Best NPS Hikes to Make During the Centennial Celebration

Best NPS Hikes to Make During the Centennial Celebration

In case you haven't heard, it's the National Park Service's (NPS) 100th birthday! ONE HUNDRED whole years of cherishing, preserving, and outright having pure fun in some of the United States most spectacular lands. 

What has been deemed as "America's greatest idea" has become a legacy of bettering our lands and making them enjoyable for generations of Americans. The NPS's conservation efforts of not only wilderness, but national monuments as well has ensured that our national heritage can be appreciated for a hundred more years to come, and beyond that!

Shop our Topo Collection here!

Shop our Topo Collection here!

For the centennial celebration, all National Parks are free! Yes, that's right, F-R-E-E! Inspired by our National Parks Topo Collection, we compiled a list of all the best hikes during the weekend celebration to make at a few of our nations best protected parks. Take a look and go out and #FindYourPark!

Denali National Park

1. Savage River Loop Trail

Length: 1.7 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation Gain: Negligible

One of the easier trails in Denali National Park, the Savage Loop Trail makes for a great day hike with lots of natural views! Late spring to mid summer us the best time to catch blue skies and great weather.

2. Triple Lakes Trail

Length: 9.5 miles round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation Gain: 1,000 ft

The Triple Lake Trail is the longest trail in the park. With a 1,000 ft elevation at its midpoint you’re getting both an uphill and a downhill trail experience. Through the hike you get great views of Denali’s lakes, creeks, and even mountains that have no names. Just think, there’s so many mountains in Alaska that not all have been named yet--insane!

Photo source: The World On My Necklace

3. Mount Healy Trail

Length: 2.7 miles 

Difficulty: Strenuous

Elevation Gain: 1,700 ft

This steep trail is full of switchbacks and steep climbs making it one of the steepest trails in all of Denali National Park! Can  you say, cardio! As you climb through the trail you are led straight to the top of Mount Healy and great open views to the south. Beware, however, for those who wish to hike to the true summit of the mountain be very cautious and bring the appropriate gear. People have fallen and died from the ridges while hiking the 1,500 ft to the summit. We don't mean to be morbid, but safety first!

Smokey Mountains National Park

Photo source: Jason Parker

Photo source: Jason Parker

1. Trillium Gap Trail

Length: 7 miles round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation Gain: 1,220 ft

The Trillium Gap Trail features access to Grotto Falls, a 25 ft waterfall that’s accessible year-round. Sturdy hiking shoes/boots and lots of water are recommended for this rocky trail, and the NPS recommends that you don’t crawl on the rocks around the falls. Many people have fallen to their death, and we most certainly don’t want that to happen to you! 

Photo source: Gatlinburg Alive

Photo source: Gatlinburg Alive

2. Gatlinburg Trail

Length: 2 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation Gain:  157 ft

This trail is great for everyone!  Most of the trails throughout the park prohibit pets, but the Gatlinburg Trail allows your furry friend to accompany you. Frequently used by joggers, walkers, bicyclists, and families this hike is the perfect quick breath of fresh air. 

Photo source: Smoky Mountains

Photo source: Smoky Mountains

3. Ramsey Cascades

Length: 8 miles round trip

Difficulty: Strenuous

Elevation Gain: 2,190 ft

The Ramsay Cascades is the tallest waterfall in the Smoky Mtn. park with a water drop of 100 ft! The trail leading up to the falls and the falls itself are brimming with wildlife including brilliantly colored salamanders and black bears. The trail around the falls can be slick from mist and algae so sturdy shoes and cautious walking is recommended.

Mt. Rainier National Park

1. Carbon Glacier Trail

Length: 17 miles round trip

Difficulty: Strenuous

Elevation: 1,640 ft

The Carbon Glacier Trail is the best trail to take in the park to see a glacier up close. Due to falling ice rocks from the glacier snout, it’s advised that you admire from afar. If you’re backpacking, you will find two cozy campsites 5 miles and 8 miles from the Carbon River Ranger Station. 

2. Bench and Snow Trail

Length: 2.5 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation Gain: 700 ft

This trail follows a low ridge with gradual ups and downs making it easy for any capable hiker. After .75 miles into the trail you will come upon Bench Lake, then Snow lake after another .5 miles. The Bench and Snow Trail is bursting with wildflowers during the summer and there’s a chance you might see a black bear or two on your hike!

