As famed writer Wallace Stegner once said, America’s national parks are “the best idea we ever had.” And with warmer weather approaching, now’s the time to start planning a hike around the national or state park nearest you. To help you plan the perfect adventure, Yelp compiled a list of the best hikes in the U.S. by scouring all comments and ratings on its site.
To come to these findings, Yelp ranked the locations in its parks category that had “a large concentration of reviews mentioning the words ‘hiking,’ ‘hike,’ and ‘trail,’ then ranked those spots using a number of factors including the total volume and ratings of reviews mentioning those keywords.”
Only two parks were included per state to ensure geographic diversity. Check out the entire list below, and to make a (cheap) trip out of it, see places you can stay for free near U.S. national parks here.
Prospect Park in Brooklyn offers a ton of different activities for park-goers to partake in. From basketball and tennis courts, to bird watching and hikes, there is simply something for everyone. The park has miles of roadways and paths, including a 3.35-mile running lane along Park Drive.Washington Park Arboretum
Washington Park Arboretum is a small hidden gem located near Lake Washington in Washington state. The park is 230 acres filled with a wide array of plants, some found nowhere else in the Northwest. Hike and observe the arboretum's collections of plants, displayed in several thematic gardens, ranging from the ecogeographic gardens in the south end of the park to seasonal gardens such as the Witt Winter Garden.Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center
Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center
Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center in Juneau, Alaska is an epicenter of hiking around the Mendenhall Glacier and the Tongass National Forest. The area is a nature-lover's paradise with visitors often spotting bald eagles, sockeye salmon, and black bear cubs. Visitors can choose to hike through dense forests and meadows, explore caves, or even venture on a wooden “boardwalk” trail through swampy bogs, called muskegs. With more than 700 miles of trails, hikers need never see the same sights twice.
Cherokee Park in Kentucky is highly popular among locals and tourists alike. Its main feature is a 2.4-mile scenic loop that takes visitors through rolling hills, open meadows, and woodlands of the Beargrass Creek valley. With its family-friendly atmosphere and range of paths to take, it’s the perfect place for hikers of all ages.
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico, located 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe, is one of the newer parks in America after being established in 2001 by then-president Bill Clinton. The park has several trails, including a 1.2-mile hike which leads up through a slot canyon to a lookout point that offers stunning views of the tent rocks from above. For a closer look, the park also has a 1.3-mile loop trail that leads past the tent rocks’ base.
Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park in Virginia is located just 75 miles from the hustle and bustle of Washington, D.C. The park consists of 200,000 acres of protected lands that are home to deer, songbirds, and a clear, star-speckled night sky. The park also has more than 500 miles of hiking trails, including 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Each trail offers something new, including waterfalls, viewpoints, and deep forests.