Best Places to Hike in the USA

hiking trail

Since so many of us love to Hike. New York is a great place to hike and not too long ago, I reviewed a book on hiking in New York. But, when these stats crossed my desk, I couldn’t resist.

The list was compiled by LawnStarter. LawnStarter ranked 2022’s Best Cities for Hiking. They looked at 13 hiker-friendly factors, ranging from hiking access and quality to trail difficulty to natural hazards index.

Most Hiking Routes

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Tuscon, AZ
  • Colorado Springs, CO
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Portland, OR

Hardest Trails:

  • Pomona, CA
  • Oxnard, CA
  • Santa Ana, CA
  • Hialeah, FL
  • Corona, CA

Highest Rating Consumer Ratings for Hiking Trails

  • Garland, TX
  • Santa Ana, CA
  • Bridgeport, CT
  • Thorton, CT
  • Clarksville, TN
  • Pembroke Pines, FL

Number 1 Hiking Destination:

There are many offbeat trails where you can stroll and smell the roses in Portland, but according to Lawnstarter, the No. 1 hiking destination is Rose City. When you climb to the top, there are abundant hiking supply shops and rugged routes to explore.

Hikers have plenty of terrains to cover in Portland, which is home to the Tualatin Mountains, Boring Lava Field, and Willamette and Columbia rivers. On a clear day, you could even see four neighboring mountains, such as Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens.

The city’s many trails can lead to waterfalls, widely acclaimed gardens, and a historic mansion.

Local Tips:

Watch out for bobcats, porcupines, and elk while hiking through Forest Park, one of the country’s largest urban forests.

Golden Peaks

From the Sierra Nevada to the Sonoran Desert to the Great Basin Ranges, California is one of our most geologically diverse states. It’s no wonder why Cal cities make up more than half of the top 50 Best Cities for Hiking.

Some Golden State cities — such as Oakland, Los Angeles, and San Diego — even waltzed into the top 10. Access to quality trails to roam and pleasant environmental conditions sent these cities to the top.

Local Tips:

  • Oakland: Gaze up at the historic coastal redwood trees while hiking through Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park. Look out for “Old Survivor,” a tree that’s been standing tall since the 1500s.
  • Los Angeles: There are more than 4,000 acres of land to get some fresh air at Griffith Park, where you can find caves, the historic Griffith Observatory, and the famous Hollywood sign.
  • San Diego: Hike around acres of oceanside overlooks and trails filled with the nation’s rarest pine tree, Pinus torreyana, at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

Climbing Through Southwest Canyons

You’ll spot canyons and cacti while hiking in and around many of our top-ranking Southwest cities.

Brave the heat in Arizona, where Tucson (No. 2) and Phoenix (No. 3) dominate the charts in Hiking Access and also fare well in Hiking Quality and Supplies Access. The Valley of the Sun has a particularly challenging Climate (No. 184), so pack extra water before trekking through.

Go cowboy camping after wandering through the canyons of Las Vegas (No. 9), Albuquerque, New Mexico (No. 17), or El Paso, Texas (No. 18). Sin City and Burque have plenty of highly-rated routes, while El Paso got a boost from Safety (No. 6).

Local Tips:

  • Tucson: Hike Bear Canyon and count not one but seven waterfalls along the way on Seven Falls Trail, one of the city’s most iconic hikes.
  • Phoenix: You have three mountain ranges to choose from when hiking at South Mountain Park, one of the largest urban parks in the U.S.
  • Las Vegas: After hitting up the Las Vegas Strip, venture out to Red Rock Canyon and hike the sandstone trails — you might even spy an 800-year-old petroglyph wall.

Greenless Garden State

New Jersey cities trip to the bottom of our ranking, lacking the green space required for happy hiking. Paterson (No. 200) hit rock bottom, with Jersey City (No. 196) and Newark (No. 182) trailing not too far behind.

These cities earned poor scores across the board, with the exception of Safety in Newark (No. 19). Thankfully New Jerseyans with car access can take a break from strolling the city streets and get some fresh air by taking a day trip to Sourland Mountain Preserve or Wharton State Forest.