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

Appalachian Mountains

Fairyland Loop Trail, Bryce
			Canyon National Park Hiking Upward — a group of avid hikers who enjoy the wonderful forests and parks in the mid-Atlantic states, primarily Virginia and West Virginia. Look for hikes in Shenandoah National Park, Jefferson, George Washington, and Monongahela National Forests, and the many beautiful state parks and forests found along the northern Blue Ridge. Includes trail reviews, tips, and volunteer information.

Romantic Asheville — Hiking in the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains. This site includes favorite hikes along the Blue Ridge Parkway south and north of Asheville, North Carolina, the Brevard/Highlands area and Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and a few great walks in and around Asheville for those looking for something a little less challenging.

Hiking in Western North Carolina — This site is your on-line hiking guidebook for the mountain region of North Carolina; with best hike reviews, trailhead locations, maps and trail data, as well as information about clubs and organizations. Maybe you're just in the mood to browse through some photos of the mountains. Detailed, comprehensive, guidebook-quality information about trails and hiking in the WNC area.

South Carolina State Trails Program — SC packs some amazingly diverse terrain into a relatively small region. It forms a triangular area from a sliver of the Appalachian Mountains to the sandy, sub-tropical coastal plain. In between lies a band of sandhills, leftover from a time when the ocean reached some 100 miles further inland. Geologists and hikers find enjoyable common ground in the mountains-to-the-sea topography.

Hiking in the Smokies — provides detailed information on more than 80 hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The site gives you access to trail descriptions, key features, photos, trail length and difficulty ratings, maps and elevation profiles. Trail directories are offered alphabetically, by location, by feature, and by difficulty. A blog includes best hikes, check lists, and safety tips.

Adirondack Mountains

Adirondack Mountain Club — These are hikes and trails that the authors feel are rewarding. The write-ups are not intended to be complete descriptions of the trails, nor are directions included on how to navigate out and back, but it is a thorough list of trails in every region of the Adirondacks.

New England

Hike New England — The home page is a long listing of destinations (mountains, ponds, etc.) along with related facts. You can search and sort the list by destination, region, state, difficulty rating, distance, season, or date. You can also use the Hike Finder to select hikes by the same criteria. Very comprehensive.

Mountain Summits — If you enjoy hiking in the mountains of New England, this is the website for you. Think of this as a planning tool. Everything you need to plan your hike in the mountains is here: trail descriptions, summit photos, driving directions, weather information, and more. Presently, most of the mountains featured on this site are located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire but the list is growing.

Southeastern States

Florida Hikes — The best state for winter hiking ... Florida ... with more than 5,000 miles of hiking trails to explore across two time zones, including the 1,400-mile Florida Trail. Nicely navigated by region, degree of difficulty, or type of terrain and interest. With a thorough planning section and resources for those trying Florida hiking for the first time, this is a feature and content rich hikers guide.

Ozark Mountains

The Ozark Trail — It has mountains, hills and knobs, with valleys filled with springs, crystal-clear streams, shut-ins and waterfalls, trimmed by bluffs and riddled with caves. It has hardwood forests, stands of pines, savannas filled with black-eyed susans and glades dotted by purple coneflowers. It's home to deer, turkey, bobcat, bear, songbirds and bald eagles. The trail offers trips from just a few miles to 140 miles.

Upper Midwest

North Country Trail Association — The North Country Trail stretches 4600 miles from North Dakota to New York. It is the longest National Scenic Trail in the United States. It is administered by the National Park Service and passes through 12 national forests. There are maps available for the entire trail, and descriptions by state, section within state, and segment withing section. The association is always looking for new members and volunteers.

Hike Search — The "Trail Finder" leads to trail descriptions and maps, topo views, and trip reports for hundreds of trails in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, Illinois and Ohio. They do accept publicly submitted trip reports to expand their database. Overloaded with ads, but you can wade through them.

Remember the 10 Essentials for Happy Hiking: a water supply, a reliable map, comfortable socks, underwear that doesn't chafe, something to keep crud out of your shoes, nylon hiking pants, something to block the sun, nourishment, first-aid, and last but not least comfortable shoes.

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