We all have bucket lists. Places we want to visit, things we want to do, foods we want to eat. For those outdoorsmen and women out there, a hiking bucket list should be part of your lifetime goals. We have gathered some of the most beautiful and intense hikes in the United States for you to consider adding to your lists. Check them out.
Half Dome, Yosemite National Park
Length: 14-16 miles
At Yosemite, one of the best hiking destinations around the world you are sure to find several trails that offer the tranquility of the backcountry, and Half Dome is a Yosemite icon. This trails rises 8,800 feet above sea level, making it a grueling trek even for the most experienced hikers. Most hikers take 10 to 12 hours to complete this trail, so be sure to plan to leave at sunrise or earlier. We recommend taking a flashlight or headlamp, just in case it takes longer to complete than expected. One of the most challenging and famous parts of the hike are the Half Dome cables. These two metal cables allow hikers to ascend the final 400 feet to the summit. Remember to take your time and allow fast hikers to pass you when possible. Also, wear gloves when climbing up the cables, as they will give you much needed grip and traction.
Rim Trail, Grand Canyon National Park
Length: 13 miles
Some of the most spectacular views can be found at the Grand Canyon, so it is no wonder this is on the list. The Rim Trail is a popular spot for many hikers as it has minimal elevation change and runs for nearly seven miles of paved road. At Powell Point, the hike includes about six miles of unpaved trail to Hermit’s Rest. Be sure to pack extra water, especially during the summer months.
Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park
Length: 4.8 miles
Zion’s red rock canyon creates an awe inspiring hike. The trails follows the Virgin River 2.4 miles up an incline, ending at the top of Angel’s Landing — an impressive 1,488-foot rock formation. The 360-degree views have routinely been named among the most magnificent in the West. Considering you will be 6,000 feet above sea level at the top of Angel’s Landing, be sure you pack extra water to avoid dehydration.
Dune Climb Trail, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Length: 3.5 miles
Well-worn dirt trails aren’t the only hiking options available in our great nation. The sandy dunes of this lakeshore trail offer a different type of hiking experience. The Dune Climb Trail starts at the strenuous Dune Climb and ends at the beautiful Lake Michigan. Be sure to bring extra water and wear lots of sunscreen. While you can definitely hike this trail barefoot, it’s a wise decision to bring hiking shoes along.
Appalachian Trail, Georgia to Maine
Length: 2,178 miles
Location: From Georgia to Maine
This trail isn’t exactly a day trip, but it is well worth your time. Hiking this trail in its entirety takes intense training and preparation. If hiking 2,178 miles doesn’t appeal to you, you can always hike shorter sections. This trail travels through the mountains and into valleys, so no matter which section you choose to hike, the views are bound to be beautiful.
Kalalau Trail, Napali Coast
Length: 22 miles (11 miles point to point)
The Kalalau Trail wends its way along the Napali coast leading to a secluded beach. The trail crosses five valleys that include views of tropical forests, cliffs, waterfalls and beaches. There are even stone terraces where Hawaiians once lived. You can camp on the beaches of Hanakoa or Kalalau, but not along the trails. Be sure to bring extra water, so you don’t risk becoming dehydrated.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your Carhartt hiking boots and hit the trails.