The Best Hikes of 2016
The new year is always a time for putting together lists. With so many diverse and wondrous trails in the United States there will never be a consensus of the “best” hikes but there are some that do tend to show up on every list. We consider the following to be the Best Hikes of 2016. These include:
The Appalachian Trail. The granddaddy of all long distance trails began in the 1920s and at some 2,200 miles is today the longest footpath-only trail in the world. Real hiking fanatics can continue on to the International Appalachian Trail that heads into Canada and ends on Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula in Forillon National Park where the Appalachian Mountains dive into the St. Lawrence Sea. Cherished day hikes along the AT include Old Rag Mountain in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park and the Knife’s Edge trail to the summit of Mount Katahdin in Maine.
The Pacific Crest Trail. The western equivalent of the AT – several hundred miles longer but also open to non-hikers in places – began being cobbled together in the 1930s. It crosses the highest points of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountains. Highlights include the Castle Crags Wilderness in Northern California, the John Muir Wilderness in the Inyo and Sierra National Forests and Yosemite National Park.
Four Seasons is blessed to operate in a region chock full of the nation’s most desirable hikes. In Yosemite we hike through Little Yosemite Valley in the shadow of Half Dome – an area that kickstarted America’s revolutionary national parks program when Abraham Lincoln signed a bill of protection in 1864. We also trek the fabled John Muir Trail, a footpath that is to hikers what the Super Bowl is to NFL quarterbacks. In the Grand Canyon we go Rim to Rim, the hike that haunts the top of every hiker’s bucket list.
In Zion National Park we lead hikers up the heart-stopping Angel’s Landing Trail where each segment – Refrigerator Canyon, Walter’s Wiggles and Scout’s Lookout – only amps up the anticipation for the final chain-aided ascent. And when you Google “fun” and “hikes” you can bet that Zion’s foot-soaking trip through the Narrows of the Virgin River is near the top of the results – and we get to go back time and again.
When hikers make lists of their favorite desert hikes you can be sure that a waterfall or slot canyon will be involved somewhere. These type of hikes are certainly at the head of our lists as well, with destinations such as Calf Creek in southern Utah’s Escalante region and Havasu Falls in Grand Canyon. We always like to look at lists of “best hikes” because we are so familiar with many on the lists. And we look forward to showing you those great 2016 hikes as well.