12 Epic Hikes in the Western US, Pt. 2

12 Epic Day Hikes in the Western United States, Part 2. This picture is from Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park, WA

12 Epic Day Hikes in the Western United States, Part 2. This picture is from Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park, WA

This is a guest post from one of my group members.  She’s young, fun-loving, and is apt to tell you that she spent her first 3 birthdays hiking the wildernesses of the US, so she’d be just as happy to spend the next three at home!  At any rate, enjoy her take on “epic hikes”!

Exploring The Den, Big Bend National Park, Texas

There’s the girl: Our guest today (on right, with red jacket around her waist) explores the wilds of The Den in Big Bend National Park. This was a few years ago, so she now tops the blog’s owner by more than an inch, much to her joy…

An ‘epic hike’, to me, is one with awe-inspiring, stunning, spectacular views, hopefully not longer than 10 miles RT 🙂 (but if the view is worth it, I’d go 18 miles RT!), ones in remote wilderness areas where the view could be described as ‘rugged’.  And if I can go through a peaceful meadow on the way to the view, it’ll probably make it to my ‘favorite’ list.  Rugged coastlines are my absolute favorite, however, and will almost every time make my ‘epic’ lists!

 


 

Here is a list of the most ‘epic’ hikes I’ve taken in the last few years, from very ‘epic’ to extremely ‘epic’!

Views from Roaring Fork Mountain, Wind River Range, Wyoming

Views from Roaring Fork Mountain of Wind River Peak

  1. Roaring Fork Mountain, Wind River Range, Wyoming

 What Makes It Epic:

The view from the top of the mountain and the wind!  When we went there, the wind was one of the most exciting parts of the hike.  There is also a beautiful meadow with waving grasses on the way to the mountain with a boardwalk through it.  It definitely gives me wonderful memories.  The stream crossing makes for an exciting start… Definitely ‘epic!’  10.4 miles RT.

At the base of Slide Creek Falls, Wind River Range, Wyoming

At the base of Slide Creek Falls

  1. Slide Creek Falls, Wind River Range, Wyoming

 What Makes It Epic:

Mostly that I’ve never seen anything like it in my extensive travels.  It is a wild experience to see the water flowing gently down the inclined rock slide.  With the little pool rippling at the bottom and the ability to follow the falls up over a quarter mile, it is definitely an ‘epic’ experience.  9-10 miles RT.

Meadows of Bonneville Pass in Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming

Meadows of Bonneville Pass

  1. Bonneville Pass, Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming

 What Makes It Epic:

Those be-you-tiful meadows… The first time I went there in 2012, I remember being awestruck at the wonder and peace of the meadows with mountains on nearly every side.  As a plus, the waterfall (Dundee Falls) and stream down the trail a short distance are very nice, but I always keep coming back to the meadow… 5.4 miles RT.

Exploring tide pools en route to Strawberry Point, Olympic National Park, Washington

Exploring tide pools en route to Strawberry Point

  1. Third Beach to Strawberry Point, Olympic National Park, Washington

 What Makes It Epic:

The ruggedness of the sea stacks and headlands.  Although I love stunning views of mountains, and the beauty of the desert, there is nothing quite like hiking through weathered headlands along lonely beaches.  It’s the best beach hike I think I’ve ever done!  11.7 miles RT.

Exploring Coyote Gulch in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Exploring Coyote Gulch

  1. Coyote Gulch, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

 What Makes It Epic:

The beauty of the canyon, mostly.  But the hike is worth it for itself with unmarked paths through the desert sand and across seemingly endless red rock with wild natural designs.  Coming down the sandstone cliff adds a measure of excitement, but these things seem trivial when you arrive at the bottom of the canyon, looking in awe at the huge cliffs on either side with formation such as arches, Anasazi ruins, small waterfalls, and natural bridges all while walking through the river and skipping stones on the surface of the water.  About 8 miles RT (though you could lengthen or shorten it).

The Causeway, Flat Tops Wilderness, Colorado

The Causeway… how would you like to walk across that?

 

  1. The Causeway, Flat Tops Wilderness, Colorado

 What Makes It Epic:

The whole hike!  Whether you’re coming up from the parking lot seeing glimpses of the cliff that will bring you to the flattops, hiking along the narrow cliff toward the Causeway, crossing the four ft. wide Causeway, or hiking through ‘Christina’s World,’ through the meadows back toward the parking lot, there is nothing like this hike.  It has all the pluses: Meadows, stunning views (every direction!), and a top-of-the-world feeling.  About 10 miles RT.

Views toward Mount Massive from the peak of Mount Elbert, San Isabel National Forest, Colorado

Views toward Mount Massive from the peak of Mount Elbert

  1. Mt. Elbert, San Isabel National Forest, Colorado

 What Makes It Epic:

Mostly the fact that it is a 14er and the highest mountain in the Rocky Mountain Range.  However, the views are also beautiful in most directions.  It is (quite literally!) breathtaking!  9.3 miles RT.

Wildflowers and rock towers in Chesler Park in Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Wildflowers and rock towers in Chesler Park

  1. Chesler Park to the Joints, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

 What Makes It Epic:

Those scrub-filled meadows are certainly beautiful… Also the Joints are fun for anyone (except the claustrophobic, and really fun for children).  There are so many canyons that you could literally spend an afternoon exploring and not have gone into every canyon.  About 11 miles RT.

On the Tonto Trail below Horseshoe Mesa, Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona

On the Tonto Trail below Horseshoe Mesa

  1. Horseshoe Mesa Loop, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

 What Makes It Epic:

The views of Grand Canyon.  When we did this trail, the only thing I could think was, ‘this is a part of the Grand Canyon I never knew existed!’  Its length is also impressive, making it one of the most ‘epic hikes’ I’ve ever done.  About 17 miles RT (the link takes you to the first of 4 posts; keep following the links to complete the loop!)

Hidden Lake in North Cascades National Park, Washington

Hidden Lake in North Cascades National Park

  1. Hidden Lake, North Cascades National Park, Washington

 What Makes It Epic:

Everything about it!  But the best part is the top of the ridge before ascending to the fire lookout.  The views of Hidden Lake are absolutely stunning from there.  The fire lookout is definitely a plus in addition to the view.  9.3 miles RT.

The Tetons from Table Mountain, Jedediah Smith Wilderness Area and Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

The Tetons from Table Mountain

  1. Table Mountain via the Face Trail, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

 What Makes It Epic:

The view of Grand Teton at the end.  The trail would be worth it if that was the only thing that was beautiful about it.  But for a bonus, there are also endless meadows full of beautiful vegetation plus incredible views of a rugged cliff to one side, a jagged rock formation to the other side, views of the Idaho plains spreading out to the horizon in another direction and Grand Teton the other way and a top-of-the-world feeling no matter which way you look!  9.4 miles RT.

Hiking the further reaches of Skyline Divide toward Mount Baker, Washington

Hiking the further reaches of Skyline Divide

  1. Skyline Divide, Mt. Baker Wilderness, Washington

What Makes It Epic:

The beautiful views no matter which way you look, the ridge-top meadows, the awe-inspiring views of Mt. Baker at the end, the top-of-the-world feeling… No matter how far you go on this trail, you will be awestruck at the beauty that surrounds you on every side.  This is what I consider to be a Truly Epic Hike!  About 5-10 miles RT.

 

Click here for Epic Hikes of the Western US, Pt 1 and here for Epic Hikes in the Western US, Part 3

 

This Week’s Featured Product!

Look for backpackable hikes?  This book takes you across the US with some of the best backpacking available in the nation’s national parks.  With GPS coordinates and detailed directions, this book is for planning as well as carrying out adventures.

 

Backpacker The National Parks Coast to Coast: 100 Best Hikes (Flexibound)


New From: $13.69 USD In Stock
Used from: $7.82 USD In Stock