The beauty of western America isn’t up for debate: it’s ubiquitous, grandiose and unchallenged. But hidden within these 13 states are secrets that can’t be seen driving an SUV through the “scenic” route. Only a true day hike can do the region justice: stomach howling, legs creaking and whitewater in your veins. If you’re ready to get out, consider this list your trailhead.

MORE HIKES The Mountain Series | 5 Best American Peaks | Hiking The White Mountains


The National Park State

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone: North Rim Trail


How Long: 3.8 miles one way
Found In: Yellowstone National Park
Which Is: Up in Wyoming’s northwest corner, about a 25-minute drive north of Yellowstone Lake
Season: May through October
The Draw: It’s not the longest or the most challenging of hikes, but its grandeur can’t be denied. With dense pine forest on either side, the canyon is split in half by the snaking Yellowstone River. The trail leads along cliffs and the adjacent chasm. The ledges are a little intimating, but the trail itself is made up of only easy to moderate terrain.
Don’t Miss: Two waterfalls: the Lower and Upper Falls. While you cannot miss either, the latter is especially magnificent.


Trek in Big Sky

Grinnell Glacier Overlook Trail


How Long: Just shy of 8 miles, roundtrip
Found In: Glacier National Park, Montana
Which Is: A 40-minute drive northeast of Whitefish, Montana
Season: May through October
The Draw: This trail winds through a diverse landscape of alpine meadows, passing waterfalls and leading up to a 152-acre glacier. It’s a strenuous hike, not necessarily because of its length, but because you’ll climb over a thousand feet in the process.
Don’t Miss: The glacier. The hike culminates at this constantly retreating ice fortress. You can venture out on it, but it’s dangerous, and rangers don’t recommend it. Also, look out for bighorn sheep. They’re commonly seen grazing amongst the rocks.


Touch Idaho’s Clouds

Borah Peak Hike


How Long: Approximately 8 miles, roundtrip
Found In: The Lost River Mountain Range
Which Is: in Challis National Forest, central Idaho
Season: Winter ascents are possible, but may require crampons, snowshoes and an ice axe. Try it during any of the other three.
The Draw: The rocky terrain, combined with tough, icy conditions makes for an arduous climb. It’s not quite Vertical Limit, but it’ll test you.
Don’t Miss: A chance to stand on top of Idaho. At 12,662 feet, Borah Peak is the highest point of elevation in the state.

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