Celebrating National Walking Day: 5 of the Best Walking and Hiking Spots in America

Celebrating National Walking Day: 5 of the Best Walking and Hiking Spots in America

Going for a walk is one of the simplest and best things you can do for both your physical and mental health. National Walking Day, celebrated annually on the first Wednesday in April, aims to encourage everyone to get outdoors and enjoy the numerous benefits of walking, from improved fitness and better cardiovascular health to a reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression. 

With its diverse landscapes and breathtaking scenery, the USA offers an array of incredible walking and hiking spots for enthusiasts of all fitness and experience levels. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll through picturesque parks or a more challenging trek along rugged trails, there's something for everyone to explore. 

Let's discover five of the best walking and hiking spots in America to celebrate National Walking Day.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Embark on an unforgettable journey through one of the world's most awe-inspiring natural wonders at the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. With its vast expanses of colorful rock formations and stunning scenic vistas, the Grand Canyon offers both leisurely walks and challenging hikes. 

For a relatively easy walk, take the paved Rim Trail along the canyon's edge. Offering stunning panoramic views of the rugged landscape, this trail stretches for 13 miles in total. Hike all or part of it, as you prefer! For a more adventurous experience, you can venture down into the canyon on trails like the South Kaibab Trail or Bright Angel Trail and see this geological wonder up close. 

Whether you choose a short walk or a multi-day hike, the Grand Canyon promises an unforgettable outdoor adventure.

Yosemite National Park, California

Nestled in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and home to towering granite cliffs including the world-famous El Capitan as well as cascading waterfalls and giant sequoia groves, Yosemite National Park in California is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. 

Visitors can explore iconic landmarks such as Yosemite Falls, the Half Dome, and El Capitan on scenic trails such as the Mist Trail, Glacier Point Trail, and Sentinel Dome Trail. 

Those looking for a leisurely walk can stroll through the lush meadows of Yosemite Valley or wander along the serene shores of Mirror Lake, while those seeking a greater challenge can take on the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail, the Four Mile Trail, Yosemite Point, or the Half Dome. 

Yosemitehikes.com is a treasure-trove of information to help you find the perfect walking route for you. 

Acadia National Park, Maine

Located along the coast of Maine and including around half of Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park offers a diverse array of walking and hiking opportunities amidst stunning coastal landscapes. If you are seeking scenic beauty and tranquility, look no further than Acadia’s exposed granite domes, pristine lakes, and lush forests. 

Walkers can explore the park's extensive network of trails including the iconic Cadillac Mountain Summit Trail, which offers sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding islands. For a coastal adventure, stroll along the Ocean Path or hike the Gorham Mountain Loop for panoramic ocean vistas. 

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

As America's first National Park, Yellowstone is best known for its extraordinary geothermal features, from bubbling hot springs and geysers to towering waterfalls, as well as its abundant wildlife. 

Yellowstone also offers a huge array of walking and hiking experiences for enthusiasts of all levels. Explore iconic spots such as the Old Faithful Geyser, Grand Prismatic Spring, and Yellowstone Falls on scenic trails such as the Upper Geyser Basin Loop (6 miles), Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone Trail (20 miles), and Fairy Falls Trail (1.6-3.4 miles.) 

Whether you're spotting wildlife such as bison and elk in the Lamar Valley or marveling at the colorful and unique geothermal wonders of the park, Yellowstone is truly unmissable for walkers and hikers. 

Zion National Park, Utah

Renowned for its towering sandstone cliffs, Kolob Canyons, and verdant river valleys, Zion National Park in Utah offers some of the most spectacular hiking opportunities to be found anywhere in the USA.

From gentle walks along tranquil rivers to challenging ascents through steep canyons, Zion's diverse terrain caters to adventurers of all skill levels. Explore iconic trails such as the Narrows (which involves wading through the Virgin River,) the strenuous Angels Landing (permit required), and the stunning Observation Point for breathtaking views of the park's dramatic landscapes. For a more relaxed experience, try the Riverside Walk or Emerald Pools Trail. 

Stay Safe

No matter where you choose to walk or hike, safety is paramount. Follow these basic tips to keep yourself safe:

  • Walk or hike within your ability and fitness level
  • Ensure you have the correct equipment, clothing and footwear before you set off 
  • Try not to walk or hike alone and, if you must, ensure that someone knows where you are
  • Always keep a charged mobile phone with you 
  • Check the conditions before you set off
  • Allow plenty of time 
  • Carry plenty of water as well as energizing snacks such as protein bars or trail mix

As we celebrate National Walking Day on April 3rd, there's no better time to lace up your hiking boots, hit the trails, and explore the natural beauty of America's most iconic landscapes. Who knows what you’ll discover?