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TOP 25 DAY HIKES IN THE U.S. NATIONAL PARKS


Mount Rainier, Washington Zion Narrows, Zion National Park Devils Garden Loop, Arches National Park

Welcome to Bigroads.com's guide to the top 25 day hikes in the U.S. national parks!

The United States is blessed with 59 national parks, and most of these parks offer several outstanding day hikes. After hiking hundreds of trails and thousands of miles, we have put together an opinionated list of what we believe to be the top 25 day hikes in the national parks of the United States. It is not an easy task to pick 25 top hikes out of a pool of hundreds, so this web-page will forever be a work-in-progress as we travel & hike more trails in national parks across the U.S.A.

This top 25 national parks hikes list is sorted alphabetically by state (and not by scenic rank).

Take note that the following types of trails have been intentionally excluded from this list:
  • Trails that involve extremely difficult rock scrambling or climbing (no hike listed here has scrambling that is rated higher than class III)
  • Trails too difficult for most day hikers to tackle in a day.
  • Trails that require significant off-trail route-finding.
  • Trails that are much better appreciated on backpacking trips.
  • Trails that require rappelling & advanced canyoneering.
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STATE HIKE NAME PARK TOTAL
DISTANCE
Alaska Exit Glacier / Harding Icefield Trail Kenai Fjords National Park 8.2 miles 
Arizona South Kaibab Trail Grand Canyon National Park min. of 3.0 miles
California Congress Trail Sequoia National Park 2.1 mile loop
California Half Dome Yosemite National Park 14-17 miles
California Nevada Fall / Vernal Fall / John Muir Trail Loop Yosemite National Park 6.5 mile loop
California Telescope Peak Death Valley National Park 14.0 miles
Maine Precipice Trail Acadia National Park 4.0 mile loop
Montana Highline Trail to Grinnell Glacier Overlook Glacier National Park 8.0 miles
Nevada Wheeler Peak Great Basin National Park 10.0 miles
Oregon Garfield Peak Trail Crater Lake National Park 3.4 miles
Tennessee Alum Cave Bluffs / Mount LeConte Great Smoky Mountains National Park 11.0 miles
Texas Emory Peak Big Bend National Park 9.0 miles
Texas Guadalupe Peak Guadalupe Mountains National Park 8.4 miles
Utah Angels Landing Zion National Park 5.0 miles
Utah Delicate Arch Arches National Park 3.0 miles
Utah Devil's Garden Loop Arches National Park 7.2 mile loop
Utah Druid Arch Canyonlands National Park 10.8 miles
Utah Fairyland Loop Bryce Canyon National Park 8.6 mile loop
Utah Observation Point Zion National Park 8.0 miles
Utah Queens Garden / Navajo Loop Trail Bryce Canyon National Park 3.0 mile loop
Utah Zion Narrows / Virgin River Narrows Zion National Park 6 or 16 miles
Washington Cascade Pass North Cascades National Park 7.4 miles
Washington Crystal Peak Mount Rainier National Park 7.8 miles
Washington Skyline Loop / High Skyline Trail Mount Rainier National Park 5.5 miles
Wyoming Old Faithful / Upper Geyser Basin Yellowstone National Park min. 3.5 mile loop

South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Congress Trail, Sequoia National Park, California
Congress Trail, Sequoia National Park, California

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California
Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California

Nevada Fall, Yosemite National Park, California
Nevada Fall, Yosemite National Park, California

Precipice Trail, Acadia National Park, Maine
Precipice Trail, Acadia National Park, Maine

Emory Peak, Big Bend National Park, Texas
Emory Peak, Big Bend National Park, Texas

Guadalupe Peak, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
Guadalupe Peak, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

Angels Landing, Zion National Park, Utah
Angels Landing, Zion National Park, Utah

Mount Rainier National Park
Skyline Loop, Mount Rainier National Park

Zion Narrows, Zion National Park
Zion Narrows, Zion National Park

RUNNER-UPS: HIKES ALMOST GOOD ENOUGH TO MAKE THE TOP 25 LIST

Here are a list of other outstanding day hikes in the national parks of the U.S. that we considered for the top 25 hikes list above. Please email us @ gparsons66@hotmail.com if you think there are any other hikes of this caliber/scenic level that we should be considering, either for this runners-up list or the top 25 hikes list itself.

