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The list of the best states in the US for camping was recently released, making it the perfect time to explore the nation’s most scenic hiking trails. When you want to plan the best possible vacation for your nature-loving family in these states, get out and discover America’s abundance of natural beauty on foot.
Adventures on the Rock, a sustainable adventure travel company, compiled the data to determine the best places to camp and enjoy outdoor exploration, ranking Wyoming in the number one spot for the highest number of free campsites and RV parks, with Montana in second with the most hiking trails, and New Mexico in third with high scores across several factors.
“This data provides a fascinating insight into which states offer nature lovers the most well-rounded camping experiences,” an Adventure on the Rock spokesperson said.
Exploring America’s Most Scenic Hikes And Trails In 10 States
Many people enjoy spending time outdoors exploring the best vacation spots in the United States for the nation’s most scenic views and natural vistas. The hiking experts at AllTrails.com offer more detailed information about the following scenic hikes in the country’s best camping states.
10. North Dakota
With thousands of miles of hiking trails and some of the nation’s most stunning natural sights, North Dakota has numerous scenic trails sure to take your breath away—from the views or the exertion, depending on your chosen path.
- Maah Daah Hey Trail: 144 miles leading to prairies, valleys, jagged peaks, and riverways.
- Petrified Forest Trail: 10.2 miles looping through the remains of a petrified forest in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Many guests said buffalo often make an appearance.
There’s no shortage of unique landscapes and picturesque hiking trails in Colorado. Choose from thousands of scenic routes, including family-friendly and wheelchair-accessible options. The Rocky Mountains offer some of the nation’s most iconic mountain views that should be a must-try addition to any hiker’s list.
- Emerald Lake Trail: 3.2 miles through Estes Park, passing several crystalline alpine lakes surrounded by the spectacular backdrop of Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain.
- Crater Lake on Cascade Creek Trail: 16 miles of strenuous hiking take you up switchbacks and through wildflower-strewn alpine meadows on your way to Crater Lake.
8. New Hampshire
Hikers in New Hampshire can choose from over a thousand trails with incredible scenic views or waterfalls. With 713 family-friendly hiking trails, you’ll have plenty of options if you want to get the family out to experience nature’s splendor firsthand.
- Mount Willard: 3.1 miles of easy hiking with gorgeous views of the White Mountains.
- Mount Eisenhower: 6.6 miles taking you to the summit, where you’ll find 360-degree views of the White Mountains and the Presidential Range.
The unique geology of Utah’s landscape makes it one of the nation’s most desirable hiking destinations. Walk through the seemingly gentle waters that eroded towering slot canyons, take in natural arches, waterfalls, beautifully stark rock formations, and more.
- Angels Landing Hike: 4.5 miles of challenging terrain take you through Zion National Park, ending with a mind-blowing 360-degree panoramic view of Zion Canyon.
- The Narrows: 9-16 miles through the stunning Zion Narrows slot canyons. Prepare to hike through the water at points, with canyon walls towering a thousand feet above your head.
6. South Dakota
South Dakota offers some of the nation’s most recognizable vistas, including Mount Rushmore, the dramatic rocky Badlands, and picturesque sights that showcase America’s scenic beauty in a variety of ways.
- Notch Trail: 1.5 miles through Badlands National Park on this short, kid-friendly hike with great views.
- Mount Rushmore: 0.9 mile loop takes you to view the iconic Mount Rushmore. The trail is pavement and boardwalk, but if you’re visiting the state, it can be a great side trip.
The natural forested landscape of Vermont boasts nearly a thousand diverse hiking trails through breathtaking landscapes and more than 600 with picturesque views or waterfalls. If you’re looking to set smart goals for your ideal scenic family vacation, Vermont is an excellent place to start.
- Sterling Pond Trail: 2.1 miles of hiking takes you through the forest, past lakes and wildflower meadows, to stunning nature views.
- Sunset Ridge and Long Trail Loop: 5.9 miles of hard hiking await if you take this path with incredible vistas. In the winter, the trail is popular for cross-country skiing.
Though many don’t know it, Idaho houses the country’s largest designated wilderness outside of Alaska, with over 20 million acres of national forest. Explore the mountainous landscapes, river views, and protected wilderness spaces on more than 1,200 trails with scenic views.
- Sawtooth Lake via Iron Creek Stanley Lake Trail: 10.0 miles of moderately difficult hiking take you through the natural beauty of the Sawtooth Mountains with spectacular views of the alpine lake.
- Freddy’s Stack Rock Trail: 11.7 miles of trail looping through downhill switchbacks, piney woods, and sagebrush with breathtaking views.
3. New Mexico
The southern Rocky Mountains extend into New Mexico, creating a diverse landscape of stunning views and more than 1,300 scenic hiking trails ranging from wheelchair accessible to challenging terrain. Whether you’re looking to explore mountains, deserts, or forests, New Mexico has a beautiful vista waiting for you.
- Atakaya Mountain Trail: 6.2 miles on this popular trail through Santa Fe National Forest offers incredible views and a few challenging steep sections.
- Alkali Flat Trail: 4.7 miles looping through White Sands National Park and skirting the final remnants of Lake Otero. Despite the name, the trail is not flat, so prepared for dunes.
With diverse terrain ranging from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains, Montana provides spectacular sights you can’t find anywhere else. Discover glacial lakes, hot springs, and alpine hiking trails through unique environments.
- Avalanche Lake: 5.9 miles through Glacier National Park on one of the park’s most popular trails showcasing the crystal clear blue waters of the later and stunning vistas for the whole hike.
- Grand Prismatic Hot Spring: 1.5 miles of easy trail through Yellowstone National Park takes you to the surreal size of the hot springs, which will dazzle you with their sheer size and vibrant colors.
If you’re looking for a stress-free vacation spot, start the search in Wyoming, with its wealth of hiking trails, spectacular panoramic views, and extensive camping resources.
- Cascade Canyon Trail: 9.1 miles through Grand Teton National Park, starting at a 200-foot-tall inspiration point with an unbelievable view of Jenny Lake and the park
- Delta Lake via Lupine Meadows Access: 7.4 miles of challenging trail. This route is unofficial, unmaintained, and one of the Grand Teton National Park’s most popular trails with amazing views.
“One of the key reasons people plan camping trips is for the adventure component. Exploring the great outdoors, observing different wildlife, and hiking trails are all part of the allure. However, safety should always be paramount, so it is crucial to research and plan ahead as much as possible before undertaking any camping trip,” Adventure on the Rock representatives said.
The United States has some of the world’s most incredible natural sights and millions of acres of protected national forests and parks. Whether you’re planning a vacation with your kids to traverse family-friendly trails or challenging your endurance across rugged terrain, these American scenic hikes and trails are a good place to start.
This article was produced by Financially Well Off and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.