Take a break from the flat pavement and marathons, and enjoy some rocky terrain. America’s hiking trails are distinct in their wide open vistas, dramatic geology and diverse natural vegetation. From routes that take you through the glaciers of Alaska to paths that cut through rocky ledges overlooking Maine’s rugged coast, these are tracks that will present you with unbelievable natural scenery at every turn. And while there can never be universal agreement on the most beautiful of these places, here are four that definitely warrant exploration by anyone who has a passion for adventure tourism.
Red River Gorge
Situated in Kentucky, this 500 mile canyon trail system lies on the Red River, and is a renowned rock climbing destination around the world. It boasts distinct geological features such as hidden caves, natural stone arches, exposed rock faces and enormous sandstone cliffs that make for some pretty scenic trekking; in fact, you might think that you’re right in the middle of a Jurassic adventure!
The Red River Gorge is a scenic endurance challenge for those who want to vanish into the wild for days on end, just make sure you’ve got the right gear to spend the night in the woods. If you’re looking for a place to find durable yet lightweight air mattresses, theSleepjudge.com is a good place to start.
West Maroon Creek Trail
This ten mile long, point to point trail is located in Colorado, a state that has a plentitude of scenic hikes throughout the Rockies. It traverses through a lush glacial valley and then heads up and over the awe inspiring Maroon Pass, 12,480 feet above sea level, after which it connects to the beautiful Aspen and Crested Butte. The ideal time to hike the West Maroon Creek Trail is July, the zenith of Colorado’s wildflower season – you’ll be able to see flowers in red, white, yellow and purple all along your trip!
Harding Icefield Trail, Kenai Fjords National Park
Situated in Alaska, this 8 mile roundtrip day hike will take you straight back to the Ice Age. The trail starts with a steep climb from the valley’s floor, going through meadow and forest, after which it goes above the tree line and concludes at a truly astounding outlook over the Harding Icefield, a huge sheet of ice and snow that extends for more than 300 square miles and has 40 glaciers in every direction! You’ll have plenty of vistas to enjoy while on the hike that will treat you to views of Exit Glacier as well as the Resurrection River.
Precipice Trail, Acadia National Park
This short 1.6 mile roundtrip hike is located in Maine and features ocean scenery from the Northeast mountains. As any hiker who has taken this trip will say, this is something that you must experience on your own. Don’t let its short length fool you though, it climbs up for a thousand feet through narrow ledges on the Eastern face of Champlain Mountain, and will give you the most dramatic, dizzying view of the harsh Maine coast.