Montana is home to Glacier National Park, as well as a stretch of the famous Yellowstone National Park. With wildlife this untouched, it is hard not to make Montana a top contender on your hiking bucket list. When it comes to hiking leisurely for the scenery, you have got to take the Hidden Lake Trail. It is a simple and beautiful mile and a half hike to the overlook portion, where you can feast your eyes on the hidden gem within the mountains. Another mile and a half will take you to the lake itself. This trail is filled with wildflowers and mountain goats, and from time to time, the trail even gets closed off due to Grizzly Bear activity; a frightening thought, but a scene worth risking it all for. The hike is simple and you can park at the Logan Pass Visitor Center lot, making this an easily-accessible daytrip.
Another must-visit park for its hiking trails is the Olympic National Park in Washington. The park offers self-guided hikes (as well as guided), and there are many different trails that range from easy to extreme. If you are interested in the self-guided hiking experience (which we recommend for the landscape), try the trails at Lake Crescent Lodge. There are a variety of trails within Lake Crescent, and many will have you trekking through the lowland forests, complete with dense overgrowth and trickling creeks. You will feel as though you stepped into a wonderland forest as the sun shines down on you through the thick trees.
The Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve in Colorado offers scenery that is unlike anything else in the United States. If you take an off-road vehicle, you won’t have to hike as far, but even when taking a regular vehicle and parking at the Point of No Return, the hike is less than a mile to Sand Pit and just over a mile to Castle Creek. The park is home to the tallest dune in America: Star Dune. It stands at an impressive height of 750 feet and takes approximately 4 ½ hours round trip to hike to. If you are thinking of traveling to the Great Sand Dunes during the summer, you may want to plan your hike early in the morning or later in the evening, as the 150 degree temperatures during the day are no picnic, not to mention the frequent thunderstorms.
There is even such a thing as sand-surfing or sand-sledding, which you can do in the dunes. Rental equipment and guide services are available – which we highly recommend – as this is something you will want to take a crash course on. The Great Sand Dunes is definitely a park worth adding to your hiking trip, especially if you’re up for trying your hand at surfing the sand waves!