Best Hiking Trails You Never Knew

best hiking trails

From the Half Dome in Yosemite National Park to the Appalachian Trail, you’ve heard of and may have explored many of the well-known and amazing hiking trails across the U.S. However, many lesser known and less visited great hikes beckon you off the beaten path. Here’s a sweet little list we’re calling the best hiking trails you never knew—just to get you started. Lace up your hiking boots, pack your trail protein and check them out.

Greenstone Ridge Trail (Isle Royal National Park), Michigan

For the best hiking trails on a wilderness island, visit Isle Royal National Park. A daily ferry takes you to the island to begin the 40-mile Greenstone Ridge Trail. The path runs west to east through the wild heart of this piney strip of rock. Isle Royal is famous for its moose and wolf pack. Both populations arrived on the island generations ago, crossing over the ice during a winter when the lake was completely frozen. Besides a moose or wolf, look for deer as well as plenty of sea gulls. Count on fantastic views of the lake and the unspoiled forest.  Learn more here.

Jones Hole (Dinosaur National Monument), Utah

After a short walk on Jones Hole Trail, discover Eli Creek, just 1.5 miles from the fish hatchery. Here, two creeks come together to form a natural oasis in dry and beautiful canyon land. Cliffs reaching 1,000 feet rise from the swimming hole, just 0.4 miles to the west. The soaring rock features graphic evidence of early people drawn to the water supply and the striking landscape. The carved and painted images date to the Fremont people who lived in the area a millennium ago. Hike another 1.5 miles south and you’ll find the Green River and Whirlpool Canyon, where dinosaur fossils were discovered. Check out more details at the National Park Service website.

Eagle Mountain Trail, Minnesota

Reach Eagle Mountain, Minnesota’s highest point, only through the Boundary Water Canoe Area wilderness. At 2,300 feet, this point may not rival the Rockies or Tetons in height, but the 3.5-mile hiking trail up the peak is no easy stroll. A wilderness trail, the way is rugged and definitely off the beaten path. But Eagle Mountain rewards those who bag the summit with expansive views of Superior National Forest and Lake Superior in the distance. Learn more about one of Minnesota’s best hiking trails at the USDA official site.

Redwood Canyon (Kings National Park), California

The world’s largest grove of giant sequoias provides the inspiring setting for this surprisingly secluded best hiking trail. Trees in Redwood Mountain Grove range in size from youngsters at 30 feet tall to 2,000-year-old giants soaring 300 feet and more. While the area draws a modest number of day hikers, at sundown—even during summer—the camping area offers unusual solitude. Make a 6.5-mile loop by combining the Redwood Creek and Sugar Bowl trails. Pitch your tent near mile 1.9, nearby Redwood Creek. Learn more about this land of the giants here.

Sal Hollow (Mammoth Cave National Park), Kentucky

Most people visiting a cave attraction look for stalactites and other underground formations. But when you take the above ground trail instead at Mammoth Cave National Park, you’ll have Sal Hollow’s hardwood forest and riverside bluffs nearly to yourself. Find the trail head at Maple Springs, then follow Sal Hollow Trail 7.4 miles southwest. Camp along the canyon rim, a short hike from an overlook of Sal Hollow. For an alternative route back to the trail head, follow the Buffalo Creek Trail for a 11.7-mile complete trip. Learn more about the Sal Hollow trail at its National Park website.

Now you have an insider’s look at a few of the best hiking trails in the United States. Need a little sustenance to power your adventures?  Visit

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