Top Hiking Trails in the Western United States

For some of the most gorgeous hiking routes in the western part of America, look no farther than Highway 101 which stretches from California through Oregon to Washington state. 
 
Let’s take a look at some of the more popular hiking trails along the way, starting in the Golden State and heading up to Washington State.
 
State: California
Landmark: Point Reyes National Seashore
 
Stretching toward the sea just a little north of San Francisco, you will discover the Point Reyes national marine sanctuary wrapping itself around Drakes Bay.
 
Hike what will feel like endless trails across beaches, estuaries, creeks, spits, bays and lagoons where harbor seals spy on you from the estuaries. Then take the Tomales Point Trail two miles across a preserve of tule elk.
 
State: California
Landmark: Redwood National Park
 
Here just south of Crescent City along California’s most northern coast, hikers can gaze upon some of the tallest trees the world has ever recorded: the ancient Redwoods.
 
Stop by Tall Trees Grove to view the Libbey tree an isolated attraction that will require a permit to view it (most things in California, including looking at trees, will require a permit).
 
Wrap up your hike with a visit to Lady Bird Johnson Grove, named after the wife of one of America’s most reprehensible presidents. 
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State: Oregon
Landmark: Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor
 
Get ready to hike 12.6 miles of trail along the southern Oregon coastline over beaches that hug high cliffs then cross over the Thomas Creek bridge.
 
Along the way you’ll see just about every coastal feature you can imagine, from canyons and cliffs to beaches and natural bridges, all the way from Cape Ferrelo at the south end of the park to Arch Rock at the north end.
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State: Oregon
Landmark: Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
 
The Umpqua dunes in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area offers some of the most peaceful solitude a hiker could ever hope for.
 
Stretching 40 miles along the coast of Oregon, the dunes reach as high as 150 meters above the sand, with “tree islands” sporting at the top of mini mountains of sand. 
 
Be forewarned that this can be tough hiking since you’ll be trekking round-trip through five miles of sand and marsh to explore the gullies between the dunes. 
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State: Oregon
Landmark: Baker Beach
 
Baker Beach is anything but smooth sand. It’s a rough wilderness of creeks, lakes and sand dunes with wild strawberries growing up through the sand with brown pelicans around to eat them!
 
From here the Pacific Ocean is just a half mile away along the shore where you discover the Sutton Creek estuary, site of the snowy plover, a federally protected species. Don’t get too close or rangers with guns may approach.
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State: Oregon
Landmark: Oswald West State Park
 
Beginning hikers take note. A half a mile of trail will lead you through red cedars an giant Douglas firs to Short Sand beach where you will discover Smuggler Cove, featuring Cape Falcon to the north and Neahkahnie Mountain to the south. 
 
Truly, this is the best the west coast of America has to offer, with a tumbling waterfall and splashing waves.
 
Another two miles of hiking and you pass through an old growth forest to the Cape Falcon headlands, a terrific spot to sight sea lions and migrating whales.
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State: Oregon
Landmark: Ecola State Park
 
Climb six miles of trails beginning at Ecola Point with its views of Seal Rock arches, ascend to a WWII military bunker offering a peaceful view of Tillamook Rock lighthouse on a little island in the sea.
 
Descend Tillamook Head past hidden beaches, cliffs and thick, green forests and you arrive at the Seaside beach where golden eagles soar and elk may be watching you from afar. 
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State: Washington
Landmark: Cape Disappointment State Park
 
Those new to hiking will not be disappointed to learn that this easy 2.6 mile  trek strolls along sandstone cliffs, past a coastal forest to Cape Disappointment where it juts out into the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Columbia river, offering a gorgeous view of Oregon. 
 
Plus, you get to Explore Dead Man’s cove which the kids will simply love since it’s known as “the graveyard of the Pacific”.
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State: Washington
Landmark: Shi-Shi Beach: Olympic National Park
 
The Olympic National Park is renowned for its rain forests, home of the largest herd of Roosevelt elks in America. 
 
Day hikers will enjoy a trek through unsurpassed beauty along a rugged beach, across pristine Petroleum Creek, through a forest of Sitka spruce, past tide pools and sand dunes and ending up on Shi Shi beach, littered with drift wood – perfect for the collector (although a permit may be required to remove any).

Top Hiking Trails in the Eastern United States

The eastern United States offers some of the most beautiful hiking experiences in the world. We’ll begin with the two most famous long trails, then offer a serving of individual hiking trails to pique your further research.

