USA July 22, 2022
by Sophia Here Are The Best Short And Scenic Hikes In All 50 States
America is filled with incredible natural landscapes and beautiful, rugged terrain that draws experienced hikers from all over the world. But what about those of us who aren’t necessarily looking for a three-day excursion into the wild? There are plenty of gorgeous trails all across the country that can be conquered in just a few hours, and these are some of the
best hikes in America that will take you to some truly spectacular places without too much effort.
Check out these awesome short and scenic hikes that offer the greatest amount of beauty-per-step.
Alabama: Stephens Gap
located in Jackson County, is a 150-foot cave that includes a stunning waterfall. It may look like an intimidating spot for a hike, but there is a simple walk-down entrance to the cave and the trip to the cave is only two miles round-trip. Wear sturdy shoes and be sure to visit with a friend.
Stephens Gap, Alabama 35776, USA
Alaska: Thunderbird Falls Trail
Located near Anchorage, the
Thunderbird Falls Trail
is only a one-mile hike. You'll start off slightly north of Eagle River and make your way through pristine terrain and a striking birch forest. The trail ends at a viewing platform that affords spectacular views of the 200-foot Thunderbird Falls.
Thunderbird Falls Trail, Anchorage, AK 99567, USA
Arizona: Navajo National Monument
Located in Betatakin, this
scenic hike in Arizona
comes in just under five miles round-trip. You'll need a guide, as the trail goes through protected Navajo ruins, but the hike itself is not challenging and offers gorgeous and historic scenery.
Navajo National Monument, Arizona 86033, USA
Arkansas: Falls Branch Trail
Lake Catherine State Park
in Hot Springs for a lovely two-mile hike through stunning hardwood forests and wilderness. The trail winds across Little Canyon Creek multiple times and terminates at
Falls Creek Falls.
Falls Branch Trail, Fls Br Trl, Arkansas 71913, USA
California: San Clemente Beach Trail
scenic hike in California
features steady elevation and stunning ocean views. The rail follows the railroad tracks at San Clemente Beach and is only 4.5 miles round-trip.
Beach Trail, San Clemente, CA 92672, USA
Colorado: Manitou Springs
is super short –it's barely one mile long – but hikers will climb over 2,000 feet! There are 2,744 steps that will really make you feel the burn. This trail is perfect for those who don't want to be hiking all day, but still want to challenge themselves.
Manitou Springs, CO 80829, USA
Connecticut: Tunxis Trail
Head to Barkhamsted for an easy, 4.4-mile there-and-back trail through peaceful woods and sunny meadows. The trail passes through the
Indian Council Caves,
which are quite beautiful and a great place to stop for a breather in the warmer months.
Tunxis Trail, Burlington, CT 06013, USA
Delaware: Cape Henlopen State Park
is filled with great trails, but one particularly beautiful and short hike runs along the beach for about 4.5 miles and affords stunning views of the waves. The start of the trail is clearly marked, and it ends at the state's largest and tallest sand dune.
Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware 19958, USA
Florida: Little Talbot Island
There are five distinct ecosystems to be explored on the
four-mile trail. Hikers are sure to run into all sorts of beautiful wildlife as they traverse the gorgeous island, and the sound of the surf is a perfect soundtrack to any day in the sun.
Little Talbot Island, Jacksonville, FL 32226, USA
Georgia: Three Forks at Long Creek Falls
beautiful hike in Georgia
is only 1.9 miles and will take you through dramatic hemlock forests and past groves of fragrant rhododendron. The trail is just a few miles from the beginning of the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain.
Long Creek Falls, Georgia 30813, USA
Hawaii: Papakolea Beach
The hike itself may be easy – just 2.5 miles – but getting here might be a bit of a trek for most. Still, if you can make it to the southernmost point in the United States, the trail along this
Green Sand Beach
will reward you with stunning views and sea breezes.
Mahana Beach, Hawaii 96772, USA
Idaho: Mineral Ridge Loop
Located at stunning
Coeur d'Alene Lake,
this two-mile trail has plenty of cliff views, quiet woodland serenity, and just a touch of elevation. This is one of the best hikes in Idaho that doesn't take much planning or time.
