Experience the most beautiful landscapes in America on the nation's 25 best day hikes!
The United States of America stretches from sea to shining sea (and beyond) with a landscape so incredibly diverse, it could take years of exploration before you even begin to wrap your mind around it. Residents of the US tend to take this diversity for granted, but if you compare the landscapes of the US to most other countries in the world… the variety is unparalleled.
Without leaving the nation's borders, you can enjoy ecosystems as stunning and unique as the Desert Southwest with its wide-open expanses of sagebrush and sand, towering rock formations, and deep canyons. You'll also find the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains, scraping the sky at over 14,000 feet. Head to the Northwest, and deep, dark rainforests teeming with life will make your head spin after the dry desert and harsh alpine environment. The Southeast is also home to a mountainous rainforest, but of an entirely different sort. In fact, the entire expanse of the Appalachian Mountains is a completely underrated region of the country, and one of the oldest mountain ranges on planet Earth. The coasts of California, the never-ending forests in the Great Lakes region, the glaciers of Alaska, the volcanoes and surf of Hawaii… it goes on and on and on. If you think you've seen it all, well… you haven't. It would take many, many lifetimes to lay your eyes on all of the natural wonders that the United States has to offer!
In this guidebook, I've attempted to round up 25 of the most incredible day hikes across the entire breadth of the United States. While you will undoubtedly notice that most of the selections are found in the Western USA, I took great pains to represent the East Coast, Alaska, and Hawaii as well. These hikes are spread all across the Union, meaning that you can likely find one without having to travel too far!
To truly slow down and soak in the beauty of the USA it would be best hike one (or all three) of its premiere long-distance trails: the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and Continental Divide Trail. But in reality, few people can commit the time to complete a months-long thru-hike. So instead of rehashing all of the best backpacking routes in the country, each of the hikes detailed in this guidebook can be completed in a single day. Sure, some of these hikes would be very long days with little sleep, but others can be tackled end-to-end in just a couple hours.
Read through this list of the nation's very best hikes, and allow your mind to run wild. Let yourself dream. But once you've spent some time dreaming, get down to planning and make those dreams a reality!