1. FOR THE HARDCORE HIKER
If you're brave enough for possible face-offs with rattlesnakes, bears and mountain lions, you might be able to handle the Colorado Trail. Despite the dangers, this rugged trail will reward you with majestic scenery, epic views and plenty of bragging rights. Covering eight spectacular mountain ranges and 782km, this one is only for the well-initiated.
If you're planning to hike it from end to end, you'll need a bit of spare time — it takes most hikers four to six weeks to complete the trail.
2. NEAR THE CITY
If you're visiting New York and tire of the fast pace, get a taste of nature at Bear Mountain State Park. It's just a 45-minute train ride from the city, followed by a 15-minute cab drive.
Rugged peaks rise from the west bank of the Hudson River and the park boasts trails ranging from 600m to 10km. Walk the original section of the Appalachian Trail, opened in 1923, to the Perkins Memorial Tower and be rewarded with amazing views of the Hudson River Valley. Or for a more challenging option that borders on rock climbing, try taking on the Major Welch Trail.
3. FOR A DAY HIKE
Named after the 4392m active volcano that dominates the landscape, Washington's Mount Rainier National Park has several great options for a day hike. Though the park's main hiking route, the Wonderland Trail, runs for 149km around the mountain, it can be broken down into smaller sections, such as the Sunrise Rim Trail and the Burroughs Mountain Trail. The diversely beautiful scenery encompasses glaciers, meadows, waterfalls, valleys, forests and snowfields.
4. FOR FAMILIES
While many of the hikes in California's Yosemite National Park can be quite strenuous, the Lower Yosemite Fall Trail is an easy, kid-friendly option for families. Despite its gentle elevation, the 1.6km track still offers stunning views, ending at the base of the Lower Yosemite Falls.
At 97m, this section of waterfall is part of the Yosemite Falls, North America's highest waterfall — which clocks in at an impressive 739m.