Hikes Newbies and Experts Can Enjoy Together

For those friends and fam­i­ly of yours that are look­ing to get into a life of adven­ture, there is no need to hold their hand while explor­ing the great out­doors. Instead, there are trails all across the Unit­ed States that will not only impress your friends into hik­ing for life, but are ful­ly engag­ing for even the most sea­soned hik­ers. You can’t always con­trol the weath­er for your adven­tures, but you can pick the des­ti­na­tion.

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Makapu’u Point Light­house Trail, Kawai State Scenic Shore­line, Hawaii

While many hikes on the Hawai­ian Islands will take your breath away, the Makapu’u Point Light­house Trail on the south­east­ern coast­line of O’ahu is a great place for every lev­el of hik­er to expe­ri­ence Hawaii’s coastal beau­ty. With a two-mile round trip on a paved trail, hik­ers can expect to see a wide view of a rugged coast­line spot­ted by sea­son­al hump­back whales, seabirds and oth­er native Hawai­ian species, as well as the name­sake Makapu’u Light­house which is off-lim­its to enter but pro­vides the per­fect sub­ject mat­ter for an incred­i­ble pic­ture.

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North Vista Trail to Excla­ma­tion Point, Black Canyon of the Gun­ni­son Nation­al Park, Col­orado

While new­bie hik­ers might take a moment to get adjust­ed to some of the sheer dropoffs you see while vis­it­ing the Black Canyon of the Gun­ni­son Nation­al Park, the North Vista Trail offers a great intro­duc­tion to the canyon with a mod­er­ate 1.4‑mile trail to Excla­ma­tion Point—a scenic out­look wor­thy of the name. If Excla­ma­tion Point isn’t enough, hik­ers can con­tin­ue anoth­er two miles up the more stren­u­ous trail to sum­mit Green Moun­tain and see the entire Black Canyon and all its glo­ry.

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Angel’s Land­ing Trail, Zion Nation­al Park, Utah

Let’s set one thing straight for the icon­ic Angel’s Land­ing Trail in Zion Nation­al Park, while it is a great trail to intro­duce a novice hik­er to all that trail engi­neer­ing and Nation­al Parks can pro­vide, the Angel’s Land­ing Trail is not just a sim­ple walk in the park. If you decide to intro­duce some­one to a great hik­ing expe­ri­ence atop Angel’s Land­ing, be sure that they have some base­line phys­i­cal and men­tal capa­bil­i­ties to climb the inclined path and stand com­fort­ably atop high places. Safe­ty is key to hav­ing a great time on Angel’s Land­ing, and know­ing everyone’s lim­its, but sea­soned or some­what new to it, Angel’s Land­ing is a great hike for every­one to enjoy.

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Grand Canyon Rim Trail, Grand Canyon Nation­al Park, Ari­zona

In the year 2015, Grand Canyon Nation­al Park received over 5.5 mil­lion vis­i­tors, and many of those who got out of their vehi­cles on the vis­it prob­a­bly spent some time on the Grand Canyon Rim Trail. The trail is pop­u­lar not just because of its acces­si­ble ter­rain with lit­tle incline, or the fact that shut­tle bus­es can pick you up along the 13-mile trail, but also because it’s incred­i­bly beautiful—gorgeous, in fact. With eye-pulling views of the immen­si­ty of the Grand Canyon and the mil­lions of years of geol­o­gy with­in it, the scenery on the Grand Canyon Rim Trail will stick with you the rest of your life.

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Hid­den Lake Over­look, Glac­i­er Nation­al Park, Mon­tana

With over five dif­fer­ent hik­ing dis­tricts in the park and 60+ day hikes to choose from, not to men­tion all the back­coun­try options as well, there is some­thing for every­one in Glac­i­er Nation­al Park. A good place to start, though there are many, is the Hid­den Lake Over­look Trail in the St. Mary hik­ing dis­trict. With alpine mead­ows, wildlife spot­ting oppor­tu­ni­ties and enor­mous views of Hid­den Lake and Bearhat Moun­tain, all in an easy 2.7‑mile round trip, any­one can enjoy all the splen­dor that is Glac­i­er Nation­al Park.

