Guest post by Carhartt Outdoor Apparel & Gear:
As a tribute to our great nation and all of the amazing hikers it houses, we’ve put together a list of the best national forests for hiking, along with the best trails and the gear you’ll need for the hike.
National Forest: Green Mountain National Forest – Vermont
Best Trail: The Long Trail
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Why We Love It: As the first long distance hiking trail established in the United States, The Long Trail ranges more than 273 miles of foot paths. Whether you want to make a day trip, camp overnight or have an extended backpacking trip, this trail is a perfect fit for everyone.
Necessary Gear: Break out the tents and backpacks! This trail is perfect for camping. You will also need high-quality hiking boots. With so many miles, having your feet hurt is not the best option.
National Forest: White River National Forest – Colorado
Best Trail: Maroon Creek Trail
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Why We Love It: Just outside of Aspen, the Maroon Creek Trail takes you on a journey through the valley between two major Colorado mountains, the Maroon Bells. During blooming season (July), you will walk through fields of wildflowers while looking at the stunning peaks of the mountains. This trail doesn’t loop, but a designated van will take you back to your starting place if you don’t want to backtrack.
Necessary Gear: You have to have sturdy boots for this hike. It might be classified as easy, but some of the terrain can be dangerous. You don’t want to turn your ankle because you are wearing tennis shoes instead of hiking boots.
National Forest Bighorn National Forest – Wyoming
Best Trail: Lost Twin Lakes Trail
Why We Love It: This trail is slightly over 10 miles and features a beautiful lake and views of the Bighorn Mountains, a sister range to the Rocky Mountains. Just be sure you get out there while it is accessible between July and September.
Necessary Gear: Great hiking boots are a necessity for this trail. You will also need to bring plenty of water and a daypack with snacks. If you are feeling adventurous, bring along some fishing and camping equipment to explore Mirror Lake and the surrounding areas!
National Forest: Deschutes National Forest – Oregon
Best Trail: Tumalo Falls
Why We Love It: Let’s face it. Everyone loves waterfalls and this trail features a beautiful one. To the side of Henline Falls, you can explore an old mine shaft. This 5.7-mile trail is perfect for any age or experience level.
Necessary Gear: All you need for this hike is lots of water and a day pack with some snacks.
National Forest: Mononganela National Forest – West Virginia
Best Trail: High Falls Hike
Why We Love It: High Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Mononganela. This trail is a little over 8 miles and has great views throughout. One of the best points is that it isn’t well traveled. That means you will have a lot of solitude during your hike.
Necessary Gear: As with most hikes, you will need great hiking boots for this trail. Be sure to bring water to stay hydrated and even high-protein snacks to keep you fueled all day.
Before you hit any of these awesome national forests, be sure you have the proper gear. You can find many of the options we mentioned above and more at high-quality retailers like Carhartt. Now get out there and start exploring!