The Top 5 Longest Hiking Trails in the United States
Do you ever imagine what it would be like to turn off your electronic devices and explore the great outdoors?
Or, maybe you are a seasoned hiker who is just itching to submerse yourself back into the wild with one of the longest hiking trails in the United States.
It can be your new reality. You can experience it all.
The U.S. has a long list of natural wonders just waiting to be discovered. We are here to help you plan your next big adventure. Get ready to get off the couch and get hiking!
How hiking can change our brains
- Exercise increases endorphins which give you a natural high
- Exploring can reduce stress and give you back excitement for life
- Being one with nature can give you a strong sense of calm
- Your mind will be challenged as you learn how to problem solve
- Your attitude will change as you accomplish your goals
- You will appreciate the natural world as you create a lifetime of memories
- You can meet new friends or strengthen current relationships
The U.S. has a variety of different hiking trails which all vary in skill level and length.
You may even have a hiking trail near you.
To begin your journey you need to do your research, be prepared and train those legs! You want to be able to go the distance.
Some of these are the longest hiking trails in the US, and some are even among the longest trails in the world!
Each of these has something unique to offer. Please remember to be respectful of the natural environment as we want these trails to be enjoyed by future generations.
Ready for a Challenge? These are the Longest Hiking Trails in the United States
1. Appalachian Trail
This is it. The Queen of accessible hiking trails. It comes in at a massive 2190 miles and covers 14 states.
With approximately 3 million visitors a year, this is certainly a popular route for hikers.
The Appalachian Trail runs all the way from Maine to Georgia and is a full length, hiking-only footpath.
It is the longest of its kind in the world, and to actually finish it is a huge achievement.
As this is considered one of the longest hiking trails in the US, there is nothing ordinary about this trail.
You will travel through forests, natural parks, and game lands.
There are a few things to be cautious of such as the potential for contracting diseases from bugs, but this is where proper preparation comes into play.
There are a few places to rest and recharge along the way.
If you prefer, you can start with a day trip!
2. Pacific Crest Trail
But, it is a once in a lifetime accomplishment. 2650 miles of adventure where you will truly see it all.
Deserts, forests and volcanic peaks – you will feel as though civilization is a million miles away.
It runs from Mexico to Canada and will open your eyes to all that nature has to offer.
If you are familiar with Gilmore Girls, you will remember Lorelai’s inner battle leading her to The Pacific Crest Trail.
The idea of “finding yourself” is one of the reasons so many people set off on this track.
If you attempt this during winter please understand it is one of the most dangerous hiking trails in the US.
3. The Ice Age Trail
The Ice Age Trail might not be as long as the others, but it is rich in history.
The trail runs through 31 different counties and is approximately 1200 miles in length.
This is based in Wisconsin, with 12,000 years worth of beauty to its name.
It all began when the landscape was transformed by glacial ice, leaving behind a multitude of glorious sights.
The trail was started to offer protection to the history of the land and is run by volunteers.
When visiting the Ice Age Trail you can hike, backpack or snowshoe. It really is a one of a kind journey.
4. Mountains-to-Sea Trail
In North Carolina, you will find the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Once again, it isn’t quite one of the longest hiking trails in the US, but it is one of the most beautiful.
It still comes in at 1175 miles which isn’t something to tackle lightly.
This starts at the Great Smoky Mountains and ends at the Outer Banks.
In between, there are farmlands, mountains, rustic villages, sand, and forests.
This is not an entirely isolated journey as there are plenty of friendly locals to chat to along the way.
However, it is still a challenging route and the fact it has a bit of everything makes it a little piece of the U.S worth visiting.
5. The Colorado Trail
At 500 miles, The Colorado Trail might sound like the baby of the pack, but what it lacks in distance it makes up for in height.
The average elevation is 10,300 feet. If you can master this mountainous terrane, we applaud you!
The altitude rises and falls as you hike your way from Denver to Durango.
If you make the full journey you will have climbed a total of 89,354 feet. Yes, this trail is going to be a tough one.
The Colorado Rocky Mountains need to be experienced to truly understand everything they have to offer.
Along this trail, you will encounter peaks, scenic creeks, and lakes.
If you want a little taste, you can book a 5-day trek which is accompanied by an experienced guide.
These are just 5 of our favorite hiking trails in the U.S, but there are many, many more destinations to explore.
Just remember, deciding to walk a trail is the first step but you need to plan your exploration wisely.
If you are a beginner start small. Choose the right season and take a friend with you.
Make sure you are organized and ask the experts at your chosen destination for tips.
Hiking is not going to be easy, but it is going to be a worthwhile experience.
Have you attempted any of the longest hiking trails in the United States? Or maybe one of these is on your bucket list?
We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.