100 Best Trails in North America
The results are in! After analyzing over 10 million "votes" from users over the past year, Trails.com is proud to announce its annual Top Trails list (learn more about Top Trails), based on trail popularity and usage. This list represents the most popular trails and outdoor destinations in North America. Use this list to get ideas for your upcoming outdoor excursion.
#100 North-South Lake loop: This Catskill Mountains loop travels the escarpment and wooded outskirts of North-South Lake, snaring views and passing cultural sites. Special Attractions: escarpment ledges, vistas, a monument and nineteenth-century hotel sites, waterfalls, azalea and mountain laurel blooms, fall foliage. Fee area.
#99 Little Grand Canyon Trail: Little Grand Canyon is a little-known hideaway that’s worth the drive from St. Louis. You’ll hike down stone steps cut in steep, fantastically-eroded slickrock chutes, into a moist bottomland guarded by 300-foot cliffs. Your reward for climbing out of the canyon’s depths is a panoramic view of the Mississippi River valley and the distant Missouri hills. Unless you compare it to its namesake natural wonder, Little Grand Canyon is anything but little.
Matson Hill Park | Augusta Missouri Hikes | Trails.com
#98 Alexander Springs Campground is clearly worth preserving, an oasis in the forest, one of the outstanding physical features of central Florida. Imagine thrashing through broken woods and coming upon this upwelling of clear-blue water rising out of the earth and instantaneously forming its own waterway. This is Alexander Springs. The U.S. Forest Service recognized this aquatic wonder and built a fine recreation area around the spring.
#97 Arapaho Pass Trail to Lake Dorothy: This is a fantastic day hike up to Lake Dorothy via the Arapaho Pass Trail, one of the best trails in the wilderness area for viewing wildflowers. Trail conditions: The lower section of the Arapaho Pass Trail is extremely popular during the summer months and sees heavy traffic on the weekends. The lower section of the trail stays wet early in the season; the upper section is rocky up to Arapaho Pass.
#96 Gunpowder Falls North and South Loop, Gunpowder Falls State Park: A walk through mixed hardwood and conifer woodlands along and above scenic Gunpowder Falls. You can make a day of hiking in the wooded stream valley of Gunpowder Falls and the ridges above it, or you can take one of several shorter loop hikes. Raven Rock Falls, the stone ruins along Panther Branch, and views of hemlocks clinging to the canyon above Mingo Branch are just a few of the sights along the way.
#94 Grandma Gatewood Trail - Old Man's Cave to Ash Cave: Begin walking the 5.0 miles from Old Man’s Cave to Ash Cave and it won’t take long to see why this is one of the state’s most popular trails. Descend into Old Man’s Creek Gorge and walk by rock features with such names as the Devil’s Bathtub and the Sphinx Head. Explore Old Man’s Cave, a large recess cave of blackhand sandstone, before continuing downstream in the gorge all the way to Cedar Falls, the area’s highest-volume waterfall.
#93 Sawyer River Road: This trip explores the wildlife-rich forests to the east of Mount Carrigain. Several good views of the mountain can be seen from beaver ponds along the way, and three river crossings also make for good spots to sit and soak in the summer sun. The ride is fairly level; although one steep climb on a forest road will make you question the easy rating for a few moments, trust us—the climb is only 0.5 mile.
#92 Aliso / Wood Canyons Regional Park: Rock-It / Cholla Loop: One of Orange County's most popular riding spots, Aliso/ Wood Canyons Regional Park-part of Laguna Niguel Regional Park lies hidden between Laguna Beach and Laguna Hills. It is a unique combination of city and country land. The western portion is a part of Laguna Beach Greenbelt, whose high, lush ridges have been secured as a source of open space and recreation.
#91 Eagle Creek Trail to Wahtum Lake: The second most famous and perhaps most enjoyable hike in the Gorge. Eagle Creek Trail is second only to Multnomah Falls in popularity, being the hike with more waterfalls than any other in the Columbia Gorge. It is also one of the most flexible, offering day, overnight, and extended backpacking options.
#90 Appalachian Trail: Kent to St. Johns Ledges: As a day hike this is a gem, with a superb reward at the end in the form of a tremendous tumble of boulders down a precipitous but manageable cliff. Thrills and chills without having to scale the Matterhorn. If you're walking north, gravity will be your friend.
#89 Appalachian Trail: Hawk Mountain to PA 309: Hawks and rocks. Hikers have plenty of opportunities to look up for one and down for the other on this 13.3-mile stroll up and along the Blue Mountain ridge. The AT skirts the side of Hawk Mountain, once a popular raptor hunting area but since 1934 an internationally recognized sanctuary for the study of more than fourteen species of hawks, falcons, and eagles. The birds use the mountain's strong updrafts to carry them south for the winter.
