Top 10 Favorite Hikes in the Western United States

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After hiking Mt Whitney, Josh and I started reminiscing about our favorite hikes we have completed over the years. We have been able to do a lot of hikes, especially in the recent years, so even though the list was long it had some definitive stand outs on it. Since most of our hiking happens in or around California, I decided to come up with my top 10 favorite hikes in the Western United States.

So here is the list in no particular order, please let me know if I left something off in the comments (obviously there are some big ones like Mt Shasta and Mt Rainier, but I haven’t done those… yet):

Lassen Peak – Hiking up in Northern California is always a great experience as it is so different then the hikes in Southern California. In addition, hiking Mt Lassen, a dormant volcano, with views of Mt Shasta is an epic experience not to be missed if you are in the area.

Bridge to Nowhere – One of the more unique hikes is Southern California is the ten mile trek to a bridge that spans a large canyon in the middle of the forest. The thing that makes this hike stand out is the fact that you can bungee jump off the bridge if you feel so inclined.

Angels Landing – Angels Landing might be the scariest hike I have ever completed… really though you are holding onto cables with a thousand foot drops on either side, its pretty awesome. People say Half Dome is nuts, well I have done both and say try Angels Landing in Zion National Park then talk to me.

Zion River Narrows – The Zion River Narrows is a place I would actually love to go back and hike again. I mean just look at the epicness of the above picture, this is where you are walking during the whole hike. It is great during the summer, and has views and scenery you will never forget. You are actually hiking in a river, up into a canyon with massive walls on each side, make sure you bring trekking poles and water shoes.

Single Day San Gorgonio – The tallest peak in Southern California is not to be taken lightly, so I decided to single day what most people do in two. An amazing hike with great views and you get to say you hiked the tallest peak in SoCal when you complete it.

Mt Baldy during the Winter – One of the more adventurous hikes on the list. For me this hike featured full winter gear, crampons, ice axe and gaiters. For a Southern California hike it was the whole deal, especially on a year with heavy snow. It made for an amazing hike. I have done it multiple times since then, but there is just something special about doing it in the snow.

San Jacinto via Tram – The views from the top of Mt San Jacinto will never be forgotten, its amazing to see the contrast of the desert and the valley. The addition of the Tram ride to the trail head makes it that much more special and unique. Be warned, people do experience altitude effects by taking the tram from the desert floor to the start of the trail, so take your time when starting out.

Mt Whitney – The crowning achievement of our list is Mt Whitney, the tallest peak in the lower 48 states. It’s epicness is only overshadowed by its accomplishment, an amazing experience all its own, a trip to never be forgotten. I am so glad I got to add this to the list this year. If you want to do it, make sure you apply for the lottery in the beginning of the year cause it is hard to get a pass for this one.

Half Dome – This hike is iconic, hiking Half Dome is a grand accomplishment in the realm of the outdoors. It’s tough but it’s worth it, epic waterfalls, massive granite faces, cables, and breathtaking views of the Yosemite valley.

Sunrise On Sunset Peak – More about the experience that the hike itself, being on a peak for sunrise was amazing. Requiring a little more effort and planning this hike makes it onto the list as it was an accomplishment of something that was on my bucket list.

So there is my list, let me know what you think in the comments. Also, let me know if you have one I left off.

About Zac

My name is Zac and some of my interests include technology, the web, social media, religion, books, the outdoors and running. I am an avid hiker, runner, mountain biker, gear junkie and outdoor adventurer. I love Southern California, the beaches or the mountains, the summer or the winter. I work for the Gordian Project which runs eCommerce websites, and and I am part of the Adventure Team. I also collect knives and enjoy testing out new adventure gear of all sorts.

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  • Aaron J. Nicholson

    Great list! I especially liked Angels Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite. Climbed both of these on my 2008 National Parks Road Trip, just a month before leaving on my 460-mile No-Resupply hike on the Oregon section of the Pacific Crest Trail (shameless plug: you can check out my book about that adventure on my website, Bryce Canyon was another favorite of mine. I really hope to visit Arches soon–I’ve heard it’s amazing. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Zac

      Thanks Aaron! I have always wanted to make to it Bryce, never have, definitely on my list, thanks for sharing.

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