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Five Spectacular Hikes in U.S. National Parks

This year marks 150 years since the creation of America's national park system. Celebrate with one of these epic hikes.

Five Spectacular Hikes in U.S. National Parks is a feature from Issue 10 of Charitable Traveller. Click below to read more from this issue.

1. Angel's Landing

Not for the faint-hearted, this 5.4-mile hike in Utah’s Zion National Park affords breath-taking views of Zion Canyon’s 270-million-year-old russet rock layers. In Refrigerator Canyon, a flat shady path is hugged by sandstone walls and dotted with trees. Climb the 21 switchbacks called ‘Walter’s Wiggles’ to Scout Lookout and then, if you dare, the final hair-raising walk along a knife-edge ridge to Angel’s Landing for 360-degree views of the canyon from 1,800 metres above its floor.

2. The Sliding Sands Trail

This 11-mile hike in Hawaii’s Haleakala National Park on Maui Island might look like a descent into hell and back, as you enter the smoking crater of the world’s largest dormant volcano. You’ll feel like a Martian as you lower into the flame-hued crater, crunching over the cinder floor of this barren amphitheatre, where cones smoke in the distance. It’s hard going in places, thanks to the black sand, and what goes up must come down as this is not a loop tail. Look out for the rare Silversword, a spiky plant which lives for an incredible 90 years but flowers only once.

3. Grinnell Glacier Trail

Montana’s Glacier National Park is larger than Kent, with 700 turquoise lakes and 35 glaciers. This 7.2-mile strenuous hike starts gently, hugging two picturesque lakes (you can cheat here and hop on a boat), before climbing the flanks of Mt. Grinnell to a high point. Sit beneath a dramatic ring of peaks and jagged ridges, with views of the sparkling Grinnell, Salamander and Gem glaciers and the fir-trimmed Upper Grinnell Lake. You’ll cross wildflower meadows, pass the pretty Grinnell Falls and see grazing bighorn sheep.

4. Cadillac South Ridge Trail

This scenic seven-mile trail on Mount Desert Island takes you to the highest point in Maine’s Acadia National Park and the whole eastern seaboard, with 360-degree views of New England from its flat granite summit. You’ll start in the forest and climb slowly to the picturesque Featherbed Pond, nestled in greenery, before ascending above the treeline as the path becomes a barren granite ridge. At the top, pause for bird’s eye views of the Gulf of Maine, the scattered Cranberry Islands and the fishing port of Bar Harbour.

5. Tall Trees Trail

A permit-only hike in California’s Redwood National Park, this 4.5-mile trail has some hard climbs but it’s worth it to reach this mystical grove where some of the park’s tallest trees grow. They sit along the glittering Redwood Creek, where you can stop to relax on the gravel banks or cool off your feet in the crystal-clear water. The gigantic redwood trees rise up majestically from a carpet of five-foot-tall ferns and a dense under canopy of smaller trees like hazelnut.

Five Spectacular Hikes in U.S. National Parks

This year marks 150 years since the creation of America’s national park system. Celebrate with one of these epic hikes.

Five Spectacular Hikes in U.S. National Parks is a feature from Issue 10 of Charitable Traveller. Click below to read more from this issue.

1. Angel’s Landing

Not for the faint-hearted, this 5.4-mile hike in Utah’s Zion National Park affords breath-taking views of Zion Canyon’s 270-million-year-old russet rock layers. In Refrigerator Canyon, a flat shady path is hugged by sandstone walls and dotted with trees. Climb the 21 switchbacks called ‘Walter’s Wiggles’ to Scout Lookout and then, if you dare, the final hair-raising walk along a knife-edge ridge to Angel’s Landing for 360-degree views of the canyon from 1,800 metres above its floor.

3. Grinnell Glacier Trail

Montana’s Glacier National Park is larger than Kent, with 700 turquoise lakes and 35 glaciers. This 7.2-mile strenuous hike starts gently, hugging two picturesque lakes (you can cheat here and hop on a boat), before climbing the flanks of Mt. Grinnell to a high point. Sit beneath a dramatic ring of peaks and jagged ridges, with views of the sparkling Grinnell, Salamander and Gem glaciers and the fir-trimmed Upper Grinnell Lake. You’ll cross wildflower meadows, pass the pretty Grinnell Falls and see grazing bighorn sheep.