Mineral Ridge Scenic Area, 9200 ID-97, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814, USA
Illinois: Starved Rock State Park
The great thing about this
state park in Illinois
is that it offers trails of all lengths, shapes, and difficulty levels. Choose a hike that winds above a canyon or past beautiful waterfalls. There's even a great trail that will give you amazing views of the Illinois River.
Starved Rock State Park, Oglesby, IL 61348, USA
Indiana: Turkey Run State Park, Trail 8
Coming in at just about 1.8 miles,
is a well-maintained path through the park's gentler terrain, and takes you past most of the same spectacular sites that can be reached by the more challenging trails.
Turkey Run State Park, 8121 Park Rd, Marshall, IN 47859, USA
Iowa: Wildcat Den State Park
This is a great hiking area for when the weather cools down and the leaves start to turn. Located in Muscatine,
Wildcat Den State Park
offers easy trails that take hikers past 75-foot cliffs and beautiful rock formations.
Wildcat Den State Park, 1884 Wildcat Den Rd, Muscatine, IA 52761, USA
Kansas: Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
surrounding Strong City is only 4% of the prairie land that used to stretch over 170 million acres of North America. What is left makes for easy hiking, and the waving fields of wildflowers and tender grasses are absolutely lovely.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, 2480B KS-177, Strong City, KS 66869, USA
Kentucky: Raven’s Run Trail
Situated close to Lexington, this trail is one of the most popular in the area, and one of the more kid-friendly hikes in Kentucky. The
will usher you along the banks of the Kentucky River and near some very lovely babbling brooks.
Louisiana: Louisiana State Arboretum Trail, Chicot State Park
This is a great trail for amateur botanists and wildlife lovers. The well-maintained arboretum features signs and markers that point out beautiful and rare plants, and the boardwalk that runs through the preserve makes hiking easy and comfortable. Fun fact: the
Louisiana State Arboretum
is the oldest state-supported arboretum in the country!
Louisiana State Arboretum State Preservation Area, 1300 Sudie Lawton Lane, Ville Platte, LA 70586, USA
Maine: Moxie Falls, Moxie Gore
This trail is only 2 miles round trip, but takes you past the stunning waters of
The cascades are 90 feet high, so watch your step.
Moxie Falls, Unnamed Road, West Forks, ME 04985, USA
Maryland: Billy Goat Trail
hiking area in Maryland
is split into three sections of varying difficulty, with the total distance covered being about 4.7 miles. However, if you're looking for a peaceful and easy hike through beautiful forested terrain, then Section C is your trail.
Billy Goat Trail Section A, Potomac, MD 20854, USA
Massachusetts: Bash Bish Falls, Mount Greylock Reservation
Bash Bish Falls, Mt Washington, MA 01258, USA
Michigan: Grand Haven Waterfront Trail
easy hike in Michigan
will take you from Lake Michigan to the Grand River. You'll see plenty of boats and scenic waterfront areas. Best of all, the 2.5-mile trail is paved and perfect for mobility-challenged hikers.
Minnesota: The Oberg Mountain Loop
Perhaps one of the
best hikes in Minnesota,
this trail offers 2.5 miles of even elevation gain and consistently awesome views of Lake Superior, Oberg Lake, and Moose Mountain. Definitely a great pick for families with younger kids.
Superior Hiking Trail Oberg Mountain Loop, Tofte Township, MN 55615, USA
Mississippi: CCC Camp Trail
Tishomingo State Park,
this trail features rocky outcroppings and travels over several springs and streams. The three-mile loop trail terminates at a gorgeous swinging bridge that's the perfect spot for a photo-op.
State Park Road, State Park Rd, Mississippi, USA
Missouri: Drover’s Trail, Prairie State Park
With six trails that are all under five miles,
Prairie State Park
is a great spot to wander all day long. The herds of American bison and fields of wildflowers make these hikes unlike any other trails around.
Prairie State Park, 128 NW 150th Ln, Mindenmines, MO 64769, USA
Montana: Woods Gulch
Just outside Missoula lies Woods Gulch, a verdant canyon situated at the southern point of the
Rattlesnake National Recreation Area.
The trail is barely over one mile but will take you through the most beautiful parts of the canyon.
