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Top Long Distance Hiking Trails in the USA


1. North Country Trail


(By MDuchekOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link)

Length: 4600 miles
Region: Northern United States
Endpoint 1: Crown Point, New York
Endpoint 2: Lake Sakakawea State Park, North Dakota

Shoulder a pack, lace up your boots and heat out to explore this scenic and amazing trail. You can throughout the year, until snow blocks your path. It cuts through seven states, from prairies on the Great Plains to the glacier-filled landscapes in Adirondack Park. If you want to explore large sections of the U.S.A through the jungle, the North Country Trail is just what you need to follow. Cutting through more than 100 state forests and national parks, as well as 10 national forests, the trail gives millions of hikers each year, a view into some of the finest natural locations that North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York have to offer. You will experience sublime scenery in places such as Pictured Rocks, with cliffs and lighthouses over Lake Superior. During fall, experience the sight of changing leaves and the smell of grape harvest, in Finger Lakes, New York. Established more almost 40 years ago, the North County Trail is yet to be completed. Hikers follow abandoned railroad beds, miles of dirt roads, national forests and newly cut trails, giving you the best combination of what nature has to offer.

2. Continental Divide Trail

02 Continental_Divide_National_Scenic_Trail,_La_Leña_WSA_NM

(By James Sippel, BLM New Mexico State Office –
Public Domain, Link)

Length: 3100 miles
Region: Rocky Mountains
Endpoint 1: Mexico
Endpoint 2: Canada

The Continental Divide Trail, otherwise known as the CDT, is one of the best and toughest hiking trails that North America has to offer. Although it is challenging, certain sections of the trail are unbelievably breathtaking. Most hikers are attracted to the CDT after testing their hiking skills in the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Trail. If you hike all 3 in your lifetime, you become a hiking royalty. No doubt about that. Few people manage that feat. Although the Continental Divide Trail is not as popular as the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Trail, it offers lots of adventure, for the 4 to 5 months that you will be in the jungle. Take the word trail with a pinch of salt because there are large sections of road walking, coupled with route finding in unmarked terrain. You can call them cross-country if you prefer. This is where your navigation skills are brought to the fore. It is not surprising that most hikers tackle the CDT after they have developed extensive hiking and navigation skills. The trail cuts through numerous terrains and ecosystems, including the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico, Mountains rising to over 14,000 feet in Colorado and grizzly bear territory as you step in Montana.

3. East Coast Greenway

03 Northern-delaware-greenway-wilmington-de

(By EagriegoOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link)

Length: 3000 miles
Region: Eastern U.S
Endpoint 1: Calais, Maine
Endpoint 2: Key West, Florida

You can take a road trip or a mountain hike across America. However, no adventure is as epic and breathtaking, as hiking across the East Coast Greenway in one path. Although it is not very popular among new hikers, it is an awesome project, which is also used as a biking path. It passes through a wide range of amazing diversity, with lots of cultural and natural history along the route. It also connects diverse landscapes, from the storied rocky coast in Maine, to the palm-lined sandy beaches in Southern Florida. From the gateway to the Canadian Maritimes to historic mill cities and coastal communities, you will experience some of the best adventure in your lifetime that Maine has to offer. The northerly portion at the Canadian border offers two portions. You can either take the 85-mile Down East Sunrise Trail, passing through the blueberry barrens or take an alternate road route, if you don’t trust your navigation skills. What makes it particularly interesting, is the timeless and beautiful scenery that you will encounter along the way. It also remains one of the safest hiking trails in the U.S.

4. Pacific Crest Trail

04 Mt_Banner_and_Thousand_Island_Lake

(By Dcrjsr (talk ·contribs) – Own work, CC BY 3.0, Link)

Length: 2654 miles
Region: West Coast
Endpoint 1: Mexico
Endpoint 2: Canada

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to hike through some of the most outstanding scenic beauty in the United States? Well, you don’t have to imagine anymore. The Pacific Crest Trail is all yours. Thousands of equestrians and hikers enjoy this national treasure each year, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t be one of them. Spanning more than 4,000 kilometers from Mexico to Canada, it brings to you the beauty of the desert, reveals the glaciated expanses of the Sierra Nevada, and provides some of the most commanding vistas, which you will encounter on the Cascade Range of volcanic mountains. As you can see, this trail is a symbol of everything there is to love in the Western United States. Whether you are only hiking a few miles, or you intend to complete the entire trail in a single season, the choice is all yours. One of the best sections along the trail is the Snoqualmie Pass. For more than 75 miles, you don’t encounter any road. As you complete this section, you will hike through some of the most diverse and remote mountain country along the trail. It passes through a dozen of lakes, most of which are swimmable during late summer. However, the lakes are not the only attraction; you will encounter views of towering mountains, and meadows. Pure beauty, fun and adventure awaits you in the Pacific Crest Trail.