Photo source: Beautiful Washington

Photo source: Beautiful Washington

3. Glacier Basin Trail

Length: 7 miles round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation Gain: 1,280 ft

A rehabilitated trail from an old mining route, this trail is great mountain access for climbers and a fresh trek for hikers! Just a mile beyond the trailhead lies a lookout point where you can see Emmons Glacier. While at Glacier Basin you can watch mountain goats and climbers alike ascending the Inter Glacier into Steamboat Prow.

Glacier National Park

1. Highline Loop Trail (Logan’s Pass)

Length: 12 miles round trip

Difficulty: Strenuous

Elevation Gain: 1,950 ft

There’s no shortage of amazing views on this trail, and there’s even a section for adrenaline junkies who love heights as you pass through the Garden Wall. The Highline Loop trail is definitely a bucket-lister for any hiker. It’s a frequented trail by a lot of avid hikers, and a great way to meet new like-minded people…if that’s what you’re into at least. If not, then our next Glacier National Park trail is more for you.

Photo source: Jack Brauer

Photo source: Jack Brauer

2. Piegan Pass

Length: 9.2 miles round trip

Difficulty: Strenuous

Elevation Gain: 1,850 ft

Piegan Pass is geographically diverse and more suited for those who like a little solitude on their hiking adventures. With treks through dense spruce-fir forest, open valleys, and more you can see some of the most majestic sites that Glacier National Park has to offer.

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3. Grinnell Glacier Trail

Length: 11 miles round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation:  1,840 ft

This trail will lead you to some of the most spectacular glacial valley lakes and alpine meadows. During the summer months the wildflowers bloom with spectacular colors, it’s a nature photographers paradise. 

Yosemite National Park

1. Yosemite Falls Trail

Length: 7 miles round trip

Difficulty: Strenuous

Elevation Gain: 2,700 ft

By taking the Yosemite Falls Trail you can reach the tallest waterfall in all of America, and we mean THE ENTIRE CONTINENT! Although open year-round, this trail is best visited during the spring and early summer when peak snow is melting. 

2. Mist Trail

Length: 3 miles round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation Gain: 1,000 ft

This relatively short trail is one of the best in the entire park simply because you can see all of Yosemite’s most dramatic scenery. It’s also a great access point to Vernal Fall, one of many spectacular falls in Yosemite. Unfortunately this trail experiences heavy traffic during the warm months, but if you’re in for a quick breathtaking jaunt then this is the trail for you! 

3. Valley Floor Loop

Length: 13 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation Gain: Level

The Valley Floor Loop is one of the best ways to see most of what the Yosemite Valley has to offer. With little elevation and its ample views of wilderness and wildlife, this trail is excellent for families! Yosemite NPS suggests that you bring a map of the trail with you as some trail markers can be hard to find.

Grand Canyon National Park

Photo source: Grand Canyon National Park

Photo source: Grand Canyon National Park

1. Rim Trail

Length: 13 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation Gain: Level with minor inclines

While most of this trail is paved and has minor to no inclines, there is no accessible water on the trail so plan ahead! Hiking this trail is great for most capable hikers and gives you awesome views of the inner canyon.

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2. Hermit Trail

Length: 8.9 miles round trip

Difficulty: Strenuous

Elevation Gain: -1,290 ft

The Hermit Trail is a steep trail recommended for experienced desert hikers. Like all of the trails in the Grand Canyon National Park, there is no water available on the trail. While on this trail you can hike into the Santa Maria Spring and the Dripping Springs for an awesome view of these natural landmarks. P.S. don’t even think about drinking that spring water unless you’re ready to treat it!

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3. Grandview Trail

Length: 8 miles round trip

Difficulty: Strenuous

Elevation Gain: -3,500 ft

The Grandview Trail is one of the more “hard core” trails in the Grand Canyon National Park…okay, well, most of the Grand Canyon trails are “hard core” considering the elevation changes, heat, and lack of water. This trail is very steep, but a great day hike route into Horseshoe Mesa, so expect many MANY log supported switchbacks. Hello, glutes!

Have a good idea on what National Parks and trails you want to visit this weekend? Liberty Bottleworks definitely does (we've been eyeing the Carbon Glacier Trail all week)! 

A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY weekend to National Park Services, and we will see you on the trail!

 

Find out more about the National Park Service and all they have to offer:

Denali National Park

Smokey Mountains National Park

Mt. Rainier National Park

Glacier National Park

Yosemite National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

 

 

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