Hiking trails within the US national parks have seen record numbers of visitors in recent years, with over 86 million recreation visits being for hiking and walking in 2019 alone. The United States has over 400 national parks, each with its own unique hiking trails and natural wonders. The most popular hiking trails across the parks include Angels Landing, Half Dome, Old Faithful Geyser Loop Trail, Bright Angel Trail, and the Highline Trail. Visitors are advised to be prepared and aware of their surroundings, carry essential items, and follow park guidelines to safely enjoy hiking in the parks.
Hiking Trails in National Parks See Record Numbers of Visitors
Hiking trails in national parks across the country are seeing record numbers of visitors. According to the National Park Service, in 2019 there were over 327 million recreation visits to national parks, with over 86 million of those visits being for hiking and walking.
The United States is home to over 400 national parks, each with its own unique hiking trails and natural wonders. From the breathtaking views in Yosemite to the stunning waterfalls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Here are some of the most popular hiking trails in national parks:
1. Angels Landing, Zion National Park – This 5-mile round trip hike is not for the faint of heart. The trail climbs 1,500 feet in elevation and includes steep switchbacks and a narrow ridge with sheer drop-offs. The reward at the end is a stunning view of Zion Canyon.
2. Half Dome, Yosemite National Park – The 16-mile round trip hike to the top of Half Dome is one of the most iconic hikes in America. The trail includes steep climbs, breathtaking views, and a series of cables that hikers use to reach the summit.
3. Old Faithful Geyser Loop Trail, Yellowstone National Park – This 1.3-mile loop trail takes hikers on a tour of some of the most famous geysers in Yellowstone. The highlight of the hike is, of course, Old Faithful, a geyser that erupts every 90 minutes or so.
4. Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon National Park – This 12-mile round trip hike descends into the heart of the Grand Canyon, offering stunning views of the canyon walls and the winding Colorado River. The hike is challenging and requires hikers to be in good physical shape.
5. Highline Trail, Glacier National Park – This 11.8-mile hike takes hikers along the Continental Divide and offers stunning views of glaciers, mountains, and alpine meadows.
1. Are the hiking trails in national parks safe?
The hiking trails in national parks are generally safe, but it’s important for hikers to be prepared and aware of their surroundings. Hikers should always carry plenty of water, sunscreen, a map and compass, and other essentials.
2. How do I choose which hiking trail to take in a national park?
It depends on your interests and physical abilities. Some hikes are more challenging than others, and some offer different types of scenery. Do your research before you go and choose a hike that is appropriate for your skill level.
3. What should I do if I encounter wildlife on the trail?
If you encounter wildlife on the trail, it’s important to keep a safe distance and not disturb the animals. Never approach or attempt to feed wild animals, and always follow park guidelines for wildlife encounters.
4. Can I hike in the national parks in the winter?
Yes, many national parks offer winter hiking opportunities. However, hikers should be aware of potential hazards such as icy trails and extreme weather conditions.
In conclusion, hiking trails in national parks are a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. With so many incredible trails to choose from, it’s no wonder that record numbers of visitors are exploring the great outdoors in our national parks. By following park guidelines and being prepared, hikers can safely enjoy all that our national parks have to offer.