If you enjoy hiking then there can be no better setting for a day’s hiking than the many wonderful national parks of the United States.
At one extreme you have the Badlands of South Dakota and the Petrified National Forest in Arizona and at the other you have the lush green scenery of Crater Lake in Oregon or the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. Then, in between, you have the thick forests, icy lakes and majestic mountains of Glacier Park in Montana or the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, whose 14,000 foot peaks offer some truly exciting hiking.
Of course if you are looking for something truly spectacular then there is nothing quite as stunning as the Grand Canyon in Arizona which many people quite rightly refer to as the eighth wonder of the world. This gash which Mother Nature has gouged out of the earth runs for nearly 300 miles, is 18 miles wide at its widest point and is a breathtaking one mile in depth.
Nature truly provides some wonderful settings for the hiker and another is the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park which boasts several different ecosystems and allows you hike across black lava sands one day and through dense rain forest the next.
And speaking of volcanoes, is there any more spectacular experience than standing right beside Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park when it sends its pillar of spray high into the air. Yellowstone provides some excellent hiking trails as does the nearby Grand Teton National Park which, in the opinion of many people, is simply one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
For nature lovers a hike through Crater Lake in Oregon is also a must where the giant lake is surrounded by high and densely forested mountains which are home to both bears and soaring hawks. If you enjoy fishing then you will find that Crater Lake has an abundant supply of trout.
Although everyone has their own favorite national park (mine is unquestionably Great Teton) for many millions of people the prize goes to Yosemite.
Yosemite National Park offers many spectacular views including that of El Capitan which is the largest granite outcrop on the planet and whose 3,000 foot sheer face attracts climbers from all over the world. There are also of course Yosemite’s many magnificent waterfalls, of which Yosemite Falls itself is the best known, which splash their way down the mountain sides through dense forest which is crisscrossed by hundreds of hiking trails.
Yosemite is also home to some of the most spectacular sequoia trees to be seen anywhere in the world and no visit to Yosemite would be complete without a hike through Mariposa Grove and the lesser know, but no less spectacular, Merced Grove and Tuolumne Grove.
The list of national parks and their memorable attractions could go on and on and for those living in the United States they fortunately provide more than a lifetime worth of incredible hiking experiences.