The American West is home to an abundance of world-class, long-distance hiking trails.
As an exercise of reverence, the following recognizes those that stand out in my imagination. I believe some are among the most iconic hiking trails in the world. I compiled the log as a way to educate me about each trail.
It’s a worthy exercise as each trail deserves acknowledgment on this website.
Iconic Hiking Trails
Pacific Crest Trail (2653 miles)
One of the great American North-South trails that extends through multiple states from the Mexican border in California to the Canadian border in Washington. The trail travels through five national parks and dozens of national forests and national scenic areas.
Continental Divide Trail (3,100 miles)
The second of America’s “Triple Crown of Hiking” (which includes the eastern Appalachian Trail to complete the trifecta), the CDT traverses the entire girth of our country through the Rocky Mountains from New Mexico all the way to Montana.
John Muir Trail (214 miles)
Named in honor of one of America’s famed environmental conservationists, this selectively chosen length of Sierra Nevada terrain is special. The northern trailhead begins in Yosemite Valley, while the southern trailhead includes a climb to Mt. Whitney’s summit.
Pacific Northwest Trail (1200 miles)
This East-West trail hugs the Canadian border through Montana, Idaho and Washington. While the other three trails are largely desert and alpine landscapes, the PNT includes island hopping through the Puget Sound and sections through temperate rain forests.
Oregon Coast Trail (Oregon, 375-425 miles dependent on route)
Colorado Trail (Colorado, 485 miles)
Sierra High Route (California, 195 miles)
Highline Trail (Utah, 78 miles)
Lost Coast Trail (California, 25.3 miles)
Zion Traverse (Utah, 48 miles)
Tahoe Rim Trail (California/Nevada, 165 miles)