The Stunning Summer Hikes Everyone Should Try At Least Once


As a child, the start of summer was marked by a freezer full of Otter Pops, the sensation of your skin simultaneously being scorched and cooled by the Slip ‘n Slide, and the joyous knowledge that you had months before you had to go back to school. Now that we’re all older, the Otter Pops are still a given, but the rest of the list is more likely to include sampling a wide variety of session beers, hitting up a party lake, and doing some tubing.

It should also include going on some legit hikes. Both for the scenery and the workout.

Provided you have an adequate amount of water and sunscreen, few things are as gratifying as spending a day in nature, hiking a trail. A summer hike is a great time to leave the pressing daily grind behind and get in tune with the natural world. It helps that few state or national parks have wifi. Spend the day taking photos, checking in with yourself (rather than work), and feeling the burn as you get your cardio on.

We gathered ten of the most essential summer hikes in America. We encourage you to try them all as soon as you get a chance. It will absolutely be worth it.

The Narrows: Zion National Park, Utah (Zion National Park)

Utah’s first National Park, Zion, is renowned for its massive sandstone cliffs in shades of red, pink, and cream. They are absolutely stunning and a solid reason why this is one of the most visited parks in the nation. Visitors never forget the sunlight bouncing off of the slot canyons, the graceful architecture of the cliffs, or the roar of the rushing Virgin River. It’s considered one of the best places in the world for canyoneering — where adventurers have opportunities to drop into watery slots and river-filled chasms. The sandstone cliffs also tempt climbers from all over to jump on big wall routes, take shorter crack climbs, and do some peak-bagging.

The Narrows is generally considered one of the best slot canyon hikes in the world. In fairness, there aren’t a lot of other chances to get deep in a canyon and take in 18 million years of aged rock walls that flow like colorful, striped taffy. The Narrows doesn’t refer to a single trail. There are actually two hikes. The bottom-up hike from the Temple of Sinawava to Big Springs is 3.6 miles, and the top-down hike from Chamberlain’s Ranch back to the Temple of Sinawava is 16 miles. Start with the bottom-up route for an awesome day hike. It’s especially great in the summer because a large portion of the trek goes through the river. Because water levels change throughout the year, most hikers will have to wade through waist-deep water, but there can be sections that require full on swimming as well.

Be warned that flash floods are no joke here. They rush through slot canyons and take lives. Check the forecast before hitting the trail, and if rain is predicted, make other plans for your day.

The Loop: Runyon Canyon, California