As the holiday season approaches, many of us are looking for unique and exciting ways to spend our time off. While cozying up inside with a warm cup of cocoa may seem enticing, why not take advantage of the crisp winter air and explore the great outdoors this Christmas Day?
The United States offers a diverse range of stunning landscapes, from snow-capped mountains to lush forests and sun-soaked beaches. To help you get started on your outdoor adventure, we’ve compiled a list of nine must-see hiking trails across the country for you to explore this holiday season.
1. Yosemite Valley, California: Yosemite National Park offers a winter wonderland of snow-covered trails and stunning vistas. The 4.8-mile round-trip hike to the top of Yosemite Falls provides breathtaking views of the valley below.
2. Grand Canyon, Arizona: The South Rim of the Grand Canyon offers several hiking trails that range in difficulty. For a shorter yet beautiful hike, try the Rim Trail, a 13-mile hike that offers stunning views of the canyon.
3. Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee and North Carolina: The Great Smoky Mountains offer over 800 miles of hiking trails, with snowshoeing and cross-country skiing available during the winter months. The Alum Cave Trail is a popular hike that leads to the summit of Mount LeConte.
4. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado: The Rocky Mountains offer a winter wonderland of snow-capped peaks and frozen waterfalls. The Sky Pond Trail is a challenging yet rewarding hike that leads to stunning views at the top.
5. Zion National Park, Utah: The Narrows is a unique winter hike that takes you wading through a river that runs through a deep, narrow canyon. The hike is accessible year-round, but be sure to dress warmly!
6. Acadia National Park, Maine: The park offers over 120 miles of trails that offer stunning seaside vistas and views of rocky mountains. The Cadillac Mountain Summit Trail is a must-see hike that leads to panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
7. Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada (just over the US border): Banff National Park offers stunning views of snow-capped peaks, frozen lakes, and forests. The Johnston Canyon Trail is a moderate hike that takes you through a series of ice-lined waterfalls.
8. Joshua Tree National Park, California: The park offers over 750 miles of hiking trails that showcase the unique rock formations and desert landscapes. The Lost Palms Oasis Trail is a moderate hike that leads to an oasis of palm trees.
9. The Appalachian Trail: The Appalachian Trail spans over 2,200 miles and offers a range of hikes that vary in difficulty. For a shorter hike, try the Roan Mountain Hike, which leads to stunning views of the surrounding mountain range.
These nine hiking trails offer a diverse range of landscapes and grand vistas that are sure to make your Christmas Day one to remember. Be sure to dress warmly, bring plenty of water and snacks, and always let someone know where you’re going before heading out. Happy hiking!