The late spring and summer are ideal times for serious hiking, with wild flowers, great weather and trails at higher elevations unveiled from beneath melting snow. Some of the most breathtaking places are found in the United States' 11 National Scenic Trails—areas designated for their particular natural beauty under the National Trails System Act of 1968.
In the infographic below, REI provides a great visual of the locations of these parks, and it makes an excellent jumping off point for planning your next trip. Each scenic trail is famous for different reasons. For instance, hiking the 2,663-mile Pacific Crest Trail will take you on the flanks of Mount Whitney—the highest summit in the contiguous United States–and through seven national parks including Crater Lake and Yosemite.
Of course you don’t have to do the entire length of these massive trails. National and state park officials in your chosen area, can help you find the best day hikes along these routes. You can also find in-depth information about all National Park System units along the way by browsing our map-based National Park Finder on The Active Times.