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The Best National Park Trails for a Day Hiker

10. Highline Trail

Glacier National Park

There are many gorgeous hikes at Glacier National Park, but this one takes the cake. Highline Trail follows the continental divide, offering astonishing views of the green peaks. Hikers looking to extend their adventure can keep going at the Granite Park Trail junction, eventually ending up as far the famed Granite Park Chateau.

(image via mpwillis, CC)

9. Hoh River Trail

Olympic National Park

As you walk along the gorgeous Hoh River, you will be able to take in the lush forests of the northwest corner of the nation. At the end of the trail, there are outstanding views of the snowy volcanoes of the Pacific coast. Many consider the mossy Hoh Rainforest to be one of America’s best-kept secrets.

(image via daveynin, CC)

8. Endless Wall Trail

New River Gorge National River

Regularly voted one of the best hiking trails in the country, the Endless Wall Trail takes visitors along jagged cliff sides for views of the forest and the New River below. Be sure to stop at the many overlooks, especially the one at Diamond Point. From there, you can see for miles.

(image via jefferythomas)

7. Bright Angel Trail

Grand Canyon National Park

No matter where you enjoy hiking, the Bright Angel Trail at Grand Canyon National Park should be on your bucket list. As you walk along the edge of America’s most famous natural landmark, you will be able to see out over the valleys. For the return trip, take the South Kaibab Trail for even more spectacular views.

(image via janitors, CC)

6. Ramsey Cascades

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

With their thick forests and spectacular array of wildlife, it isn’t hard to find peace in the Great Smoky Mountains. Ramsey Cascades is the tallest waterfall in the park, and the trail follows its flowing streams and rocky hills. From the top, hikers are able to look out over the mountains.

(image via tennesseerambler82)

5. Cadillac Mountain

Acadia National Park

This lovely mountain actually offers two popular trails: the 4.4-mile round trip North Ridge Trail and the 7-mile round trip South Ridge Trail. From the rocky peak, guests are able to look out over Frenchman Bay and Bar Harbor. As the granite hills give way to ponds, you will have plenty of opportunities to take pictures to make your friends jealous.

(image via earthscanner)

4. Angels Landing

Zion National Park

Instead of making the strenuous trek up to Observation Point, you will find many of the same views of the rock formations from Angels Landing. Zion Canyon stretches for miles, and you will be able to see much of it from this unbelievable trail. Don’t let the dropoff scare you—there are many designated rope and chain handholds to ensure safety.

(image via jbrazito, CC)

3. Kilauea Iki Trail

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Kilauea Iki hasn’t seen lava flows since the 1950s, but the volcano is still active. Hikers can see the glowing magma for themselves from the trail. Be sure to stay on the marked path; nothing ruins a hike faster than losing a foot. At the end of the trail, you will be able to see the thick forests that grew up out of the volcanic ash.

(image via rosssg1)

2. Upper Geyser Basin

Yellowstone National Park

Old Faithful is impressive, but it is far from the only reason to head to Yellowstone National Park. Over 60% of the world’s geysers are located within the park, and more than one hundred of them are accessible from the Upper Geyser Basin. Try to get a picture with all five of the major jets.

1. The Narrows

Zion National Park

A hike for the more adventurous traveler, The Narrows is sure to be an experience unlike anything you’ve seen before. As its name would suggest, the trail cuts through the narrowest section of Zion Canyon, with hikers having to wade through part of the Virgin River. Some of the canyon’s beautiful walls are 1,000 feet tall.

(image via cmichel67, CC)