25 Top Hiking Guides Across the United States

What this is about:

There are tens of thousands of hiking trails throughout the United States. The Internet is a great resource for finding the best ones that match your skill level, and your favorite type of scenery. Whether it be day hikes, overnight adventures, or months long treks — from the snow capped mountains to rugged shoreline, hardwood forest to rushing rivers and streams — this evolving list of hiking related websites will get you started exploring the great outdoors.




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Center For Outdoor Ethics

Sierra Mountains

Ramparts Trail, Cedar Breaks National
			Monument Santa Barbara Hikes — Lots of hiking trails are listed here with maps, topos and directions to the trailheads in the Front Country, on Camino Cielo in the Santa Ynez Mountains, in the Back Country of the Santa Ynez River Valley, in the San Rafael Wilderness (good backpacking hikes), and on the beach. The site also includes a database of wildflowers found in the Santa Barbara vicinity.

Kevin's Hiking Page — Now spanning over 1600 miles on more than 300 hikes, you'll find a lot of information here, especially for hikes in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sierra Nevada. Day hikes, five day backpacking trips, and long weekends in Kings Canyon, Yosemite, and Lake Tahoe, in all seasons and all weather. Includes gear recommendations, hazards to avoid, and a comprehensive compilation of resources to find just the trail for you.

Pacific Northwest

Portland Hikers — This web community is a combination forum and trails resource. The field guide is a primary resource for finding a hike that is suitable for you. With hundreds of trails catalogued, you can search by degree of difficulty, type of environment, or day hikes and backpacking treks. The forums include dozens of trip reports to help whet your appetite.

Oregon — Oregon is home to some of the United States’ most treasured and unique ecosystems, and the best way to experience them is by foot. Just a stone’s throw away from Oregon’s most popular cities are national and state parks that will redefine your notion of ‘green.’ Rainforests dripping in moss and lichen, birds singing, creeks and waterfalls are in full flow. If you’ve never experienced the Pacific Northwest and you’re in dire need of some crisp mountain air, Oregon is the place to be.

Trails NW — Your guide to backpacking and hiking in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and the entire Pacific Northwest. On this site you will find trail descriptions, images, and member submitted hiker logs. Includes a handy trail map browser, and regional summaries of beautiful coastlines, rugged mountain ranges, and expansive deserts. Nearly 200 trails are detailed and available for search by length, elevation, season, or region.

Hiking Northwest — The personal site of Jim Kuresman, this is a compilation of his 28 years of hiking. Many pages of trip reports with photographs that include hiking, scrambling, backpacking, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. Most trip reports are quite comprehensive, with several photos to give you a feel for the adventure. You can tell Jim loves the great outdoors.

Washington Trails Association — Their mission is to preserve, enhance, and promote hiking opportunities in Washington state through collaboration, education, advocacy and volunteer trail maintenance. They list nearly 3000 trails with reports that detail length, features, elevation and some photos. There is a section on safety and seasonal considerations in Washington's rugged terrain.

Hiking in Glacier — The most comprehensive site on the Internet for hiking trails in Glacier National Park. They provide detailed information for more than 60 hiking trails in Glacier Park, including trail descriptions, key features, pictures, trail length, difficulty ratings, trail maps and elevation profiles. They also offer maps and books related to hiking, history and travel in the Glacier region.

Rocky Mountains

Around Colorado — a photographic diary of Colorado adventure. The people who contribute to this website spend much of their free time exploring Colorado; looking for the best trails, the perfect campsites, the coolest towns, the craziest events, and in general, the best that Colorado has to offer. Doesn't appear to have been updated in a few years, but still, the existing hiking reports are quite thorough and useful.

14ers — Looking for photos of Colorado’s highest peaks? 14ers.com has over 30,000 photos of the Fourteeners (14ers). Need a route description to help you climb one of these great peaks? They are here too. Each route contains detailed directions, maps, satellite photo, elevation profile, and photos taken during an ascent. It’s an Online 14er Guidebook that is frequently updated. The trailhead status is particularly useful.

Rocky Mountain Nature Photographers — an international cooperative network of amateur and professional photographers dedicated to the art and technique of nature, wildlife and landscape photography. The contents of this website are dedicated to nature photography in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Montana, Utah & Wyoming. The Hot Spots pages, although limited, include articles and photography by RMNP members of outstanding hikes and treks.

Rocky Mountain Scenery — a personal site, from a long-time hiker. He is motivated by the isolation and silence in the wilderness, the great scenery he hopes to find and a desire to photograph it. The hiking logs are of a personal nature, unlike what you might find in a hiking reference book. He recounts successes, failures and general observations, and offers stunning photography to go along with it.

Southwestern States

The American Southwest — Comprehensive guide to the national parks, national monuments and natural landscapes of Southwest USA. On the web since 1994. With a featured section on slot canyons; beautifully colored and sculptured narrow canyons in the sandstone rocks of Arizona and Utah. From the deserts to the mountains, the caves to the sand dunes, and everything in between.

Phil Armitage — Guides to some of the best day hiking in the Western US, Canada and Norway; with a focus on the desert southwest. The trails are shown on an accompanying Google map of day hikes, while there's a separate page for Phil's current all time favorite day hikes. Phil is a landscape photographer who does a lot of hiking for his job, so you get excellent trail descriptions and beautiful photographs.

Utah Hiking and Backpacking — The best way to experience the diverse landscapes of Utah is by walking through them. Utah has some very remote areas that are accessible only to serious backpackers, but routes to other stunningly beautiful scenes are exceptional day hikes. You'll find that once you get off the beaten path on foot, Utah's mountains and deserts will open up for you in unexpected ways. Includes information about Utah's quintet of national parks, and a regional breakdown.

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