- Bryce Canyon
- Grand Canyon
- Joshua Tree
- Big Bend
Some of the best places to hike in the United States are amongst the beautiful national parks that are tucked into every corner of the country. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or are lacing up your hiking boots for the first time, national parks are one of the best places for easy hikes with spectacular views. Hikes don’t have to be challenging or exhausting. They can be a mellow way to recharge in nature and take in beautiful views. Check out some of the United States’ most popular national parks with easy hikes and stunning views for some easy-going options for your next weekend getaway or vacation.
Bryce Canyon National Park
The southern Utah Red Rocks of Bryce Canyon National Park are a geological feature of towering spires that erosion has carved away. When it comes to hiking, Bryce Canyon is at the top of the list for vast canyon views and up close views of the intricate rock formations. One of the best easy hikes with incredible views is hiking from Sunset Point to Sunrise Point on the paved Rim Trail. Another easy hike with plenty of views is the Queens Garden Trail, which is a 2.9 mile loop descending into the Bryce Canyon Amphitheater to the Queen Victoria hoodoo.
Glacier National Park
Another one of the most popular national parks with easy hikes and stunning views is Glacier National Park in Montana. With glacier-carved peaks, pristine lakes and crystal clear rivers, these Montana mountains and valleys are full of breathtaking views. Glacier National Park is known for the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road that is open to vehicles during the summer and is full of hundreds of miles of hiking trails. One of the most popular short hikes is The Avalanche Trail to Avalanche Lake and the more moderate 2.7 mile Hidden Lake Overlook Trail.
Shenandoah National Park
The east coast often gets put on the back burner for national parks to visit, but the Blue Ridge Mountains of Shenandoah are worth the trip to Virginia. Shenandoah is full of endless natural beauty and a massive web of trails through dense forests full of waterfalls and wildlife. The famous Skyline Drive is one of the best ways to take in the scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The best easy hike to watch the sunset is the 1.6 mile Stony Man hike. Another option for an easy 1.4 mile hike through the forest is the popular Limberlost Trail, which is also ADA accessible if you need to bring a wheelchair or a stroller.
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. The Colorado River snakes through the depth of the Grand Canyon that spreads across northwest Arizona. The expansive size of the canyon will have you in awe at every viewpoint and it is one of the most popular national parks for easy hikes with incredible landscapes. Trail of Time is an easy hike with a view of Mather’s Point and the jagged red rocks that extend out of every crevice of the canyon. The best way to take in the continuous views is by walking on the Grand Canyon Rim Trail that runs almost 13 miles along the south rim.
Olympic National Park
Tucked in the northwest of Washington state, Olympic National Park is a temperate rainforest where the mountains and rivers meet the Pacific ocean. The beauty of Olympic National Park is unique with the dense fog and fresh air that encapsulates this corner of the country. With fewer crowds and almost 1500 square miles, this is a great place to visit for mellow hikes and epic views. A favorite easy hike in Olympic National Park is to Second Beach in La Push, Washington. Second Beach is an easy 2.1 mile out and back hike, which gives you views of the haystacks and the vast sea. The most stunning easy hike in the Olympics is without a doubt, The Hall of Mosses Nature Trail. This is the trail to take if you want to experience a full forest bath of lush green mosses, ferns and old-growth forests on an easy 1-mile loop.
Joshua Tree National Park
Enjoy the unique desert landscape of Southern California in Joshua Tree National Park near Palm Springs in the Coachella Valley. With twisted Joshua trees, large rounded boulders and fuzzy looking cactuses, this desert ecosystem is one of a kind. For an easy hike with incredible views, take the short .2 mile walk through the Cholla Cactus Garden. This is a great sunrise or sunset walk to see the silhouette of the Cholla cactuses against the colors of the sky. The Split Rock Loop Trail is another great easy hike that is relatively flat and takes about 1 hour or less to hike. The Split Rock Loop Trail will provide you with picturesque views of the Joshua trees and rounded rock formations throughout your entire hike.
Big Bend National Park
Located in southwest Texas along the Mexican border, Big Bend National Park is the go-to destination for hiking in Texas. With over 150 miles of trails weaving through the Chisos Mountains and the Chihuahuan Desert, this national park is full of incredible views and many options for hiking. A popular hike under two miles long that runs along the Rio Grande and has epic views of the canyon walls is the Santa Elena Canyon Trail. Another beautiful hike that is under four miles is the Mule Ears Spring Trail which takes you to the viewpoint of the towering cliffs of the Mule Ears rock formation. Big Bend National Park is over 1,200 square miles and the options for mellow hikes with unique views are endless. It’s the perfect weekend getaway for all levels of hikers in Texas!
Now that you have a list of 7 national parks with epic views and beginner-friendly hikes, get your hiking boots and your ToughCutie Eve socks ready. Start planning and hit up some of these national parks for some easy hikes with stunning views for your next vacation.
Written by: Lydia Schuldt