6 Most Underrated Thru-Hiking Trails Throughout America
There are many famous thru-hiking trails within the US that attract long-distance hikers from around the globe. From the 2,000+ miles of the Appalachian Trail to the Pacific Crest Trail that was made famous by Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, America is basically heaven on earth when it comes to thru-hiking.
While there are plenty of famous thru-hikes to choose from, there are also plenty of underrated long-distance hiking opportunities. If you’re more interested in taking the road-less-traveled and prefer an off-the-beaten-path experience, check out these 6 underrated thru-hiking trails throughout America:
- Boundary Trail in Washington
- Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota
- Uinta Highline Trail in Utah
- Cohos Trail in New Hampshire
- Bigfoot Trail in California
- Pinhoti Trail in Alabama & Georgia
Washington’s Boundary Trail
Washington state is home to some of the best hiking in the entire country, so this is the perfect place to start the list. Although it’s just 80 miles long, which is considerably shorter than many other thru-hikes in the US, Boundary Trail is as good as it gets.
Boundary Trail is just one of the many sections of the longer Pacific Northwest Trail, and it’s one of the best sections. Many hikers add this to their bucket list thanks to its boundless alpine beauty. Just like most trails in Washington, this one is well-maintained and clearly marked all along the way.
Minnesota’s Superior Hiking Trail
The Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota stretches from just south of Duluth all the way up to the Canadian border. The many views of Lake Superior are enough to make this one of the greatest – and somehow, most underrated – thru trails in the country.
One of the best things about the SHT is that the options for camping are basically endless. Along the entire trail – all 310 miles of it – you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a place to pitch a tent overnight.
There is very little chance of ever feeling bored while hiking the SHT. If you’re not looking at scenic views of the lake, you’ll be passing cascading waterfalls or relaxing next to babbling brooks. Just keep in mind that this hike can be challenging, especially if you’re new to long-distance hiking.
Utah’s Uinta Highline Trail
The Uinta Highline Trail in Utah is another under-the-radar trail with over-the-top views. It’s just 83 miles from start to finish, so it can be completed fairly quickly. However, this trail is recommended for experienced hikers only due to its high elevation and challenging terrain.
As long as you’ve got some experience under your belt, you’ll love climbing this trail’s summit peaks, which reach over 13,000 feet high. Along the way, you can expect to come across plenty of wildlife, including elk, coyote, deer, and mountain goats.
New Hampshire’s Cohos Trail
Cohos Trail is another great option for experienced long-distance hikers. This trail spans through New Hampshire and winds all the way up to Canada. It’s one of the best places in the country for wilderness lovers to experience; it’s super remote, super rugged, and although it’s extremely challenging, the rewards along the way are worth it.
From start to finish, the Cohos Trail spans 170 miles. There are about 40 peaks along the way – which explains why this thru-hike is so challenging – as well as open cliffs and strong winds.
California’s Bigfoot Trail
Bigfoot Trail in California is 360 miles from start to finish. This is an ideal option for experienced hikers who want to immerse themselves in the wooded terrain of northern Cali. Despite the name, you probably won’t come across the infamous Bigfoot. You will, however, see tons of wildlife as well as diverse terrain ranging from dense forests to clear ridgelines.
Bigfoot is considered a strenuous hike, so you need to be in relatively good shape to hike this one. Along the way, you’ll hike through a National Park, a State Park, and 6 designated wilderness areas.
Alabama & Georgia’s Pinhoti Trail
The Pinhoti Trail is just shy of 340 miles long. This is a great option if you want an experience that feels remote without actually being remote. You’ll feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by only wilderness, as you make your way along the Pinhoti, but you’ll never be too far from civilization.
This is a great option for history-loving hikers who want to experience a trail that tells a story along the way. Expect to spend a lot of time hiking through the woods, but you can also look forward to climbing a few mountains, too.