5 Best U.S. Hikes Reviewed in 2019
Last Updated by Ricky Holzer on Tuesday, January 7th, 2020In 2019, I expanded NoCoastBestCoast.com's coverage beyond the Midwest to allow me to share all of the great hikes I do no matter where I go. From the depths of Carlsbad Caverns to the highest peaks in Maine and Arizona, this list showcases the spectacular variety of landscapes the U.S. has to offer. The rankings are rather arbitrary (comparing caves to mountaintops is like comparing apples to oranges), and each of these hiking destinations is somewhere you should visit at least once in your life.
5. Alkali Flat Loop, White Sands National Park, New Mexico
4. Arizona Hot Springs and Liberty Bell Arch Loop, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Arizona
3. Humphreys Peak via the Humphreys Peak Trail, Coconino National Forest, Arizona state highpoint yet, 12,000-foot Humphreys Peak, was a beastly challenge. Though Arizona is mostly known for its desert, this trail takes you up nearly 4,000 feet from pine forest to the state's only alpine tundra, home of a rare flower that is found nowhere else in the world but the top of these high peaks. While the first half of the hike is an uphill slog through forest, once you ascend above treeline, the views are phenomenal, distracting you from how out of breath you are. On a clear day, you can even glimpse the Grand Canyon from the summit!
2. Natural Entrance Trail, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico Big Room Loop has way better cave formations, but the Natural Entrance Trail offers a less crowded experience. Show up early enough, and you'll have the experience of being alone in the dead quiet of the cave -- something you can't do at any other national parks, since they require guided tours. This hike is also unique in that this is the true natural entrance to the cave; at other national parks, the natural entrances weren't large enough for humans, so either other entrances were dug or explosives expanded the existing entrance. It's truly fascinating to descend down 700 feet from daylight to the bottom of the cave, especially knowing that you can take an elevator back up!
1. Mount Katahdin via Hunt Trail, Baxter State Park, Maine
What were your favorite hikes this past year? Let me know by commenting below or on Twitter and Instagram!