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Note: All travel is subject to frequently-changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state, and local advisories before scheduling trips.

It seems everyone has come to embrace the great outdoors in the past year, and hikes were a big part of that.  So whether you’re new to hiking and simply looking for an easy-going afternoon with friends, or you’ve become more confident in your abilities and seeking out a bigger challenge, or even perhaps you’ve put off plans for an epic trek for too long and this is finally the year, we’ve got the perfect hike for you. Whatever your experience level or motivation, rest assured that Mother Nature will provide beauty and adventure on these trails. You just have to lace up your boots and put one foot in front of the other. To get you started, here are eight of the most iconic hikes for every skill level.

RELATED: The ultimate Southwest National Parks road trip


Devil’s Bridge Trail: Sedona, AZ

Wildflowers, stunning views, and a photo atop an arch make Devil’s Bridge Trail a popular Sedona trek. Whether or not you have four-wheel drive dictates the hike’s overall distance. Regardless, red rock mountains, desert forest, cacti, and yucca plants lining the trail will inspire you all the way to the largest natural sandstone arch in the area.

Distance: 4.2 miles without 4WD; 2 miles with 4WD roundtrip

Know before you go: This hike requires purchasing the Red Rock Pass.

Stay: Take advantage of the full-service spa, onsite lounge, and pillowtop beds at Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock

Hoh River Trail: Olympic National Park, WA

There’s no need to complete the entire Hoh River Trail to satisfy your senses in Olympic National Park’s Hoh Rainforest. From the cedar, fir, and spruce-filled tree canopy to the ferns and cascading moss, every imaginable shade of green explodes before your eyes just steps from the visitor center. Glacier-fed Hoh River comes into view after a mile of flat trail. Five Mile Island, another laidback 5.3-miles ahead, offers wildlife viewing and makes for a good turnaround point. Enjoy lunch with Bogachiel Peak as your backdrop before heading back.

Distance: 10.6 miles roundtrip

Know before you go: Olympic National Park charges $30 per vehicle to enter.

Stay: Camp or enjoy oceanfront Kalaloch Lodge along world-famous Hwy 101

Coast Trail: Cutler, ME

Nothing says northeastern adventure quite like the Coast Trail along Maine’s dramatic “Bold Coast.” The perks—maritime spruce-fir forest, cedar swamp, and a cliff-top view of the Atlantic—come quick. Stopping at the overlook makes this hike the easiest, shortest, and most accessible. The rugged beauty might send you down the trail a bit farther.

Distance: 2.8 miles roundtrip

Know before you go: Spring brings wet and foggy conditions; whale watching is best in summer.

Stay: Cozy rooms at The Inn on the Wharf are right on the waterfront.

ALSO: Hike your way to travel rewards and perks—join Orbitz Rewards!


The Narrows: Zion National Park, UT

The Narrows is the quintessential American Southwest slot canyon hike. For first-timers to Zion, the bottom-up option is best. It’s unique, challenging, and makes for one of the best experiences. Take the shuttle to the Temple of Sinawava and after the mile walk, jump into the Virgin River. From here, follow it upstream through ankle to waist-deep water to some of the best scenery in the Narrows. Look for Mystery Falls after 30-45 minutes. Three miles into the hike is when you reach “Wall Street.” Stop here and absorb the dramatic 1,500-foot towering cliffs narrowly closing in around you. When you reach Big Springs, a picturesque array of cascades, you’ve reached your turnaround point.

Distance: 10 miles roundtrip

Know before you go: The best light for photos is May-September between 10am and 3pm.

Stay: Bumbleberry Inn is a two-minute drive from Zion’s south entrance.

Superior Hiking Trail: Duluth, MN

Hugging Lake Superior for 296 miles from Duluth to Canada, the Superior Hiking Trail reigns supreme as a Midwestern classic. There are seven main sections and trailheads every three to 11 miles, helping to break this thru-hike into doable day or weekend adventures. Tackle the Silver Bay to Lake County Road 6 stretch for a scenic, yet challenging intro. You’ll pass through maple groves and above inland lakes, take on steep ascents and mountain summits, bask in unobstructed views of Lake Superior, and visit the highest waterfall in Minnesota.

Distance: 18 miles one-way

Know before you go: Wild berries flourish during the summer.

Stay: The Downtown-Waterfront atmosphere at Pier B Resort is a can’t miss.


Half Dome Trail: Yosemite National Park, CA

An endurance hike with a before sunrise departure time, strenuous elevation gains, switchbacks, and a punishing 45-55 degree grade, 400-foot cable-aided ascent to the summit. That’s what it’ll take to conquer Half Dome Trail and say you stood atop this iconic monolith in Yosemite Valley. Because it’s such a difficult hike, plan on a 10 to 12-hour day and pack plenty of water. The trail is well marked but make sure to watch for signs to stay on course.

Distance: 15 miles roundtrip

Know before you go: Permits to hike to the top of Half Dome are required and assigned by a lottery.

Stay: Book a cabin at Evergreen Lodge Yosemite.

Kalalau Trail: Kauai, HI

Don’t be fooled by the chance to hike in paradise. Kalalau Trail is seriously challenging and recommended only for experienced, well-prepared adventurers. Leave Ke’e Beach, then traverse 11 miles of tropical valleys, towering sea cliffs, and eventually drop back to sea level at the beaches of Hanakāpīʻai and Kalalau. Once you reach Kalalau Beach, smile because you’ll be setting up camp in this secluded landscape nestled between lush volcanic ridges and the turquoise Pacific.

Distance: 22 miles roundtrip

Know before you go: The number of people allowed on the trail is limited and permits are required to camp.

Stay: Relax before or after your hike at Club Wyndham Bali Hai Villas.

Tagged: California, Hawaii, Midwest, Minnesota, National Parks, New England, Southwest, Top 10 Lists, Utah

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