By Michael Lanza

America’s most stunning landscapes are protected within our 63 national parks, and some of the very finest scenery within our national heritage can be reached on dayhikes. Some of these hikes you may not have done yet or heard of. Others are famous, but there’s a reason for that: They are mind-blowingly gorgeous, so they stand out even in parks with multiple, five-star footpaths. You take these hikes for a one-of-a-kind experience.

Based on more than three decades of exploring most major U.S. national parks—many of those years as a field editor for Backpacker magazine and running this blog—including numerous trips to popular parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Grand Teton, Zion, and others, I’ve assembled this list of the 25 best dayhikes in our parks. Many can be done by novice hikers and kids (and my kids have done many of them), while others are burlier adventures.

While you don’t usually set out on some these hikes expecting solitude, you can find it by doing them early or late in the day or outside of peak season; I offer tips below on the best times to do some of these hikes.


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.

Use this as your tick list of great national park dayhikes to knock off, and I guarantee you’ll experience the best miles of trail our National Park System has to offer.

If I’ve missed an outstanding, favorite hike of yours, please suggest it in the comments section below to give me ideas for future trips. I regularly update and expand this list whenever I knock off a new trail that belongs here, and I try to respond to all comments.

A hiker near Skeleton Point on the Grand Canyon’s South Kaibab Trail.
” data-image-caption=”David Ports hiking the Grand Canyon’s South Kaibab Trail.
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