Much to the enjoyment of the backpacking community, the popular Alltrails hiking trails app recently released its list of “Best Hiking Trails in America”. The Alltrails List was created using user ratings of 82,552 hiking trails in all fifty states, including all US National Parks. While many hikers have a thorough understanding of the hiking trails in their immediate area, few hikers can say they have explored all of America’s national parks and their many trails. This new post will be a great resource for experienced hikers and hikers alike, and will inspire hikers to plan their next big hike.
Although Brian McPeek always loved the outdoors, after graduating from college and starting his career in the advertising industry, he rarely had time to enjoy his local trails. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Brian McPeek has used his newfound free time to get out there and once again fulfill his passion for the Texan trails. Over the past two years, Brian McPeek has used a wide variety of online trail maps to plan his hikes in Austin, including the Alltrails app. Since Alltrails released its âBest Hiking Trails in the US,â Brian McPeek has planned an out-of-state backpacking trip to explore some of the trails on this list. Below Brian McPeek will share the best hikes on Alltrails list and why other hiking enthusiasts should consider checking out some of these trails.
- Angel’s Landing – Zion National Park
Experienced hikers probably won’t surprise that Angels Landing was ranked as the best hike in the United States. As one of the most renowned hikes in the world, Angels Landing more than deserves its place on this list. Although this out and back trail is just under 4.5 miles, it is often rated as difficult by hiking guides and should be rated as a very technical hike. The trail is a very arduous route with narrow sections, steep drops, and a 1,600-foot elevation gain. Hikers can start by parking at the Grotto trailhead and crossing the bridge over the Virgin River. Hikers will begin their walk through the well-maintained, paved West Rim Trail before heading to Refrigerator Canyon, which will be a respite from the scorching heat of Nevada. Hikers are encouraged to bring plenty of water to ensure proper hydration throughout the hike.
Next, hikers will arrive at Walter’s Wiggles, a set of 21 switchbacks that got their name from the first director of Zion National Park. The last half mile of this section will follow a narrow ridge where visitors will climb nearly 1,500 feet over supported chains and a sheer cliff face. Clearly the most difficult part of the hike, those with vertigo will be well rewarded following this edition with an excellent view of the canyon. However, be sure to stay away from the edge of the lookout point as the trail can be slippery and windy.
- Devil’s Bridge Trail – Coconino National Forest
Known to be the largest natural sandstone arch in the Sedona area, the Devils Bridge in the Coconino National Forest is widely regarded as one of the best desert hikes in the United States. Hikers interested in hiking in Red Rock Country with excellent views should definitely consider this hike. Although the hike is relatively short and only has 3.9 miles of trails, the trail is a very steep climb at the end of the trail.
To find the trailhead, visitors must take a paved portion of Dry Creek Road off of FR 152. This area requires a high clearance vehicle to access; However, those with a low clearance vehicle can park in the Dry Creek Road parking lot, one mile from the official trailhead. Then hikers can follow the Devil’s Bridge trail markers, which will start on very paved trails. It should be noted that this hike is very popular and will often draw large crowds on weekends. Those looking to enjoy hiking without
crowds are encouraged to arrive at the trailhead early in the morning, between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.
- Emerald Lake – Rocky Mountain National Park
Emerald Lake remains the most popular trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, and it’s easy to see why. The trail includes pine forests, scenic alpine lakes, and magnificent views of rocky peaks, all for less than 5 miles. Hikers will enjoy spectacular views of some of the most notable sites in the Rocky Mountain National Park, including Nymph and Dream Lake, Flattop Mountain, Hallett Peak, Tyndall Glacier, and Glacier Gorge. This hiking trail is extremely popular with photographers, snowshoers, and families with children.
The trail is open year round for hikers and is accessible from the end of Bear Lake Road near Estes Park. The trail is less than 600 feet in elevation and can be completed in about 2-3 hours. Those planning to hike should check the weather before attempting the Emerald Lake Trail as the trail is known to get icy in the fall and winter. Hikers preparing to hike the trail during the colder months are encouraged to wear hiking boots or snowshoes, as tennis shoes are not recommended.