10 hikes on our united states bucket list
To bring some inspiration to this little corner of the internet, I wanted to share a fun bucket list for some of the coolest hikes in the United States that Nathan and I have on our radar. While health remains a priority, hiking is a great way to get out and be socially distanced while embracing nature. Be sure to wear + bring a mask on trails to keep yourself protected if you do head out and research the local wildlife. Hoping these spots lead you to a place where you can clear your mind!
Location: Zion National Park, Utah
Distance: 5 miles roundtrip
Easily the most famous hike in Zion National Park! Angel's Landing is not for the faint of heart - it gains nearly 1,500 feet through a series of switchbacks, 21 of which are known as "Walter's Wiggles" since they are so dang steep. The last half-mile of the trail is the most challenging (technically) as the route heads out into a saddle and up the hogsback with a series of bolted chains & rails. We haven't been on this trail yet - every time we go it's either closed or the weather isn't right. We've put this one on our September road trip itinerary. Fingers crossed it remains open!
Location: Sedona, AZ Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
This gorgeous bridge has been on my list for a while, but it's been a hot minute since we've been in AZ! For this hike, you'll need to purchase a $5 Red Rock Pass and can either access the Mescal/Chuck Wagon trail or drive a 4x4 in so your hike is a much less distanced 2 miles total. An early evening/sunset hike is recommended!
ICE LAKES BASIN TRAIL
Location: Silverton, CO
Distance: 7.5 miles roundtrip
We dare to find water more turquoise than that found in this basin! Ice Lakes Basin is aptly named thanks to aqua-colored water in Island Lake and Ice Lake, the two larger lakes in the area. If you time right in mid-July, you may also be treated to a colorful wildflower explosion that practically dazzles the senses.
One Colorado destination known for its jaw-dropping beauty is Island Lake in Southwest Colorado near Silverton. Tucked away in the San Juan National Forest, Island Lake is one of four bright blue lakes that hikers trek to in the Upper Ice Lake Basin. It’s a four-mile trail one way, but it’s definitely worth it, as hikers make the journey past old mining ruins, seemingly endless wildflower fields, and jagged peak after jagged peak.
Location: Grand Teton National Park
Distance: 9 miles roundtrip, out and back
After I visited Banff National Park, I've been itching to go back and find more glacial lakes to visit, especially in the US! As Nathan and I plan our September road trip out to the midwest, I found this trail and immediately put it on our list. You cross through two boulder fields and have a steep scramble near the top, but all reviews claim the turquoise blue lake view is more than worth it.
Distance: 18 miles Difficulty: Hard
WOAH, right?! This trek of a hike is one you might want to sleep overnight on (permits are required via lottery!) but you can definitely do 18 miles as a challenging day hike. This iconic hike is one of the most famous in the state for good reason with gorgeous peaks, crystal blue water, and friendly fauna.
Location: Yosemite National Park
Distance: 16 miles Difficulty: Hard
This round trip hike takes you to the top of Yosemite’s famous granite dome. You get amazing views of Vernal and Nevada Falls and the Yosemite Valley. The most iconic portion of the hike is the final 400 feet to the summit where you climb up using two metal cables, and it requires a permit.
NORTH VISTA TRAIL
Location: Gunnison National Park, Colorado Distance: 7 miles Difficulty: Moderate
Many say this is a Colorado trail with some of the best views around featuring some insane overlooks - the most significant being Exclamation point - and a look at the 2-billion-year-old exposed rock revealed by the raging waters of the Gunnison River.
PANHANDLE GAP + SUMMERLAND TRAIL
Location: Mount Rainier National Park, Washington Distance: 12 miles Difficulty: Moderate / Hard
If you're on the hunt for a majestic view of Mount Rainier, mountains of wildflowers, and walking on the side of a peak, you'll want to put this on your list. You'll go through a dense forest and witness them disappear as you climb. After 4.5 miles you hit Summerland, where many claim is a great spot for lunch or a break.
After Summerland, the trail is rocky and depending on the time of year, can be covered in snow. There's also mentions of a waterfall that comes into view three times and at the top, 360 views of Mount Adams, Goat Rocks, Mount Hood & Mount Rainier.
CADILLAC MOUNTAIn RIDGE TRAIL
Location: Acadia National Park, Maine
Distance: 4.4 miles roundtrip Difficulty: Moderate Did you know that Cadillac Mountain is the first location in the entirety of the US to see the sun pop over the horizon? YEP, which is why hiking the North Ridge to get to the top for sunrise is highly suggested. The view is gorgeous!
ELEPHANT CANYON + DRUID ARCH
Location: Canyonlands National Park, Utah, United States Distance: 11 miles Difficulty: Hard
This rad hike leads to a high bench near the head of Elephant Canyon offering spectacular views of Druid Arch, a massive, uniquely-shaped angular arch. Along the way, the trail travels through scenic Elephant Canyon with multi-hued sandstone walls, spires, knobs and fins. Most of the trail is moderate, with the last 0.25 miles being labeled as strenuous and steep.