The Appalachian Trail

One of the world’s longest continuous footpaths, the Appalachian Trail winds through fourteen states along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian mountain range from Katahdin, Maine all the way down to Springer Mountain, Georgia.
Known as the “A.T.,” estimates are that 2-3 million people experience the “A.T.” every year with 1,800–2,000 attempt to hike it all the way through.

East Coast Greenway

The East Coast Greenway is a continuous urban trail that stretches along abandoned railroad corridors, rights-of-way, trail paths and even alongside highway corridors, running 2,900 miles long from Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida and links together key spots like national parks, college campuses and historical landmarks.
Accessible to all and safe for all ages and abilities, from children to the elderly, it’s a mostly flat, traffic-free route for walkers and bicyclists as an alternative to cars.
For some it’s a safe place to walk, jog or roller blade. Push a baby carriage or stroll along with friends. For others it’s a wonderful place to escape to for some peaceful time alone.
Following are some individual hiking trails, roughly listed from north to south.
State: Maine
Landmark: Bigelow Mountain - Avery Peak Loop
An over twelve mile loop featuring some of the most difficult and challenging hiking in Maine. Wait until early June when ice and snow have disappeared and avoid blustery weather since much of this hike is above the tree line!
State: Vermont
Landmark: Camel’s Hump
This greater than six mile loop is likely the best major peak in all of Vermont offering stunning views from its rocky, bald summit. Be sure to wait until early June to avoid remaining winter ice and snow.
State: New Hampshire
Landmark: White Mountains - Baldface Loop
Nearly 10 miles of serious hiking over the summits of both South and North Baldface for what many call the finest hike in the hike in the White Mountains, with bounteous blueberry bushes and cliff jumping in the usually frigid Emerald Pool (so wait until the heat of summer to jump!)
State: New Hampshire
Landmark: Mount Adams
A nearly nine mile loop featuring waterfalls and a spectacularly rugged alpine view for miles in every direction. Truly a favorite with New Hampshire hikers. Wait until early June to be free of ice and snow.
State: New Hampshire
Landmark: The Bonds Traverse
A killer loop of nearly twenty miles over the three ‘Bonds’ including the peaks at West Bond, Mount Bond and Bondcliff.
offering breathtakingly spectacular views and sunsets to die for.
State: New Hampshire
Landmark: Mount Monadnock
Over 4 miles of family friendly hiking on one of the world’s most popular hiking mountains with fascinating spots to explore.
State: New Hampshire
Mount Willard
A little over 3 miles of wide open, scenic viewing of Crawford Notch, offering a terrific trek for new hikers. The fall foliage is simply spectacular.
State: Pennsylvania
Landmark: Bear Rocks and the Cliffs
A seven mile loop on the Appalachian Trail. Hike sheer cliffs along the Blue Mountain overlooking pastoral farmland with a panoramic view of pastoral Pennsylvania stretching far, far away.
State: Virginia
Landmark: Shenandoah National Park - Falls Loop from Browns Gap
A nearly seven mile loop past numerous cascades, boulder tossed canyons, old growth tulips, splendid cascades, a rocky watercourse including a stream spilling fifty feet over a solid wall of rock, all connected by the Appalachian Trail.
State: Maryland
Landmark: Catoctin Mountain Park
An eight mile loop featuring five outstanding vistas starting with Cunningham Falls, then lead through Big Hunting Creek, Hog Rock, the Blue Ridge Summit Overlook, Thurmont Vista and ending with Wolf Rock.
State: Delaware
Landmark: Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
An eight mile loop in the northbound Appalachian Trail up a
1,000 foot climb to beautiful Sunfish Pond. Enjoy many creek crossings and the famous water gap at Indian Head.
State: Alabama
Landmark: Conecuh National Forest
Blue Spring Loop
A six mile loop around ponds, swamps, tawny grasses, tupelo and bay trees, turkey oaks, tall high pines, alligators and beavers.
State: Georgia
Landmark: Cloudland Canyon State Park
This nearly five mile loop will take you across sheer rock walls traversing cliff lines and waterfalls offering some of the most gorgeous vistas anywhere. Hike through thickets and over huge boulders and gorges with a fantastic view across a canyon with astonishing geological detail.
State: Florida
Landmark: St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge - The Cathedral of Palms
A six mile loop along the Florida Trail through bay/gum swamps, longleaf/wiregrass hills and turkey oaks. Watch out for alligators along the river banks.
We hope you enjoyed this page. Hiking is great fun for the entire family. Just remember to plan ahead for inclement weather and biting bugs. And if you plan to hike into the wilderness, there won’t be any 911 (or cell phone signal, for that matter) to come rescue you when you get chased by a black bear or an alligator, so plan ahead.