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10 of The Best Hikes On The East Coast USA

The east coast of the U.S.A. has some stunning areas of natural beauty to hike and these are 10 of the best hikes on the east coast that you can do.

They offer a diverse range of hiking opportunities, from rugged mountains and scenic coastal trails to picturesque forests and waterfalls.

If you love hiking and are on, or visiting, the east coast U.S.A., then some of these are must-do hikes.

Best Hikes On The East Coast

1. Appalachian Trail (Multiple States)

Best hikes on the East Coast, trees in mountains.

Spanning over 2,190 miles, the Appalachian Trail is one of the most famous long-distance hikes in the world. It traverses through 14 states, from Georgia to Maine, offering breathtaking views, challenging terrain, and a true wilderness experience.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail is a remarkable experience that provides hikers with unforgettable memories and a deep connection with nature and is one of the best hikes on the east coast.

2. Franconia Ridge Loop (New Hampshire)

Located in the White Mountains, this 8.9-mile loop hike offers stunning views of the surrounding peaks, including Mount Lafayette and Mount Lincoln and traverses a section of the Appalachian Trail.

The exposed ridge offers panoramic vistas and is especially popular during the fall foliage season. However, it’s considered a challenging hike due to its steep ascents and exposed ridgelines.

It’s also a popular hike, so starting early will help you beat the crowds and find parking at the trailhead before you start your hike.

3. Old Rag Mountain (Virginia)

Best hikes on the East Coast, mountain crag.

Old Rag is a challenging 9-mile loop hike in Shenandoah National Park. It features rocky scrambles, beautiful vistas, and a rewarding summit experience. The hike is known for its great views of the Virginia countryside.

It offers a thrilling and challenging hike and unique rock formations. The hike involves rock scrambling and is not recommended for beginners or those with a fear of heights.

If you’re up for the adventure, it’s a must-visit destination in Virginia for hikers.

4. Mount Katahdin (Maine)

Mountain by a lake.

As the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, Mount Katahdin offers a challenging and rewarding hike.

The Knife Edge trail is a famous section that connects Baxter Peak to Pamola Peak, giving breathtaking views along a narrow ridge and is easily one of the best hikes on the east coast.

The Helon Taylor Trail is an alternative route to the summit of Mount Katahdin, offers excellent views and avoids the exposed sections of the Knife Edge.

5. Breakneck Ridge (New York)

A short drive from New York City, Breakneck Ridge is a steep hike with panoramic views of the Hudson River. The 3.7-mile loop trail is known for its challenging rock scrambles and rewarding vistas.

The Wilkinson Memorial Trail is an easier alternative to the Breakneck Ridge Trail. It is still a moderate hike but is less steep and rocky, making it more suitable if you’re looking for a less intense experience while still enjoying beautiful views.

Although one of the shorter hikes on this list it’s great for the views.

6. Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

Shenandoah National Park has a variety of hiking trails that traverse the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, where some of the best hikes on the east coast can be found. Some of these hikes in Shenandoah National Park are the Hawksbill Summit, Old Rag Mountain, and Whiteoak Canyon, which features stunning waterfalls.

The Old Rag Mountain hike is one of the best ones to do (as mentioned above) and can be challenging in parts with some rock scrambling but you get great views from the summit.

Hawksbill Mountain has the tallest peak in the park and is a good one to do to get to the summit for epic views.

7. Mount Washington (New Hampshire)

Known for its extreme weather conditions, Mount Washington offers challenging hikes and incredible views. The Tuckerman Ravine trail is a popular choice, providing a steep and strenuous ascent to the summit.

The Lion Head Trail is a good alternative to the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, as it is less steep and more sheltered from harsh weather conditions. It joins the Tuckerman Ravine Trail near the Lion Head rock formation, providing you with a safer option during bad weather.

There are other trails in the area that you can do but the two mentioned above are the best for hiking up to Mount Washington.

8. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee/North Carolina)

The Great Smoky Mountains offer a multitude of hiking options and some of the best hikes on the east coast.

The Alum Cave Trail, Charlies Bunion, and the Appalachian Trail through the park are all popular choices, showcasing the park’s diverse ecosystems.

The Alum Cave Trail takes you to the Alum Cave Bluffs and offers stunning views along the way while the Laurel Falls Trail takes you to one of the park’s best waterfalls.

The Ramsey Cascades Trail gives you views of some of the old-growth forests and the tallest waterfall in the park.

9. Acadia National Park (Maine)

Acadia National Park features a variety of stunning hikes with ocean views, rocky cliffs, and forested trails and has some of the best hikes on the east coast. It’s a popular destination for a reason!

Some of the best hikes in Acadia National Park include the Precipice Trail, Jordan Pond Path, and Cadillac Mountain Summit Loop.

The Precipice Trail is one of the harder ones to do as it involves climbing iron rungs and ladders along the cliffs.

If you want a more easy trail, especially if you’re with children, then do the Jordan Path Trail which is moderate and has great views of the mountains.

10. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)

While not traditionally considered an East Coast destination, Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers beautiful hiking trails.

The Ledges Trail, Brandywine Gorge Trail, and the Towpath Trail are some popular choices and some of the best hikes on the east coast.

The Ledges Trail takes you through sandstone cliffs while the Brandywine Trail takes you to one of the national park’s best waterfalls.

Best Hikes on The East Coast

The east coast offers some stunning places for hiking and out of these 10 best hikes on the east coast, you’re sure to find one (and more) that you will love.

For more on travel on the east coast U.S.A. take a look at my article on the 10 best national parks on the east coast to visit.

Also for more hiking in the U.S.A. take a look at the 10 best hikes in the Midwest.

I recommend using SafetyWing Travel Insurance for your trip, just in case, it’s best to be prepared.

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