Monday, February 13, 2017

13 Great Day Trails in the Mountains

Leigh Lake and Mount Moran Grand Teton National Park
Several entries lead to cool Great Smoky Mountains hikes
A vast, sprawling park covering 816 square miles, Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a number of access points and sections. You'll find great mountain trails near every one of the entrances.

Milner Pass Trail
Rocky Mountain National Park
Day hikers can place their feet on both sides of the Continental Divide when hiking the Milner Pass Trail at Rocky Mountain National Park. The 4.1-mile one-way trail makes for a long round-trip hike, but the route can be shortened or treated as a point-to-point trail.

Four Mile Trail
Yosemite National Park
Day hikers can view almost all of Yosemite Valley’s famous landmarks from above via the Four Mile Trail. The trail runs from the Yosemite Valley floor to Glacier Point – but rather than make the steep ascent that will be impossible for most young children and backbreaking for parents carrying them, instead hike the 4.6-mile trail backward from the Glacier Point rim to the valley floor.

Leigh Lake Trail
Grand Teton National Park
Families can day hike alongside two alpine lakes on the Leigh Lake Trail at Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. The 2-miles round trip segment described here heads past crystal blue lakes through green pines with gray Mount Moran soaring in the background. Most of the segment passes String Lake, but the trail ultimately ends at its namesake, Leigh Lake.

Swiftcurrent Lake Loop Trail
Glacier National Park
A scenic stroll around a high mountain lake awaits day hikers on the Swiftcurrent Lake Loop Trail at Glacier National Park in Montana. Flat and full of great views as well as wildlife, the 2.9-mile loop – made up of segments of three other trails – is perfect for families with children.

BONUS: Day hiking trail maps for Great Smoky Mts.
No one ever should hit the trail without a topo map. Here are topo maps for three day hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Learn more about national park day hiking trails in my Best Sights to See at America’s National Parks series.