The summer has to be one of the absolute best times to get out and explore the National Parks. Even if you aren’t an active outdoors enthusiast, there is something really special about enjoying some time outside in the rugged beauty of America’s backyard.

The good news is there are many amazing and breathtaking hikes in the National Park system that can offer stunning views without too much exertion. Which makes it perfect for those who aren’t super active, or those who are getting back into exercising to check out.

Let’s take a look at some of the truly incredible hikes the National Parks system offers especially geared towards those who are looking to experience some easy to moderate trails.

For the Novice Hiker

Sprague Lake Trail – Rocky Mountain National Park

Sprague Lake Colorado

This short (less than a mile, round-trip) hike to Sprague Lake is perfect for a novice hiker. With just a small change in elevation and a short distance to travel, this hike offer big payoff for not too much effort. Once you reach the lake, you’ll be rewarded with incredible rocky mountain views.

Jordan Pond Trails – Acadia National Park

Jordan Ponds Trail

Via Erin McDaniel / Wikimedia Commons

Nestled along the rugged shoreline of the Maine coast, many consider Acadia to be one of the most beautiful of all the parks. The Jordan Pond Trails offer a number of quick and easy loop trails that go through forest and along the shore over plank paths and wooden bridges. You may also want to check out the carriage roads in Acadia National Park.

For Moderate Hikers

Queens Garden and Navajo Loop – Bryce Canyon National Park

Navajo Loop Trail

Via Alex Proimos / Wikimedia Commons

Another spectacular offering from Utah’s National Parks is Bryce Canyon. This park offers scenery unlike any you’d find across America. A great moderate day hike combines the Queens Gardens and Navajo Loop trails, which bring you right up close to the incredible red sandstone hoodoos the park is so famous for.

Delicate Arch Trail – Arches National Park

Delicate Arch Trail

Via Palacemusic / Wikimedia Commons

If you want to see the iconic view of Delicate Arch (you know, the one on Utah’s license plate?) then this is the hike for you. Don’t be fooled by the 3-mile, round-trip distance. This isn’t a hike for newbies. There’s little shade along the trail and at parts you’ll be traversing the rock-face, but the views are worth the hike. You can even see petroglyphs near the trailhead. This is a must-do for hikers visiting Arches National Park.

Boy Scout Tree Trail – Redwoods National Park

Boy Scout Tree Trail


The Boy Scout Tree Trail is true gem, it stands as one of just a handful of pure old growth redwood tree hikes in the world, making it a truly special experience. If you really want a good look at very old giant trees while escaping the crowds, this is the trail to experience. It will not be one you will soon forget!

For More Active Hikers

Hot Springs Canyon Trail – Big Bend National Park

Hot Springs Canyon Trail

Via Joe McGowan on Flickr

Hot springs, mountain peaks, views of the Rio Grande… what more can you ask for? Big Bend National Park in Texas offers some awesome hikes, and the Hot Springs Canyon Trail is no exception. This 6-mile (round-trip) trail runs along the canyon rim and offers great views but little shade.

The Narrows – Zion National Park

The Narrows, Zion National Park

For a hot summer day, there are few hikes better than The Narrows in Utah’s Zion National Park. Wade through and along shin deep water, through crystal clear pools and under waterfalls for a truly unique experience. The round-trip trail from the shuttle stop to Big Spring is 10 miles, but you can turn back at any point, so it’s easy to create the length of hike that meets your experience level.

Each of these hikes offers something truly special and unique in spots all across America. Realize that the National Parks really do offer something for everyone, and they are great places to simply enjoy a nice walk and savor some time in nature.

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