North America has an array of natural beauty spots and there are numerous trails for hikers looking to explore the stunning and diverse landscapes. From the Appalachian Trail to the Kalalau Trail in Hawaii, here are the top 10 hiking trails in North America. The list includes a variety of lengths and difficulty levels, from the epic 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail to the 93-mile Wonderland Trail in Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park. The article also provides FAQs about packing, estimated hiking times, and whether hiking permits are required for these trails.
Discover the Beauty of Nature: Top 10 Hiking Trails in North America
North America is home to numerous national parks, state parks, and forests, offering hikers some of the continent’s most stunning and diverse landscapes. Whether you’re looking to explore the rugged mountain peaks of the Rockies or the pristine forests of the Pacific Northwest, North America has a trail that’s perfect for you. Here are our picks for the top 10 hiking trails in North America.
1. Appalachian Trail
Stretching over 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail is one of the longest hiking trails in the world. The trail takes hikers through fourteen states and provides breathtaking views of valleys, mountains, and forests. This trail is a bucket list item for many hikers and takes approximately 5-7 months to complete.
2. Pacific Crest Trail
Covering over 2,600 miles from Mexico to Canada and passing through California, Oregon, and Washington, the Pacific Crest Trail offers hikers diverse landscapes, including the arid deserts of the southern California border, the high mountains of the Sierra Nevada, and the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest. The PCT is an epic adventure that takes hikers between five and six months to complete.
3. Continental Divide Trail
The Continental Divide Trail is a 3,100-mile-long trail running from the Canadian Border in Montana all the way to the US–Mexican border in New Mexico. The trail passes through the Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone National Park, and the high plains of New Mexico. This trail is a journey of a lifetime and can take hikers around 5 months to complete.
4. Wonderland Trail
The Wonderland Trail is a 93-mile trail located in Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park. It offers hikers a scenic 8-10 day trek around the base of Mount Rainier, with stunning views of glaciers, waterfalls, and alpine meadows.
5. Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim Trail
The Rim-to-Rim Trail in Grand Canyon National Park covers a distance of 24 miles and offers hikers a challenging but rewarding experience. The trail offers stunning views of the canyon’s breathtaking landscape, including the Colorado River descent and the Bright Angel Trail.
6. John Muir Trail
This 211-mile trail in California’s Sierra Nevada range takes hikers through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the West. The John Muir Trail offers hikers a combination of high mountain passes, alpine lakes, remote wilderness, and stunning vistas of the surrounding landscape.
7. Superior Hiking Trail
The Superior Hiking Trail is a 310-mile trail located in the northeastern part of Minnesota, along the North Shore of Lake Superior. The trail offers a varied landscape of forests, rocky cliffs, and waterfalls, providing hikers with a unique experience.
8. Nāpali Coast Trail
The Nāpali Coast Trail on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, is a challenging but rewarding trail offering hikers fantastic views of the island’s coastline. Hikers can see rugged cliffs, turquoise waters, and lush greenery along the trail.
9. Zion Narrows Trail
The Zion Narrows hike in Utah’s Zion National Park is a unique experience that takes hikers through a narrow canyon carved by the Virgin River over millions of years. The hike can range from 6 to 16 miles, offering hikers unique views of the red rock canyon walls.
10. Kalalau Trail
The trail along the Kalalau Valley on the Hawaiian island of Kauai is a challenging and difficult trail that takes hikers through rugged terrain and steep cliffs. However, it offers rewarding views of the lush greenery of the island and tropical beaches.
What should I pack for a hiking trip?
You should pack appropriate clothing and footwear, a good backpack, water, food, navigation tools, and a first-aid kit. It’s also essential to research the trail you’ll be hiking and to pack accordingly.
How long do these hikes take to complete?
The time required to complete a hiking trail varies depending on the length and difficulty of the trail. Some trails may take several days to hike, while others may take several months. It’s essential to research the trail’s length and difficulty level before planning your trip.
Do I need a permit to hike these trails?
Some hiking trails require a permit to hike, while others do not. It’s essential to research the trail and the rules and regulations of the park or forest before planning your trip.