Best Hikes in America

Best Hikes in America

Joined: November 1st, 2003, 10:43 pm

September 7th, 2007, 7:44 pm #1

I would like to start a thread that I hope will be interesting to all, and helpful to me.

I have been given a contract to publish a book about "The Best Hikes in America." I have been working for years to identify and hike the best 50 hikes. Many HP'ers have received surveys that I have sent asking for opinions about the best hikes in your region, and I thank you for your help. Of course, which hikes are the "best" hikes are subjective, but my list represents the collective consensus of many hikers, primarily HP'ers.

Now I want to be sure I haven't missed anything. I am therefore inviting anyone with an opinion to nominate the "best" 4 or 5 (or whatever) hikes in America. If there is a consensus for any hike I have missed, I will go to hike it, and may include it in the book.

Ground Rules: A hike must-
1. Be a day-hike (less than 20 miles). No fair nominationg the AT.
2. Be on maintained, or at least well-established trail.
3. Not be technical. No ropes, ice ax, crampons needed.
4. Above all, it must be unique or special... ina word MEMORABLE.
(No geographic fit required - sorry Kansas)

After the thread fades, I will share my current list of "The Best Hikes In America."
Thanks All.
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Joined: June 21st, 2006, 11:43 am

September 8th, 2007, 11:38 am #2

I found this list on the internet:
http://www.trails.com/toptrails.asp

Some of my favorites also included State highpointing:
New Hampshire: Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail
South Dakota: Harney-Sylvan Lake Trail
Utah: Henrys Fork/Highline Trail
California: Mount Whitney Trail
Wyoming: Wind Rivers Glacier Trail
Virginia: Grayson Highlands Park Rhododendron Trail
Arizona: Flagstaff/Snowbowl Humphreys Trail
Colorado: South Mount Elbert Trail
Georgia: Jacks Knob Trail
Vermont: Long Trail

Others:
Minnesota: Superior Hiking Trail/ County Road 6 to Silver Bay 18.6 miles
Arizona: Sedona/ Brins Mesa Trail/ Oak Creek Canyon
Arizona: Grand Canyon Down South Kaibab Trail-Up Bright Angel Trail
Michigan: Porcupine Mountains Little Carp River Trail 11 miles or Lake Superior Trail 16 miles
Washington: Anywhere on the Wonderland Trail at Mount Rainier National Park
Arkansas: Ozark National Forest/ Shores Lake to White Rock Mtn. 13.4 miles
Utah: Zion National Park
Montana: Glacier National Park
California: Yosemite National Park
Wisconsin: Mead Wildlife Refuge near Milladore



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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 5:18 am

September 8th, 2007, 5:09 pm #3

I would like to start a thread that I hope will be interesting to all, and helpful to me.

I have been given a contract to publish a book about "The Best Hikes in America." I have been working for years to identify and hike the best 50 hikes. Many HP'ers have received surveys that I have sent asking for opinions about the best hikes in your region, and I thank you for your help. Of course, which hikes are the "best" hikes are subjective, but my list represents the collective consensus of many hikers, primarily HP'ers.

Now I want to be sure I haven't missed anything. I am therefore inviting anyone with an opinion to nominate the "best" 4 or 5 (or whatever) hikes in America. If there is a consensus for any hike I have missed, I will go to hike it, and may include it in the book.

Ground Rules: A hike must-
1. Be a day-hike (less than 20 miles). No fair nominationg the AT.
2. Be on maintained, or at least well-established trail.
3. Not be technical. No ropes, ice ax, crampons needed.
4. Above all, it must be unique or special... ina word MEMORABLE.
(No geographic fit required - sorry Kansas)

After the thread fades, I will share my current list of "The Best Hikes In America."
Thanks All.
Best 50 in America. That's a pretty high standard so I'll only nominate 2 from my area of the country.

Presidential Traverse, White Mountains, NH:
http://www.summitpost.org/trip-report/1 ... verse.html

Great Range Traverse, Adirondacks, NY:
http://www.summitpost.org/trip-report/2 ... Range.html

The Great Range comes in at a little over 20 miles, but who's counting?
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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 5:18 am

September 12th, 2007, 4:45 pm #4

I would like to start a thread that I hope will be interesting to all, and helpful to me.

I have been given a contract to publish a book about "The Best Hikes in America." I have been working for years to identify and hike the best 50 hikes. Many HP'ers have received surveys that I have sent asking for opinions about the best hikes in your region, and I thank you for your help. Of course, which hikes are the "best" hikes are subjective, but my list represents the collective consensus of many hikers, primarily HP'ers.

