Top 10 National Park Hiking Trails

From wading through the Virgin River in Zion to dazzling wildflower displays around Mount Rainier, there are so many national park trails to choose from. To help you make the most of your time and decide what hike is right for you, we’ve picked the top 10 hiking trails in the country’s national parks so you can experience the best miles of trails our beautiful parks have to offer.

Angels Landing
Zion National Park

Distance: 5.4-miles round-trip
Difficulty: Strenuous

Angels Landing is one of the most breathtaking hikes in the world and provides panoramic views of Zion Canyon. This thrilling trail features sandstone steps carved along a narrow knife’s edge trail, just a few feet wide at times, with chain handrails as you approach the summit. With a fair amount of scrambling, heights, and exposure, hiking Angels Landing is not for the faint of heart, but it offers unmatched views of Zion at 1,500-feet. The Angels Landing hike packs a mountain of untamed adventure into an exciting, daring hike. Due to the popularity of Angels Landing, Zion National Park has a permit system for hiking Angels.

Skyline Loop Trail
Mount Rainier National Park

Distance: 5.4-miles round-trip
Difficulty: Moderate

For jaw-dropping views, the Skyline Trail to Panorama Point is the hike that rules them all. Starting in Paradise, you’ll pass by picturesque Myrtle Falls and hike through pine forests as you ascend to the base of Mount Rainier. People visit from all over to experience the world-famous wildflower displays and more than 150 waterfalls found in Mount Rainier National Park. From Panorama Point, you’ll enjoy the most spectacular views of the park, and on a clear day, you can see Mount Hood in Oregon. This trail features a variety of terrain ranging from sweetly scented meadows to glacier remnants.

The Narrows
Zion National Park

Distance: 8-miles round-trip
Difficulty: Moderately strenuous

Hiking upstream through the Virgin River is unlike anything most hikers experience. Start at the Temple of Sinawa and take the Riverside Walk that leads to the river where you’ll begin the watery trek. Wading through the river, turn your gaze upwards to the 1,000-foot sheer walls carved by the river on either side for an astonishing view. At 2.5-miles from the trailhead, there’s a 2-mile stretch known as Wall Street, where the river spans the canyon wall to wall. At 5-miles—the farthest hikers are permitted to go without a permit—you reach Big Spring, a waterfall that feeds a hanging garden in the desert. We recommend wearing sturdy, closed-toed shoes with ankle support for navigating slick rocks when you hike The Narrows in Zion to avoid stubbed toes.

Upper Yosemite Falls Trail
Yosemite National Park

Distance: 7.6-miles round-trip
Difficulty: Strenuous

The Upper Yosemite Falls hike is a must-do hike at Yosemite National Park. Plummeting a steep 2,425-feet, Upper Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in North America and the world’s sixth tallest waterfall, truly a sight to behold. The hike is strenuous with steep inclines, some climbing, and heights but you’ll be treated to the most iconic views of Yosemite Valley and Half Dome. From a ledge chiseled out of a granite wall, you can look down over the freefalling water and out over the Yosemite Valley, nearly 3,000-feet below. You don’t have to complete the entire trail to enjoy it— you can turn back at any point and still appreciate the epic views of the Yosemite Valley and stand in the mist of the massive waterfall.

Highline Trail
Glacier National Park

Distance: 15-miles round-trip
Difficulty: Strenuous

The Highline Trail is a very popular hike and for good reason. Hikers will enjoy spectacular scenery at every turn as the Highline follows along the Continental Divide, known as the Garden Wall, through Glacier National Park. The trail begins on the north side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road at Logan Pass where the free shuttle drops you off. Keep an eye out for wildlife including bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and the occasional black bear or grizzly bear. We recommend starting your hike in the early morning for the best chances of seeing wildlife. Even though this hike is long, you can turn around at any point and still enjoy the exceptionally beautiful views laden with wildflowers depending on when you go.

Navajo-Queens Garden Loop
Bryce Canyon National Park

Distance: 2.9-miles round-trip
Difficulty: Moderate

Discover the scenic heart of Bryce Canyon as you wander through a maze of multi-colored, limestone, sandstone, and mudstone spires called “hoodoos”. One of the most popular hikes in Bryce, Queen’s Navajo Combination Loop Trail, offers a wide range of scenery from wide-open views of the Queen’s Garden Trail to tall red rock walls and switchbacks along the Navajo Loop Trail, and grand views of the Bryce Amphitheater below.

Devils Garden Trail
Arches National Park

Distance: 7.9-miles round-trip
Difficulty: Moderately strenuous

The Devils Garden Trail is the perfect place to spot arches in Moab, go rock scrambling, and enjoy some of the very best views in Arches National Park. You can hike as much or as little as you want as you explore the short spur trails and nearby arches off the main trail including the favorite Landscape Arch (only 1.6-miles round-trip). If you complete the main trail you can continue your adventure and test your route finding skills on the Primitive Trail at Devils Garden. Make sure to pick up an Arches National Park map from the Visitor Center to guide you along your way.

Syncline Loop Trail
Canyonlands National Park

Distance: 8.6-miles round-trip
Difficulty: Strenuous

Explore the area around Upheaval Dome, a massive crater likely formed by meteorite impact, in the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands. With rugged terrain and some rock scrambling required on this primitive trail, it’s best suited for experienced hikers. The best way to hike this trail is clockwise, descending into Upheaval Canyon and ascending the Syncline Valley since it is easier to climb up ledges and rock slabs than descend. The Syncline Loop Trailhead is located at the end of Upheaval Dome Road where you can park your car before setting out on an adventure.

Precipice Trail
Acadia National Park

Distance: 3.2-miles round-trip
Difficulty: Strenuous

As soon as your feet hit the Precipice Trail, you will begin to climb to the summit of Champlain Mountain, the 6th tallest mountain in Acadia National Park. Within the first mile, you will climb 1,000-feet by way of stone steps, giant boulders, and iron rungs and ladders. If you don’t mind heights, then you’ll find this to be a very enjoyable and thrilling hike. And you’ll be rewarded with the most spectacular vistas of cool blue water and the surrounding islands.

North Rim Trail
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park

Distance: 7.6-miles round-trip
Difficulty: Moderately strenuous

Did you know there’s a Grand Canyon in Yellowstone? Some say it’s the most breathtaking sight in the park with its massive Lower Falls plunging into the canyon below. Hiking the North Rim Trail is the perfect way to take in all its glory from an accessible viewing platform at Inspiration Point before continuing the journey. Along the way, you’ll become immersed in the dramatic, panoramic views of this area in the world’s first national park. Keep an eye out for bison, elk, moose, and other wildlife that call Yellowstone home.

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