In 2020, outdoor escapes became more important to us than ever before, and our hiking articles were some of our most-read pieces this year. Our writers explored some amazing places, and they offer helpful tips throughout on difficulty level, terrain, and other need-to-know information before beginning a hike.
We expect the enthusiasm around hiking to continue well into 2021, and we are looking forward to finding even more hikes to try and share. Here are some of the best hikes we explored in 2020. We hope they inspire you to get out and hike in your state in the new year!
Joshua Tree National Park
Known for its signature spiky Joshua trees and rugged rock formations, Joshua Tree National Park is the perfect place to get out and explore in California. The park measures 1,235 square miles, so there’s plenty to explore, but to help you get started, we put together a list of the 6 best hikes in Joshua Tree National Park.
Colorful Colorado is a hiker’s paradise, and it seems like almost every square inch of the state is begging to be explored. With so many amazing options to choose from, there’s a hike for all levels and all seasons. To help plan your Colorado hiking adventure, check out our list of the 9 best hikes in stunning Colorado.
With crystal clear water and picturesque pines, a visit to Lake Tahoe is sure to offer spectacular views while hiking. The hiking season may be a bit shorter in Lake Tahoe due to the snowfall (we recommend visiting between May or June and October), but the truly unique landscape is absolutely worth it. Get inspired for your adventure with our list of the best hikes in Lake Tahoe.
Like Colorado, Wyoming is a hiker’s dream. The state is home to several national parks and forests that offer truly breathtaking views, including the Devils Tower Trail with its unique rock monument. The hikes on our list include trails in Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park if you’re looking to extend your trip and check some national parks off of your bucket list. View our full list of the 9 best hikes in Wyoming here.
Teeming with miles of rugged shorelines and ancient forests, Northern California is a paradise begging to be explored on foot. Several of our suggested hikes are near San Francisco and would be the perfect addition to your next trip to the Golden Gate City. Check out those hikes and more on our list of the 11 best hikes in Northern California.
With more than 2,730 miles of hiking trails throughout the state, Wisconsin is a great setting for a trip focused on hiking. The state is covered with forests, wildlife preserves, and of course the sandy shorelines of Lake Michigan, all of which contribute to beautiful settings to take in while hiking. To help you plan, we recommend the 9 best hikes to experience in Wisconsin.
Teeming with alpine lakes, waterfalls, glaciers, active volcanoes, and one of the few temperate rainforests in the U.S., Washington State is one of the most beautiful places in the country to explore. The state is home to parts of some of the longest hiking trails in the country, including the Pacific Crest Trail and the Pacific Northwest Trail, but there are trail lengths for all interests and abilities to be found here. Check out our list of the 9 best hikes in Washington State.
From the sandy dunes of the Outer Banks to the mountains of the western part of the state, North Carolina offers up a bit of everything in terms of scenery. Thanks to its long east-west orientation, you can choose from beach views, forests, mountains, and much more for your hiking trip. Not sure where to begin? We outlined the 10 best hikes in North Carolina to get you inspired.
The Delaware Water Gap
Created by the Delaware River carving into the Blue Mountains in Pennsylvania and the Kittatinny Ridge in New Jersey, the Delaware Water Gap is a unique place for hiking. The area is dotted with waterfalls and forests and is a wonderful place to try your hand at fishing, canoeing, or other water sports in addition to hiking. Easily accessible from New York City, Philadelphia, and New Jersey, the Delaware Water Gap is a great weekend hiking getaway. Here are some of the most scenic hikes to get you started.
With a nickname like the Green Mountain State, you know Vermont is sure to be a hiker’s paradise. The state may be tiny, but it offers countless opportunities to explore, from soaring mountains to colorful gorges. Clear lakes, rushing rivers, and storybook farms dotting the countryside only add to Vermont’s charm — and make for gorgeous vistas to experience on a hike. We rounded up the 9 best hikes to experience in stunning Vermont.
Most people probably picture the sprawling city and suburbs of Chicago when they think of Northern Illinois, but there’s so much more to be found here. Our list of the 9 best hikes to experience in Northern Illinois offers a little taste of everything. You’ll find hikes that follow rivers, waterfalls, prairie fields, and even canyons on this list! Many of these areas are easily accessible from anywhere in the state (including Chicago) and are great for a quick day trip or long weekend getaway.
Alabama (With Your Dog)
Many of us know there’s no better hiking companion than your dog, so we wanted to feature a list that makes it easy to take your four-legged friend with you on the trails. Alabama offers some incredible pet-friendly hikes, with many shorter options perfect for a quick escape. You and your dog will enjoy taking in fresh forest air or splashing in the rivers along the hikes featured on our list of the best hikes in Alabama you and your dog will love.
Home to a large swath of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee is an incredible hiking destination. We could make several lists of hikes in the national park alone, but the state has so many other amazing areas to explore, many just outside of Nashville, Memphis, and Chattanooga. The next time you find yourself in Tennessee, we have you covered with the 12 best hikes to experience in this beautiful state.
Looking for even more hiking inspiration, or hoping to find some hikes in your area? Check out our comprehensive list of the best hikes in all 50 states, and for the ultimate comfort while hiking, we also rounded up the best hiking boots to lace up for your next outdoor adventure!