6 Most Scenic Day Hikes in U.S. National Parks

The United States is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the world, but you don’t need to hit the trail for days or weeks on end to experience these amazing views. In no particular order, here are the six best day hikes in the U.S. National Parks.

While not all are “easy” trails, all are readily accessible and can be completed in one day. Dust off your boots and load your pack for an exhilarating trek to one of these picturesque vistas.

Angels Landing

Zion National Park, Utah

This 5-mile roundtrip hike may be one of the most stunning in all the country. At Zion National Park, you’ll find a trail that was once at sea level 270 million years ago. While anyone with moderate physical conditioning can complete the hike, the trail can be challenging for those with a fear of heights. Chains bolted directly into the cliff provide secure handholds to navigate, as some sections of the trail are only a few feet wide with drastic drop-offs of over a thousand feet to the floor below.

Bright Angel Trail

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Bright Angel Trail is perhaps the premier hiking route within Grand Canyon National Park. Hiking from the rim to the river (and back) can be both exhilarating and challenging. With summertime temperatures reaching well over 110 degrees Fahrenheit the climb back up from the river can be a suffer-fest. Make sure to carry ample water to compensate for the heat and exertion of ascending more than 4,300 vertical feet in less than 10 miles.

Precipice Trail

Acadia National Park, Maine



This trail is the most well-known and challenging hike in Acadia National Park. A nearly 1,000-foot vertical route up the granite face of Champlain Mountain, this route is not for the faint of heart and is best suited for experienced hikers. Check with the NPS ahead of time for accessibility as the mountain is a nesting site for peregrine falcons and is subject to being closed during nesting season, which can run from late spring through mid-August.

Video by Anthony J. Bopp and Francheska Miranda, Courtesy of NPS.

Highline Loop

Glacier National Park, Montana

The trailhead for the Highline is situated right across from the Going-to-the-Sun Road at the Logan Pass Visitor Center. While the drive through Glacier National Park may be one of the most spectacular drives in the nation, you would be missing out to not park the car and take this 11.4 point-to-point trail. The trail parallels the Garden Wall and provides views of the Grinnell Glacier before arriving at the Granite Park Chalet (where one can purchase snacks and water) before descending the final stretch to the Loop where a park shuttle can take you back to the visitor center and your car. Aside from stunning views, the opportunity to see some of the park’s iconic wildlife are also possible along the route.

Devils Garden

Arches National Park, Utah

Though just over eight miles, the entire Devils Garden trail offers a spectacular opportunity to see numerous geologic wonders as well as multiple of the Arches National Park’s namesake formations. The trailhead is located at the end of the park’s main road and the hike to Landscape Arch, the longest arch in the park, is just 1.5 miles from the trailhead. While most visitors to the park turn around here, there is so much more to see and enjoy in this painted landscape.

Star Dune

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

The largest sand dune in the United States is situated amidst a backdrop of 14,000-foot peaks. It takes five hours roundtrip to complete the six-mile loop to the top of the 755-foot tall Star Dune. The hike can be challenging as you are walking up and down the sand. However, once you reach the top, the view is spectacular and worth every grueling step.

Travel

10 Reasons to Visit Norway in 2019

The picturesque ruggedness of Norway is just part of the appeal of what may arguably be one of the most beautiful countries on the planet.
Travel

21 Best Travel Books to Inspire Your Next Adventure

Get out of town ... or just go to the library. Travel books simulate the sensations of sailing, sightseeing, and setting out to explore.
Auto

Cake’s Newest Electric Motorcycle Prepares for Its Street Debut

Built as a fully street-legal electric motorcycle, the Kalk& (yes, that's the name) furthers the Swedish company’s minimalistic design and engineering aesthetic.
Travel

The Palms Casino’s Newest High-Roller Suites Have a Bowling Alley and Whiskey Room

The Hardwood Suite is a basketball-centric masterpiece, while the Kingpin suite is a bowling bro's paradise.
Living

The Best Firewood-Cutting Tools and Accessories

It takes a lot of work to keep a fire ablaze. However, if you equip yourself with the right tools, your job will get a little easier.
Outdoors

Check Out This Guide to 71 Natural Hot Springs Across the U.S.

America is home to 1,161 known hot springs, and thanks to a new guide from CarRentals, you can now easily find your way to 71 of those.
Outdoors

Outdoor Retailer Snow Show 2019: First Look at the Coolest Upcoming Gear

Here are the coolest gear pieces and insane technologies that we saw at Outdoor Retailer. These products are a sneak peek at what will be available to the public in the next few years.
Fashion & Style

Save Up to 30 Percent Off Winter Ski Apparel from the Stio End-of-Season Sale

The Wyoming-based brand offers a variety of winter gear to keep you storm-ready and right now.
Outdoors

How to Survive a Bear Attack: Brown Bears, Black Bears, Polar Bears, Oh My

The chances of encountering a bear in the wild are slim, but you should always be prepared for the worst.
Outdoors

Tips for Camping in the Rain You Should Read Before You Get Soaked

There are several pieces of gear, a few techniques, and some clever hacks that will make your sodden outdoor experience a pleasure despite the drizzle or downpour.
Travel

The Best Travel and Adventure Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

If you're reading this, you're staring at a screen. Wouldn't you rather be exploring a different part of the world than the Internet?
Outdoors

4 of the Most Dangerous Hikes in the World

You'll need a healthy dose of fear and a desire to push your self to the edge — just not over it.
Outdoors

4 of the Most Challenging Day Hikes in the U.S.

These trails are not for the faint of heart, but if you possess the necessary skills and are in above-average shape, they can be knocked out in one day.
Outdoors

Camp, Eat, and Have a Beer Underwater with the Ocean Space Habitat ‘Tent’

Imagine playing poker and sharing a bottle of bourbon with your buddies underwater.