The U.S. is a fantastic place to hike. Thousands of trails go through out a variety of terrain. Hike through a pine forest, scale a mountain, take a trek along the coast. The choice is all yours. Whether you are looking for stunning vistas or the challenge of a lifetime, you're sure to find a hike for you here in the states.
In no particular order, here are the the most epic hikes in the U.S.
1. The Appalachian Trail
This 2,178 mile trail stretches from Georgia all the way up to Maine. It passes through six national parks and eight national forests and 12 states. This trail takes hikers anywhere from five to seven months to complete with only about 20% of people completing it. Hikers will pass through a variety of different forest, from oaks to evergreens, and even above the tree line where nothing but sparse moss and shrubs grow.If you're not up to the full trek, you can also simply do a day or weekend hike along the trail and experience the beautiful eastern wilderness of the U.S.Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oregon_jefferson_park.jpeg
2. The Pacific Crest Trail
If stunning mountain ranges, deep ethereal lakes and miles of pine forest are your thing, then this trail is for you. The Pacific Crest Trail is over 2,650 miles and crosses through 3 states and The Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges. It begins at the Mexican border and continues through California, Oregon and Washington, finally ending at the Canadian border. Hikers will go from sea level all the way up to 13,000+ feet, so altitude sickness is one of the many challenges that hikers will undertake in their 5 or so months on the trail.
3. The Continental Divide Trail
The longest portion of the "Triple Crown" of the U.S. trails (The combination of the three longest trails in the U.S: The Appalachian, Continental Divide and Pacific Crest Trails). At over 3,000 miles long The Continental Divide Trail follows the continental divide of the Rocky Mountains from Mexico up to Canada. This trail is currently only about 70% complete, with the rest of the hike taking place on side roads. This trail would take an average of 6 months to hike, though only about 20 some people a year even attempt it. Including the sheer mileage, the usual dangers of the mountains await hikers including severe weather, hypothermia, bears and mountain lions.
4. Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii
If you Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kubina/324479028/can't get enough of the coast then this stunning Hawaiian trek will be sure to satisfy. Though trekking along rocky unsteady trails across 300 ft cliffs for 11 miles is not for the faint of heart. This trail certainly makes you come with your sense of adventure. The reward for all this dangerous hiking? The gorgeous paradise of Kalalau beach waiting for you at the finish line.
5. Buckskin Gulch, UT
Explore the longest, deepest slot canyon in the Southwest. Around 10 ft. wide and 400 ft deep, this canyon acts as nothing more than a straight funnel should the rains come, so check the forecast first. Should the rain come the water can go from zero to 20ft in minutes. The walls are nearly sheer rock and the only escape is about 8 miles down this 12 mile hike. Buckskin Gulch is definitely an eerie hike quite unlike any other.