Summertime is marked by long days in the sun, warm fire-side nights and—if you’re like us—some incredible hikes.
There’s nothing more liberating than lacing up your hiking boots and taking on a challenging trail in the height of summer. Heading up to new heights with nothing but a light pack is an incredible feeling, matched only by the breathtaking views from the top. We know that it’s not quite summer yet, but hopefully this sampling of epic trails from around the U.S. will inspire some trips and treks in the coming months.
Whether you’re a beginner who just got your first pair of trail shoes or you’re a seasoned pro who’s taken on some impressive thru hikes, this list of hikes should offer enough challenge for the most skilled trekker and most should be accessible enough for most beginners.
Before you plan your summer vacations, check out these 14 hikes that are more than worth your while.
Kalalau Trail—Kauai, Hawaii
The definition of rugged beauty, this narrow 11-mile trail will have you trekking the incredible coastline of the Hawaiian island Kauai. Work your way from fine-sand beach to towering bluff and take in the turquoise waters crashing below you. Don’t be fooled, though, just because this hike offers breathtaking beauty in a tropical setting doesn’t mean it is an easy trip. The rolling hills provide a perfect challenge, but at least you can look forward to lounging on a beach at the end.
North Ridge Trail—Acadia National Park, Maine
The most popular hike in Acadia is well liked for good reason. A short 2.2 miles on the North Ridge Trail puts hikers at the top of Cadillac Mountain. Take in views of Bar Harbor and Frenchman Bay from the 1,530-foot-high peak and be among the first to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic. On a clear day, it’s possible to see more than 100 miles, so don’t miss this unbelievable hike (and view).