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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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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