One of the best things about hiking is that you can roll an entire adventure into just a few hours of the day. With the way Mother Nature is constantly bringing us joyful surprises, you’re bound to have a good time out in nature, for free! Here’s a list on some of the best (by popularity) day-hike trips available within the United States. Be on the lookout for the next list of (not-so-notable) day-hikes, which I plan to post next week for those who are seeking a little more off-the-grid day-hikes.
#4 Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California
A well-known rock formation in Yosemite National Park, Half-Dome is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the United States when it comes to day hikes. It’s popularity also makes it a high-traffic day hike so if you’re looking for solitude then this is not the trail for you.
Though it’s considered a difficult hike, a cable route has been developed to help guide hikers to the top of the dome and be completed in one day. Many people camp in this area too, however, so don’t be surprised to cross paths with wilderness sites along the way.
The course runs a little over 8 miles and the elevation tops out under 9,000 feet. Starting at 4,000 foot base, this isn’t considered a great hike for beginners. The difficulty and elevation gain may be a bit too much for inexperienced hikers. For reference, this dome is 3,000 feet taller than Angel’s Landing in Zion National, which is one of the high points of visiting Zion.
#3 Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park, Utah
One of the top bike destinations in the United States, you’ve probably seen this one on blankets, posters, and stickers galore. Angel’s Landing makes the list thanks to the unique view it provides.
With a valley of fauna and flora below, take in the amazing scenery Zion encapsulates thanks to the active volcanic fields and previous eruptions (32,000 years ago) of Southwest Utah.
Now considered one of the most beautiful places to live in the US as well, Zion has become a staple in the hiking, backpacking, bouldering, climbing, geocaching, and downright exploring industries.
With a second park located nearby, Bryce Canyon, which provides an even better experience in some peoples opinion, it’s no wonder Zion has become one of the most populated National Park based on foot traffic. There’s no permits required to enter Zion National Park (you can pay the vehicle fees at entrance) which makes it all the more perfect for a great day-hike, date or personal getaway.
Just be prepared to run into lines in the most popular areas of Zion, Angel’s landing being the top of that list as well.
#2 Skeleton Point, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
In my opinion, the prettiest site from the Grand Canyon is Skeleton Point. It gives you a panoramic view of the National Park while also keeping it a single day hike.
Where many people want to complete the rim to rim hike of the Grand Canyon, which is an out-and-back whopping 47 miles trek, Skeleton Point is just six miles in on the South Kaibab trail of the Grand Canyon.
Averaging a time of 3-4 hours for the casual hiker, this is a great way to spend the afternoon if you are near the GC park. This trail is considered beginner friendly and only climbs 2,000 feet in elevation.
However, this is no tropical resort. If you plan to hike anywhere in the Grand Canyon, make sure to come prepared. Hydration and sun protection are very important in this region. Also, having a bike and sting kit won’t hurt.
#1 The Kalalau Trail, Nepali Coast, Hawaii
There is a tropical trail making the list, after all. The Kalalau Trail of Hawaii is incredibly beautiful.
This park has a waterfall near the trail that would make it an 8 mile trip from the beach. Reservations are required as it is a wilderness site and State Park.
Temperate and on an island to boot, this is probably my most sought after trail (other than Eagle Creek, in Oregon, which doesn’t make the list for single day hikes).
Kalalau Trail is considered one of the most difficult trails of the Nā Pali State Park (located in the Northwest of Kauai, Hawaii, so it’s not very user-friendly for beginners. It is considers to be located on “The Garden Isle” as you can see from the picture above, the island really looks like a well manicured garden.
If that wasn’t enough motivation already, here’s a picture from Hawaii.com showing off the waterfall at Kalalau Valley.
What’s Your Favorite Day-Hike?
I’m curious to know the places you enjoy the most when it comes to spending your afternoon hiking. Let me know via email at email@example.com
This post was written by Evan