Hiking USA

hikeMontana
Wyoming
Utah
Arizona
California

Where:               Glacier NP, Montana
Hike:                   Two Medicine Lake
Distance:           16 km (half if you take the boat back)
Time:                  5-6 hours
A wonderful taster of the lower lakes opportunity to see moose, and possibly even bears. If you don’t feel like walking back you can take the boat, the route is quite busy because of this.

Where:               Yellowstone NP, Wyoming
Hike:                   Avalanche Peak
Distance:            8 km
Time:                  3-4 hours
Strenuous uphill to reach the peak, once you do you will see the spectacle of Yellowstone Lake and the views across the park from the East Entrance. Be careful if it is windy out as you are exposed on the peak.

Where:               Yellowstone NP, Wyoming
Hike:                   Sepulcher Mountain
Distance:           20.1 km
Time:                  5-6 hours
A fantastic loop, the beginning of which is in a congested area of the park. Start early to ensure a parking spot, a great hike for both scenery and geology. The hike itself is quiet as most people don’t venture more than a mile from the road through the park.

Where:               Grand Teton NP, Wyoming
Hike:                   Static Peak Divide
Distance:           26 km
Time:                  10-12 hours
This is a very strenuous hike with, seemingly, never ending switchbacks to the peak of the mountain. The variation of the hike is excellent from verdant forest floor to jagged mountain edges. Start early and make sure to check the weather for dangerous afternoon storms.

Where:               Grand Teton NP, Wyoming
Hike:                   Amphitheater Lake
Distance:            16 km
Time:                   7 hours
A strenuous climb ending at a glacial lake surrounded by meadows, free climb higher if you wish to see more of the valley.

Where:               Bryce Canyon NP, Utah
Hike:                   Peekaboo & Queen’s Loop
Distance:           8.9 km
Time:                  3.5 hours
This is a busy hike, it is difficult to escape the crowds in Bryce Canyon, but worth it to experience the distinctive beauty of the National Park. Strenuous climbing at points, take plenty of breaks in the shade when you can.

Where:                Zion NP, Utah
Hike:                    Observation Point
Distance:            8.7 km
Time:                   5-6 Hours
A great alternative to ‘Angels Landing’ the most popular hike in the park, with stunning views over the valley.

Where:               Zion NP, Utah
Hike:                   The Narrows
Distance:            As long as you like
Time:                   As long as you like
Everything in Zion is popular and can feel like a bit of a theme park due to it’s size and the pure beauty. The Narrows is a hike that should not be attempted in inclement weather as there is a high risk of flash flooding. If you have the time I would recommend taking this as a multi-day hike, it is quite the experience and worth renting shoes suitable for hiking in water. Carry a stick for balance and feeling out the depth of the water and make sure you keep an eye on the time for turning around. You won’t experience any other hike that is remotely comparable to The Narrows, be prepared to be astounded.

Where:               Zion NP, Utah
Hike:                   Emerald Pools
Distance:            4.9 km (to the upper pool)
Time:                   2-3 hours
You can hike to the lower pool if you don’t feel like a lengthy stroll, the hike is easy to moderate if you make it to the upper pool. It is a busy hike, especially to the easier sections, if you set out later in the day you will find that you have the upper pool to yourself.

Where:               Grand Canyon NP, Arizona
Hike:                   North Kaibab Trail
Distance:            45 km
Time:                   3 days
Hiking rim to rim is a great idea -if you can afford the $90 return bus fare around the canyon, this multi day hike offers a cheaper and quieter alternative. Permits and campsites in the Grand Canyon should be booked far in advance if possible, you may also be lucky enough to find space and permits for the following day, get there as early as possible to find out. The following route was recommended by a park ranger.

Day One– North Rim to Cottonwood Campground (10.9 km)
Start early as the day can be nauseatingly hot, you will be pleased that you aren’t hiking the uphill portion just yet. You will arrive at Cottonwood early, giving you a decent pick of camping spots with shade. If you have checked the weather and it looks as if it will be really hot, consider only taking your sleeping bag liner and inner tent section to shed some weight from your pack. There are plenty of water points on the way down, and you can nearly always reach the river at the bottom of the canyon.

Cottonwood to Ribbon Falls (4.8km)
This is a side trip worth doing, the water fall is cool and refreshing in the heat of the canyon and you may be lucky enough to have it to yourself. Rest up at Cottonwood, then venture to the waterfall and wait until the hottest part of the day is over before setting off back to the campground.

Day Two– Cottonwood to Colorado River and back (23km)
Start early to avoid the heat, fill up plenty of water as it is a long hike. When you reach Phantom Ranch you are able to relax, buy a lemonade or a beer and sit in the shade. Whenever the creek crosses the path soak your hat and your clothes to stay cool. Save hiking back to Cottonwood until the sun is starting to go down. Making the most of your day in the canyon is important, it seems silly to carry all your camping gear down, just to hike back out the following day.

Day Three– Cottonwood to North Rim (10.9km)
Remember that this part of the hike is all uphill and will take you longer than it did on the way in. Try and beat the heat by rising and packing up early, be sure to leave no trace and avoid the mules.

Where:                Pinnacles NP, California
Hike:                    High Peaks Loop
Distance:            15 km
Time:                   4-5 hours
This hike is strenuous, even more so when you take the weather into account due to the intense sun exposure. Make sure you take ample water, sun block and a hat to prevent overheating. Wonderfully rewarding views of the stunning pinnacles and California desert.

Where:                Joshua Tree NP, California
Hike:                    49 Palms
Distance:            4.8 km
Time:                   2-3 hours
The distance of this hike makes it deceptively strenuous, in the short round trip you have to climb twice and the heat makes this difficult. Take plenty of water, as you can guess there is no liquid in the desert.

Where:                Sequoia NP, California
Hike:                    Alta Peak
Distance:            22.5 km
Time:                   8 hours
The height of Sequoia gives it a chill different to the rest of California, pack layers of clothing appropriately. This hike offers rewarding views of Mount Whitney and the Sierra range, a view that you won’t get elsewhere in the park.

Where:                 Yosemite NP, California
Hike:                     Upper Yosemite Falls
Distance:             11.6 km
Time:                    6-8 Hours
Starting from Camp 4, this is a busy hike (but everything is busy in Yosemite) with 823m elevation gain. Take plenty of water in summer, don’t be fooled by the promise of ‘Falls’ as it may be dried up and is dangerous when it’s flowing. Expect marvelous views of Half Dome and across the park.

Where:                 Yosemite NP, California
Hike:                     Nevada Falls via The Mist Trail
Distance:             8.7 km
Time:                    5-6 Hours
A popular trail that can be shortened as you wish, it can also be made into a slight loop by using the John Muir trail for some variation. Footpaths are narrow in areas, so it can be difficult to pass people coming in the other direction.