Now I want to be sure I haven't missed anything. I am therefore inviting anyone with an opinion to nominate the "best" 4 or 5 (or whatever) hikes in America. If there is a consensus for any hike I have missed, I will go to hike it, and may include it in the book.

Ground Rules: A hike must-
1. Be a day-hike (less than 20 miles). No fair nominationg the AT.
2. Be on maintained, or at least well-established trail.
3. Not be technical. No ropes, ice ax, crampons needed.
4. Above all, it must be unique or special... ina word MEMORABLE.
(No geographic fit required - sorry Kansas)

After the thread fades, I will share my current list of "The Best Hikes In America."
Thanks All.
That everyone here considers themselves 'climbers.'
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Joined: January 22nd, 2004, 5:48 am

September 12th, 2007, 5:10 pm #5

I would like to start a thread that I hope will be interesting to all, and helpful to me.

I have been given a contract to publish a book about "The Best Hikes in America." I have been working for years to identify and hike the best 50 hikes. Many HP'ers have received surveys that I have sent asking for opinions about the best hikes in your region, and I thank you for your help. Of course, which hikes are the "best" hikes are subjective, but my list represents the collective consensus of many hikers, primarily HP'ers.

Now I want to be sure I haven't missed anything. I am therefore inviting anyone with an opinion to nominate the "best" 4 or 5 (or whatever) hikes in America. If there is a consensus for any hike I have missed, I will go to hike it, and may include it in the book.

Ground Rules: A hike must-
1. Be a day-hike (less than 20 miles). No fair nominationg the AT.
2. Be on maintained, or at least well-established trail.
3. Not be technical. No ropes, ice ax, crampons needed.
4. Above all, it must be unique or special... ina word MEMORABLE.
(No geographic fit required - sorry Kansas)

After the thread fades, I will share my current list of "The Best Hikes In America."
Thanks All.
1. Black Mt Crest trail
2. Canyonlands NP- anything in the Needles district
3. High Sierras (like Cottonwood Lakes)
4. Cape Lookout NS
5. Mt LeConte
6. Cross country in Zion
7. Winds ie) Cirque of Towers

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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 9:07 pm

September 13th, 2007, 7:28 am #6

I would like to start a thread that I hope will be interesting to all, and helpful to me.

I have been given a contract to publish a book about "The Best Hikes in America." I have been working for years to identify and hike the best 50 hikes. Many HP'ers have received surveys that I have sent asking for opinions about the best hikes in your region, and I thank you for your help. Of course, which hikes are the "best" hikes are subjective, but my list represents the collective consensus of many hikers, primarily HP'ers.

Now I want to be sure I haven't missed anything. I am therefore inviting anyone with an opinion to nominate the "best" 4 or 5 (or whatever) hikes in America. If there is a consensus for any hike I have missed, I will go to hike it, and may include it in the book.

Ground Rules: A hike must-
1. Be a day-hike (less than 20 miles). No fair nominationg the AT.
2. Be on maintained, or at least well-established trail.
3. Not be technical. No ropes, ice ax, crampons needed.
4. Above all, it must be unique or special... ina word MEMORABLE.
(No geographic fit required - sorry Kansas)

After the thread fades, I will share my current list of "The Best Hikes In America."
Thanks All.
Before i nominate my favorites, i'd like to chime in AGAINST any trail to a summit that is hiked solely because it is the shortest route. For example, it wouldn't make sense to nominate the Marcy Dam route to the top of Marcy, when there are other more beautiful and memorable trails that lead there. Same would hold true for Mt. Elbert, Mt. Whitney, etc etc. I'm sure the main trails will get nominations because people have great memories of reaching the top of something, but i hope that the BEST (most unique, beautiful) trails to summits will get the nod!

My very favorites, non-technical 20 miles or less:

Vermont: Mt. Mansfield via the Maple Ridge - Sunset Ridge loop. wow.

New Hampshire: Great Gulf, Airline, and Franconia Loop would all be a tie in my book, so i won't pick.

Arizona/Utah: Paria Canyon via Buckskin Gulch, exiting Whitehouse trailhead. This is usually a segment of a longer backpack, but can be done as a long, amazing dayhike.

north of San Francisco: Matt Davis-Steep Ravine-Dipsea loop on Mt. Tamalpais. Ocean, redwoods, great wildlife, and back to the ocean as the sun sets. All uncrowded and within an hour of San Francisco. (I guess if it makes the book it won't be uncrowded anymore.)

