The United States features an impressive number of national parks. They are littered across the scenic landscapes that glorify nature in the 50 states. However, the focus here is on the ones that sport hiking trails. More importantly, we narrow down to the best of them all and highlight what makes them spectacular.
The intent is to save you ample time when it comes to finding the best national parks in the USA for hiking. All you have to do is read through and add favorites to your bucket list.
We are going to furnish you with the list. But before then, it’s noteworthy to learn about the relevance of national parks to appreciate them better. Learn here more, before making any travel decision during the pandemic Covid-19.
Importance of National Parks
National parks are for recreation, fun, and tourism. No doubt. But is that all there is to them? Certainly no. They fulfill a more beneficial environmental purpose to man.
Here are some of their profound benefits.
To Preserve and Conserve Endangered Species
For starters, they serve as conservational parks that secure and preserve what’s left of our endangered animal species. Furthermore, they conserve and preserve what’s left of the plant kingdom. Left to dwell alone in the wild, historical plants and rare species of animals are vulnerable to destruction.
Activities like mining, deforestation, urbanization, agriculture, and climate change put these species in harm’s way. We have rich biodiversity around us. The only way to protect them is via this route.
To Preserve Our Collective Heritage
Nature has blessed us with breathtaking sceneries and jaw-dropping landscapes. Across the continental U.S., magnificent natural views dot the countryside and uninhabited territories. Some of these locations are symbolic of the culture of the locals. Some are historic to not just the people but to the country at large.
Therefore, isolating and designating these places like national parks, prevent them from environmental abuse and deterioration. Subsequently, they are protected from encroachers with their designation, and our shared heritage is ultimately preserved.
To Sustain a Healthy Climate
With our rich biodiversity protected from destruction, we can enjoy the environment in peace. The lush trees and shrubs contribute a great deal to the overall well-being of our ecosystem. They absorb excess carbon in the atmosphere which is dangerous for men. As a result, they help us lead healthier lives by purifying the air we breathe.
Similarly, their roots keep the soil compact, and this curbs erosion. As industrialization continues to deplete our environment, national parks serve to cushion the adverse effects and make the climate safer for us.
15 Best National Parks in the USA for Hiking
Now unto the main subject. Here are the 15 Best National Parks for Hiking in the U.S.A.
Here are the 15 Best National Parks for Hiking in the U.S.A
1. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
The Grand Canyon is one of the most visited national parks in the American continent and the world. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and part of the wonders of the modern world. The Bright Angel trail here suits hiking perfectly. It’s a 12-mile trip that affords any hiker the pleasure of viewing the wonders of the Grand Canyon. In the end, it’s a great trip you will enjoy. However, come prepared because it’s going to be challenging.
2. Great Smoky Mountain National Park, North Carolina
This park is one of the most popular parks for hiking in the U.S. Even more interesting as it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is spectacular because the hike cuts across two climate zones (the southern climate of North Carolina to the northeastern climate of Maine). You can complete the trip in 18 miles at most and enjoy the scintillating ambiance of luxury creek valleys, montane vegetation, and a waterfall beneath.
3. Acadia National Park, Maine
The Acadia National Park is located on the outskirts of the United States. It’s an interesting choice location for hikers who love solitude. The Sargent Mountain Loop in this park takes 5 miles to complete. The trek comes to an end at the summit of the mountain. More importantly, the beautiful sights of the Acadia coastline are one to relish.
4. Yosemite National Park, California
The highlight of Yosemite National Park is seen in its numerous breathtaking waterfalls. Yosemite Falls is reputed to be the tallest in North America. A hike to its peak proves to be an exciting experience. You will have to ascend to 2,700 feet on a journey of 3.5 miles. Arriving at the top, you will meet with an awestruck view of Yosemite Creek and neighboring landscapes.
5. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Explore the adventurous trails of the Navajo Loop in the Bryce Canyon National Park is just 3 miles. The trek begins at sunset point and runs through a location identified as the ‘main amphitheater’. In all, you get to savor the sights of the beautiful nature around you. When you’re done with the Novaja Loop, you can explore other fine locations of Bryce Canyon.
6. Big Bend National Park, Texas
The South Rim Trails on this park provide refreshing views of the Chihuahua desert bases. At 2,000 feet in height, it takes 14 miles to achieve. At the top, you are thrilled with an array of Texan vegetation and massive wildlife where you can find mountain lions and Mexican black javelins roaming freely.
7. The Emerald Mile, Redwood NP, California
The uniqueness of the emerald comes in its rare assemblage of redwoods. Towering up to 300 ft in height, we are yet to find trees up that height anywhere else. The unique convergence and greenery make hiking on its trails memorable. It’s a mile’s worth of journey into the land of luxury redwoods.
8. Glacier National Park, Montana
We give it to Montana for having some mesmerizing landscapes. Specifically, the Grinnell Glacier trail in Glacier National Park offers a vantage point of view of its beauty. All it takes is 11 miles of trekking to behold the splendor of nature’s offerings. A handy tip here: visit during summer and thank us later.
