You don’t have to travel far from home in order to go hiking. If you live in the United States, there are plenty of fun hiking trails that the entire family can enjoy. I already explored some of the many family hiking destinations in Canada, so now let’s take a look a little further south! From hiking trails filled with natural arches to trails that cut through mountain paths, you’re sure to see the wonders of natural while hiking at these popular destinations.
Summer Family Travel Destinations for Hikers in the USA
Zion National Park, Utah
Are you ready for some fun hiking with the entire family? Then schedule your next hiking trip at Zion National Park, located in Utah. This national park is home to many hiking trails, massive sandstone cliffs and a narrow slot canyon. Each trail is a different length, ranging in difficulty from a simple few miles to over a dozen miles. Depending on the hiking skill of your family, you can either take a leisurely morning hike along a shorter trail or a more strenuous one that will last the day.
Arches National Park, Utah
No matter if your family is new to hiking or if you’re all hiking experts, Arches National Park has a hiking trail for you. This beautiful area houses many different hiking trails, with easy trails that are around a mile or less to more strenuous trails that will test the limits of your endurance. No matter which trail you pick, you and your family will get the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the many natural arches located at this national park.
Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite National Park is a great destination for you and your family to go hiking. Not only can you take advantage of over 750 miles of trails, you can also make it an overnight trip with the many camping sites located along the trails. It offers everything from breathtaking mountains to North America’s tallest waterfall. With so many trails, it’s easy to find a hiking path that is perfect for your entire family.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
If you want to take your family on a hiking trip they won’t forget, then visit the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is a popular destination for many Americans and includes plenty of day trails that the entire family can enjoy. Although many of these trails are steep and require some hiking experience, other trails are easier and are even be paved in some areas. Which hiking trail will you start with at the Grand Canyon?
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Spend the day hiking one of the many trails found in Mount Rainier National Park and take in amazing views of snow-capped peaks, including Mount Rainier – an active volcano. The Sourdough Ridge Trail is the perfect choice for a family as its a short walk with only gentle elevation gain and a reward of panoramic vistas from the ridge-top.
Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Mammoth Cave National Park offers a short walk through the world’s longest known cave system filled with vast chambers and complex labyrinths. Unlike most cave tours, the Frozen Niagara Tour is easy enough for kids and rewards the hiker with spectacular scenery like the Rainbow Dome, Crystal Lake, the Frozen Niagara flowstone, and the Drapery Room.
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
This wide-open park features plenty of family friendly trails but the best hike to take your kids on is the Giant Logs Trail. The trail leads you to the largest log in the park where kids can see how the enormous fallen rock trees were formed. Take in rocks complete with bark, knotholes and rings in complete petrified detail. You will find interpretive signs along the way which explains in detail the science behind the logs.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota
Mount Rushmore is probably the most recognizable American landmark, aside from the Statue of Liberty, featuring four giant presidential heads way up on the mountain. To get a closer view than the Avenue of Flags offers, walk the half-mile hike down the Presidential Trail. This hike even passes the studio where sculptor Gutzon Borglum worked.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Visit Maine’s rugged coast and take in all its beauty by hiking through Acadia National Park. The land the park stands on was doanted by John D. Rockafeller, Jr back in the early 20th-century. Visitors to the park can enjoy over 50 miles of smooth carriage roads that run throughout much of the park and take in diverse plants, animals, stone bridges and the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast. Acadia is a great choice for families thanks to the carriage roads which make it an easy to hike for little legs and even for those with strollers to push.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
On your next family vacation in Hawaii be sure to visit Hawaii Volvanoes National Park and take in the incredible Volcanic landscape. Kīlauea and Mauna Loa are both still active but the park can be visited with complete safety – just check the safety advisories before heading out. Be sure to take the walk through Thuston Lava Tube which was formed by molten lava flowing out of an underground tunnel, leaving an empty tunnel behind. There is also an abundance of day hikes available, as well as longer treks for the explorers out there.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park was America’s first national park. It was established in 1872 to preserve Old Faithful and the other geysers. It is also one of the most intact wilderness areas in America. Visitors can traverse the park by way of over 900 miles of hiking trails throughout Yellowstone. Day hikes can take you through to Old Faithul, Mammoth Hot Springs and more.
Redwoods National Park, California
The tallest living tree in the world is located in Redwoods National Park, and you can take it in via the quick and easy Circle Trail. For those wishing to spend more time in the park there are numerous easy day hikes that take you through the ancient forest made up of 1,000 year old redwoods, hardwood trees, shrubs and ferns. Fallen giants create a unique ecosystem within the park but the redwoods aren’t the only scenery worth taking in. Redwoods National Park is also home to vast prairies, oak woods, riverways and nearly 50 miles of coastline.
Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona
Located enar Page, Arizona is a unique slot canyon featuring a natural masterpiece of art full of changing colours, shapes and unique structures. Antelope Canyon is Navajo Nation owned and only accessible via guided tour.
D.L. Bliss State Park, California
Visitors can stop to swim in the crystal clear water of Lake Tahoe after hiking the family friendly hiking trails found in the park. The Rubicon Trail, Lighthouse Trail and Balancing Rock Trail are all worth checking out. Children will particularly enjoy checking out the Balanding Rock, a natural attraction found on Lake Tahoe’s western shore. It is accessible via a short half mile nature trail.
Watkins Glen State Park, New York
Take a hike through this park and leave spellbound after walking over and under waterfalls in an environment that is reminiscent of places you might find in Lord of the Rings. The gorge path is simply fantastical, and although you will walk up many staircases there are almost as many waterfalls to take in as a reward.
Sequoia National Park, California
Sequoia National Park is known for its giant sequoia trees, including the General Sherman Tree, one of the largest trees in the world. Standing at 275 feet tall, is believed to be roughly 2,500 years old. There are several easy day hikes through the park that will allow you to take in the red giants.
The Glacier National Park, Montana
Hike through the Glacier’s 700 miles of trails that will take you through pristine forests, across alpine meadows, over rugged mountains and near spectacular, crystal clear lakes. You may want to check out the popular Hidden Lake Overlook trail for scenic views right into the heart of the glacier!
There are many hiking experiences available in the United States, and even more so for serious hikers without kids.
What are your favourite hiking destinations in The USA?
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!