Summer Trekking – 10 of the Most Scenic Hikes in America

Grab your camera and get ready for a hike. 

By Alli Hill

Summer Trekking – 10 of the Most Scenic Hikes in America

On a slow weekend this summer, skip lazily lounging by the pool with the crowds. Instead, hit the trails. All across America, hikers of varying skill levels can find breathtaking beauty. Discover the country's most scenic wonders, from jaw-dropping canyons and lush forests to secret mountain lakes and waterfalls. Summer isn't all about surf and sun—and these 10 stunningly scenic hikes prove it.

Gorge Trail at Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, NY

This hike is ideal for those who want breathtaking scenery without too much difficulty. The trail itself is just under a mile and can be easily trekked by the whole family. The rewarding views include waterfalls, massive rocky cliffs, and stone steps that you’d only find in fairytales.

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Pinnacle Mountain Trail at Table Rock State Park, Pickens, SC

Table Rock State Park is home to the most recognized mountain in the state. Its noteworthy smooth, bare face looms above the park, and the Pinnacle Mountain Trail is the only way to get to the top. It’s a strenuous 4.2-mile journey, but the sweeping views at the top are well worth it. 

The Narrows at Zion National Park, UT

There aren’t many hiking trails quite like this one, as much of it is actually in the water! You’ll be ankle or knee-deep in the Virgin River as you make your way up the canyon, which is too narrow for there to be any dry banks (hence the name). The whole journey is 6-8 miles, depending on your enthusiasm, all while twisting and turning through this gorgeous scenic wonder.

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Rattlesnake Ledge Trail, North Bend, WA

Don’t let the name scare you away from the rewarding views of this trail. Large mossy boulders and glimpses of lakes and Mount Washington and Si lead the way to Rattlesnake Ledge, a rocky outcrop that lets you soak in the scenery. 

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Sweet Creek Falls Trail, Mapleton, OR

The series of small waterfalls that make up the Sweet Creek Falls Trail is perfect for the whole family. Along the way you’ll cross bridges and walkways that add a little excitement to the journey. 

Dream Lake Trail at Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

Dream Lake Trail is one of many amazing trails in Rocky Mountain National Park and though it’s just one mile, it intertwines with other trails to extend to your journey. Along the way, you’ll visit Nymph Lake, which often has views of the snow-covered Rockies—even in the summer. 

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Pedestal Rocks Trail at Ozark National Forest, AR

This area is home to two amazing trails, but the Pedestal Rocks Trail tends to be the favorite. Tucked in the Ozark Mountains, the 2.4-mile loop trail features a waterfall and interesting rock formations that are perfect for photos.

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Ohio to Erie Trail, Sunbury, OH

This isn’t your typical hiking trail, as it’s paved and out in the open instead of a forest, but hiking is permitted and it’s nothing short of stunning. The entire trail spans 326 miles from Cincinnati to Cleveland and travels through several cities, towns, and rural areas. The trail takes you through a variety of scenes, including bridges, lakes and rivers, and forests, so there’s always something exciting to see or explore.

Guadalupe Peak Trail at Guadalupe Mountains National Park, TX

If you’ve ever wanted to see the top of Texas, this trail is your chance. The 8.4-mile trail is steep and difficult with lots of switchbacks and a 3,000-foot elevation gain. Many backpackers choose to camp at the summit, and the breathtaking view makes it easy to see why.

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Raven Cliff Falls Trail at Raven Cliffs Wilderness, GA

This little German-inspired town is a hot spot for hikers, particularly on the Raven Cliff Falls Trail. This 4.8-mile out and back trail is accessible year-round and it's dotted with bridges, rocky outcrops, and of course the beautiful falls.

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