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Best National Park Hikes Summer 2024

Hey fellow hikers! Lace up your boots because we’re diving into the best National Parks for hiking in 2024. As a seasoned backpacker who’s logged countless miles across the US, I can tell you there’s a park out there for everyone. From majestic mountains to redwood giants, our incredible National Park system offers an unparalleled diversity of landscapes to explore.

This year, the data reveals some interesting trends. First, get ready to share the trails! Visitation soared in 2023, with over 325 million Americans hitting the parks – that’s 13 million more than the year before. National Parks are clearly becoming a favorite pastime, and with good reason.

Second, California reigns supreme for hikers. Three of the top ten parks for hitting the trails are nestled within the Golden State – Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks.

But where exactly should you point your compass this year? This list considers the number of trails available, total trail mileage, average hiker ratings on platforms like AllTrails, and – let’s be honest – how crowded the trails might be. Here are the top ten National Parks for hikers in 2024:

  • Yosemite National Park (CA): A true classic, Yosemite boasts iconic granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls like Yosemite Falls, and ancient giant sequoia groves. With over 800 miles of trails, you can choose from leisurely strolls to challenging multi-day adventures.
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park (NC/TN): Experience the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains in this sprawling park. Hike through lush forests, past cascading waterfalls, and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The abundance of trails, over 800 miles, caters to all experience levels.
  • Yellowstone National Park (WY): Yellowstone is more than just geysers and hot springs, although those are pretty amazing too! This park offers a diverse landscape with opportunities to hike alongside geothermal features, through forests, and past stunning lakes. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for bison!
  • Olympic National Park (WA): Get your rain gear ready for a hike through the temperate rainforests of Olympic. Discover moss-covered giants, glacier-carved valleys, and dramatic coastlines. This park is perfect for those seeking a lush, green escape.
  • Shenandoah National Park (VA): Traverse the rolling hills and scenic overlooks of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Shenandoah National Park offers stunning fall foliage hikes and the opportunity to explore the Appalachian Trail, which runs for over 100 miles through the park.
  • Glacier National Park (MT): Embark on a truly alpine adventure in Glacier National Park. Hike alongside glacial lakes, vibrant wildflower meadows, and snow-capped peaks. Be prepared for cooler temperatures and potentially higher elevations.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park (CO): Witness the majesty of the Rocky Mountains in this park. Hike through alpine meadows bursting with wildflowers, climb towering peaks, and spot elk and bighorn sheep. Rocky Mountain National Park is a great choice for those who enjoy breathtaking mountain scenery.
  • Sequoia National Park (CA): Stand in awe beneath the world’s largest trees, the General Sherman Giant Sequoia being a prime example. Sequoia National Park offers a range of trails, from easy family-friendly walks to challenging backcountry adventures.
  • Grand Canyon National Park (AZ): Descend into the awe-inspiring depths of the Grand Canyon, or hike along the rim for panoramic vistas. The trails here vary greatly in difficulty, so be sure to choose one that suits your abilities.
  • Kings Canyon National Park (CA): Kings Canyon National Park is often overshadowed by its neighbor, Sequoia National Park, but it shouldn’t be! Hike through granite canyons, past cascading waterfalls, and alongside towering sequoia trees.

Check out the full ranking here: https://www.kurufootwear.com/a/blog/best-national-parks-for-hiking

Remember, this list is just a starting point. No matter your experience level or preferred scenery, there’s a National Park out there waiting to be explored. So, grab your backpack, lace up your boots, and get ready to hit the trail!

Pro Tip: With increased park visitation, be sure to plan ahead, especially for popular parks. Research trail closures, secure permits if necessary, and consider visiting during the shoulder seasons (spring or fall) to avoid peak crowds.

Happy Hiking!

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