8 Epic Hikes in the Western US, Pt. 1

8 Epic Hikes in the Western US - The photo (of Clear Creek Canyon in the Wind Rivers of Wyoming) is one of my favorites from the guest who inspired this post.

8 Epic Hikes in the Western US – The photo (of Clear Creek Canyon in the Wind Rivers of Wyoming) is one of my favorites from the guest who inspired this post.

Today, here’s a guest post from one of my group members.  He’s young, loves awe-inspiring views (especially over peaceful or spectacular valleys), and is generally quiet until he really has an opinion.  Then, world watch out!  (And I should know – as his older sister, well, I know when to back down :-).)

There's our man (green pack) checking out the way up Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon in the wilderness of Utah (Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument)

There’s our man (green pack) checking out the way up Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon in the wilderness of Utah

At any rate, he’s kindly provided us with a list of his 8 most epic day hikes in the western US.  An enthusiastic hiker, and avid view-seeker, and unafraid of either wilderness or long / difficult trail conditions… “Epic” means long, adventurous, and with especially breath-taking, top-of-the-world views.  However, they can be enjoyed as a day hike with moderate to excellent physical fitness at the proper times of year (like, not when Death Valley is 100 degrees or Skyline Divide is covered with snow).  Enjoy!

 

8 Epic Day Hikes in the Western US

Views from part way along Skyline Divide, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

Views from part way along Skyline Divide

Skyline Divide, Mt. Baker Wilderness, Washington.

What Makes it Epic: Views over beautiful valleys, the not-so-far-off Canadian Cascades, and the ever-closer cone of Mt. Baker.  Awe-inspiring!  RT Trail Length: Upwards of 4.2 miles; you should at least hike 5 miles out for the best experience.

The Colorado River at the bottom of the Lava Falls Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The Colorado River at the bottom of the Lava Falls Trail

Lava Falls Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

What Makes it Epic: There technically isn’t even a trail, just a 1.5 mile route.  This is the only rim-to-river route short enough to day hike, but it requires more than just good route finding skills… like a good dose of balance when the rock you’re standing on decides to slide the rest of the way down the scree chute… with you surfing on it!  RT Trail Length: 3 miles

Views while hiking across Death Valley's Badwater Flats, Death Valley National Park, California

Views while hiking across Death Valley’s Badwater Flats

Hiking across Death Valley, Death Valley National Park, California.

What Makes it Epic: Who wouldn’t want to hike across the lowest place in the western hemisphere, with spectacular salt flats and snow-capped peaks galore?  RT Trail Length: Guessing about 5-10, depending on whether or not you have a shuttle vehicle (we haven’t visited since I got a GPS).

Wildflowers while ascending the Stairway to Heaven, Jedediah Smith Wilderness / Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Wildflowers while ascending the Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven / Alaska Basin Overlook, Jedediah Smith Wilderness, Wyoming.

What Makes it Epic: Only 5.5 miles to the overlook above spectacular Alaska Basin, when visiting the idyllic basin would be 16 miles RT.  Oh, and the stunning cliffs and wildflowers in season…  RT Trail Length: 9-11 miles

 

Views from the end of Horseshoe Mesa, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Views from the end of Horseshoe Mesa

Horseshoe Mesa, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

What Makes it Epic: Fabulous views of the Grand Canyon like you’ve never seen before from the more popular corridor trails… and chances are you’ll have the mesa to yourself.  RT Trail Length: 10 miles

Driftwood and sea stacks along the coastline between Third Beach and Strawberry Point, Olympic National Park, Oregon

Driftwood and sea stacks along the coastline between Third Beach and Strawberry Point

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

What Makes it Epic: Scrambling up sheer hillsides, wading through mud and tree roots, strolling through a rain forest, and walking among sea stacks… all on one trail!  RT Trail Length: 11.7 miles; you could cut it back a bit.

Mt. Baker from early on the Ptarmigan Ridge Trail, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

Mt. Baker from early on the Ptarmigan Ridge Trail

Ptarmigan Ridge, Mt. Baker Wilderness Area, Washington.

What Makes it Epic: Fantastic, spectacular views over Mt. Baker and Mt. Shucksan (the former so close it feels like you can touch it), crossing permanent snowfields, walking along the side of a sheer ridge with jaw-dropping views in every direction.  RT Trail Length: 10.5 miles; could cut it back a bit and still enjoy the scenery.

Sun-dappled views along the South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Sun-dappled views along the South Kaibab Trail

South KaibabTonto-Bright Angel Loop, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

What Makes it Epic: Unrivaled spectacular Grand Canyon views pretty much non-stop until the Bright Angel Trail; walking along the rim of the inner canyon… so you’re really walking through the Grand Canyon proper!  RT Trail Length: 13.1 miles

 

Hopefully this will just be the first “epic trails” guest post… be on the lookout for more as the months move on!  (View Epic Hikes in the Western US, Pt. 2 and Epic Hikes in the Western US, Part 3!)

 

This Week’s Featured Product!

Looking for a little fun?  Check out this coloring book for not-so-much-children as for adults who enjoy traveling (or wish they could travel to) the western United States!

 

Coloring the West: An Adult Coloring Book for Travelers (Paperback)


List Price: $8.99 USD
New From: $7.78 USD In Stock
Used from: $9.15 USD In Stock


2 thoughts on “8 Epic Hikes in the Western US, Pt. 1

  1. Pingback: 12 Epic Hikes in the Western US, Pt. 2 - Anne's Travels

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