Got oxygen? Good. We’re sharing some of the most breathtaking mountains and trails on America’s west coast-literally and figuratively. From the near 3,000 steps of the Manitou Inline in Colorado to the 211 miles of rocky beauty on the John Muir Trail in California, your next hiking excursion is sure to include plenty of altitude(and possibly attitude if you forget snacks.) If you’re thinking of exploring the outdoors for your next trip, we have some noteworthy suggestions-keep reading!
We kept it simple for you and chose our favorite hikes out of 5 categories: most unique, longest, highest, most dangerous and for all our Instagram addicts, most photogenic.
Manitou Incline. Manitou Springs, Colorado- Most Unique
Remember the last time you went to the gym and got on the stair master…and got right back off? Nature has brought your love/hate relationship with cardio to your next outdoor vacation. The only difference is that this staircase is way more satisfying to finish. Our top pick for most unique hike can be found in Manitou Springs, Colorado. This hike is equally fun and challenging and terrifying and so many other adjectives you might want to apply to an outdoor staircase with nearly 3,000 steps toward to sky in just under 1 mile. Yeah, that’s right. This giant outdoor staircase that peaks at 8,590 feet and increases 610 meters of elevation in under 1 mile will not disappoint…unlike the stair master at your gym. The reward of finishing is well worth it and once you’re done, you can explore the quaint little city of Manitou Springs full of local shops and restaurants.
John Muir Trail. California- Longest
Remember our snack suggestion? That was heavily in regard to this hike… stop thinking about snacks and keep reading. Our top pick for longest hike is the John Muir Trail in California. We’ll get right to the point- it’s 211 miles long. TWO HUNDRED AND ELEVEN. That’s a lot of snacks and possibly a lot of… blisters? If you’re looking for a lengthy trail for your next west coast hiking destination, this is your best bet. Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in California, this trail runs through Yosemite all the way to Sequoia National Park. You’ll see everything nature has to offer on this hike. From rocky cliffs and elevation to waterfalls and snowcaps, this lengthy hike will continuously surprise you with nature’s beauty.
Mount McKinley. Fairbanks, Alaska- Highest
This next mountain will have you channeling your inner… Elton John? We mean you’re gonna be high. Like rocket man…get it? No..okay moving on. Mount McKinley, more recently known as Denali in Alaska reaches a summit elevation of 20,310 feet above sea level making this peak the highest in America-not just the west coast. Though there are many people every year who attempt to reach the top, only few are able to complete this hike. We’re past needing snacks people, this hike calls for some major dedication, experience and strong lungs. If you’re an adventurous hiker and snow lover, this is a challenge worth seeking on your next excursion.
McKenzie River Trail. Blue River, Oregon- Most Photogenic
If you’re more of scenic and leisurely hiker, Oregon has seriously got you covered. So much that choosing a trail for this category was pretty difficult because there are so many beautiful hikes in this state to choose from. But, there is something about the MaKenzie River Trail that will make you consistently stop in your tracks(yeah, take a breather) to appreciate the hidden beauty Mother Nature has to offer. This hike will show you endless waterfalls and vibrant blue pools of water just waiting to be admired…and photographed, of course.
Mount Rainier Seattle, Washington- Most Dangerous
We’d like to end this list with a little danger. Located in Seattle, Washington, this snowy mountain is actually a volcano- a stratovolcano to be exact. This is not to say you’re going to encounter an eruption mid-climb although the possibility of avalanche occurrences is what makes this hike so intimidating. It is reported to have not erupted since 1895 but HELLO the possibility in itself is terrifying. Save this scary excursion for the professionals; it’s reported that less than half of climbers who attempt to summit the peak are successful and 400 people have died in attempt since 1897.
Whether you’ve never hiked a day in your life or the idea of climbing Mount Rainier hypes you up(you crazy), the beauty of the west coast will not disappoint. If you’re the outdoorsy type, we’d love to hear from you about your favorite hiking vacations!