Expand your hiking bucket list to include trails that are not overcrowded and still offer some degree of solitude!
Hiking is a popular outdoor activity in the U.S. for many good reasons. Not only is it free and relaxing, but most hikes are also easily accessible with trails perfect for both novice and experienced hikers. Having said that, the popularity of hiking does bring up huge crowds of outdoor enthusiasts from all over the country. And this has lead to congestion on the trails. Meaning you will most certainly encounter groups of hikers along the trail even if you plan to hike solo. Luckily, there are still a couple of hikes in the US that have not yet gained too much popularity. While these hikes may not be as popular, they are often just as beautiful and typically have no crowds of hikers on its trails.
If you plan to go hiking this year but want to avoid crowded trails and still be able to enjoy the natural beauty around you, here are 5 best hikes to help you get away from the crowds.
1) South Fork Mineral Creek Falls, Colorado
Waterfalls in Colorado are worth making an extra trip! The Mineral Creek Falls offers a display of vibrant blue river water and green natural forest all around it. Hikers are even allowed to bring their dogs. South Fork Mineral Creek Falls is a moderately difficult hiking trail that features a waterfall and a scenic campsite at the end. You will have to cover a distance of 13.6 miles on this hike. The best time to do this hike is from mid-March to the end of October. If you are looking for a more challenging hike then we suggest you head towards the Ice Lake that is located at a much higher altitude than the falls. Also, the trail up there is very rugged and most people don’t come up all the way to the top. So you can be sure to expect no crowd on the trail itself.
2) Buckskin Gulch, Utah
Located along the Utah/Arizona border, the Buckskin Gulch hiking trail takes you on an adventure of a lifetime through the world’s longest slot canyon. For those looking for some extra dose of thrill and excitement, a hike in the deserts of Utah make for a compelling visit this spring. The hike follows a pathway that is rarely more than 10 feet wide. Throughout this hike, you can expect to see complex yet beautiful sandstone walls and landscape unlike anywhere else in the world. The trail itself is well marked and well-traveled. But your legs need to be in tiptop shape to complete this 20-plus mile hike. Therefore, be sure to follow all the safety guidelines and take extra caution especially if you’re hiking solo. Permits are not needed for this hike. You should do this hike from April to June or September to October. Keep in mind that flash floods often occur during July and August. So do avoid hiking on this trail during those months.
3) Cirque of the Towers, Wind River Range, Wyoming
This hike is a fantastic option for those who want to experience the extreme remote wilderness. The Cirque of the Towers trail is a long-distance hike that typically takes three whole days to complete. Starting at the Big Sandy Trailhead, the route follows a scenic pathway covered in wildflowers and alpine meadows. You can see several pointy granite peaks throughout this hike. As for the wildlife, you can expect to see marmots, deer, and black bears on the trail. You don’t require a permit to hike or camp here but you do have to be vigilant of your surroundings because of all the bears living in this region. The trails aren’t over packed with hikers so this hike is perfect for those who like the isolated wilderness. Spring and fall are ideal times but you can do this hike all year-round.
4) Sierra High Route, California
For extreme variations in the scenery in one stunning place, head to Sierra High Route. This hiking trail offers stunning natural vistas found nowhere else in the world. You will get to see views of seemingly endless exposed rock basins, picturesque alpine lakes, towering snowy mountain peaks and open fields of wildflowers. There are numerous viewpoints on the trail where you can peacefully sit down and enjoy the dramatic views of the mountains. You should expect a moderate level of difficulty while hiking on this trail. Autumn and spring seasons offer the best time to go hiking on the Sierra High Route. This hike is not for the faint of heart. A high level of physical fitness is necessary to finish this hike. So you should prepare your body with short easy hikes before doing this hike.
5) DIY Loop, Maroon Bells Wilderness Area, Aspen, Colorado
This is perfect for those hikers who are searching for something challenging. Yet no technical skills are required. The Maroon Bells Wilderness Area is one of the most photogenic places to go hiking this fall. This outdoor hiking trail takes you on an amazing journey through Aspen, Colorado. There are several custom loop routes that you can create on your own to avoid the usual high number of crowds in this region. This hike is perfect for nature lovers, as the trail is filled with iconic views and a plethora of rare flora and fauna. You will get up close to the Rocky Mountains so get yourself ready for some awesome mountain views. Expect to encounter tons of wild animals running around. There are picturesque lakes and streams dotted along the hiking trail.
From forested canopies to canyons in the desert, there are trails in the US where you can enjoy the solitude of Mother Nature without the unwanted crowd of hikers around you. It’s worth mentioning that all hiking destinations mentioned above offer trails that are easy to navigate. But you still need to prepare well and gather as much information about the trail as possible before actually going on these hikes.
See you on the trail!
Want to learn how to keep yourself clean while hiking and camping? Then check out this blog post "Guide to personal hygiene while hiking and camping".
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