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Trails I've Hiked

Browse our collection of trail overviews to help decide which path to choose in the parks.

Trails I've Hiked: Mills Lake And Beyond At Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park, with its sky-scraping peaks, deep valleys gouged out of the landscape by creeks and rivers fueled by snowmelt, and forests thick with conifers and dappled with aspens, is a hiker's dreamscape. Though there are only 355 miles of marked trails, far fewer than Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, Glacier, and many other national parks, Rocky Mountain "hikes" much bigger than it seems.

Trails I've Hiked: Mallard Lake Trail At Yellowstone National Park

Though I've been visiting Yellowstone National Park for a few decades and hiked many of the park's trails, in truth I've only scratched the surface of the backcountry paths that wind through this incredible landscape. So on my latest trip I packed four guidebooks and three maps with plans to discover a new one. And the one I did was practically out the door of my cabin.

Trails I've Hiked: The Howard Eaton Trail To Lone Star Geyser In Yellowstone National Park

There are two ways to get to Lone Star Geyser from Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park: Drive down to the parking area for Kepler Cascades and walk 2.4 miles down the paved trail, or take your time and enjoy the scenery while hiking down the Howard Eaton Trail from the inn.

Trails I've Hiked: Johnston Canyon At Banff National Park

In a park known for its majestic peaks and brilliant lakes, perhaps the most enchanting trail in Banff National Park clings to a canyon above a curving, crystal-clear river with a handful of picturesque plunges just 15 miles west of Banff townsite. Johnston Canyon, one of the area’s most popular hikes, features a pair of large waterfalls along with a handful of smaller cascades as Johnston Creek carves its way through the limestone walls.

Trails I've Hiked: Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

Most avid hikers know Half Dome. In fact, as the signature landmark for Yosemite National Park, its image is recognized worldwide. It’s even on the 2005 U.S. quarter. From late-May to early-October, visitors can attempt this extremely strenuous 16-mile round-trip day hike. The main challenge is the nearly one mile vertical climb from the valley. Then there’s the final 425 feet, aided by a 45-degree inclined cable banister.

A National Park Classic: Hiking Zion's Narrows

We splash downstream in The Narrows of the North Fork of the Virgin River, deep in the backcountry of Utah’s Zion National Park, mostly craning our necks up like turkeys hypnotized by falling rain. But our fascination is not with rain, but red walls on both sides that rise hundreds of feet overhead. The sun does not find us in this deep canyon, where the air temperature approximates the inside of a refrigerator, and the ankle- to calf-deep water feels about the same.

Trails I've Hiked: Lewis Channel Trail At Yellowstone National Park

Late September and early October, they say, are the best times to while your day away hoping to hook into one of the brown trout that call Shoshone Lake in Yellowstone National Park home. And one of the best ways to reach the lake for some fishing is via the Lewis RIver Channel Trail.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide