Best Summer Hikes at US National Parks
We’ve asked fellow hikers for the best summer hikes at US national parks. Hiking is a top activity when people ask us for US National Park vacation ideas.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing stroll through nature or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, there are plenty of incredible summer hikes available at our nation’s parks.
Summer is the perfect time to explore the hiking trails at America’s National Parks. From alpine lakes and towering peaks, to rugged canyons and ancient forests, you’ll find a hike suitable for everyone.
Keep reading for our tips about hiking gear and trails in the National Parks you can explore in the summer.
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Summer Hiking Gear
- Hiking shoes
- Darn Tough socks
- Wicking, quick-drying clothing: UV shirts, pants or shorts
- Bandana, buff headband or brimmed sun hat
- WATER – water bottles or hydration backpack
- Healthy snacks
- Flashlight or headlamp
- National Park maps
- Lip protection with sunscreen
- Polarized sunglasses
- What to Bring on a Day Hike
- Hiking Gear and Tips for Kids
- Photography Gear for Hiking
- Best Cameras for Hiking
Summer Hiking at US National Parks
During the summer you can find all types of hiking trails in the US National Parks. In the northern parks the higher elevation trails are finally free of snow!
In the southwest you’ll need to watch out for the summer monsoons, especially in slot canyons! And humidity makes it difficult to enjoy the outdoors in the midwest, eastern and southern states.
If you’re wondering what it’s like to hike at other times of the year, check out our guide for finding the best National Parks to visit by month. During each season and month of the year, national parks will have different hiking (and snowshoeing) opportunities!
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Best Summer Hikes at US National Parks
Devil's Garden Trail Guide for Hiking at Arches
Hike this trail in the morning when visiting Arches National Park in the summer.
Sunrise at Delicate Arch: Everything you Need to Know!
Sunrise is the perfect time to hike to Delicate Arch in the summer!
Navajo Loop Queen's Garden Trail
This is a must-do hike at Bryce Canyon to see the hoodoos up close!
One of the Top Hikes in Capitol Reef National Park
Summer hiking at Capitol Reef National Park is best done in the morning!
A Guide to Hiking The Narrows for Beginners
Hiking the Narrows at Zion National Park is a terrific summer activity!
Local Tips: Emerald Lake Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park
Summer hiking at Rocky Mountain National Park is the best!
Grinnell Glacier Hike – Glacier National Park Montana
When visiting Glacier National Park in the summer, be sure to hike to Grinnell Glacier.
Avalanche Lake: Glacier National Park's Most Bang-for-your-buck Hike
Avalanche Lake is a wonderful hike to do in the summer at Glacier National Park.
Grand Teton Inspiration Point & Hidden Falls Trail Guide
Hiking at Grand Teton in the summer is the best - especially Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls.
Jenny Lake Hike in Grand Teton National Park
The Jenny Lake trail is a must-do when visiting Grand Teton in the summer.
Paintbrush Canyon Cascade Canyon Loop: Complete Backpacking Guide
You can access the higher elevations at Grand Teton in the summer - check out this amazing backpacking trip!
Important Tips for Hiking in Badlands National Park: Notch Trail and its Famous Ladder
Summer is a hot time at the Badlands, but you can enjoy hiking in the cooler mornings and late afternoons.
Climbing the Half Dome Cables: An Epic Hike in Yosemite
The Half Dome hike at Yosemite is a bucket list trail!
Rae Lakes Loop - Your complete 5 Day Backpacking Guide
The Rae Lakes Loop is a great summer backpacking trail to do in the summer at Yosemite.
Paradise Mt Rainier: What to See, Do and Bring Plus Best Hikes
Epic hiking trails, waterfalls and beautiful lakes unmatched by any other area, here’s your complete guide to Paradise Mt Rainier!
Skyline Trail Mt Rainier: What to Expect Hiking this Wild & Beautiful Mountain
The Skyline Trail Mt Rainier will blow you away! It’s the best way to see the park’s most prominent feature up close – the gorgeous Mount Rainer.
Exactly What To Expect on Mount Storm King Trail
Read all about the Mount Storm King Trail - a good hike in the summer at Olympic National Park.
Ozette Loop Hiking and Backpacking Guide
Olympic National Park is a great summer destination. Here's a guide to backpacking the Ozette Loop.
Lady Bird Johnson Grove: Easy Hike in the Redwoods
You'll find nice shade hiking in the summer at the Redwoods. Check out the fun Lady Bird Johnson Grove hike!
20 Best Hikes in the Smokies Hiking Smoky Mountains National Park
Hiking in the Smoky Mountains is always fun. Check out this list of 20 best hikes!
Top Hikes and Sights in the Great Smoky Mountains
Check out this list of hikes to explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!
Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park
Here's a list of amazing hikes you'll find at Rocky Mountain National Park!
15 Breathtaking Hikes In Colorado
This list of hikes in Colorado includes many trails you'll find at Rocky Mountain National Park!
The Ultimate USA Hiking Bucket List (and How to Score Permits in 2022)
USA hiking trails and information about permits to help you plan your summer hiking adventures!
US National Parks Summer Packing List
Use our US National Park Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting during the summer months! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!