5. Tall Trees Trail

A permit-only hike in California’s Redwood National Park, this 4.5-mile trail has some hard climbs but it’s worth it to reach this mystical grove where some of the park’s tallest trees grow. They sit along the glittering Redwood Creek, where you can stop to relax on the gravel banks or cool off your feet in the crystal-clear water. The gigantic redwood trees rises up majestically from a carpet of five-foot-tall ferns and a dense under canopy of smaller trees like hazelnut.

2. The Sliding Sands Trail

This 11-mile hike in Hawaii’s Haleakala National Park on Maui Island might look like a descent into hell and back, as you enter the smoking crater of the world’s largest dormant volcano. You’ll feel like a Martian as you lower into the flame-hued crater, crunching over the cinder floor of this barren amphitheatre, where cones smoke in the distance. It’s hard going in places, thanks to the black sand, and what goes up must come down as this is not a loop tail. Look out for the rare Silversword, a spiky plant which lives for an incredible 90 years but flowers only once.

4. Cadillac South Ridge Trail

This scenic seven-mile trail on Mount Desert Island takes you to the highest point in Maine’s Acadia National Park and the whole eastern seaboard, with 360-degree views of New England from its flat granite summit. You’ll start in the forest and climb slowly to the picturesque Featherbed Pond, nestled in greenery, before ascending above the treeline as the path becomes a barren granite ridge. At the top, pause for bird’s eye views of the Gulf of Maine, the scattered Cranberry Islands and the fishing port of Bar Harbour.

Five Spectacular Hikes in U.S. National Parks

This year marks 150 years since the creation of America’s national park system. Celebrate with one of these epic hikes.

Five Spectacular Hikes in U.S. National Parks is a feature from Issue 10 of Charitable Traveller. Click to read more from this issue.

1. Angel’s Landing

Not for the faint-hearted, this 5.4-mile hike in Utah’s Zion National Park affords breath-taking views of Zion Canyon’s 270-million-year-old russet rock layers. In Refrigerator Canyon, a flat shady path is hugged by sandstone walls and dotted with trees. Climb the 21 switchbacks called ‘Walter’s Wiggles’ to Scout Lookout and then, if you dare, the final hair-raising walk along a knife-edge ridge to Angel’s Landing for 360-degree views of the canyon from 1,800 metres above its floor.

2. The Sliding Sands Trail

This 11-mile hike in Hawaii’s Haleakala National Park on Maui Island might look like a descent into hell and back, as you enter the smoking crater of the world’s largest dormant volcano. You’ll feel like a Martian as you lower into the flame-hued crater, crunching over the cinder floor of this barren amphitheatre, where cones smoke in the distance. It’s hard going in places, thanks to the black sand, and what goes up must come down as this is not a loop tail. Look out for the rare Silversword, a spiky plant which lives for an incredible 90 years but flowers only once.

3. Grinnell Glacier Trail

Montana’s Glacier National Park is larger than Kent, with 700 turquoise lakes and 35 glaciers. This 7.2-mile strenuous hike starts gently, hugging two picturesque lakes (you can cheat here and hop on a boat), before climbing the flanks of Mt. Grinnell to a high point. Sit beneath a dramatic ring of peaks and jagged ridges, with views of the sparkling Grinnell, Salamander and Gem glaciers and the fir-trimmed Upper Grinnell Lake. You’ll cross wildflower meadows, pass the pretty Grinnell Falls and see grazing bighorn sheep.

4. Cadillac South Ridge Trail

This scenic seven-mile trail on Mount Desert Island takes you to the highest point in Maine’s Acadia National Park and the whole eastern seaboard, with 360-degree views of New England from its flat granite summit. You’ll start in the forest and climb slowly to the picturesque Featherbed Pond, nestled in greenery, before ascending above the treeline as the path becomes a barren granite ridge. At the top, pause for bird’s eye views of the Gulf of Maine, the scattered Cranberry Islands and the fishing port of Bar Harbour.

5. Tall Trees Trail

A permit-only hike in California’s Redwood National Park, this 4.5-mile trail has some hard climbs but it’s worth it to reach this mystical grove where some of the park’s tallest trees grow. They sit along the glittering Redwood Creek, where you can stop to relax on the gravel banks or cool off your feet in the crystal-clear water. The gigantic redwood trees rises up majestically from a carpet of five-foot-tall ferns and a dense under canopy of smaller trees like hazelnut.

This is a feature from Issue 10 of Charitable Traveller. Click to read more from this issue.