The United States is a beast of a landmass. With nearly three million square miles of land in the lower 48, and over 3.7 million counting Alaska and Hawaii, that puts America fourth for total area on the world’s largest country list. Third, if you’re looking at land area only. But rankings aside, one thing’s certain: America is fricken’ huge. Due to its hulkish size, we’ve got some of the world’s most varied terrain, which (lucky us) leads to hundreds of miles of hikeable trails in national parks.
From the eastern 2,184-mile Appalachian Trail to the western Rocky Mountain 14-er peaks, and from Hawaii’s active volcanoes to the Mighty Mississippi that slices the lower 48 top to bottom, choosing where to hike can be overwhelming. So we scouted out the nation’s best hiking trails for you. These 10 trails top our chart for challenge, distance, and most of all, location. We’re talking hikes under waterfalls, through tropical rainforest, mile-long canyon descents, and along hair-raising Great Lake cliff edge. With a mix like this, you’ll never get bored.