Best Walks In America That Every Traveler Must Explore
The U.S. is home to some of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world. From the Rocky Mountains to the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park, every state has natural beauty that's primed for exploring. Here, we've mapped out the difficulty, location, and key points to hit at each destination. Be sure to pack your sunscreen, bug spray, and walking shoes!
1) Alabama: Jeff Friend Trail
Location: Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Gulf Shores, AL
Distance: 1-mile loop
Explore the Gulf Coast of Alabama on this flat trail for all skill levels. Stop at the small observation deck in the middle of the trail and see if you can spot one of the many birds that frequent the refuge, such as the common loon during winter and the osprey in the spring. The trail ends at Little Lagoon.
2) Alaska: Nugget Falls Trail
Location: Tongass National Forest, Juneau, AK
Distance: 0.8 miles
Pack your binoculars to stroll the low gradient shoreline of Mendenhall Lake, where you'll see a massive glacier and maybe even some goats in the surrounding mountains. Your reward at the end of the Nugget Falls Trail: the roar of Nugget Falls.
3) Arizona: Hieroglyphic Trail
Location: Superstition Wilderness, Gold Canyon, AZ
Distance: 2.9 miles out and back
Travel back in time along the Hieroglyphic Trail and see Native American rock drawings called petroglyphs. You'll also find wild flowers, small waterfalls, and wildlife on this moderate hike.
4) Arkansas: Lost Valley Trail
Location: Lost Valley State Park, Ponca, AR
Distance: 2.2 miles
Take this trail up stone steps into the Ozark Mountains and you'll see 53-foot-high Eden Falls. Feeling more adventurous? Continue your climb up steeper and rockier terrain to see a cave at the top. Lost Valley Trail closed in 2018 for improvements after flooding and was set to reopen this April, though the National Park Service hasn't issued an update.
5) California: Guy Fleming Trail
Location: Torrey Pines State Reserve, La Jolla, CA
Distance: 2-to-3 mile loop
Look out over the waves rolling in from the Pacific on this short walking trail along the California coast that features panoramic views and gorgeous wildflowers, ferns, and cacti.
6) Colorado: Lily Pad Lake Trail
Location: White River National Forest, Silverthorne, CO
Distance: 3.3 miles out and back
The Lily Pad Lake Trail takes you on a path surrounded by aspen trees and crosses a few small streams. Stop for lunch at beautiful Lily Pad Lake, and you might even spot a moose! Good news, dog owners: The trail is pet-friendly and accessible year-round.
7) Connecticut: Mirror Lake, Castle Craig, Merimere Reservoir Trail
Location: Hubbard Park, Berlin, CT
Distance: 4.4-mile loop
Starting at Mirror Lake, follow this moderate loop to Castle Craig and enjoy views of the Merimere Reservoir below. Then continue your hike around Merimere Reservoir to end up back at Mirror Lake. The trail is rated as moderate and a bit buggy, so be sure to pack the bug spray. It's best from April to October.
8) Delaware: Walking Dunes Trail
Location: Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes, DE
Distance: 2.6-mile loop
You'll travel through wooded uplands and a tidal marsh and end with a spectacular view of the Delaware Bay. Visit the Walking Dunes Trail in the spring to see blooming Pink Lady's Slipper and yellow Beach Heather.
9) Florida: Juniper Springs Recreation Area Trail
Location: Ocala National Forest, Ocala, FL
Distance: 1.4 miles out and back
If you're planning to visit the Ocala National Forrest, the Juniper Springs Recreation Area Trail is a must-see. Stroll along the boardwalk in this beautiful national landmark and you'll see hundreds of tiny bubbling hot springs and massive glaciers beneath a canopy of palms and oaks.
10) Georgia: Desoto Falls Trail
Location: Chattahoochee National Forest, Helen, GA
Distance: 2 miles out and back
Hike this gorgeous trail and you'll pass pretty rhododendrons and a wooden bridge before encountering a pair of waterfalls. Legend has it that, near the gorgeous waterfalls, a piece of armor was found from Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto's expedition in the mid-1500s.