No disrespect intended to state and provincial parks, but the designation of National Park means the crème de la crème of the USA’s natural real estate. The resourceful experts at Backpacker.com have cleverly compiled a list of the Best Hikes in the country’s venerable National Park Service. Clever in the sense that they have isolated stretches of much longer trails that are accessible and achievable for those who are not Ironman alumni. Consider them like a hiking espresso to the Grande cup at Starbucks. There are logistic challenges to getting to the abbreviated versions but the best thing about this list is that it inspires a desire to experience these wonderful venues in some way, shape or form. A few are Park superstars, like Yosemite and The Grand Canyon, but most are not that well known yet and could very well become the most unforgettable sight of a lifetime. Just touring them online is a breathtaking experience that will have you shopping for new hiking gear.
Cardenas Camp to Hance Rapid, Escalante Route -Grand Canyon NP, Arizona
Well the Grand Canyon had be in here somewhere. The Backpacker says these nine miles convey the essence of the Canyon, an intense experience of the first order. Above and beyond getting up close with the canyon’s signature sunset-colored stone and the Colorado River, this nine mile hike has many lesser-known but astonishing scenes. The Vishnu Complex, named appropriately after the Hindu God also known as The Preserver, visible along the Canyon’s 277 mile length, formed by the massive collision of tectonic plates 1.7 billion years ago. Seventy-five Mile Creek is a towering, wafer thin slot canyon. At the end point, Hance Rapids are one of the park’s premier stretches of white water. Along the way some real hiking, climbing up on hand and toe grips and a 30 foot descent by rope.