Woods Gulch, Montana 59802, USA
Nebraska: Cowboy Trail
Cowboy Trail, Nebraska, USA
Nevada: White Domes Loop Trail
The terrain may be breathtaking, but this easy 1.3-mile hike won't leave you winded. Located in the
Valley of Fire State Park,
this is a beautiful trail through natural arches and a red rock slot canyon.
White Domes Road, White Domes Rd, Nevada 89040, USA
New Hampshire: West Rattlesnake Mountain
Head to Holderness for an easy two-mile hike that will lead you to the summit of
West Rattlesnake Mountain
and great views of Squam Lake. The elevation gain is pretty great, but the hike isn't too strenuous.
West Rattlesnake Mountain Trailhead, Center Sandwich, NH 03227, USA
New Jersey: Van Campens Glen, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
scenic hike in New Jersey
is short and sweet, plus kid-friendly. You'll travel 1.6 miles round-trip and cross paths with several gorgeous waterfalls. This is a great hike for the autumn months.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, 1978 River Road, Bushkill, PA 18324, USA
New Mexico: The Jemez Falls Area
Hiking around this area is easy and great for the whole family. There's a great cool-water swimming hole, as well as
McCauley Hot Springs.
The water isn't too hot, so it's not at all uncomfortable to take a dip during the summer season.
Jemez Falls, New Mexico 87025, USA
New York: Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen
Just a 2.5-mile hike will take you to 19 different waterfalls and gorgeous, peaceful pools.
Watkins Glen State Park
is one of the most popular parks in New York, and it's easy to see why.
Watkins Glen State Park, 1009 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891, USA
North Carolina: Crabtree Falls Loop Trail
Just look at that view. This hike is short – you'll be walking for about 2.5 miles total - but it does afford a bit of a healthy challenge. The trail will take you through stands of birch and hemlock and to the base of Crabtree Falls, one of the
most scenic hikes in North Carolina.
Crabtree Falls, North Carolina 28777, USA
North Dakota: Prairie Dog Town Trail
Take this 1.5-mile trail through the
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
and you'll be guided to one of the famous prairie dog "towns" that pepper this region. It's a great hike for animal lovers and nature photographers.
Prairie Dog Metropolis, Medora, ND 58645, USA
Ohio: Hebron Trail, Ohio Canal Greenway
beautiful trail in Ohio
runs through Licking County and actually follows the old Penn Central Railroad. Hikers will be taken through 2.7 miles of rolling farmland and over a lovely covered bridge.
Ohio Canal Greenway, Unnamed Road, Hebron, OH 43025, USA
Oklahoma: Bugle Trail at Osage Hills State Park, Pawhuska
Follow the Bugle trail for a great route through the beautiful
Osage Hills State Park.
This easy hike will take you to Sand Creek and Lookout Lake, all with under four miles of trekking.
Osage Hills State Park, 2131 Osage Hills, Park Rd, Pawhuska, OK 74056, USA
Oregon: Sweet Creek Trail
There are plenty of places in Oregon for arduous hikers to challenge themselves, but the
Sweet Creek Trail
is perfect for casual hikers that want to get a good look at the beautiful flora of the
Suislaw National Forest.
The trail extends 2.2 miles through the woods and past multiple pretty waterfalls.
Sweet Creek Road, Sweet Creek Rd, Mapleton, OR 97453, USA
Pennsylvania: Bushkill Falls, Stroudsburg
Are you looking for a super short hike in Pennsylvania with an incredible payoff? Check out the four great trails at
Bushkill Falls in Pennsylvania.
The Yellow Trail will only take you 45 minutes but will bring you to the main falls, plus Lower Gorge Falls, Laurel Glen, and Upper Canyon.
Bushkill Falls Trail, Lehman Township, PA 18324, USA
Rhode Island: Colt State Park, Bristol
state park in Rhode Island
offers a few well-maintained trails that feature very steady elevation and beautiful waterfront views. There's also a great picnic area that overlooks the water.
Colt State Park, Bristol, RI 02809, USA
South Carolina: Woods Bay State Park
Located in Olanta, this pretty hike will take you on a short and sweet 0.75-mile loop around
You also have the option of taking an even quicker jaunt through the swamp on a convenient boardwalk.
