One of the splendid views on the Appalachian Trail (Flickr: Nicholas_T)
A splendid view from the Appalachian Trail


With Labor Day having passed, it means that fall is just around the corner. And with fall comes the peak hiking season of the year. The combination of pleasant temperatures and beautiful flora makes this the best time of year for hiking. While you may be close enough to a hiking trail that you can easily drive to, there are some trails that are just worth hopping on a cheap flight for. Today we spotlight a few of the best hikes in the U.S.


Pikes Peak, Colorado. If you've always wanted to hike a 14k-er, then this is your chance. Located just south of Denver, this is a great day trip from the Mile-High City. Not all 14,000-ft. mountains are as accessible as Pikes Peak, so this is one of your better chances of climbing one. The climb is a 7,500-ft. ascent to the peak, which stands at 14,115 ft. The biggest consideration to take in mind is the elevation. It isn't always the climb itself, but adjusting to the elevation, that serves as the biggest challenge.


Mt. Whitney, California. Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48 states, standing at 14,505 ft. However, because of its high elevation and rugged terrain, you'll have to do a little more planning for your trip. You'll have to register beforehand in order to hike Mt. Whitney, as only a certain number of people are allowed on the trail each day. My recommendation is the Mt. Whitney Trail, which begins at just over 8,000 ft. and ascends 13 miles to the top.


Kilauea Iki Trail, Hawaii. With such pristine beaches in Hawaii, it often gets overlooked as one of the best hiking destinations in the U.S. This is a much shorter hike than some of the others on this list, making it better for the novice hiker. Yet it remains one of the most extraordinary hikes in America, as it consists of part rainforest and part volcano. How many times in your life will you be able to say you've hiked along a volcanic crater?


Appalachian Trail, North Carolina. People from around the world travel to the east coast each year to hike the Appalachian Trail, which is one of the longest trails in the world, covering over 2,000 miles. I recommend hiking along the North Carolina/Tennessee portion, which features some of the best overlooks and attractions. Some of the attractions you may see along the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee and North Carolina include the Nantahala Gorge, Clingmans Dome, and Fontana Dam.


Crater Lake National Park, Oregon. Crater Lake is one of most interesting attractions in America. While there are multiple trails around the national park, I recommend the Mt. Scott trail, which is a five-mile hike all total. While it's only five miles round trip, the Mt. Scott trail is steep and rises quickly. However, the payoff is the beautiful 360-view of Crater Lake, not to mention you can see Mt. Shasta in the distance, which is the second highest volcano in the U.S.


Flickr: Nicholas_T


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