Columbia Gorge, OR: Triple Falls trail. More waterfall for your buck within an hour drive + an hour's walk of a big city than i could imagine.

Maui: Haleakala, Sea to Summit, via Kaupo and Sliding Sands trails. Just makes the 20-mile cut off, and it's a big day. But you get the ocean, waterfall cliffs, the massive moonscape crater, and the top of the island.

Oahu: like NH, there's a whole lot that would tie for best hike. Still, i think my favorite is Ka'au Crater, where you climb up along several waterfalls to reach a crater that's hidden from viewing from any other vantage point. Problem is, it's "technically" a closed trail. Everyone hikes it though.
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Joined: January 24th, 2004, 8:34 pm

September 16th, 2007, 7:44 pm #7

I would like to start a thread that I hope will be interesting to all, and helpful to me.

I have been given a contract to publish a book about "The Best Hikes in America." I have been working for years to identify and hike the best 50 hikes. Many HP'ers have received surveys that I have sent asking for opinions about the best hikes in your region, and I thank you for your help. Of course, which hikes are the "best" hikes are subjective, but my list represents the collective consensus of many hikers, primarily HP'ers.

Now I want to be sure I haven't missed anything. I am therefore inviting anyone with an opinion to nominate the "best" 4 or 5 (or whatever) hikes in America. If there is a consensus for any hike I have missed, I will go to hike it, and may include it in the book.

Ground Rules: A hike must-
1. Be a day-hike (less than 20 miles). No fair nominationg the AT.
2. Be on maintained, or at least well-established trail.
3. Not be technical. No ropes, ice ax, crampons needed.
4. Above all, it must be unique or special... ina word MEMORABLE.
(No geographic fit required - sorry Kansas)

After the thread fades, I will share my current list of "The Best Hikes In America."
Thanks All.
Here are some trails I really liked as dayhikes that are not highpoints:

Iceberg Lake Trail, Glacier National Park

Half Dome trail, Yosemite (yeah its crowded, but that's because its spectacular)

Long's Peak, the Keyhole Route, Rocky Mountain National Park (I think its a trail, its marked the whole way and heavily used)

Gunnison Route, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (easiest trail to the bottom of the canyon, not technical, but a chain is provided due to steepness)


Bryce Canyon, Peakaboo Loop

Zion National Park, Angel's Landing Trail

Acadia National Park, Cadillac Mountain Traverse, bus service makes the one way hike 8 mile hike perfect for a day trip

Grand Teton National Park, Cascade Canyon-Paintbrush Canyon loop

Telescope Peak Trail, Death Valley

One of the two trails to the bottom of the Grand Canyon from the south rim (north is to far to hike to the bottom)
Even if you only go halfway, still a great hike. Forget which one doesn't have the mules, but that's the better one


Big Bend National Park -- dayhike to the south rim. There's a couple of ways to do it, but any of them are great. Side trip up Emory Peak makes it perfect, but also makes for a very long dayhike

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Joined: January 24th, 2004, 8:34 pm

September 19th, 2007, 1:26 pm #8

I found this list on the internet:
http://www.trails.com/toptrails.asp

Some of my favorites also included State highpointing:
New Hampshire: Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail
South Dakota: Harney-Sylvan Lake Trail
Utah: Henrys Fork/Highline Trail
California: Mount Whitney Trail
Wyoming: Wind Rivers Glacier Trail
Virginia: Grayson Highlands Park Rhododendron Trail
Arizona: Flagstaff/Snowbowl Humphreys Trail
Colorado: South Mount Elbert Trail
Georgia: Jacks Knob Trail
Vermont: Long Trail

Others:
Minnesota: Superior Hiking Trail/ County Road 6 to Silver Bay 18.6 miles
Arizona: Sedona/ Brins Mesa Trail/ Oak Creek Canyon
Arizona: Grand Canyon Down South Kaibab Trail-Up Bright Angel Trail
Michigan: Porcupine Mountains Little Carp River Trail 11 miles or Lake Superior Trail 16 miles
Washington: Anywhere on the Wonderland Trail at Mount Rainier National Park
Arkansas: Ozark National Forest/ Shores Lake to White Rock Mtn. 13.4 miles
Utah: Zion National Park
Montana: Glacier National Park
California: Yosemite National Park
Wisconsin: Mead Wildlife Refuge near Milladore


That list off the internet seems to be a list of the best dayhikes within a two hour drive of New York City.
'
Breakneck Ridge? the Pinnacle? Bear Mtn NY, Bear Mtn, Ct? These are "nice" dayhikes, but don't belong in a book about the 50 best dayhikes in the US. I wouldn't rate the NY hikes as the best hikes in NY, much less the country. In fact, they are not even the best hikes in the Hudson Highlands -- that goes to the trail up the Timp Face, which has a 1,000 foot verticle gain through cracks in a sheer rock wall, and tops out with an amazing winter view of the NY city skyline 40 miles away (summer haze prevents a view of the city).

