When it comes to variety, the USA is a pretty amazing place. Because the country spans an entire continent, the geography and the climate vary wildly, meaning that you get an entirely different experience depending on where you are. In the north of the country, there are the Catskills, moderately-sized mountains with trails that run through temperate woodlands. In the west, especially in the Colorado area, you’ll find desert-like conditions, a hot sun, and trails that make their way through ancient canyons.
So with that said, where are the best places to hike in the US?
The West Maroon Creek Trail
Colorado is a state famous for its epic hiking and beautiful terrain. One of the most beautiful trails, called the West Maroon Creek Trail, runs alongside the majestic Rockies and cuts through the epic 12,000 feet Maroon Pass. Here you’ll get tremendous views over the Crested Butte and Aspen landscapes.
The best time to hike along the creek is in mid-July. This is when the wildflowers, indigenous to the area, are in full bloom. Every year, they come out in different colours of red, white, purple and yellow.
After a day out on the West Maroon Creek trail, you’ll be exhausted, so make sure you take plenty of provisions along with you for the journey.
Harding Icefield Trail, Kenai Fjords
If you want to experience what the ice age was like first hand, then there’s no better place than the Harding Icefield Trail. This is the sort of trail where you’ll need to have your wits about you. It’s only four miles long, climbing from the Kenai Fjords valley floor, but when you approach the top, you’ll encounter the Harding Icefield, an epic expanse of ice that stretches over an area of more than 400 square kilometers. Because so few people brave the icefield, you can be sure of finding views that few other tourists will ever see.
Black bears stalk the countryside near here, so make sure you read up on bear safety before trotting forth.
Windham Mountain, Catskills
Windham Mountain is one of the highest peaks in the Catskills. As such, it is also one of the most popular for hiking. Thanks to their relatively small scale, the Catskills are an ideal location for beginners. The Acra Point Loop trail is a five-mile circuit that takes you around the Blackhead Mountain Range in about 3.5 hours. For those who want to scale Windham itself, there is the moderately difficult, 7.5-mile trail up the mountain from the town in the valley.
Windham rentals are available all year round for those who want to spend a few weeks or months exploring the area. If you fancy a real challenge, then scaling Blackhead and walking to Thomas Cole is one of the most difficult walks in the region.
Red River Gorge
Red River Gorge is a great place for hiking. But it’s also one of the most popular climbing locations in the US. Thanks to its unique geological structure, with hidden caves and giant exposed rock facades and cliffs, it’s the perfect natural playground for those who love to climb.