America's most breathtaking views aren't reachable by elevators or highway off-ramps. They're hidden at the end of rocky trails, at the bottom of canyons, deep in caves, and even underwater. This means that – if you're willing to put the work in – you won't have to share the vista. Here's where to head if you want to get some serious perspective.
Lake Solitude, Wyoming
Grand Teton National Park has an embarrassment of mind-boggling views. Drivers can take it all in from the front seat thanks to Teton Park Road, which winds around the soaring Grand Teton massif and into meadows speckled with bison and elk. Still, the most spectacular vista in the park lies 7.5 miles from the asphalt at Lake Solitude, an aquamarine pond circled by rings of exposed granite mountains. Explorers can catch the boat shuttle across Jenny Lake then follow the trail up Cascade Canyon, a valley dotted with trees and crawling with alpine flowers. There aren't many people around, but this alpine oasis is hardly empty: Don't be surprised to see bears or a gigantic bull moose minding his own business in the stream. The trip only takes an afternoon, but the best bet is to set up camp on the lake's grassy shores. Come evening, watch the towering peaks bathe in alpenglow as the sun dips behind the ridge.
More information: Hikers can also follow the 11.5-mile trail to Lake Solitude from String Lake through Paintbrush Canyon.
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