STATE HIKE NAME PARK
Alaska McKinley Bar Trail Denali National Park
Arizona Bright Angel Trail Grand Canyon National Park
Arizona North Kaibab Trail Grand Canyon National Park
Arizona Rim Trail Grand Canyon National Park
California Alta Peak Sequoia National Park
California Badwater Basin Death Valley National Park
California Cathedral Lakes Trail Yosemite National Park
California Clouds Rest Yosemite National Park
California Corkscrew Canyon Death Valley National Park
California Lassen Peak Lassen Volcanic National Park
California Lookout Peak Kings Canyon National Park
California Mount Dana Yosemite National Park
California Panorama Trail Yosemite National Park
California Ryan Mountain Trail / Ryan Mountain Joshua Tree National Park
California Tall Trees Grove Redwoods National Park
California Upper Yosemite Falls Yosemite National Park
California Wildrose Peak Trail Death Valley National Park
Colorado Chasm Lake Rocky Mountain National Park
Colorado Emerald Lake / Dream Lake / Nymph Lake Rocky Mountain National Park
Colorado Hallett Peak Rocky Mountain National Park
Colorado Hike among the sand dunes Great Sand Dunes National Park
Colorado Mount Ida Rocky Mountain National Park
Colorado North Vista Trail Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Colorado Sky Pond / Lake of Glass / The Loch / Glacier Gorge Rocky Mountain National Park
Colorado Specimen Mountain Rocky Mountain National Park
Florida Long Pine Key Nature Trail Everglades National Park
Hawaii Halemau'u Trail Haleakalā National Park
Hawaii Kilauea Iki Volcanoes National Park
Hawaii Pipiwai Trail Haleakala National Park
Maine Beehive, The Acadia National Park
Maine Cadillac Mountain Acadia National Park
Maine Penobscot Mountain / Sargent Mountain Acadia National Park
Montana Cracker Lake Glacier National Park
Montana Iceberg Lake Glacier National Park
Montana Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail Glacier National Park
Montana Siyeh Pass Glacier National Park
Nevada Pole Canyon Great Basin National Park
New Mexico Natural Entrance Tour & Big Room Tour Carlsbad Caverns National Park
North Carolina Mt. Cammerer Great Smoky Mountains National Park
North Dakota Petrified Forest Loop Theodore Roosevelt National Park
South Dakota Castle Trail Badlands National Park
South Dakota Notch Trail Badlands National Park
Tennessee Charles Bunion Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Tennessee Mount LeConte Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Texas McKittrick Canyon Trail Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Utah Canyon Overlook Trail Zion National Park
Utah Chesler Park Loop Canyonlands National Park
Utah Hickman Bridge Capitol Reef National Park
Utah Kolob Arch Zion National Park
Utah Mesa Arch Canyonlands National Park
Utah Rim Trail Bryce Canyon National Park
Utah Syncline Loop Canyonlands National Park
Utah Tower Arch Arches National Park
Virginia Old Rag Shenandoah National Park
Virginia Stony Man Shenandoah National Park
Virginia White Oak Canyon Shenandoah National Park
Washington Comet Falls / Van Trump Park Mount Rainier National Park
Washington Hoh River Trail Olympic National Park
Washington Olympic Coast Traverse Olympic National Park
Wyoming Avalanche Peak Yellowstone National Park
Wyoming Lamar River Trail / Lamar Valley Yellowstone National Park
Wyoming Lower Falls / Canyon Area Yellowstone National Park
Wyoming Mount Washburn Yellowstone National Park
Wyoming Surprise & Amphitheater Lakes Grand Teton National Park

INTENTIONALLY EXCLUDED FROM THE LIST

The following national park hikes are absolutely outstanding and are sometimes done in one day by extremely strong hikers or trail-runners, but we excluded them from our "top day hikes" lists above because they are either: (a) too difficult for most day hikers to complete in a day; (b) better appreciated as part of a backpacking trip; and/or (c) they require too much scrambling and/or off-trail route-finding.

STATE HIKE NAME PARK
Arizona South Rim-to-Colorado River Grand Canyon National Park
Arizona Rim-to-Rim Grand Canyon National Park
Colorado Longs Peak Rocky Mountain National Park
Montana Swiftcurrent Pass Traverse Glacier National Park
Utah Subway, The ("Left Fork") Zion National Park
Utah West Rim Trail Zion National Park
Utah Upper Muley Twist Canyon Capitol Reef National Park
Wyoming Cascade Canyon / Lake Solitude / Paintbrush Divide Grand Teton National Park
Wyoming Fox Creek Pass Grand Teton National Park




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