The Best & Most Memorable Hiking Trails in the U.S.
Strap on your CamelBak, therecreational oxygen and get moving! Oxygen Plus (O+) has the inside scoop on the best long-distance hiking trails in the U.S. – from rugged mountain pursuits to laid-back jaunts. Whether you want to embark on an extended trip or spend an afternoon checking out some of these popular hiking trails, you’re sure to take in some fresh air and great vistas.
The Pacific Crest Trail – Spanning from the U.S.-Canadian border to the U.S.-Mexico border, this 2,659-mile West Coast hike meanders through the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range mountains. If you don’t have the time to hike the entire trail, which can take up to six months, hike small portions to see gorgeous views of the John Muir Wilderness and Devils Postpile National Monument in California; Mount Hood and the Bridge of the Gods in Oregon and Cascade Pass and Mount Adams in Washington.
The Appalachian Trail – This 2,200-mile trail spans from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, with the Great Smoky Mountains and Maine’s Hundred-Mile Wilderness in-between. The App Trail is ideal for the social or group hiker, as it’s developed quite the reputation for little “trail towns” along the way where hikers can sleep, eat and socialize. It’s also perfect for the first-time long-distance hiker, as there are plenty of roads and businesses along the way.
The Continental Divide Trail – With 3,100 miles of pristine, undeveloped landscape to enjoy, the Continental Divide Trail is a must for those hikers looking for pure peace and quiet. It follows the Continental Divide of the Americas, through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. The remote and rugged trails pass through Montana’s gorgeous Bob Marshall Wilderness and Glacier National Park.
The Hayduke Trail – Get the best view of Utah’s 11,419-feet high Mount Ellen in the Henry Mountains from the 812-mile long Hayduke Trail. It spans from Arches National Park in Hurrah Pass, Utah through the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and ends in Utah’s Zion National Park. This is a rugged and challenging long-distance trail, but the breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Park are well worth it.
Bigfoot Trail – Spend some time taking in the towering Redwoods on this 360-mile North California trail that begins in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness and then meanders through Redwood National Park and the Klamath Mountains. It boasts 32 conifer species, making it the perfect hiking trail for the tree-lover or conservationist.
Quick Tips for Long-Distance Hikers
Traverse high-altitude sections with ease with compact, lightweight canisters ofrecreational oxygen, which can help offset the effects of higher elevation
Pack compact, high-protein snacks, such as nuts and granola bars, along with plenty of water
Invest in a solar-powered backpack to ensure that your camera and phone are charged to capture the best views
If you intend to spend more than two weeks on the trail, buddy up with fellow hikers and share resources as you go