By Michael Lanza

The best-known dayhikes in America’s national parks are certainly worth adding to your outdoor-adventure CV. Summits and hiking trails like Angels Landing in Zion, Half Dome in Yosemite, the North Rim Trail overlooking the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, Glacier National Park’s Highline Trail, the Grand Canyon’s South Kaibab Trail and many others represent the highlights of the crown jewels of the National Park System. But for that very reason, unless you take those hikes outside the peak seasons or times of day, you can expect to encounter a lot of other people.

But there are other national park dayhikes that remain off the radar of many hikers—so they attract a small fraction of the number of people flocking to the popular trails. This list draws from more than three decades of exploring the parks, including the 10 years I spent as a field editor for Backpacker magazine and even longer running this blog. On these 17 hikes, you’ll find scenery just as majestic as those famous trails, while possibly having these spots to yourself (as I did on several of them).

You might want to bring along a friend or your family—just to make sure you don’t get too lonely.

Share your questions or thoughts about these hikes—or suggest your own—in the comments section at the bottom of this story. I try to respond to all comments.


Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here for my e-guides to classic backpacking trips. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

Double Arch Alcove on the Taylor Creek Trail in Zion National Park.
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Taylor Canyon, Zion

Taylor Creek Trail, Zion National Park.
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