The Best Trails in Acadia, Hawaii Volcanoes, Mesa Verde and more

Many of the best trails in America are found within National Parks. With 59 National Parks in the USA, opportunities for exploration are many. Some of the most famous national parks are Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park.

A number of these parks have been included in this list of best trails in America’s national parks.

Trekking The National Parks

The Best Trails In Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island and is one of the major national parks in Maine. The trails within this park allow you to see many natural features including cliffs, granite domes, beaches, lakes, waterfalls – all with an ocean backdrop.  One of the most popular hikes in Acadia National Park is the Beehive Loop Trail.

The Beehive Loop Trail allows visitors to get an up-close view of the granite landscape which includes precariously balanced rocks, boulders and smooth rock faces.  This hike is 1.2 miles long one way with an elevation gain of 400 feet.

Another popular hike in Acadia National Park is the Cadillac Mountain Summit Trail.  This 1.5 mile hike provides great views of Frenchman Bay and many other scenic features within the park. Along this trail you will find granite steps, paved paths and unpaved trails which are suitable for all visitors to enjoy.

The Best Trails In Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was the 4th National Park established within the United States. Due to its remote location, this park is less visited than other national parks including Yosemite and Yellowstone.  However, if you are looking for some of the best trails in American national parks then Hawaii Volcanoes can offer some spectacular scenery.

There are many great trails within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, but one of the most popular is the Sulphur Banks Trail. This trail allows visitors to view many different types of volcanic features including steam vents, hot springs and volcanic ash covered walls.  Sulphur Banks Trail is located 7 miles from park headquarters to the south east of Volcano Village.

Another popular trail at Hawaii Volcanoes is the Kilauea Iki Trail which was created in 1959.  This trail allows visitors to hike through a ‘crater-like’ landscape before reaching the rim of an ancient lava flow. The walls are covered with many forms of fauna including algerita, strawberry guava, silk oak and pili grass.

The Best Trails In Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park is located in the Four Corners area of south-western Colorado and contains some of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. Cliff Palace, an archaeological site at the park, was discovered by Richard Wetherill in 1888 while looking for stray cattle. Today, visitors to the park can visit this site and other archaeological areas on self-guided tours.

The main trail in Mesa Verde National Park is The Cliff Palace Trail.  This trail provides a great insight into the lives of the Ancestral Puebloan People who lived within the cliff dwellings from 600 to 1300 AD.  The Cliff Palace Trail is 0.6 miles long with an elevation gain of 140 feet.

You can also visit Spruce Tree House on The Morefield Campground Trail. This trail is accessible from the campground and allows visitors to hike through some of the best preserved alcoves in Mesa Verde National Park.

The Best Trails at Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is the 15th most visited national park in America. Located in north-western Colorado, this area offers spectacular scenery including tundra ridges, alpine meadows and pine covered forests. The Highest Trail within the park was named because it reaches an altitude of 12,183 feet.

The summit of The Highest Trail is marked by a cairn and provides great views over the North Fork of the Big Thompson River, Estes Park and Long’s Peak. This trail is 6 miles long with an elevation gain of 1600 feet which makes it one of most difficult trails in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Other popular trails in Rocky Mountain National Park include Hallett Peak Trail, Bear Lake Trail, Lumpy Ridge Loop and Longs Peak Trail.

The Best Trails at Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is located on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. This area offers visitors some of the most diverse scenery found in any national park including virgin temperate rainforest, snow-capped mountains and wild rivers.

The Elwha River Trail is one of the most popular trails in Olympic National Park.  This trail follows the course of this wild river through some dense forest before reaching the mighty Elwha Dam which was built in 1913. Today there are plans to remove this dam in order to restore the ecosystem of the river.

Another popular trail within Olympic National Park is The Hoh River Trail. This trail follows one of the largest rivers in North America and allows visitors to explore some wild forest areas that are home to many animals including Roosevelt elk, black-tailed deer and bald eagles.

The Best Trails at Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park is located along the coast of northern California. This park contains some of the tallest trees on earth including coastal redwoods which can be up to 378 feet tall. There are over 40 miles of trails that wind through the various habitats found within this area.

The Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail is one of the most popular trails in Redwood National Park. This trail allows visitors to explore a 20 acre grove of old-growth redwood trees which includes a huge tree that is around 270 feet tall and 27 feet wide.

Other popular trails within Redwood National Park include the Coastal Drive, the Newton B Drury Parkway and The Tall Trees Trail.

The Best Trails at Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake is located in south-western Oregon and contains the deepest lake in America. This year-round lake formed within the collapsed caldera of Mount Mazama which was destroyed 7,700 years ago during a massive volcanic eruption. Today this area provides some amazing scenery including forests, wildflower meadows and dramatic vistas of the lake.

The Garfield Peak Trail is one of the most popular trails within Crater Lake National Park. This trail provides visitors with access to incredible views of Mount Scott, Wizard Island and The Watchman. This hike is 2 miles long with an elevation gain of 500 feet which makes it a strenuous hike but well worth it for the amazing views.

Other popular trails within Crater Lake National Park include Cleetwood Cove Trail, Lost Creek Trail and The Pinnacles Trail.

The Best Trails in Zion National Park

Located in southwest Utah, Zion National Park is one of America’s most popular national parks. This area offers visitors some spectacular red rock formations and diverse landscapes including desert, canyons and high plateaus.

The Emerald Pools Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Zion National Park. This trail follows a small stream through three different hanging gardens which include wild flowers and huge boulders. The water in these pools changes color depending on the time of year and sunlight levels.

Other popular trails within Zion National Park include Riverside Walk, Watchman Trail and The Narrows.

The Best Trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains are located along the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. This is America’s most visited national park where visitors come to see some of the oldest mountains and largest trees on earth.

This 11 mile hike is one of the most popular trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and provides wonderful views of Cades Cove and The Tennessee Valley. Starting at Abrams Falls, hikers follow a narrow ridge line before descending into The Sinks region which contains many small waterfalls. From here the trail climbs to stunning views of Abrams Falls.

The Chimney Tops Trail is also one of the most popular trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This strenuous hike climbs to the top of 4,800 feet high Chimney Tops which provides hikers with spectacular views across this national park and beyond. The return trip includes amazing scenery including rushing mountain streams, wildflowers and wildlife.

Other popular trails within Great Smoky Mountains National Park include Laurel Falls Trail, Clingmans Dome Trail and The Grotto Falls Trail.

The Best Trails in Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park is located off the southern coast of Florida where this national park preserves some of America’s most pristine wilderness. Visitors to Biscayne National Park can explore some of the most beautiful beaches in America including Cape Florida Beach, Sandspur Beach and Calusa Shell Island.

The Boca Trail is one of the most popular trails in Biscayne National Park which runs along the coastline through mangrove forests that contain many different types of wildlife including crabs, frogs and lizards. This trail provides visitors with stunning views of the beaches that surround this national park.

Other popular trails within Biscayne National Park include Jungle Trail, North Wilderness Trail and Kayak Trail South.

The Best Trails in Channel Islands National Park

The Channel Islands are a series of eight islands located off the southern coast of California. These islands are well known for their beautiful beaches, historic sites and amazing wildlife including sea lions, dolphins and whales.

The Anacapa Island Trail is one of the most popular trails in Channel Islands National Park which provides visitors with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, sea caves and sparkling waterfalls. This trail is composed of many narrow switchbacks and steep stairways as it climbs to the top of Anacapa Island.

Other popular trails within Channel Islands National Park include The Pinniped Point Trail, The Arch Rock Nature Trail and Rattlesnake Cove Trail.

The Best Trails in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is one of America’s oldest national parks and offers visitors a chance to see some of the most spectacular scenery on earth, from geysers and hot springs to canyons and waterfalls.

The Geyser Hill Trail is one of the most popular trails in Yellowstone National Park which passes by Biscuit Basin, Fountain Paint Pots and several geothermal features. This trail provides visitors with spectacular views of geysers, hot springs and bubbling mud pots.

Other popular trails within Yellowstone National Park include Mammoth Hot Springs Trail, The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River Trail and The Black Sand Basin Trail.

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