The Best Hikes in the US for Awe-Inspiring Nature (and Blisters)
Scratch another trail off your bucket list with Plum Guide’s best hikes in the US. Find epic treks and walks in nature from Colorado to California.
A dose of nature is good for the soul. Not only does it get the blood pumping, improve health, fitness and wellbeing, it just makes everything better, right? Plum Guide has donned the hiking boots, talked to the trail junkies and found the best hikes in the US so you really have no excuse. Get out there, discover nature and give yourself a big pat on the back when you’re done. From the mighty Pacific Crest Trail to the Jon Muir Trail we’ve got all sorts of landscapes, from mountains to desert, to swoon over. Have fun.
Maroon Bells, Colorado
Widely touted as the most photographed place in Colorado, you know the landscape is going to be jaw-dropping here. The Maroon Bells trail in Colorado is by far one of the best hikes in the US for its stunning scenery. For the beginner hiker, the Maroon Lake Scenic Trail is a beautiful one-mile loop with views of crystal waters and mountains. Go quietly and you may spot mule deer, red foxes, bighorn sheep, porcupines and tweeting birds. Dogs are welcome on leads and the hardy can camp in the White River National Forest. Maroon Bells comes alive in autumn with gold and orange hues – a must-visit.
Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Can you say bucket list? Antelope Canyon is on it. Known locally as a ‘slot canyon’ it resembles a cave without a roof and features other-worldly rock formations and dreamy ever-changing colourscapes. World-famous for the shafts of light that beam through the red sandstone to the soft, sandy floor. A visit to Antelope Canyon is a hot ticket and as a site of spiritual significance, you must book a tour. It can get a little busy but look past the crowds and delight in the undulating walls. Definitely worth it. Lounge next to this pool in Arizona.
Hollywood Hike, California
You’ve got to really, haven’t you? Spying the Hollywood Sign is a must for any visitor to the hallowed halls of California. Avoid the tourist shuttle and don your best shoes for a hike up the hills. There are several routes to choose from, all offering spectacular views of LA and the Hollywood Sign, so beginners are most welcome to grab their best selfie en route. Griffith Park is known as the lungs of LA and can be found in the hearts of locals and Hugh Hefner. His fundraising has ensured the iconic Hollywood sign is protected from investors and vandals. Good on you, Hugh.
Tongue Mountain Loop, New York
New York is famed for bright lights and city living but look a little deeper and you can get your dose of shinrin-yoku. The Tongue Mountain Loop is exactly that, a 13-mile loop traversing the peaks of Tongue Mountain. It can get pretty rugged so best for experienced hikers and those
crazy people that appreciate 1,500-foot summits. This is not a Sunday stroll. Trail junkies will be rewarded with epic lake views and a sense of achievement like no other.
John Muir Trail, California
Begin your hike in the mighty Yosemite National Park and travel along the High Sierra mountain range. It's one of the best hikes in the US for its length alone: the 210-mile route will give you plenty of time to think about all your life regrets and things you wished you had done in your youth. Though the flowing creeks and jaw-dropping mountain ranges might take your mind off things. An impressive three national parks will be under your belt once you’ve crossed the finish line – and you certainly won't regret taking in the 360-degree view from the US’s highest peak. Find California’s Plum Guide-approved homes.
Observation Point, Utah
They say the feeling of awe is good for the soul. Once you’ve completed the Observation Point trek in Utah your soul (and your body) is going to be in very good shape. Start at Weeping Rock Trailhead and work your way to Observation Point; the views over Zion Canyon are simply tremendous. Strap on your best walking boots and bring a friend as this is an 8-mile uphill trek – not for the fainthearted.
Pacific Crest Trail
Stretching through Mexico to Canada through the states of California, Oregon, and Washington, the Pacific Crest Trail is America’s second-longest hiking trail. It’s a biggie and the perfect opportunity to channel your inner Reese Witherspoon (we're talking Wild, not Legally Blonde). Adventure through the varied terrain from desert landscapes to snow-capped peaks; there is guaranteed beauty at every turn. It goes without saying you’ll need to do a lot of preparation and research to complete the PCT but once done, you’ll have stories for life.
Think Nevada, think Vegas. Here at Plum Guide, we’re no stranger to the slot machines, bright lights and the debauchery of the Strip. But we also know the value of getting out into nature and breathing fresh air in your lungs. It is possible in Nevada, we promise. The Valley of Fire State Park is one of our favourite spots, with Fire Wave topping the list. So-called thanks to the rippling red rocks that accompany you along the route. Head there at sunset for those perfect golden-hour photographs. Sleep in the best apartments in Nevada.