The Top 10 Best States For Hiking in 2023
If you’re the kind of person who hears “take a hike, pal!” and gets excited, have we got a list for you! Whether you’re planning a trek-centric trip or looking to relocate to some place with new hiking heights, you’ll want to peruse our rankings for the best states for hiking.
We considered several key factors, including the total number of trails, the number of trail reviews in each state, the percentage of easy trails, and the percentage of highly-reviewed trails. And because very few folks enjoy rain with their parade, we also considered the amount of annual precipitation each state gets. So grab your hiking boots and gear, and check out the list to see if your home state ranks in our top ten states for hiking!
The Best U.S. States for Hiking, Ranked
|State||Rank||Total # of Reviews||Total # of Hiking Trails||% of Easy||% of Trails Rated 4.5+||Precipitation (yearly inches)|
It’s no surprise Colorado ranks Rocky Mountain High on this list! Known for its mountain views, the Centennial State boasts about 4,443 hiking trails with more than 1.6 million total reviews! Almost half of those hikes (48%) average 4.5 or more stars, and 26% are considered easy, making them more widely accessible. Factor in a low rate of annual precipitation at 15.9 inches per year, and you’ll see why Colorado has a sunny reputation among hiking fans.
We don’t have to trek far to find the second state on our list, just over the border to neighboring Utah. Home to five national parks and host to just 12.2 inches of rain each year, the Beehive State is bursting with outdoor adventures. Those adventures include hiking trails with almost 1 million total reviews. A strong 39% of those trails are rated above 4.5 stars, including the world-famous Angels Landing Trail in Zion National Park.
3. New York
Don’t let the Big Apple’s reputation as a concrete jungle fool you, there is a lot more to New York state than just a single city. There are just under 1 million hiking reviews across the state, and 43 percent of the trails are rated “easy”, making them accessible to a wider variety of outdoor enthusiasts. Be sure to pack an umbrella or poncho along with your hiking boots, though, because you can expect more than 40 inches of rainfall every year in the state of New York.
Everything is bigger in Texas, but in this case the biggest factor in the ranking is that 64% percent of Texas’ 1,593 hiking trails are rated easy. With almost half of a million reviews of trails, the top trail in the state is the Guadalupe Peak Trail, a “hard” trek over a strenuous 8.1 miles in Guadalupe Mountains National Park that has more than 5,500 reviews and a 4.8 rating on Alltrails.com.
Warm, sandy beaches and sun-soaked stretches of ocean make it easy to see why California is the Golden State, and also popular with hikers. California features more than 10,000 hiking trails across its diverse geography, and you can take in all of that natural beauty with less fear of rain. California only gets 22 inches on average each year.
Hiking and mountain views seem to go hand-in-hand, so it’s no surprise that Washington state made the Top 10 when it comes to hiking. Featuring more than 1 million reviews, Washington has hikes to take you through beautiful forests and along picturesque lakes. Roughly one-third of Washington’s trails are considered easy, and one third are also rated above 4.5 stars meaning there are well-reviewed hikes for all ability levels.
If you’ve been noticing a bit of a western theme in these rankings, the pattern continues with Arizona in the No. 7 spot. The Grand Canyon State is rightfully proud of its scenic destinations, featuring more than 1 million reviews for hiking trails. Half of Arizona’s trails are rated above 4.5 stars by other hikers, and those desert views also make for low precipitation—making Arizona a great choice for hiking.
Massachusetts has amassed a large number of easy-rated hikes, earning it a spot in the Top 10. With about 2,800 trails in the state, a whopping 64 percent of them are considered easy. One in four of those trails are rated above 4.5 stars, but watch out for rain because the state gets almost 50 inches each year!
9. North Carolina
North Carolina continues to disrupt the western trend, ranking No. 9 on the strength of 2,200 trails across the Tar Heel State. Of those trails, almost 40% of them are rated “easy” and almost half (45%) of them rank higher than 4.5 stars. North Carolina is the most likely state of any on our Top 10 list to see precipitation, as the state gets 50.3 inches each year.
We head west again to round out our Top 10 ranking, landing in the home of the iconic Yellowstone National Park and the beautiful Grand Teton National Park. Wyoming has hundreds of trails, and an impressive 49% of them are rated 4.5 stars or higher. The state also sees low rainfall (12.9 inches annually) so you can rely on more sunny days as you tackle the trail.
Methodology and Sources
To determine our ranking of the best states for hiking, we compared all 50 states across the United States across five key metrics. To determine the overall score, we graded each metric on a 20-point scale, then combined their scores to find a total out of 100.
The five metrics were:
- Number of overall reviews on AllTrails for each state (20 points)
- Number of total hiking trails in each state (20 points)
- Percentage of total hiking trails that are categorized as “easy” (20 points)
- Percentage of total hiking trails that are rated 4.5 out of 5 or higher (20 points)
- Average yearly precipitation in inches (20 points)
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