swim in lakes formed by glaciers, rock climb, watch wildlife and stand in awe of the giant mountains.
8. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado has some of the steepest walls and narrowest openings compared to other canyons in the United States. Hiking in the inner canyon is difficult because there are no marked trails. Only those who are in top physical condition and know their way around the canyon should attempt to hike the inner canyon. Trails along the rim are better maintained and offer views of the canyon below. Some of the hikes include Oak Flat Loop Trail, Rim Rock Nature Trail and Warner Point Nature Trail.
9. Havasu Canyon
Located in Arizona, Havasu Canyon is what many would call paradise. Hiking through this canyon takes visitors to three waterfalls: Havasu, Navajo and Mooney Falls. The water is a blue-green color that can be compared to Caribbean waters. The turquoise colored water is a stark contrast to the surrounding red rock.
10. Pacific Crest Trail
The Pacific Crest Trail is 2,650 miles long and runs through California, Oregon and Washington. The trail mostly stays in the forests and mountains and has little contact with civilization. Some of the more famous spots along the trail include the Vasquez Rocks, Three Sisters, Bridge of the Gods, Crater Lake, Mount Rainer National Park and Glacier Peak Wilderness. Hiking the entire distance takes four to six months, and hikers will see some of the world’s most beautiful lakes, mountains, meadows and rock formations.