Hiking is defined as a long, vigorous walk that typically takes place on trails or footpaths in the countryside. This outdoor activity can help people lose weight, increase cardiovascular endurance, decrease hypertension, and improve mental health. Some hiking tips include: leave no trace, pick a trail with the right difficulty for your experience, pack the essential (water, snacks, extra layers, sunscreen, bug repellent), understand your map, start your hike as early as possible if you want fewer people, check the weather, check to see if you need a permit, tell someone (who is not going with you) that you’re going, pace yourself, watch for wildlife, and learn proper hiker etiquette.
When you think of hiking, you probably think of scenic terrain such as mountains. So, it makes sense that the best states for hiking have some elevation. It’s not about the tallest mountains, however, because what’s a hike without a view? Below are the states that have been ranked as the most scenic and beautiful in the country. Because this is a very subjective topic and a matter of preference, these states are unranked. These states have all of the gorgeous landscapes a hiker could want, including towering mountain rages, beautiful bodies of water, luscious greenery, and even desert-scapes. These states also offer trails and terrain for every type of hiker, from the leisurely walkers and novices to the experts looking for some adrenaline.
Hiking in Colorado
Colorado has over 50 mountain peaks of at least 14,000 feet. On many of Colorado’s trails, you will come across mountain lakes, offering pristine waters and views. Some of Colorado’s notable hikes are Garden of the Gods, Pike’s Peak, Devil’s Head Lookout, and Longs Peak. Check out the Maroon Bells in the Elk Mountains, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the state.
Hiking in Washington
Along with Colorado, Washington is one of the most beautiful states in the country. The state is home to Mt. Rainier, a 14,410-foot stratovolcano, planted in the Cascade Mountain Range, as well as the Olympic Mountain Range, which is full of lush rainforests. You can visit Crater Lake National Park in the Cascades to see the deepest lake in the United States and one of the most pristine in the world. Another notable trail, for those wanting to see Mt. Rainier, is the Burroughs Mountain trail, which takes hikers to the highest accessible point on the mountain at 7,402 feet.
Hiking in Utah
Utah is known for its national parks and a variety of landscapes and terrains. Bryce Canyon National Park, Arches National Park, and Zion National Park are three of the must-see hiking spots in the state. The Emerald Pools hike in Zion is a favorite. Beginners looking for a shorter trial can take the one-mile Canyon Overlook Trail.
Hiking in Oregon
Oregon, another Pacific Northwest state, is known for having all sorts of terrain, from a rugged coastline with beaches to mountains with forests and even deserts - the state has it all. Oregon has no shortage of beautiful trails to hike through, one of the best places to hike is Garfield Park Trail, a three-and-a-half mile loop located in Crater Lake National Park.
Hiking in California
California has consistently been ranked as the most beautiful state in the country. With beaches, mountains, deserts, and more, it has almost every kind of natural beauty you could look for. Some of the notable hikes in California are Lands End in San Francisco, Mount Shasta, McFall Waterfall Trail, and Yosemite Falls Trail. Yosemite Falls is accessible for all skill levels and brings hikers to North America’s tallest waterfall.
Hiking in Arizona
Many people think of deserts when it comes to Arizona, which is true, but let’s not forget about the Grand Canyon. The best hike in Arizona is believed to be the South Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon, a moderate hike that takes anywhere from four to six hours and has incredibly scenic views. Other great trails are Camelback Mountain, Flat Iron, Browns Peak, and Bright Angel Trail.
Hiking in Alaska
It is no secret that Alaska has a ton of nature to see. With glaciers, mountains, tundras, and many animal species you don’t normally get to see outside of zoos, Alaska is a wonderland for the nature-loving hiker. The Savage River Loop Trail is a two-mile round trip and one of the best ways to see Denali National Park. Other great trails you should check out in Alaska are Kenai River Trail, Exit Glacier, Resurrection Pass, Winner Creek, and. Mount Baldy.
Hiking in Montana
Montana, known as “Big Sky Country,” is home to just 1 million people, allowing its natural beauty to be preserved and nearly untouched. Montana is home to a part of Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park. The Highline Trail is Montana’s best for hikers. Also called the Highline Loop, the 14-mile trail is located within Glacier National Park and is a one-way trail, despite its name.
Hiking in Wyoming
The least-populous state in the country has some beautiful sights to be seen by hikers of any kind. Wyoming is also home to part of Yellowstone, the Rocky Mountains, and the mysterious Vedauwoo rocks. Plus, Wyoming is known to have one of the clearest night skies of any state. Some of the best hikes in Wyoming are the Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone, the Heart Lake Trail, Teton Crest Trail, Medicine Bow Peak, and Lizard Head Trail.
Hiking in Maine
The only East Coast state on the list is Maine. In Acadia National Park, the Beehive Trail is full of cliff walks and beautiful scenic ledges. While it has considerable elevation gain and some edges, it is still viable for even novice hikers. Other hikers should check out Cadillac Mountain, Mt. Katahdin, Table Rock, and Mount Battie.