#88 Indian Head Mountain Loop: This loop rewards with a classic Catskills setting, vistas, and challenge. Special attractions: Vistas, the 500-foot cliffs of Indian Head, wildflowers, fall foliage, and wildlife sightings. At times porcupine, deer, red eft, mouse, and toad draw attention away from the rolling trail.
#87 Buffalo River Trail (Western Section): The trail runs roughly parallel to the Buffalo River through wilderness areas and along multicolored palisades. The trail leaves the parking area, crosses AR 21 and Smith Creek, and starts meandering along a course that passes wide open fields, springs, several streams, and old homesites.
#86 Olympic Hot Springs: Includes: Appleton Pass and Boulder Lake. A day hike or overnighter to popular soaking pools in Olympic National Park. Skinnydippable with (much) discretion. Without a doubt the hot spot of the Olympics, this cluster of steaming springs and pools lies sandwiched between a lush forest of fir and hemlock and the whitewater rapids of Boulder Creek. There are a total of seven bubbly soakers in a variety of sizes and temperatures, including one by a small waterfall.
#85 Mount Rainier - Wonderland Trail Loop (Backpacking): The famous Wonderland Trail, which completely circles Mount Rainier, is not only the finest long hike in Washington; it is considered by many to be one of the best in the world. The route provides a generous sampling of all the attractions in the Cascade Range including meadows choked with wildflowers, abundant and varied wildlife, old-growth forests, huge glaciers, impressive waterfalls, and scenic lakes.
#84 Appalachian Trail in Georgia said to be the longest continually marked trail in the world, begins at Springer Mountain in Georgia and ends 2,100 miles north at Mount Katahdin in Maine. Because of the many approach trails on public land, this trail presents a many-faceted hiking opportunity for thousands of hikers each year. Congress authorized the Appalachian Trail as the first National Scenic Trail in 1968. The Appalachian Trail Conference now has responsibility for the trail.
#83 Backway to Crown King: This is a challenging four-wheel-drive route but is also a great historical tour. Your trip will be greatly enhanced if you learn a little about the area before you go. Most of this route is easy to moderate; however, there are a few difficult places that will challenge stock vehicles. The road has gotten worse over the years, especially the steepest part in the last four miles. Erosion has exposed more rocks and deep ruts have formed.
#82 Luray and Shenandoah National Park Waterfalls: When the time came to decide on a location for the headquarters of Shenandoah National Park, the National Park Service selected Luray. An administrative history report explains that Luray was selected because its townspeople were the earliest and most enthusiastic supporters of the project. Luray’s location also added to its appeal. The town lies on US 211, 9 miles west of the entrance to the park’s central district.
#81 Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail: In real estate and retailing, location is practically everything. It’s what brings up the value and popularity. In some ways the same can be said about this moderately challenging, 16-mile (8 miles one way), out-and-back tour. It makes a straight course through a wooded, protected wilderness corridor in the middle of Long Island, making it quite accessible for most of the local mountain bike enthusiasts.
#80 Sacramento and Western Sierra Foothills Campgrounds: Tourists traveling to the Sacramento and Western Sierra Foothills Area from the north via the Golden Chain Highway are welcomed to the region by the gold rush towns of Nevada City and Grass Valley. Once rivaling San Francisco and Sacramento in population, Nevada City has reinvented itself, turning from gold fields to grape fields as it hosts a flourishing wine industry.
#79 Mount Princeton Hot Springs: Family lodge and restaurant, with multiple pools. Several hot mineral pools, creekside soaking, and water slide. Enjoying some of the hottest water in the State of Colorado, the area around Mount Princeton Hot Springs is also some of the most scenic mountain country to be found. Nearby, the Collegiate Peaks and more than a dozen others honor you with impressive elevations between 13,000 feet and 14,000 feet or more.
#78 North Kettle Moraine: A shaded walk along the top of a moraine. Of all the 60-some miles of Ice Age Trail in the Kettle Moraine State Forest, this is the trail segment with the longest continuous stretch of woods. The woodland ambiance along this hike is a pleasure for the eye, but there is a practical angle here as well. This shady, up-and-down the moraine, 10-mile route is one of my favorites for a sunny summer day.
#76 Blue Hills Reservation: Ten miles south of downtown Boston. Three day hikes of varying length and difficulty explore key features of the Blue Hills chain. Special attractions: vistas, observation towers, historic weather station, diverse forest, rock features, wildlife sightings, fall foliage.