This is a huge country comprising 50 states, so it’s no surprise that walking holidays in the USA are extremely diverse. With Exodus, our trips to the USA take you on spectacular adventures among the varied landscapes that are made up of mountains, coastlines, lakes and canyons, which can be best enjoyed on foot. Hike along beautiful routes through sprawling national parks and among remote wilderness where you can discover some of the country’s most incredible wildlife. Go in search of wolves in Yellowstone National Park, watch sunrise over the Grand Canyon or explore the magnificent Monument Valley.
Our walking holidays in the USA are designed for active adults and offer a well-paced mix of walks for all levels of fitness. Most walks are of moderate to strenuous difficulty and range from 3 to 5 hours in length. If you prefer a slower pace, there are often shorter, easy to moderate hikes up to 2 hours in some destinations.
As well as exploring the wilder side of the USA, there’s also plenty of opportunities to learn about the country’s history and culture with trips to the city of Burlington, the ancient villages of Vermont and the bright lights of Las Vegas. The contrasts you’ll encounter at each destination are totally captivating and give you an insight into the immense diversity of walking holidays USA. Perhaps take in a show along the strip in Vegas or try the local beers and food at the historic village of Waitsfield.
Top 5 National Parks to Visit on Walking Holidays USA
Zion National Park: Hiking along the meandering trails that lead through Zion National Park, let you discover the wonderful flora and fauna that occupies the landscape surrounding the Virgin River and emerald pools. The Zion Canyon is particularly fascinating, and you’ll learn about the Utah Mormons who referred to it as the ‘promised land’. Climb to the summit of the famous Watchman Trail to reach the viewpoint that looks out over park and the imposing Watchman Peak and explore the Zion Narrows for even more spellbinding vistas. This is a thrilling adventure as you wade through the river below the steep canyon walls.
Grand Canyon National Park: Playing host to one of the USA’s most phenomenal sites, the Grand Canyon National Park is arguably one of the most photographed and impressive of all. Until you see the Grand Canyon with your own eyes, it’s hard to imagine its immensity and sheer beauty. Formed over several millennia, the canyon is one of those natural wonders that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Winding along the Colorado River, Grand Canyon National Park runs between a staggering seven US states. If you get the chance, you should visit at sunset when the canyon is bathed in orange and pinks for an unforgettable experience.
Yellowstone National Park: Shrouded in mystery, Yellowstone is another of the USA’s most popular national parks. The diversity of wildflower meadows, dramatic mountains and geothermal landscapes is intoxicating. Walk around thermal hot springs, mud pools and fumaroles as you learn about the park’s volcanic history. You can also explore one of the world’s largest concentration of geysers which pepper this lunar-like landscape. Yellowstone is also renowned for being the home of the wolf, which lives among the mountains, and with any luck you’ll be able to see them in the wild on a wolf tracking tour as well as various other species of wildlife.
Bryce Canyon National Park: Famed for its unusual red rock formations, known as hoodoos, which pierce the landscape with their jagged spires, Bryce National Park has an unearthly landscape that will leave you breathless. Walk along the Rim Trail where you can peer over the enormous Bryce Amphitheatre from several viewpoints, including Sunrise, Sunset, Inspiration and Bryce points. Alternatively, follow the Peek-a-Boo or Navajo trails that lead you in between the hoodoos. This is a surreal experience as the huge spires tower above you in this fantastical landscape.
Glacier National Park: In stark contrast to other parks, Glacier National Park boasts an ancient landscape made up of glacial valleys, alpine meadows and emerald glacial lakes. This is a wild paradise for nature lovers and home to a hugely varied array of flora and fauna. On your hiking adventures, keep your eyes peeled for animals such as deer, grizzly bears, mountain goats, wolves and lynx. There won’t be a moment when your eyes can rest from the wildly beautiful scenery as something new surprises you at every twist and turn. To witness the picturesque glacial lakes, walk along the Hidden Lake Trail.
Our Top 5 USA National Park Hikes
Angels Landing, Zion National Park – Fortune favours the brave, and if you have a head for heights, the Angels Landing hike offers incredible rewards. With a pleasant and scenic start, you then encounter ‘Walter’s Wiggles’, a series of 21 tight switchbacks with a fast elevation gain. As you climb higher, chains are provided to aid your steep ascent, but at the summit, you’ll experience the much-lauded panoramic view over Zion National Park.
Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon – For a different perspective of the Grand Canyon that far less visitors experience, why not hike into the canyon itself? The Bright Angel Trail snakes its way down from rim to river, although it’s not recommended to hike all the way in one day. Plateau Point offers a great stopping point, where you can enjoy incredible views of the canyon from a whole new angle.
Peekaboo and Navajo Loop, Bryce Canyon – Bryce Canyon National Park is famous for its towering spires of rock, known as ‘hoodoos’ – and this trail gives park visitors the opportunity to walk amongst the hoodoos, staring up in awe as the sun against rock formations create shadows across the park. Eerie and fascinating, this landscape is the perfect place for photographers too.
Delicate Arch Trail,Arches National Park – One of Utah‘s finest national parks offers a less strenuous short hike with views over one of the Southwest’s most photographed landmarks, make your way through Arches National Park to see its most famous rock formation, Delicate Arch. The red sandstone arches here have been created over millions of years by the winds that brush down the western slope of the Rocky Mountains.
The John Muir Trail – For experienced backcountry hikers looking for their next challenge, the John Muir Trail is one of America’s most famous hiking routes. It’s not for the faint hearted – you’ll need endurance, experience and preparation for all weathers. But on an uninterrupted three week trekking holiday along the trail, you’ll be rewarded well for your efforts.
This was an excellent week of walking. The paths are steep in some places but well defined and Jose guided us with care and attention on the challenging ascents and descents of the Sierra Aitana. The walks were well-paced by Jose but the days are long so you do need to be fit. We trekked through a number of landscapes illustrating the historic and current use of the area and Jose with his local knowledge enhanced our understanding of how this area has evolved over the centuries as well as the current challenges. The views from the walks were amazing – one way you could see the coast from Alicante to Benidorm and beyond and the other the folding valleys and mountains of the interior. The skies were blue and the days sunny and warm and we experienced very little wind even on the summits. We were based at the Hostel Rincon de Pepe where we had a wonderful week being looked after by Raquel. The food was amazing and hearty (three courses plus wine). The terrace was also great place to have breakfast every morning as the sun rose out of the Med, as well as a beer or two after the walk as the sun disappeared behind the mountains.
This is a great week’s walking in a little-known (and underrated) part of Spain. The Aitana range is a compact set of mountains so you get to tick off almost all of it, and there are great views from the top of all the peaks, out to the coast and across to the surrounding peaks. Most of the walks are reasonably demanding, but also rewarding.
Being based in one location, with very short transfers (or none) for each walk makes for a very relaxing week aside from the walking. It’s also a fairly short transfer to/from Alicante Airport.
The vast majority of meals are included which makes it much better value than some other (apparently similarly priced) holidays.
Jose the guide is exceptional: hard-working, helpful, supportive and deeply knowledgeable about the area.