Summer is hot on our heels right now, so we figured this would be a swell time to recap some of the best summer hiking trails of 2023.
We’re about to take a coast-to-coast journey to see the spots that’ll keep you (mostly) cool while you hike. These are trails that’ll take you up and over mountains, along pristine lakes, over spectacular rock formations, and more.
Our trail buddy along the way will be AllTrails — the best app we know for figuring out where to hike and exactly what you’re in for with any given trail.
Let’s blaze this path.
RVs For Rent Near You
Must-Have Hiking Gear
Snag this sort of gear before trekking out:
–Water bladder (to fit in said day pack)
–Bear spray (whenever hiking in bear country)
The Best Summer Hiking Trails of 2023
Here are the best hikes we know of for this summer (in no particular order):
Angels Landing in Zion National Park — Hard
Angels Landing is a 4.3-mile out and back trail that’ll get you some sweeping vistas of Zion National Park.
Zion can get toasty during the summer, but this is one trail that’s just so epic we had to put it on the list.
Dogs allowed? Negative.
Devil’s Bridge Trail in Coconino National Forest (Arizona) — Easy/Moderate
Devil’s Bridge Trail is right outside Sedona so you can take in stunning red rock views while you hike. It’s a 3.9-mile out-and-back trail.
Weather-wise, Northern Arizona can get hot mid-day but generally cools in the mornings and evenings.
Dogs allowed? Yep! But must be on a leash.
Emerald Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park — Moderate
Emerald Lake Trail is a 3.2 mile out and back near Estes Park. It combines stunning mountain vistas with babbling brooks and peaceful lakes.
You won’t beat the summer weather in this part of Colorado’s high altitude. The temps will be the best you can ask for on the trail — just be sure to take plenty of breaks if you’re not acclimated to high-altitude hiking!
Dogs allowed? Nope.
Vernal and Nevada Falls via Mist Trail in Yosemite National Park — Moderate
This segment of Mist Trail is a 6.4 mile loop trail near the Yosemite Valley. The highlight of the trail is that you get to see two spectacular waterfalls along the way.
And the summer weather in Yosemite is generally cooperative — just aim your hike for the morning or evening to enjoy temps hovering in the 70s.
Be sure to check out our very own Outdoorsy Yosemite Campground if you’re looking for a spot to hang your hat in the area.
Dogs allowed? Unfortunately not 🙁
Skyline Trail Loop in Mount Rainier National Park — Hard
The Skyline Trail Loop lets you hike in the clouds at one of the Pacific Northwest’s finest parks. This is a 5.6-mile loop that’ll bring you all around some of the best mountain views you can find.
And this part of the country is relatively cool during the summer so you won’t cook while you hike.
Dogs allowed? No pups on Skyline Trail.
Island Lake and Ice Lake in Durango/San Juan National Forest — Hard
Island Lake and Ice Lake is a Durango area trail. It’s a 6.9-mile loop trail that’ll climb into the mountains, meanders around alpine lakes, and puts you in range of some epic wildlife spotting.
Weather in this area and at this altitude is splendid during the summer.
Dogs allowed? Yes! Just be sure to leash ‘em.
Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park — Easy/Moderate
The Avalanche Lake hike is a 5.9-mile out and back trail close to Lake McDonald. The hike encompasses a trail through Glacier’s age-old cedar trees and culminates at Avalanche Lake — a glacial wonder that’ll keep you jaw-dropped.
Northwest Montana enjoys cooler summer temps for your hiking enjoyment. Even if it is a little toasty, you’ll be able to cool off with a dip in Avalanche Lake.
Top tip: Most hikers will hit the lake and stop at the first beach you’ll see. Don’t be one of them. Follow the trail along the lake to get to the other end so you can enjoy Avalanche Lake mostly to yourself.
Dogs allowed? Nope.
Beehive Loop in Acadia National Park — Moderate
Acadia National Park is a New England gem that’ll show you some of the best of what the Maine Coast has to offer.
Beehive Loop is a 1.5-mile trail that’ll take you up and over some mountains in Acadia so you can gaze out over the ocean as you hike.
Dogs allowed? Negatory.
Lion’s Head Lookout in Lions Head Nature Preserve, Ontario Canada — Moderate
Lion’s Head Lookout is a 4.2-mile out-and-back trail that’ll reward you with sweeping views of Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay.
And our neighbors to the north benefit from summer temps that are generally cool so you can hike easy.
Dogs allowed? Yes, when on-leash.
St. Mark’s Summit in Cypress Provincial Park, British Columbia — Moderate
St. Mark’s Summit is a 6.2 mile out and back trail that’s a relatively easy way to climb a mountain.
When you hit the top, you’ll see expansive views of the mountains, bays, and oceans that all collide near Vancouver, BC.
Dogs allowed? Yep! On-leash only though.
Even though these days might be hot, the zones we’ve selected above will get you to cooler pastures. Trekking trails is one of the grandest ways we know of to get your Outdoorsy on. Be sure to hit some of these best summer hiking trails of 2023 before the season slips through your fingers.