Best Places to Hike in North America
If North America's snowcapped peaks, jagged cliffs, towering volcanoes and verdant forests are calling your name, then there's no better time than the present to grab your boots and hit the trails. Based on the opinions of travelers and experts, here are the best hiking destinations across the continent. U.S. News wants your feedback, too, so vote for your favorite hiking spots below.
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Glacier National Park offers more than 700 miles of hiking trails in northwestern Montana. Don't be surprised if you see mountain goats, elk or even grizzly bears while taking in the scenery of pristine mountains and freshwater streams since this national park is full of wildlife.
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Most travelers flock to Yosemite National Park's valley area, where some of the most popular trails can be found (including the daunting Half Dome). But you'll find more tranquility in the backcountry. Just make sure to bring a map and compass in addition to your snacks and water.
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Yellowstone National Park offers more than 900 miles of hiking trails across more than 2 million acres. Popular routes include those in the Canyon and Norris Geyser Basin areas. For optimal hiking conditions, visit during the fall or spring months. Just remember, don’t stray from the marked trails.
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A hiking trip to the Grand Canyon is one you'll never forget. You'll find more popular routes – like the Bright Angel Trail and the Rim Trail – along the canyon's South Rim. If you're looking to avoid the crowds, head to the North Rim for routes like the challenging North Kaibab Trail.
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The Teton Range creates the backbone of the Grand Teton National Park, and hikers here can count on one-of-a-kind views while admiring the mountain peaks. The park, which overlooks Jackson Hole Valley in Wyoming, has paths for hikers of every skill level, with more than 200 miles of trails ready for exploration. Be sure to visit in the warmer months though, the park experiences long, cold winters.
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Kluane National Park and Reserve#6 in Best Places to Hike in North America
Adventurers who make the trek to Kluane National Park, located in Canada's Yukon Territory, come expecting unforgettable hikes. Easy routes yield impressive views of the area's rock glaciers and lakes, while the more difficult trails have hikers traversing alpine passes. Keep in mind, Kluane National Park is home to numerous grizzly bears and black bears, so make sure to bring bear spray and read up on bear deterrent tactics.
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The largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park boasts an extensive network of trails, with more than 30 different routes. These well-marked routes mean that visitors can explore all of this park's nearly 3 million acres. The trails at this park are categorized as easy, medium or hard, which allows adventurers to avoid hikes that are outside their comfort zones.
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Banff is renowned for its many hiking areas. No matter which of the 80-some trails you choose to traverse, you'll be rewarded with striking vistas of the Rocky Mountains. Catch a glimpse of the hoodoo formations (thin spires of rock) while walking along the Tunnel Mountain Trail.
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Known for its unparalleled natural beauty, this 90-mile stretch of California coastline is home to an abundance of state parks. The local favorite – Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park – offers seven distinct trails, while the 4,800-acre Andrew Molera State Park boasts even more trails and near-endless photo ops.
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The 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail circumscribes Lake Tahoe, while its spur trails offer day-hikers an array of panoramic views. Start by taking in the sunrise at Eagle Rock, it's an easy half-mile trek to the summit, before beginning a more challenging hike, such as the Mount Tallac Trail. And be sure to visit when the weather's warm, since winter in Lake Tahoe is reserved more for snowshoeing and skiing.
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