My Top 5 Hiking Trails of 2017

I’ve been traveling to the United States for 18 years, and have lived here for 2 of those. During that time, most of my travels took me up and down the east coast. I never set foot out west, or in New England.

In 2017, that all changed. I had the amazing opportunity to visit Colorado, Nevada, California, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. And what better way to become acquainted with a state than to test out their hiking trails?

None, really. So here are the top five trails I hiked across the United States in 2017.

5. Wildcat Falls Conservation Area

25 Wildcat Falls River

In late 2016 or early 2017, one of my readers challenged the fact that I had never been to New England. She was right, of course. I didn’t even know what states constituted New England. When I looked them up and found New Hampshire on the list, I assured her I would visit the following year.

While in New England, I hiked eight trails, in three days, in two states. Of all eight trails I trekked, the most beautiful was Wildcat Falls Conservation Area. The falling leaves, the beautiful water — it is absolutely stunning.

4. Amicalola Falls

17 Amicalola Falls Halfway Up

Believe it or not, despite the beauty of New Hampshire, and the challenging hikes out west, one of the best hikes this year was right here in Georgia. At 729 feet, Amicalola Falls is the tallest cascading waterfall in the South, and presented quite the challenge.

8 Amicalola Falls Reflection Pools

It had been sitting on my list for a while, and I was thrilled when one of my friends invited me to go with him. We made the 604-step climb together, and then walked back down through a rugged path.

If you’re ever in Georgia, this isn’t a hike you want to miss. It’s about an hour or two north of the city, but well worth the drive. You can find my Amicalola Falls travel post here.

3. Lone Mountain

6 Lone Mountain - banner

When I said I was heading to Vegas last spring, a lot of people were surprised that hiking was my reason. But the truth is, the Mojave Desert has a lot of amazing trails you’ve got to see to believe.

Since I visited the Red Rock Canyon, as well, this was a pretty tough choice to make. I decided to go with Lone Mountain as my third-best-hike because it was the most challenging, and possibly the most dangerous hiking trail I ever trekked.

8 Lone Mountain Hiking Alexis Chateau Trickster

At 600 feet, it’s shorter than Amicalola Falls. However, where the majestic Georgia falls provided steps and easily marked trails, the trails on Lone Mountain were all rugged and not easily marked at all. We got lost once, and stopped several times before making it to the top. You can find my Lone Mountain hike, here.

2. Torrey Pines

35 Torrey Pines Cliffs

When in the desert, the very last thing you expect to see is a very large body of water looking back at you. Yet, this is exactly the case at Torrey Pines, which features a state beach, ideal for surfing.

T3 Torrey Pines Beach Tristan Obryan Ericson Quero Alexis Chateau

Despite the altitude, Torrey Pines was not a very challenging trail. But what it lacked in difficulty, it made up for with beauty. I have never before, and certainly not since, seen such a beautiful back drop to the desert.

As an island girl, the call of the sea is always a loud one. It was good to feel a little close to home. You can read about my Cali-induced nostalgia here.

1. Annies Canyon

25 Annies Canyon Alexis Chateau Hiking

Annie’s Canyon was the shortest trail I ever hiked, and looked dangerous, but wasn’t very challenging. So what makes it my absolute favourite trail of 2017, and of all time? I had never hiked in terrain like this before, and haven’t again since.

T1 Annies Canyon Alexis Chateau Ericson Quero

We were crawling sideways through crevices, and at one point had to climb a ladder to get all the way out (pictured above). The entire trail was so narrow that hikers were not allowed to turn back. Imagine losing your nerve partway through!

Below is a video we shot when we first started the trail. You can see the full hike here.

This was also the video where Ericson suggested the selfie-stick. I wasn’t excited about it at the time, but boy was it a lifesaver for my solo-trip to New England.

Have you done any exploring outside of your state or country, this year? What were the best trips you took? What are your plans for 2018? I have Utah and Canada on my radar!

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17 thoughts on “My Top 5 Hiking Trails of 2017

    1. Thank you! I hiked it in the summer and it was pretty hot. Desert hikes tend to be better in more temperate months, like late fall or spring. I did Vegas in the spring and that was amazing.

  1. I will have to make a trip to New Hampshire and Georgia just from your list and make my own. I am now in North Carolina and trying to hike as much as I can up in the mountains here. Though nothing beats still Utah, California and the Oregon trails.

    1. Thank you Jessica. Out west is a world to itself. Oregon is on my list for 2019. We voted for Utah this year in the spring, then hopefully either Alaska or Canada in the summer. Can’t wait!

      I’ve been to NC tonnes of times, but never been hiking there. I hope to do some camping there and along the AT this year though. *fingers crossed*

      1. You are going to Love Utah! There is so much diversity in geography and trails out there.
        I haven’t gone camping yet out here. I am planning a bikepacking trip and maybe possibly a backpacking trip as well, around Pisgah National Forest.
        Good luck with your planning for your 2018 trips.

  2. I haven’t hiked any of your favorite 2017 trails, but will keep them in mind is life serendipitously takes me near them. This past year, while visiting Paris for their marathon, I had the opportunity to hike the Versailles Forest (wrote about it here https://stillarunner.com/2017/05/10/hiking-the-versailles-forest-with-power-hiking-paris/) and also followed up with a trip to the UK where I did a couple mini-hikes along the Cornwall coast. If you’re in the neighborhood, the Appalachian Trail through Pennsylvania and Maryland offers some varied hiking terrain and one of my favorite spots. Thanks for your great photos.

    1. Thanks for sharing that with me! I envy your Paris and UK hikes. I can’t wait to see those places. I’ve spent the past 2 years inside the US — the longest I’ve been in any one country since I was 8. Hiking keeps me sane haha.

      I hope you do get to see some of the trails I highlighted. They are quite beautiful. Thanks again!

    1. Haha, not lucky. Hard working. Made a lot of sacrifices to live that life! Came to America from the 3rd world with basically nothing.

      And yes, Torrey Pines was an amazing hike. If you ever make it out to San Diego, you should check it out 🙂

    1. Haha, I’ll think about it. Yosemite was further north and away from the coastline. I went to Cali for the beachside desert life. Next time, I want to see the Redwood forests, if they don’t all burn to the ground…

  3. Just tell me that the Pacific Northwest is still on the bucket list. Our trails here are many and gorgeous. I’m a total city boy, but I can walk to an amazing park – Forest Park – in 20 minutes and have 40 miles of trails at my feet! Very convenient, but nowhere near the majesty of the Columbia Gorge trails, including Multnomah Falls, which is one of the longest waterfalls in the country!

    1. Never been up to the Pacific Northwest, but I’ve considered as far up as Alaska for the summer! — if Canada doesn’t pan out. Also doing Utah for the spring, and Oregon will probably be next year. I love out west in general!

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