Great American hikes: 20 top trails across the USA

McCharles is the editor of, a collection of the best hikes, treks and tramps in the world.

In our list of great American hikes, we sought to provide an array of trails that would appeal to everyone. We carefully selected hikes in each corner of the U.S., we chose both day hikes and those that could take an entire week, and we tracked down trails for all skill levels. This list is based in opinion and is meant to serve as inspiration for your adventures.

Did we miss one of your favorite hikes? Leave a comment and tell us what other trails you’d recommend!

Long Trail, Jay Peak Long Trail North

Jay, Vt.
The “footpath in the wilderness” was established in the early 1900s, making it the oldest long-distance trail in the United States. The whole of the trail spans from Massachusetts to the Canadian border, but trail expert Philip Werner suggests the Jay Peak section to hikers looking for the best part. It’s rugged enough to keep any hiker interested, but the Jay Peak section is accommodating of beginners. — Diana Gerstacker

Appalachian Trail, 30-Mile Wilderness

Monson, Maine
Maine’s renowned 100-Mile Wilderness is the longest part of the Appalachian Trail that never crosses a paved road. Lucky for northeastern hikers, the first 30 miles of this route showcase the trails best features. A somewhat rugged route, explorers can expect to encounter the Lower Wilson Falls, lush maple forests, rocky rushing rivers, and panoramic views of Maine’s rustic backwoods. — Katie Rosenbrock

Cascade Mountain

Keene, N.Y.
Named for the waterfalls at the mountain’s base, Cascade is one of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks, and is said to be the easiest to scale. A great choice for beginners and anyone looking for a stunning view of New York’s Green mountains and Lake Champlain, the 4.2 mile hike is classified as easy, but the views are hard to come by anywhere else. — Diana Gerstacker

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