If you’re not looped in with local hiking experts, you might miss some incredible hidden trails.
You may have found yourself on the side of a trail panting and exhausted, asking the folks heading back whether the view is really worth the effort.
So that’s why we’ve listed seven of the best adventure trails hidden in each region of the United States! These hikes are tough, but all worth it. And there’s at least one near you.
With a day trip, you could reach one of these amazing destinations from almost any spot in the continental United States.
Please bear in mind that if you’re simply looking for a pleasant nature walk, then these hikes may not be for you.
The trails on our list will be physically challenging and require real hiking footwear, plenty of water, and some trail mix or energy shots to sustain yourself along the way.
But if you’re looking for a breathtaking view that’s truly worth a full day of tough terrain – and you’re up for a sweat-drenched adventure – then our list is perfect for you.
7) Sitton’s Gulch Trail at Cloudland Canyon State Park, Georgia
The Cloudland Canyon is a gorgeous destination overall, but Sitton’s Gulch Trail is the cream of the crop.
If you’re looking for multiple waterfalls, water crossings, bridges, and winding hemlock groves all packed into a short-but-sweet 2.5 mile trail (5 miles roundtrip), then you’ll find it at Sitton’s Gulch.
The journey is a reward of its own on this hike and the colorful wildflowers that line your path are a beautiful addition.
6) Guadalupe Peak – Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
The highest peak in Texas is a solid day’s trip from El Paso (110 miles), but the views from 8,749ft are entirely worth the commute.
Plan your adventure for a clear day and you might see the Sierras south of the border with Mexico, however, the 3,000ft elevation gain isn’t for everyone.
This 8.5 mile roundtrip hike is definitely tougher than your average day trip. But once you complete the first leg, the challenge eases up until the last mile. Bring plenty of water!
5) Ozette Triangle Trail, Olympic Peninsula, Washington State
The Ozette Triangle Trail is two hikes in one, winding through the forests and exploring the beaches of Cape Alava with plenty of rocky outcrops and islands within swimming distance.
The triangle is a simple hike, but your sense of adventure can take you further than the average visitor. The large rocky outcrops that litter the beach range from just under 75ft high and are easily scaled.
With seals and whales within earshot and bald eagles staring down the Canadian cruise ships on the horizon, this 9.4 mile loop has something for everyone.
4) Old Rag, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
While the hike itself is popular, the challenging side trails include rock-scrambles, bouldering, and cliff-faces that a family with young kids will want to avoid.
This is one of the most dangerous trails in the Shenandoah with 9 miles of steep inclines, rock scrambles, and a tough elevation gain. But all adventurers agree the view is well worth the trip.
The Byrds Nest Shelter offers additional challenges and a chance to see the Balance Rock up close.
To complete its length, be ready for some climbing, bushwhacking, and a little navigation, but by the end of it, you’ll enjoy a feature most visitors simply don’t know about.
3) Half Dome Hike, Little Yosemite Valley, California
This adventure-packed trail with breathtaking waterfall views is only suggested for the most experienced hikers.
If you stick to the ground, this hike will still rock your world. But one of the major attractions are the multiple rock-climbing routes with incredible views.
With great overnight sites that have easy access to the trail the morning after and a river to dunk your head in after a long trek – even at 14 miles long, this trail has earned a spot near the top of our list.
2) Beehive Trail, Acadia National Park, Maine
By this point in the list we’ve reached two of our most dangerous hikes. Experienced hikers should have no difficulty remaining safe, but if you’re still just a beginner, you might want to consider some different trails.
Beehive Trail is a two-mile loop with steep granite cliffs that hang over the Acadia coastline.
This adventure will take you climbing and scrambling up the sheer face and ledges of Beehive Mountain and straight up the cliff using iron rungs drilled into the rock.
While the journey itself is its own reward, the views of the Atlantic and pine forests here are utterly spectacular.
1) Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
If you’ve made it this far and topping the tallest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park isn’t on your bucket list, then you need to make a quick correction.
Not only is Longs Peak one of the best summits in the state, it’s also the toughest.
Described as a “true classic American climb,” this steep trail is 14.5 miles roundtrip with a 5,100ft elevation gain – a real mental and physical challenge.
Of course, it goes without saying that the views are simply breathtaking.