9. Arches National Park, Utah
Enjoy the captivating views of rock formations at Arches Peak when you visit the Arches National Park in Utah. However, you need to take a 9-mile drive to the northwest corner and hike off the rest. The peak stands at 600 feet, and it takes 3.4 miles to get there. Relatively, that’s a short hike and you certainly won’t be alone.
10. Olympic National Park, Washington
Find solace in the quiet nature of the Hoh River trail in this national park when you visit. To achieve this, you have to undertake a 32-mile trek through the rainforest elevated at 3,700 feet. You will be met with lush greenery and flowing streams on your way. It is a fantastic choice location for backpackers who treasure tranquility.
11. Zion National Park, Utah
The Angel’s Landing trail in Zion’s National Park is indeed a natural wonder. It’s made of pillars of rock so high and steep thus the name “Angels Landing”, which implies that only Angels dare to tread. It’s a 5-mile trek at an elevation of 1,488 feet. As a warning, if you have a phobia of heights, you might want to look elsewhere. But if you are brave enough to take the hike, there are guardrails to help you.
12. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
Get to witness nature’s fiery flames boil and pour into the blue sea at this national park. It’s the famous red-hot lava that’s a consequence of volcanic eruption in Hawaii. You need your hiking boots to trek across lava residues in this 8 miles round-trip. You can hike this trail elevated at 230 feet when it’s dark. This way, you can enjoy the exclusive view of the orange and yellow-colored lava unleashing hot wrath on the blue ocean.
13. Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
If you like glaciers, then the Exit Glacier Trail in this national park is worth a hike. Taking a hike of about 1.9 miles brings you directly to an imposing white and blue glacier. There are no heights here to be to scare you. The trails are easy to trek with signs on the pathways that tell of its history.
14. Congaree National Park, South Carolina
The BoardWalk Loop of this park is relatively one of the easiest. At 2.4 miles with no significant elevation, it’s more of a walk than a hike. Amble between lush greenery and elegant trees to enjoy the fresh air they invoke. Photoshoots are in order, and the experience gets better when it’s dark. This is because the sight of fireflies lighting up the whole place is pretty to watch. If you are patient enough, you can catch a glimpse of some wildlife like wild pigs and deer.
15. Mount Rainer National Park, Washington
This is one of the toughest for hikers, and experience is needed. The trail is dubbed “Wonderland”. It’s indeed a wonder to behold. From waterfalls to steep rocks and glaciers, you get nothing short of awe. Overall, the hike could take 14 days, so if you are ready for it, you need to gear up. The elevation is 23, 000 feet, and the journey is 93 miles long.
Once in a while, it’s nice to take a hike and appreciate the beauty around you. Now, you can enjoy the outdoors and feel the warmth of nature as you make your choice from the list. We do hope this list proves to be helpful as you embark on that journey. Don’t forget to gear up and take photos.
Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q)
1. Which National Park is the most beautiful?
2. How many National Parks are in the U.S.A?
There are 62 national parks in the U.S.A.
3. Where are the best National Parks?
The best national parks are found in the state of Utah.
4. What are the 62 National Parks?
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennesse
- Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
- Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
- Zion National Park, Utah
- Yosemite National Park, California
- Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
- Acadia National Park, Maine
- Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
- Olympic National Park, Washington
- Glacier National Park, Montana
- Joshua Tree National Park, California
- Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
- Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana
- Gateway Arch National Park, Missouri
- Death Valley National Park, California
- Arches National Park, Utah
- Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
- Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
- Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
- Sequoia National Park, California
- Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
- Everglades National Park, Florida
- Saguaro National Park, Arizona
- Haleakala National Park, Hawaii
- Badlands National Park, South Dakota
- Canyonlands National Park, Utah
- Biscayne National Park, Florida
- Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
- Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
- Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
- Kings Canyon National Park, California
- Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota
- White Sands National Park, New Mexico
- Denali National Park, Alaska
- Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
- Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
- Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
- Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
- Redwood National Park, California
- Big Bend National Park, Texas
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado
- Channel Islands National Park, California
- Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
- Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
- Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
- Pinnacles National Park, California
- Congaree National Park, South Carolina
- Virgin Islands National Park, U.S. Virgin Islands
- Great Basin National Park, Nevada
- Katmai National Park, Alaska
- Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
- Wrangell-St.Elias National Park, Alaska
- National Park of American Samoa
- North Cascades National Park, Washington
- Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
- Lake Clark National Park, Alaska
- Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska
- Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska
5. Which is better, Yellowstone, or Yosemite?
Yosemite is the better one.
6. What is the number one National Park?
The Grand Canyon national park in Arizona.
7. What is the deadliest National Park?
The Lake Mead National Recreation Park is the deadliest.
8. Which National Park is the least visited?
It’s Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska.
9. What are the top 5 most visited National Parks?
- The Great Smoky Mountains National Park,
- TennesseGrand Canyon National Park,
- ArizonaRocky Mountain National Park,
- ColoradoZion National Park,
- UtahYosemite National Park, California