Short Hikes (<2 miles)
It's not often you'll get to experience such scenic mountain views from just a short one mile hike. The views of Mt. Shasta are one of a kind from this memorable vista.
Mossbrae Falls, which looks like a magical curtain of cascading water, has to be one of the crown jewels in the Shasta area.
Sitting at 249 feet and being the third tallest waterfall in the gorge, Latourell Falls can be hiked as a short 2.4 mile loop through a lush forest
Only accessible through Lake Powell, Labyrinth Slot Canyon has the same colorful sandstone walls as the famous Antelope Canyon.. but without the crowds and fees!
The highlight of Patrick's Point State Park, Wedding Rock is an overlook with an impressive and expansive view of the rugged California NorCal coast.
Stout Grove could very well be the best of all redwood hikes with its peaceful vibes, lush ferns covering the floor, and old-growth sunlit trees.
Fern Canyon is one of my favorite hikes along the NorCal coast. This short, easy hike takes you up a canyon covered with 8 different types of ferns.
The Cypress Grove Trail is one of my favorites of coastal CA hikes. The short hike loops through a rare Monterey Cypress grove and incredible clifftop vistas.
The short Bird Island trail in China Cove of Point Lobos is the perfect trail for great beach access and to see marine wildlife like sea birds and seals
This short coastal hike passes through a valley filled with tons of white, blooming calla lilies and eventually leads to beautiful Garrapata Beach
As soon as I saw a picture of Abiqua falls, it was on the top of my list of falls to visit when I came to Oregon. It's such a unique waterfall, framed perfectly by the geometric basalt rock. I love that since the trailhead is a little out of the way and harder to get to than other falls, there are a lot less crowds, and the hike is relatively short for the payoff.
Willis Creek Slot Canyon is a a little oasis in the middle of the Escalante desert! The short hike leads you through beautiful section of narrows.
The Rockefeller Loop is one of the best hikes you can do in Humboldt Redwoods - it's easy, short, and gives you everything you could want in a redwood hike - tall trees, an open under story, and both a river and a creek to relax by. The 7,000 acre Rockefeller Forest is also the world's largest contiguous old growth forest of coastal redwoods.
The picturesque and world-renown Antelope Canyon is a perfect representation of a stunning American southwest slot canyon.
Horseshoe Bend never ceases to take my breath away, and no pictures on the internet can compre to what you'll see standing at the ledge
Valley of Fire State Park pleasantly surprised us with shockingly red colors and interesting rock formation. Initially beginning as a pit stop during our road trip, our hike to the fire wave in Valley of Fire turned out to be one our favorites, and we would definitely return to explore more.
McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is arguably the most iconic views in all of Big Sur, and the viewpoint is free and easily accessible.
If you are only spending a short amount of time in Sequoia & Kings Canyon, these two stops get you big trees and jaw-dropping views.
One of the more popular attractions in Anza-Borrego, the Slot is easy to get to (even in 2WD), an easy and short hike, and makes for great photographs. The steep walls provide some relief from the hot sun, and kids will love exploring this maze.
Anza-Borrego is the largest CA state park and has tons of its own unique features. Mainly for 4WD, offroading, and dirt biking enthusiasts, we still had a lot of fun on foot and with just 2WD. Fish Creek Is just a tiny portion of the park, but the wind caves are truly unique and offer an amazing view for sunset. Hint - if you camp at Fish Creek Primitive Campground nearby, it's free and there are fire rings and a very clean toilet.
The Zion Narrows is another classic hike with a unique twist - you'll be hiking in the water! Trust me, for these stunning views, it's worth it
Island in the Sky was our favorite district within Canyonlands. Although it was definitely more crowded, you can drive between all of the attractions, and the hikes are all short and easy with just as rewarding payoffs. If you only have the time or energy for one, definitely do Grand View Overlook (at sunset for an extra bonus), because the view of the white rim is stunning.
The Grand View Overlook parking lot is easy to reach by car, and there were plenty of other hikers at this very popular overlook. It's a very easy but scenic trail - Clark and I actually hiked it all in flip flops. If you only have time for one short hike at Island in the Sky, I would recommend this one!
Arches NP is a unique park in that all of the points of interest are quite far apart and there aren't too many hiking trails. We decided to do a car tour with minor hiking, and it was nice to be a tourist and just get out of the car to take pictures, since it was so hot. Even though the park is a little out of the way, it is worth the trip to see some rock arches.