©istockphoto/4kodiak
Hoh Riv­er Trail, Olympic Nation­al Park, Wash­ing­ton

Take your­self to a whole new world while tra­vers­ing the 17-mile Hoh Riv­er Trail in Olympic Nation­al Park. As part of one the largest tem­per­ate rain for­est in the world, it’s advis­able to pack the rain gear and some warm clothes, but even with the ques­tion­able weath­er, one step into this incred­i­ble green and vibrant world, and you’ll see why it’s a great hike. How far you want to go on the rel­a­tive­ly flat 13-mile first por­tion of the trail is up to you, and camp­ing with a per­mit is allowed along the way, just be sure to plan for any type of con­di­tions a rain for­est can throw at you.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rain0975/Tal­lu­lah Falls North and South Rim Trails, Tal­lu­lah Gorge State Park, Geor­gia
For a spec­tac­u­lar, fam­i­ly-friend­ly view of the Tal­lu­lah Gorge and water­falls that flow through­out this north-east­ern Geor­gia State Park, with­in the Chat­ta­hoochee Nation­al For­est, both the North and South Rim Trails will not dis­ap­point. With each Rim Trail tak­ing you out and back and on a 0.75-mile, mulched hik­ing trail, includ­ing access to a total 10 dif­fer­ent view­ing areas to see the gorge, the water­falls and the dam that embody this state park. Worth the after­noon or the entire week­end, whether it’s your first time or you’ve seen it all, the Tal­lu­lah Falls North and South Rim Trails are a valu­able hik­ing expe­ri­ence.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/a_little_brighter/Tall Trees Grove, Red­woods Nation­al Park, Cal­i­for­nia
The most chal­leng­ing part of hik­ing in the Tall Trees Grove of Red­woods Nation­al Park is just get­ting there. Per­mits are required to enter this area, which is free and gen­er­al­ly eas­i­ly avail­able out­side of sum­mer hol­i­days, and then you have to dri­ve a good 45 min­utes to the trail­head. Once you’ve done the due dili­gence, how­ev­er, and you’re sit­ting amongst nature’s liv­ing giants, includ­ing the 360+ ft. tall Libbey Tree, AKA “The Tall Tree”, you’ll see why the dri­ve was worth it.

©istockphoto/andipantz Punch­bowl Falls Hike, Colum­bia Riv­er Gorge Nation­al Scenic Area, Ore­gon
Per­haps best rep­re­sent­ing the amaz­ing dis­plays of beau­ty in the Colum­bia Riv­er Gorge, the Punch­bowl Falls Hike along­side Eagle Creek is also one of the most pop­u­lar in the area. Avail­able year-round, this easy-to-mod­er­ate 3.8‑mile out and back trail put on dis­plays the amaz­ing effects that the rush­ing water of Eagle Creek has on the land­scape before reach­ing the near­by Colum­bia Riv­er, includ­ing the 35-ft. Punch­bowl Falls and under­ly­ing water basin. For extra water­falls and a steep­er trail, you can con­tin­ue on the Eagle Creek Trail for a total 13 miles until it inter­sects the Pacif­ic Crest Nation­al Scenic Trail.

©istockphoto/Atlantic_Adv Ocean Path Trail, Aca­dia Nation­al Park, Maine
Wild­flow­ers, dra­mat­ic shore­lines, and unbeat­able sun­sets, for many the Ocean Path Trail in Aca­dia Nation­al Park is the quin­tes­sen­tial hik­ing expe­ri­ence. With a most­ly even-grade path that trav­els for just over 2 miles along the shores of the Atlantic, the Ocean Path includes a stop at Thun­der Hole and ends at Otter Point and Mon­u­ment Cove, which are the per­fect places to get a healthy taste of all that Aca­dia Nation­al Park has to offer.