As an outdoors enthusiast, finding a new and exciting trail is high on the priority list. Cover some serious ground with these hiking trips. If they're not already on your bucket list, they should be.
If you're looking for an excuse to sleep under the stars, you just found it. This five-day, 33-mile trek through the Grand Canyon will leave you wondering what comes next. From crawling through slot canyons to plunging from the rim to the river, an intermediate hiker will find this one challenging, yet rewarding. Take in the stillness and solace as your days quickly go winding by on this magnificent hike.
Trail Tip: Be prepared for a 30-foot cliff near the Hance Rapids, which you will need to climb.
John Muir Trail
Hiking at a consistent elevation of 8,000 feet means hikers on this trail experience the very best that the Sierra Mountains have to offer. The higher elevations allow you to experience mountain lakes, granite cliffs, and breathtaking views with each and every step.
Trail Tip: Be sure to hike between June and September; the high elevations see a significant amount of snow the rest of the year.
Hut to Hut Presidential Traverse
As one of the most classic hiking trips, this trail takes you from the Madison Hut to the Mizpah Spring Hut for a total of 25.5 miles; a bucket list item for nearly every hiker, experienced or not. Over the course of 3 to 4 days, you'll visit some of the major New England summits, including Mt. Madison, Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Washington. Hiking above the tree line consistently provides you with awe-inspiring views of glacial cirques, alpine plants and horizon sunrises like you've never seen before.
Trail Tip: Choose one or two summits to ascend instead of trying to reach all of them; hiking at such a high elevation will afford you incredible views the entire way.
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
This trail, which can be picked up in a number of states including Pennsylvania, New York and Virgina, is the ultimate rustic hiking adventure. There are a number of ways you can travel this trail—from end to end or start in the middle. No matter where you start, or how far you go, the Appalachian Trail is one of the most diverse hiking trips in regards to the flora you'll see along the way.
Trail Tip: With a number of remote areas on the trail, always be aware of the people around you or anything suspicious. You can go miles on the trail with no cell service or rangers so heightened awareness is critical. This thru hike requires advance planning and, depending on how far you go, food and water drops. Be sure to plan accordingly.
If you're not up for the 900-mile Mountains-to-Sea Trail hike, this is a perfect substitute. This 20-mile bucket list hiking trip starts on the sandy beaches of the Neuse River, and leads you through a variety of landscapes, from swamps and coastal bogs to hardwood ridges with longleaf-pines. Relatively easy, this hike is perfect for the beginner backpacker looking to experience hiking at its most diverse.
Trail Tip: Rectangular aluminum pieces are nailed to trees on the trail marking the right path. If you don't see these markings, you've likely gone off route.
You can't begin to imagine the scenery you'll be privy to on one of the best canyon hiking trips in the world. Sixteen long miles are made up of 60 percent water and 40 percent land, making it a unique hike for even the most experienced backpacker. There are multiple routes you can take; if hiking from the top-down, however, you'll need a permit from Zion National Park.
Trail Tip: Be sure to check on water levels before heading out, as hiking is not permitted when the Virgin River is too high.
Teton Crest Trail
Breathtaking scenery, diverse wildlife and great campgrounds make this one of the most delightful bucket list hikes. Don't forget to document the trip while you look down on Death Canyon from a whopping 8,000 feet up. This 40-mile, strenuous hike is for serious and experienced backpackers only.
Trail Tip: Varying wildlife includes black bears, wolverines, moose and marmots. Be prepared to see them, and know basic safety measures in the event that you do.
The Needles Traverse
Wildflowers, mining ruins and multiple steep passes are just some of the reasons why this hike should be on your hiking trips bucket list. Traveling 50.5 miles south to west, you'll experience some of the most rugged trails the Rockies have to offer. And, if you've never seen a fourteener, you will on this trek.
Trail Tip: You'll be travelling through many miles of remote wilderness with minimal signage so bring a map, and make sure you know how to read it.
Jessica Sanders is the Associate Online Editor for ReserveAmerica.com. After many years of camping and hiking in the Northeast, she's exploring what the West has to offer and sharing all of her knowledge with you. She's a s'mores master, campsite connoisseur, writer, runner and lover of all things outdoors. Follow her on Google+