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Classic American hiking trails

By: Josh Lew on May 30, 2012, 5:48 p.m.
Superior Hiking Trail

Photo: TimDan2/Flickr

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North Country Trail

The three trails mentioned previously are the icons of American hiking, but they are not the only worthwhile places to put boots to path. Another lengthy headliner is the North Country Trail, which stretches in an east-west direction for more than 4,000 miles from New York all the way to North Dakota. The trail passes through its namesake region, skirting the Great Lakes in some areas and passing near to the Canadian border. Very few people have ever thru-hiked (hiked from end to end without stopping) the North Country, but numerous hikers have completed the entire length of the trail in their lifetimes by traveling on different sections each year. Much of this epic path passes through wonderfully rural landscapes. In many places, the route is made up of already existing trails that are attractive hiking destinations in their own right.


The Superior Hiking Trail (shown here), for example, skirts the North Shore of Lake Superior. It covers 275 miles of lakeside territory in northern Minnesota. This particular trail is a standout because it runs along a ridgeline that offers some amazing views of Lake Superior while also providing access to the classic Northwoods landscapes of this region of the U.S. The Finger Lakes Trail, which passes through Upstate New York, is one of the most scenic sections of the eastern part of the North Country Trail. The valleys and forests of the Catskill and Adirondack mountains and the area's numerous waterways and waterfalls provide a classically beautiful backdrop for a days-long hiking expedition or a casual day trip.