Standing at the summit of a mountaintop, feeling the wind in your face, the sun on your back, knowing you’ve pushed yourself past your limits on that hike. All in search of one thing: inspiration and beauty.
There are places in the world that call out the inspiration in all of us. Sometimes, the scenery in those places are so breathtaking you can’t help but fall silent in awe of the spectacular beauty. Other times, that same landscape can evoke emotions only fit for expression in a canvas or a journal.
If you’re willing to lace up your hiking boots in search of that inspiration, if you’re not afraid to put in a little sweat equity, you may not need to look much further than your own backyard, or, at least a short drive away.
Accessible only by foot, sitting at the summit of Mt. LeConte is the LeConte lodge, a fully functioning lodge that hosts a number of cabins and a dining hall, all without electricity. There are a number of ways to reach the summit on Mt. LeConte. A wildly popular hike is via the Alum Cave Trail, which is roughly a ten-mile round trip journey. Once at the top of the mountain, you will want to climb slightly further to Myrtle Point where the view of the Smoky Mountain range is stunning.
If you’re looking for more in Hawaii than just sun and sand and a pretty drink with an umbrella perched on the edge, the Kalalau Trail offers just the right amount of adventure with views for days. It’s an 11-mile hike from Ke’e Beach that ends at the picturesque Kalalau Beach. This is a trail that is more challenging than others, since it will be traversing valleys and summits before finally ending at Kalalau Beach. If you want natural, rugged coastline beauty, this trail will surely evoke that inspiration.
Sunrises worthy of writing about, those are the things that make up this special trail. On the coastline of Maine, at the top of Cadillac Mountain which sits at an elevation of 1,530 feet, you can be the first to witness the sun rise on the east coast of the United States. Many make this pilgrimage to the mountain top, arriving well before sunrise to catch a glimpse of this spectacular sight. If you’re searching for a moment worth waking up for, you won’t want to miss this. After watching the sun find its place in the sky, you can take to one of the summit trails and explore the rest of this stunning park.
Crystal clear lakes, snow-capped mountains . . . no, you are not in heaven. You have just hiked your way to Grinnell Glacier Trail in Montana. This gorgeous hike takes you roughly 10 miles roundtrip. For those that aren’t up for hiking quite so far in one day, you can take off nearly 3 miles by taking the shuttle boats to Lake Josephine. From there, you will begin a slow climb toward Grinnell Lake. Once you reach the Grinnell Glacier viewpoint, you finally get an up-close and personal view of an actual glacier with a landscape that will simply take your breath away.
Rugged landscape, towering mountain peaks, waterfalls and mist-covered trails. These are just some of the incredible sights you will find on the Panorama Trail at this national park. With a distance of about 8.5 miles, this particular trail is one of the more challenging ones to undertake, but it is also one of the most scenic. This trail offers a view of the infamous Half Dome, a breathtaking expanse of mountains that jut into deep valleys. Towards the end of this stunning trail, you will come to Vernal Falls, which can only be accessed via trail and not by the valley floor. If you are not afraid to put in a little planning and some leg work (no pun intended), then this hike is one that simply cannot be missed.
Even though these are just five of the hikes that will draw out that deep sigh from within, there are many more to explore. If you want inspiration, if you want to get outside and explore a little bit of nature, all while trying out your taste for adventure, give one of these beautiful hikes a try. You never know what you might find when you step out of your comfort zone and explore this great big world waiting just outside your door.