USA Hidden Gems: 15 Lesser-Known Hikes For Families

a mother ad daughter on a hiking trail

Hiking the Appalachian Trail or the Half Dome may be unforgettable experiences. However, the United States is a vast country with several options for trekking and camping in areas that draw fewer tourists each year.

If you are searching for a family adventure or simply some peace and serenity away from the crowds, we have 15 options for you to try, from epic multi-month adventures to shorter trails that even the smallest members of your family can enjoy.

This post is part of our outdoor family adventures series

1. The Continental Divide Trail

The term originates from the name of the American continental divide, and the trail is around 5000 km long. This journey begins in Mexico and finishes in Canada and can take 4 to 6 months, traversing diverse landscapes from deserts to mountains. You’ll need to plan carefully for this adventure, preparing your fitness levels and packing all the essentials you’ll need for such a long journey. Electronic SIM cards for international travel, which will enable you to stay in touch at all times, must also be placed on your list.

2. The Hayduke Trail

The Hayduke Trail is a lesser-known hiking path in the United States that stretches for over 800 miles between Utah and Arizona.

The path provides a tough and remote hiking experience as it passes through some of the Southwest’s most rugged and spectacular environments. You can immediately share them on social with an eSIM card and a stable internet connection.

3. Big Cypress National Preserve

Big Cypress National Preserve, located less than an hour from Miami, is one of the most ecologically diverse places in the United States. The highlighted walk spans north to south between the I-75 trailhead and the Oasis Visitor Centre in the Everglades National Park. It is best walked between November and April during the dry season. Install a virtual SIM card to be able to switch on the navigator if needed.

4. Garden of the Gods Wilderness

Garden of the Gods Wilderness, Illinois, is a hiker’s paradise with its rugged terrain, towering rock formations, and pristine wilderness. Hiking here provides an immersive experience in nature, offering stunning vistas, unique geological features, and a sense of serenity that can only be found in such a picturesque and untouched landscape.

hiking USA Garden of the Gods Wilderness

5. Squak Mountain Connector Trail

The name “Squak Mountain” is derived from the call of herons that frequent here in the spring and autumn. It’s a terrific spot near Seattle to bring the family and even the dog any time of year for an afternoon of serenity, tranquillity, and the chance to soak in the natural landscape’s splendor.

6. Mount Olomana

Take care on this 7.2-kilometer out-and-back path in Kailua, Oahu. It is generally regarded as a difficult path that should only be tried by experienced explorers. Since this is a popular hiking area, you will most likely encounter other hikers while exploring. The path is open all year and is a terrific site to visit anytime.

Hiking USA Mount Olomana

7. Dripping Cave Trail

A historical hideaway, a secret hollow, and a rustler’s sanctuary––whatever you name Dripping Cave in Laguna Niguel, CA, it is a cool, captivating grotto. To get to the magnificent grotto, make a 5-mile out-and-back journey through Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, a 4,500-acre public refuge in Orange County.

8. Klahhane Ridge Trail

This trail is located in Olympic National Park, WA, and is known for its dramatic elevation gain and breathtaking panoramic views. As you ascend through alpine meadows and along the rugged ridge, you’re rewarded with vistas of the Olympic Mountains, glacial valleys, and the stunning expanse of the Pacific Ocean, making it a truly memorable and visually stunning adventure.

Hiking USA Klahhane Ridge

9. Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail

The Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail is a well-liked hiking trail that can be found in the Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts. The trail takes you through a serene and distinct ecosystem, distinguished by Atlantic white cedar trees. Hikers can enjoy the peaceful and shaded environment that the trail offers. The trail is a great way to explore the natural beauty of Cape Cod, with its abundant vegetation and varied wildlife, making it a popular choice for nature lovers and hikers.

10. Mount Galbraith

This five-mile stretch of trail, woodland, and meadow in Colorado has something for everyone. The trek up to the circle will require hard breathing, but it is a simple stroll with beautiful views on both sides. After the trek, those looking for more excitement can continue to Golden Gate Canyon and Eldorado Canyon State Parks routes. Use a digital SIM card to build an accurate route.

11. Caprock Coulee Trail

The Caprock Coulee Trail is frequently cited as one of Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s top walks. This trail has some of the best views of the Little Missouri River, and wildlife encounters are regular. If you are planning a trip to the North Unit and searching for a terrific trek, put this one at the top of your list.

12. Big Woods Trail

The Big Woods Trail connects Native American paths with the ravine system before concluding with a picture opportunity at the observation tower. It is one of several trails in Forest Glen Preserve, IL, with routes for backpackers, day hikers, and those with disabilities.

13. Shellrock River Greenbelt and Preserve

This Iowa beauty spot is not just for hikers; Bike, drive, boat, or horseback ride among limestone bluffs, lush woodlands, meadows, and ponds while seeing animals. Do not forget the sandwiches (there is a picnic place along the road) and a virtual SIM card to have the ability to share photos while having a rest.

14. Heron Rookery

Even folks from Indiana do not seem to be familiar with this route in Indiana Dunes National Park. Following a portion of the Little Calumet River, the trail used to feature over 100 Great Blue Heron Nests. Although the heron have found new nesting grounds, the woods on this 3.3-mile hike are still a magical experience, with stunning spring wildflowers and dozens of other bird species to be spotted.

15.  Meramec Wilderness Trail

On the longest walk in Meramec State Park, Missouri, we will most likely be alone with our four-legged and feathery companions. It’s a photographer’s dream, with spectacular caverns, springs, buffs, glades, and rock ledges. You may trek the entire path in one day or stay overnight at one of the well-maintained backpacking campgrounds along the way.

These are just a few examples of little-known hiking trails in the United States. They offer unique adventures and beautiful landscapes and can be an excellent choice for those who are looking for new and unexplored places for hiking.


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