The Best 5 Trails in The United States

Get ready to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trail because we’ve got a thrilling lineup of the top 5 trails in America just waiting for you to explore.

These trails aren’t just good; they’re jaw-dropping, heart-pounding, and bucket-list-worthy.

From cascading waterfalls that seem to defy gravity to ancient forests that whisper tales of centuries past, these top 5 trails are your golden ticket to an outdoor paradise.

So, whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or just looking for your next epic adventure, fasten your seatbelts (or should we say shoelaces?), because we’re about to take you on a trail-blazing journey across some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the USA!

Kalalau Trail

Welcome to the Kalalau Trail, an awe-inspiring adventure that will take your breath away! This 11-mile masterpiece is nestled in the heart of Kauai, Hawaii, tracing the legendary Na Pali Coast.

Here’s the plan: you’ll start your journey at Ke’e Beach, and from there, you’re in for an unforgettable experience all the way to Kalalau Beach. This trail isn’t just a run; it’s a symphony of natural wonders waiting to be discovered.

Imagine being surrounded by towering cliffs that plunge into the crystal-clear waters of the Pacific Ocean. You’ll hike through valleys adorned with cascading waterfalls, walk along pristine white sandy beaches, and even stumble upon ancient Hawaiian ruins that whisper tales of centuries past.

But here’s the deal – while the Kalalau Trail promises the adventure of a lifetime, it’s not your typical walk in the park. Be prepared for a challenging journey that requires both physical and mental toughness. Those dizzying cliffs may not be everyone’s cup of tea, so if heights make you uneasy, this trail might test your nerves.

But don’t worry, keep your focus on the path ahead, and you’ll be rewarded with a unique and unforgettable experience!

Location: Kauai, Hawaii

Trail Difficulty: The Kalalau Trail is considered strenuous, and hikers should be prepared for a challenging adventure. The path can be narrow, steep, and often muddy, especially after rain. Make sure to wear sturdy hiking boots with good grip.

Best Times to Visit: The ideal time to explore the Kalalau Trail is during the drier months of May to September. However, this is also the peak tourist season, so expect more crowded conditions. If you prefer fewer crowds, consider the shoulder seasons of April and October.

Safety Considerations: This trail requires a permit to hike, and it’s essential to book in advance due to its popularity. Always check the weather forecast, as flash floods are a real risk. Additionally, carry enough water, as freshwater sources can be unreliable.

McKenzie River Trail

The McKenzie River Trail is a twisty 25-mile adventure that traces the path of the mesmerizing McKenzie River, snaking its way through the ancient and majestic old-growth forests of the Cascade Mountains.

Now, when we say adventure, we mean it! Brace yourself for an exhilarating journey that involves more than just putting one foot in front of the other. You’ll be conquering log bridges, navigating tricky technical single-track trails, tackling steep hills, and making hairpin turns.

But hold onto your hats, because that’s not all! As you wind your way along this captivating route, you’ll encounter former lava fields, stunning waterfalls that will leave you breathless, towering old-growth trees that seem to touch the sky, and, believe it or not, natural hot springs and inviting blue pools that beckon you to take a dip.

Oh, and here’s a nifty bonus – if you’re feeling like a shorter run, you can hop on the convenient shuttle service.

Feeling competitive? Well, you’re in luck! Every September, the famous McKenzie River 50K race takes center stage, starting and finishing at the McKenzie Ranger Station. It’s a thrilling way to test your mettle on this remarkable trail.

And one more thing – if you’re into mountain biking, you’re in for a treat! The McKenzie River Trail has earned its stripes as one of the top trails in the nation for mountain biking enthusiasts.

Location: Eugene, Oregon

Trail Difficulty: The McKenzie River Trail offers various segments, ranging from beginner-friendly to more challenging. If you’re new to trail running or hiking, start with the lower sections, like the Clear Lake to Carmen Reservoir stretch. For experienced hikers and runners, the upper sections provide a more technical experience.

Best Times to Visit: Late spring through early fall is the prime time to enjoy the McKenzie River Trail. The weather is milder, and the wildflowers are in full bloom. However, do check for trail closures or restrictions due to forest fires, which can occur in the region.

Safety Considerations: This trail is known for its occasional log bridges, so watch your step. When crossing the river, use caution, especially during periods of high water. Bear encounters are possible, so carrying bear spray and making noise on the trail is advisable.

The Appalachian Trail

Spanning over two thousand miles, this iconic route stretches from the southern beauty of Springer Mountain in Northern Georgia to the majestic heights of Mount Katahdin in Maine. It’s a top-tier destination for trail enthusiasts of all kinds, be it runners, cyclists, or trekkers.

As you embark on this epic journey, you’ll traverse the entire Appalachian mountain chain, immersing yourself in an unending procession of breathtaking landscapes. Think river fords in Maine, the lush Shenandoah National Park, and the rolling hills of Virginia. Mother Nature truly struts her stuff along this trail!

But here’s the kicker – if you’re aiming for trail running immortality, the AT should be on your bucket list. Just a friendly heads-up, though: the current record for running the AT from end to end stands at roughly 47 days. So, even for the most hardcore endurance enthusiasts, it’s no walk in the park!

Location: Eastern US.

Trail Difficulty: The Appalachian Trail offers a wide range of difficulty levels, from relatively easy sections to challenging, rugged terrain. If you’re new to the trail, consider starting with day hikes or shorter overnight trips before attempting longer thru-hikes.

Best Times to Visit: Spring (April to June) and early fall (September to October) are ideal for hiking the Appalachian Trail. During these seasons, you’ll experience comfortable weather and beautiful foliage. However, be aware of crowded shelters and campsites in peak hiking months.

Safety Considerations: Always carry a map, compass, or GPS device, as the trail can be challenging to navigate. Familiarize yourself with Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the environment. Bear safety precautions vary by region, so research the area-specific guidelines.

The Mesa Trail

This heavily trafficked point-to-point classic trail run spans over seven miles, taking you on a mesmerizing journey along Boulder’s iconic Flatirons and foothills. Starting at Chautauqua Park in the north and winding its way south to the South Mesa Trailhead, not far from Eldorado Springs, this trail is a true gem.

If you’re up for a challenge, consider going the distance, as the trail becomes a hefty 14-mile round-trip adventure with an elevation gain of approximately 3,200 feet. The rewards are well worth the effort!

As you explore this route, you’ll be treated to a kaleidoscope of natural wonders. Expect to encounter vivid wildflower meadows bursting with color, picturesque views of the spectacular Flatirons that’ll leave you in awe, and diverse terrains that will keep you engaged throughout your run.

But that’s not all – keep your eyes peeled for the abundant wildlife that calls this area home, and take in the serene beauty of the rolling eastern plains.

Location: Boulder, Colorado.

Trail Difficulty: The Mesa Trail offers options for both novice and experienced runners and hikers. Choose your starting point wisely, as the elevation gain can vary significantly. If you’re not acclimated to high altitudes, start at Chautauqua Park for a gentler experience.

Best Times to Visit: Spring and early summer are fantastic for wildflower displays. Fall offers cooler temperatures and vibrant foliage. Keep in mind that summer can get hot, so bring plenty of water and sun protection.

Safety Considerations: Thunderstorms can develop suddenly in the afternoons during the summer months, so always check the weather forecast and be prepared to descend quickly if lightning is a threat. Watch out for rattlesnakes, especially on warmer days.

The Ice Age National Trail

Welcome to the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Wisconsin!

This trail is truly a natural wonder, considered one of America’s eleventh national scenic trails. Much like the Appalachian Trail, it’s an off-road hiking trail that stretches from the northeastern corner of Wisconsin all the way to the eastern side of the state.

Spanning over a thousand miles, this footpath takes you on a captivating journey along the edges of the last continental glacier in North America. Along the way, you’ll be treated to a diverse tapestry of landscapes, including some of the state’s most dazzling glacial terrains. The scenery is simply out of this world, and you’ll find yourself immersed in pristine forests, natural habitats, and even explore numerous local and state parks.

But here’s the thing – this trail isn’t just for hikers. It’s a beloved destination for nature enthusiasts of all kinds, drawing in more than one million people each year. Whether you’re into backpacking, hiking, or even snowshoeing, the Ice Age Trail offers a breathtaking backdrop for all your outdoor adventures.

Location: Wisconsin.

Trail Difficulty: The Ice Age National Trail varies in difficulty, with some sections suitable for beginners, while others are more challenging. Research the specific segments you plan to explore to gauge the level of difficulty.

Best Times to Visit: Late spring to early fall is the prime hiking season. Trails can be muddy in spring, so waterproof boots are recommended. Fall offers pleasant weather and colorful foliage.

Safety Considerations: Due to the trail’s length, it’s crucial to plan your hike or backpacking trip carefully. Always inform someone of your itinerary and expected return time. Sections of the trail may require road walking, so be cautious of traffic