5. Appalachian Trail

05 Bear_Mtn_Bridge

(By Mwanner at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia
to Commons., Public Domain, Link)

Length: 2189 miles
Region: Appalachian Mountains
Endpoint 1: Georgia
Endpoint 2: Maine

Without a doubt, the Appalachian Trail is the most famous and longest hiking-only footpath in the U.S. Running from Maine to Georgia; this public footpath traverses the wooded, scenic, pastoral, wild and culturally rich lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Started in 1921, it was completed in 1937 by private citizens. With over 2 million visitors per year, the Appalachian Trail attracts hikers from all parts of the world. If you are Northbound, most people start at Springer Mountain. Being the most popular place to begin the thru-hike also means that the place is usually crowded from 1st March to around 15th April. Therefore, if you are northbound, delay your trip a little bit to avoid the stream of hikers and the overcrowding along the campsites. You can also choose to start at the middle of the trail. This gives you a gradual progression along the terrains as well as more resupply points. It also means that you will avoid the overcrowding and party atmosphere, enjoy favorable weather and reduce resource damage to the trail. If you consider yourself a hiking ninja, then you can start your thru-hike at Maine. Truth is, this is not the place for the weak. Most people who have hiked the entire trail will tell you that Katahdin is the most difficult mountain to climb on The Appalachian Trail. Whichever way you choose, just enjoy the trip.

6. Ice Age Trail

06 Western_Terminus_of_the_Ice_Age_Trail_(St._Croix_Falls,_Wisconsin)

(By MDuchek at English WikipediaMDuchek at English Wikipedia
the copyright holder of this work, hereby publishes it
under the following license:, Public Domain, Link)

Length: 1200 miles
Region: Wisconsin
Endpoint 1: Potawatomi State Park
Endpoint 2: Interstate Park

If you are looking for hiking, walking or backpacking, all these activities are available on the Ice Age Trail. Spanning more than 1000 miles in Wisconsin, the trail focuses more on the natural land formations that occurred during the Ice Age. With a rich history of more than 12,000 years, this trail is a landscape of remarkable beauty, featuring glacier remnants and a wide range of unique landscape features. As you travel through some of the most beautiful natural areas in Wisconsin, there are various opportunities for wildlife viewing, bird watching and sightseeing. During winter, certain sections of the trail are open for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. A trip across the Ice Age Trail takes you through some of the most scenic Terrain in Wisconsin, including expansive prairies, mature forests and thousands of rivers and lakes, some that are swimmable during summer. The Wisconsin Glaciation on this trail is a series of ridges spread over 120 miles long. Other Geologic features include outwash plains, ice-walled lake plains, drumlins, eskers, kames, and tunnel channels, just to name a few. If you want to witness some of the most of the landforms created during the continental glaciations, then Wisconsin is the place to be.

7. Pacific Northwest Trail


(By Nwcamera1 – Own work, GFDL, Link)

Length: 1200 miles
Region: Pacific North West
Endpoint 1: Glacier National Park
Endpoint 2: Cape Alava, Olympic National Park, Washington

Regarded as one of the most scenic trails in the world, the Pacific Northwest Trail cuts across different landscapes, which include, the Rocky Mountains, the Pasayten Wilderness, Selkirk Mountains, North Cascades, the Wilderness Coast, and the Olympic Mountains. Although it is commonly confused with the Pacific Crest Trail, the Pacific Northwest Trail, commonly known as PNT among the hikers, runs perpendicular to the PCT for over 1200 miles, crossing the PCT at the North Cascades. As much as the trail is mapped out, you can say that it is relatively new, since some sections are not yet complete. It brings together old forest service roads, paved highways, dense vegetation, cow paths, and rocky ledges devoid of any paths. That unique combination of landscapes makes you really feel as if you are walking through America. The relatively short length but challenging terrain, combined with the solitude, makes it one of the best. The variety of landscape along the way will leave you in awe. From Glacier National Park to the Pacific Ocean, you will experience sagebrush deserts, dense and lush rainforests, seascapes and tidepools, cow poop and dust, rugged mountains and slow rolling hills, free loving hippies and even angry landowners. It brings together everything that you ever wished for.


Images (8)
  • 01-NCTWrenFalls
  • 02 Continental_Divide_National_Scenic_Trail,_La_Leña_WSA_NM
  • 03 Northern-delaware-greenway-wilmington-de
  • 04 Mt_Banner_and_Thousand_Island_Lake
  • 05 Bear_Mtn_Bridge
  • 06 Western_Terminus_of_the_Ice_Age_Trail_(St._Croix_Falls,_Wisconsin)
  • Intro.  priestfalls  By The original uploader was Sharalds at English Wikipedia – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

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