Woods Bay State Park, 11020 Woods Bay Rd, Olanta, SC 29114, USA
South Dakota: Good Earth State Park
Good Earth State Park
is a great place for long strolls and learning a bit of local history. The park has been the site of native ceremonies and gatherings for hundreds of years, and the scenic forest groves make for shady and secluded hiking.
Good Earth State Park, 26742-26500 Baker Park Pl, Sioux Falls, SD 57108, USA
Tennessee: Laurel Falls
Head out on a 2.6-mile journey to
The terrain is fairly level and easy-going, and you'll be rewarded with the sight of these beautiful falls.
Laurel Falls Trail, Tennessee 37862, USA
Texas: Lost Maples State Natural Area East Trail, Vanderpool
This trail has the highest concentration of maple trees in the
Lost Maples State Natural Area,
so it's a great hike for the autumn months. Though at only three miles, you can afford to do this one in all four seasons.
Lost Maples State Natural Area, 37221 RM 187, Vanderpool, TX 78885, USA
Utah: Lower Emerald Pools Trail, Zion National Park
scenic hike in Utah
is easy and shady, so it's perfect for the warmer months in Utah. The elevation change is only 70 feet, and the journey totals 1.2 miles round-trip. The trail is clearly marked and easy to follow.
Emerald Pools Trailhead, Hurricane, UT 84737, USA
Vermont: Stowe Pinnacle Trail
The climb to this scenic peak is super easy and will only take you a 2.8-mile hike. Once you're there, the gorgeous
will stretch out at your feet.
Pinnacle Road, Pinnacle Rd, Stowe, VT 05672, USA
Virginia: White Oak Canyon
waterfall hike in Virginia
falls just below five miles, at 4.8 miles in length. Although it can be steep in sections, most of the trail is relatively easy, even for children. This path offers some of the best views in the state.
Whiteoak Canyon Trail, Virginia, USA
Washington: Naches Peak Loop
this loop trail offers plenty of fresh, alpine air and beautiful grassy meadows. The hike is about three miles and is touted as being especially kid-friendly.
Tipsoo Lake, Washington 98022, USA
West Virginia: Babcock State Park
Babcock State Park, 486 Babcock Rd, Clifftop, WV 25831, USA
Wisconsin: Peninsula State Park
coastal park in Wisconsin
offers more than eight miles of hike-friendly shoreline and 4,000 acres of beautiful woodland. Hiking along the coast is the most scenic and level route.
Peninsula State Park, 9462 Shore Rd, Fish Creek, WI 54212, USA
Wyoming: Beauty Lake Trail
Beauty Lake Trail
sure does live up to its name. Hike along this five-mile trail in Shoshone National Forest to take in the splendor of Beartooth Lake, Beauty Lake, and Crane Lake. The latter part of the trail can be a bit challenging, so if you're looking for a super easy hike, just head back about two miles down the trail.
Beauty Lake, Wyoming 82414, USA
Have you hiked any of these amazing trails? Have any more suggestions for easy and scenic hikes in your home state? Let us know!
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The OIYS Visitor Center
best hikes in America
July 26, 2022
What are the best family-friendly hikes in America?
No matter where your travels take you, the entire family can enjoy plenty of family-friendly hikes in America. In Idaho, the
is a 10-mile long paved trail that’ll lead you to across majestic bridges, vast canyons, and the strikingly beautiful Shoshone Falls. For those looking for a shorter trek without compromising on scenery, try the Snake River Canyon Rim Trail . The trail is less than three miles long and will lead to the spectacular Ponytail Falls, a majestic 75-foot waterfall in an incredibly magical setting. Ponytail Falls Trail in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge
What are the most popular national parks in America?
You might be surprised to learn that the most visited national park in the country is actually the
. Nestled on the Tennessee-North Carolina Border, this stunning park attracts more recreational visitors than any other national park in the United States. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Grand Canyon National Park come in close with silver and bronze. Rocky Mountain National Park
What are the best hikes with a view in America?
While every state has a claim to a hiking trail with a beautiful view, you’ll have a hard time competing with the views along the
This stunning hike will take you along the Presidential Range, ascending to the tallest summits in New Hampshire including the mighty Crawford Path in New Hampshire. . This scenic trail also happens to be the oldest continuously used mountain trail in America! The trail was first cleared in 1819 and continues to be one of the most incredible hikes with a view in the country. Mount Washington