Welcome back to your Internet “home on the range” here at AllCampgrounds. As part of our continuing series on the best in hiking, we’re going to hit the trail today and showcase some of the hottest places to go hiking nationwide. Many of these scenic and historic trails are situated convenient to tent camping, and a few are accessible near RV parks and campgrounds, so nobody is left out. The longest, best-maintained trails wend their way through both modern and primitive camp grounds, and include breathtaking scenery that non-hikers just won’t get a chance to enjoy.
Obviously, everyone has their own opinion on what makes a trail memorable, but all of these are classic, unique, and historic; in other words, they’re part of the American landscape. Mountainous trails are preferred by many experienced hikers, but that doesn’t always mean that you have to scale peaks to enjoy a hike through the area. There are many well-established trails through the foothills of famous mountains – though the most strenuous mountain hikes can be dangerous due to weather conditions and heights.
AllCampgrounds Picks: Some World Class Hiking Trails
Appalachian National Scenic Trail: Offering 2,175 miles of publicly-owned footpaths running from Maine all the way down to Georgia, the Appalachian Trail, unlike the Oregon Trail below, is a purpose-made hiking trail. The trail is one of the most expansive around, and stretches across 75 parks and forests in 14 states. Naturally, conditions vary on the trail, and hikers have to be alert to trouble spots, but there are few better opportunities to enjoy truly undeveloped land across such a wide area. Check out the trail map for more information on the route and nearby facilities. On any long Appalachian Trail hike, occasional “town stops” are highly recommended.
Oregon National Historic Trail: The Oregon Trail is one of the major landmarks in American history, leading pioneers westward to the Pacific in search of fortune and freedom. Even those who aren’t history buffs are familiar with the famous Oregon Trail computer game, one of the first popular games ever released. In the real world, today’s Oregon Trail runs over 2,000 miles through six U.S. states, largely through undeveloped territory that holds traces of explorers and adventures of yore. Both short and long hikes are encouraged, but be aware that some segments of the historic trail are in private ownership and may not be accessible.
Yosemite National Park: Half Dome: Yosemite National Park is known as one of the most majestic public spaces in California, and it’s also home to an iconic hike, one of the most challenging anywhere in North America. Permits are required for the Half Dome Day Hike from Friday to Sunday; this journey usually takes about twelve hours and gains almost 5,000 feet in elevation. About 100 “search-and-rescue” operations are conducted every year on the first part of the trail alone; only top hikers with some mountaineering experience can summit Half Dome successfully, though partial hikes are possible for less seasoned hikers. Luckily, Yosemite itself provides plenty of nearby camp grounds for tent camping purposes. Cabins and lodges are also available. Don’t miss the safety video for a blow-by-blow account of the hike!
Presidential Traverse: Definitely not for beginners, the Presidential Traverse is a grueling but highly rewarding trek across New Hampshire’s White Mountains, many of which are named for U.S. presidents. Though definitions vary, most sources agree that a successful Traverse is about twenty miles long, and involves 8,500 feet in elevation gain. The Presidential Traverse is usually attempted in June, when the days are longest and the weather is mild. See the linked FAQ for more on this daunting quest! Also visit White Mountain National Forest for more from the park service in this area.