Summer is the season of adventure. You spend your days in the sun and your nights becoming enchanted with new loves, preserving fleeting experiences, and making memories with your favorite friends. No better place for all three than the wilderness of your favorite hiking trails. They’re beautiful, they’re all unique, and they get you outside. Many of them are also free, which we can’t say for your third Moscow mule last night.
Do yourself a favor: This summer, go on an adventure and hit the trails. Here are some of the best places in America to go hiking.
Olympic National Park, Washington
The sheer diversity of landscapes in Olympic National Park feels like a video game world map. In a day you can journey from glaciers to rain forests to an alien coastline, all just two hours from Seattle. Its nearly 144,000 square miles host three separate ecosystems. Most of the park is only accessible by foot, making it the perfect place to escape civilization. Its deepest sections can take literally days to get to.
The easiest and most unique route is the Hall of Mosses, where sheets of thick, green moss drape over ancient trees. It’s classified as a rain forest, and is the closest thing you’ll find to a tropical paradise outside of the tropics. The trail isn’t even a mile long, meaning you can make it back home well before sundown.
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Speaking of video game world maps, you won’t find any natural formation that looks quite as artificial as the Badlands. Their undisturbed prairie grasses are surrounded by impossibly steep sedimentary rock buttes, defined by their streaky layers of pink, beige, and orange. The sharp height difference creates a unique landscape and awesome trails.