After what may have seemed like a never-ending winter, spring is finally here. Nature is coming back to life, the flowers are blossoming and the ground is thawing. Take advantage of the warmer weather by heading outdoors and hiking one of the best spring hiking trails America has to offer.
With routes leading to epic vistas, providing incredible wilderness-watching opportunities, or weaving through multiple waterfalls, spring is the best time to explore the varied terrain across the country.
Smoky Mountains Cove Hardwood Nature Trail – Gatlinburg, Tennessee
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited parks in the US, and with its remarkable scope of animal and plant life, it’s not hard to see why. The park is a paradise for hikers, with miles of trails to be explored. To experience acres of wildflowers, head to the Cover Hardwood Nature Trail, and let the azaleas, rhododendron, and mountain laurel take your breath away.
Franconia Ridge Trail – Franconia, New Hampshire
Nestled in the White Mountains, the 8.9-mile summit loop trail will take you on not one but two mountain peaks: Mount Lafayette, and Mount Lincoln. Bear in mind this trail is more suited for intermediate hikers as it narrows at points, which poses a challenge, but the unmatched green panorama is well worth the effort.
Upper Yosemite Falls – Yosemite National Park, California
Morning woods in the Valley 🌲 🌲 🌲 🌲 🌲 #yosemite #nationalparkgeek #artofvisuals #moodygrams #agameoftones #rei1440project #vscocam #createcommune #theimaged #heatercentral #illgrammers #500px #streetdreamsmag #mg5k #abc7eyewitness #citykillerz #thecreatorclass #agameof10k #way2ill #estheticlabel #fatalframes #ig_color #justgoshoot #stayandwander #beautifuldestination #hypebeast #neverstopexploring #explorecalifornia #upperyosemitefalls #sunrise
One of the country’s best known national parks, Yosemite extends for 1,189 square miles and is brimming with exploring opportunities. The full-day hike to the upper falls is challenging and strenuous with a 2,425 feet ascent, but you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of the waterfalls and park.
After you’ve reached the top, step onto the small platform if you’re brave enough, to get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to look at a waterfall straight down.
Wapsipinicon State Park – Anamosa, Iowa
It’s always fun to go hiking and get lost among the trees! 🌲❤️ #iowa #ouriowa #iowaphotography #naturephotography #stateparks
A post shared by Wonders of Iowa (@wondersofiowa) on
Iowa is not just cornfields (though they do cover around 90% of the state). Wapsipinicon State Park has a fantastic 1.4 mile trail, providing a great outdoor hike along the banks of the Wapsipinicon River.
You can explore the small caves around the park, and cool off by taking a dip in one of the many streams dotted amongst the trail. Make sure to look around for the opportunity to spot native wild turkeys, beavers, and deer.
Cascade Mountain – Keene, New York
Set in the Adirondacks of northern New York, the 4.8-mile trail takes you through moderate terrain until you reach the summit, where you can also enjoy 360-degree views by sitting on the bare rock and taking in the impressive mountain range. Take a moment to catch your breath at around the halfway point, where you’ll find an open ledge which overlooks the Marcy, Colden, and Algonquin Mountains.
Maroon Lake Scenic Trail – Aspen, Colorado
Swap your skis for hiking boots and head off to the Rocky Mountains, where you’ll find the Maroon Lake Scenic Trail, arguably the most photogenic hike in Colorado. The trail is only a mile long, but you’ll walk along streams and a lake until you reach the famous Maroon Bells. Bighorn sheep and mountain goats often graze along the mountainside, giving you even more opportunities to take stunning pictures.