Are you looking for the best hiking trails in North America that will wow you and push you? Look no further than these here. They span the western side of the United States (Alaska included), plus Canada.
Each one I’ve personally done and can highly recommend them as top-tier hiking trails and experiences.
I hope you enjoy, and if you enjoy these photos, follow along for more!
Panorama Ridge, BC
What you need to know: A surreal experience in British Columbia. Panorama Ridge is a remarkable overlook with Garibaldi Lake below. As with most stunning places, it takes a long day to reach unless you can score backpacking permits in the area. I’d say this is one of the best eight places I’ve been and definitely one of the best hikes in North America.
The best time for this are July through October (or whenever snow falls)
Distance: 18 miles
Difficulty: Challenging but doable
Mt. Whitney, CA
What you need to know: The tallest peak in the Lower 48, Mt. Whitney, is one helluva hike – whether or not you choose to hike it in a single (long) day like I did. It requires permits which are challenging as it’s one of the most sought-after trails in the nation.
If you’re in great shape, go for it, but it requires a lot of training and learning how to push yourself when you get tired.
Difficulty: Very Hard
Slaughter Ridge, AK
What you need to know: We stumbled upon this hike near Cooper Landing on the Kenai Peninsula. Let me tell you, it was the best hike we did in our 22 days in Alaska. It’s hard, 2 miles up and 2,000 feet, but it’s incredibly rewarding.
In addition to seeing Kenai Fjords National Park, I’d say it’s a must-do for those visiting the area.
Distance: 4 miles
Delta Lake, WY
What you need to know: Since 2020 (when I did it), it has become one of the must-do hikes in Grand Teton National Park. I can’t blame them. I mean, look at that sunrise glow. Be aware, though, that this is grizzly country, and hiking in the dark has its risks. Always carry bear spray.
Distance: 8 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm, WA
What you need to know: At the very top of my favorite hikes and best hikes in North America. This is one of the easier-to-access hikes in North Cascades National Park and provides stellar views that will make your mouth drop.
Distance: 14 miles
Angels Landing, UT
What you need to know: Iconic. Angels Landing is so damn amazing and perfect they had to permit it because it was being loved to death. It’s not too hard – only about 5 miles – but the last half mile is on exposed terrain. However, it’s truly not that bad if you take your time. I hiked down in the dark and had no trouble.
Distance: 5 miles
Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass, AB
What you need to know: I fell in love with this hike and strongly believe it’s one of the best hikes in North America. The views are magical, and once you leave Larch Valley and go up to Sentinel Pass, you’ll ditch most of the crowds. It’s perfect for fall colors because the entire area is glowing with larches.
It’s a no-brainer to have this on the best hiking trails in North America list.
Distance: 12 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
Rae Lakes, CA
What you need to know: Hikign to Rae Lakes is one of the greatest hikes I’ve done. It pushes you but also rewards you. There are three ways to get here. First, hike from Onion Valley – that’s what I did, and it was 30 miles-ish. Second, start at Roads End in Kings Canyon for a 40-mile loop. Or thirdly, be hiking the PCT, and you’ll reach it at some point!
Distance: 30-40 miles depending on route
Bright Angel Trail, AZ
What you need to know: Hiking the Bright Angel Trail is one of the must-do’s when you visit the Grand Canyon. It’s rugged and hard, but if you’re in shape, you can totally do it. Plus, you also don’t have to do it all. You can just go to the 1.5-mile house or 3-mile house if you just want a short hike.
Distance: Depends on how far down you go.
Difficulty: Moderate to Very Hard, depending on your length
Half Dome, CA
What you need to know: One of the most iconic hikes in the world, Half Dome gives you so much to enjoy on the hike up. You’ll pass multiple waterfalls, walk by a river, and then traverse the most famous dome in the world. It’s no wonder why Half Dome is included on this best hiking trails in North America list.
This hike is by permit only, so plan ahead or try your hand at the daily lottery during the summer.
Distance: 19 miles
Mt. Sneffels, CO
What you need to know: One of the most beautiful regions of Colorado and the United States. Mt. Sneffels rises over the San Juans and provides insane views of Blue Lakes (see above) and Yankee Boy Basin. Lastly, this is a 14er with Class 2/3 level, but pretty doable for most hikers who want to do it.
Distance: Two routes. If you have a 4×4, could only be 4 miles RT. Or could be a 10-mile trip
Cirque of the Towers, WY
What you need to know: What a place! The Cirque is a majestic area with so much to see and explore. In the Wind River Range, the area is less crowded, giving you the chance to hike without the massive crowds in other parts of Wyoming. Any list needs to have this as one of the best hiking trails in North America.
Distance: 20 miles round trip; we did it as an overnighter
Difficulty: Moderate to Hard; distance and last two miles make it harder
Congress Trail, CA
What you need to know: Probably the easiest of the hikes on this list, but one of the best hiking trails in North America. The trail winds you past the largest tree on Earth, General Sherman Tree, and brings you up close and person with other Giant Sequoias.
It’s truly an amazing place to be.
Distance: 3 miles
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate (elevation plays a role in it being harder)