Top 10 Hiking Trips to experience in North America
Hiking provides an opportunity to experience the natural beauty of a country or region while escaping the hustle and bustle of the cities. North America has no shortage of long-distance and shorter day hike options that traverse rugged shoreline and mountains, villages and farmland. As always, follow local travel advisories and hire a guide as recommended for navigating any new trails.
The Bruce Trail, Ontario, Canada
Stretching nearly 900 kilometres from Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula to Queenston on the US border, the Bruce Trail follows the Niagara Escarpment as it traverses southern Ontario, with a passage through Toronto. Broken into nine sections, there’s an additional 400 kilometres of associated trails off the main route, the oldest and longest marked trail in Canada.
Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Whether looking for a gentle hike or a full-day trek through the Rocky Mountains, Canada’s oldest national park, Banff National Park has abundant options. Johnston Canyon to Ink Pots provides stunning waterfall views with surprising mineral springs in various colours tucked inside the inkpots. From Banff, the Sulpher Mountain trail is a strenuous hike providing great views. From Lake Louise, trails of varying levels of difficulty provide views across this glistening lake.
Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada
The hiking options in Jasper National Park are limitless with hundreds of kilometres of trails winding their way through valleys and up mountain peaks. Hikes off the Icefield Parkway tend to be shorter (see Athabasca Falls with a 200-metre trek) while those from picturesque Maligne Lake tend to be longer and a bit more difficult (but well worth the views).
West Coast Trail, British Columbia, Canada
The West Coast Trail is an iconic backpacking trail that spans 75 kilometres and traverses the Pacific Rim National Park. Hikers can expect spectacular views of the rugged coastline, to peer inside caves, climb about 100 ladders, and wade through multiple rivers. The West Coast Trail passes along former First Nation trade routes and is truly a backcountry hike and can be an intimidating trail to hike even to the most seasoned adventure-seeker. For those looking to tackle a shorter portion of the trail, and break the trail up into a couple of sections, there is a mid-point entrance at Nitinaht Narrows. which is only accessible by water taxi
Yosemite National Park, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California
Equally known for its waterfalls and majestic mountain views, Yosemite National Park boasts nearly 2600 km of land to explore. With that much space, the hiking options are plentiful. Popular options include the strenuous Half-Dome Hike passing the Vernal and Nevada Falls, the moderate Mist Trail taking in more waterfalls, and the easy Mirror Lake trail.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, United States
This park needs no introduction. Options range from backcountry to guided to mule trips and even river trips for those who want to experience the Grand Canyon from another viewpoint. Plenty of day hike options are available on the North Rim, varying from a couple of hours to a full day. The South Rim trails tend to be steeper and more challenging.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Nevada, United States
Just a short distance from glittering Las Vegas, the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is filled with hikes that, while they may not seem long, can take a full day, as many of the hikes here are difficult. Don’t miss the Petroglyph Wall Trail, although short, is worth the visit as it features a cliffside that features historical art, estimated to be at least 800 years old.
Hawaii, United States
Hawaii is filled with some of the best scenery, gorgeous volcanic landscapes and epic vistas that are fantastic for hiking. The Big Island of Hawaii provides opportunities to trek through the rainforest and follow trails that provide views of some of the islands active volcanoes. If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a trek in Hawaii’s Volcano National Park is not to be missed. A short hike to the crater provides fantastic views of an active volcanic crater with actual lava flow.
Copper Canyon, Chihuahua, Mexico
Copper Canyon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. The coppery green coloured walls provide the name for this canyon that’s been dubbed the Grand Canyon of Mexico. Trails are not well marked so hiring a local guide is recommended. Plan accordingly as trails typically take 3-4 days to complete.
East Coast Trail, Newfoundland, Canada
Follow the East Coast Trail along Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula on this 337-kilometre trail that provides rugged shoreline views with opportunities to witness whales in their natural habitat and even icebergs floating by. It is made up of 25 linked wilderness paths and passes through more than 30 communities. While hiking this trail, be sure to take in some of Canada’s most historic sites, such as Signal Hill, which is the easternmost point in North America. The trail can be done in sections to allow for shorter day trips.
For more information about the Top 10 hiking trips to experiences in North America or other global hiking opportunities, please contact Krista Tovell at Tovell Travel.