The Pinnacle section of the AT is one of the three best dayhikes in PA, along with Mt. Minsi at the water gap and the trail out of Pine Creek Gorge (the grand canyone of PA), but hardly worthy of a best in the USA spot. As an example, the trail up Black Butte, the small mountain between I-5 and Mt Shasta, is a much cooler hike -- amazing views of mountains from the top, and about the same distance, more elevation gain. That hike blows the pinnacle or any hike the hudson highlands away, but its far from the best hike in California.
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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 9:11 pm

September 19th, 2007, 11:48 pm #9

I would like to start a thread that I hope will be interesting to all, and helpful to me.

I have been given a contract to publish a book about "The Best Hikes in America." I have been working for years to identify and hike the best 50 hikes. Many HP'ers have received surveys that I have sent asking for opinions about the best hikes in your region, and I thank you for your help. Of course, which hikes are the "best" hikes are subjective, but my list represents the collective consensus of many hikers, primarily HP'ers.

Now I want to be sure I haven't missed anything. I am therefore inviting anyone with an opinion to nominate the "best" 4 or 5 (or whatever) hikes in America. If there is a consensus for any hike I have missed, I will go to hike it, and may include it in the book.

Ground Rules: A hike must-
1. Be a day-hike (less than 20 miles). No fair nominationg the AT.
2. Be on maintained, or at least well-established trail.
3. Not be technical. No ropes, ice ax, crampons needed.
4. Above all, it must be unique or special... ina word MEMORABLE.
(No geographic fit required - sorry Kansas)

After the thread fades, I will share my current list of "The Best Hikes In America."
Thanks All.
This peak is the highpoint for Trinity County, the highest peak west of I-5, and it is a beauty. It's not too long, not too high, and even includes a bit of the PCT, but it's still out of the way. You start out about 6,700', hike between some lovely mountain lakes in an open forest, and then climb several long but fairly easy switchbacks on the western slope of the peak. The big surprise is at the top, at about 9,000': you climb the last few vertical feet to the summit, and there, across the valley of the upper Sacramento River, stands Mt. Shasta in all its glory. It is totally hidden until you pop out on top. (OK, I just spoiled the surprise.) Then you can look around and see the Siskiyous, the Klamaths, the Marble Mountains, Mt. Lassen, Castle Crags, some Oregon peaks, and even the Sutter Buttes far to the south. It is just plain SWEET! Arguably the loveliest of the 38 CA counties I've done so far. JES
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Joined: January 24th, 2004, 8:34 pm

September 26th, 2007, 1:37 am #10

Here are some trails I really liked as dayhikes that are not highpoints:

Iceberg Lake Trail, Glacier National Park

Half Dome trail, Yosemite (yeah its crowded, but that's because its spectacular)

Long's Peak, the Keyhole Route, Rocky Mountain National Park (I think its a trail, its marked the whole way and heavily used)

Gunnison Route, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (easiest trail to the bottom of the canyon, not technical, but a chain is provided due to steepness)


Bryce Canyon, Peakaboo Loop

Zion National Park, Angel's Landing Trail

Acadia National Park, Cadillac Mountain Traverse, bus service makes the one way hike 8 mile hike perfect for a day trip

Grand Teton National Park, Cascade Canyon-Paintbrush Canyon loop

Telescope Peak Trail, Death Valley

One of the two trails to the bottom of the Grand Canyon from the south rim (north is to far to hike to the bottom)
Even if you only go halfway, still a great hike. Forget which one doesn't have the mules, but that's the better one


Big Bend National Park -- dayhike to the south rim. There's a couple of ways to do it, but any of them are great. Side trip up Emory Peak makes it perfect, but also makes for a very long dayhike
I forgot another great one -- the trail up the south sister in oregon. I did it in June in a high snow year, so we needed an ice axe and crampons and, as a result, had the whole place to ourselves (a group without ice axes gave up just as we were heading up the steep stretch to the summit). My understanding is that in a typical year, its just a long dayhike on a well established trail.
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