Looking for a scenic hiking opportunity? Try building your next vacation around one of these unique U.S. destinations.
With its rugged coastline, miles of remote wilderness trails, and jewel-bright lakes, the state of Maine is a hiker's paradise. One of its most awe-inspiring hikes can be found in Acadia, the only national park in the Northeast. The Beehive is a ladder trail that traverses several open cliff faces, so it's definitely not for the agoraphobic. Those who are up to the challenge, however, will be rewarded with stunningly beautiful views of Mount Desert Island and the surrounding Gulf of Maine.
Located in Utah's Arches National Park, this gem is one of the most photogenic trails in the country. The centerpiece of the hike is the natural unsupported arch that gives the relatively easy 3-mile trail its name, but there are thousands of similar national treasures just waiting to be explored along the way. There are many amenities that can help make it easier to get out there. Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen—there's virtually no shade or cover on this hike.
Taking a trip to Mendenhall Glacier is like journeying back in time. This 13-mile-long relic of the last Ice Age plays host to a host of Alaskan wildlife, from salmon to black bears to bald eagles. The only downside is that the glacier is located just outside of Juneau, making it an extremely popular hiking destination for tourists, so you won't have the trail to yourself. However, the trail is sure to provide plenty of natural distractions, enough that you may not even notice the lack of solitude.
Kalalau TrailIf you're lucky enough to visit the Hawaiian island of Kauai, don't miss out on this spectacular 22-mile adventure. The entire round-trip hike takes upward of five hours—longer if you linger at any of the verdant, sun-splashed highlights of the journey, of which there are many. The trail stretches from Ke’e Beach to Hanakapi`ai Beach, affording hikers unforgettable views of the Pacific. Don't be tempted to skip the detour to Hanakapiai Falls—it will provide you with a slight respite from the crowded trail, in addition to being one of the most beautiful places you'll ever see in Hawaii or anywhere else.
No matter where you live, you don't have to travel far to find a picturesque hiking opportunity. Just be careful to watch out for poisonous plants and other things that can make your trip unpleasant. The U.S. is teeming with natural wonders, all begging to be explored. Happy trails!