5. NEW HAMPSHIRE: PEMI (PEMIGEWASSET WILDERNESS) LOOP
Scenic autumn view of Profile Lake in New Hampshire
The Pemi Loop is 31.5 miles of intense hiking – more than 9,000 feet in elevation gain – with eight 4,000 feet-plus peaks encircling the western half of New Hampshire’s Pemigewasset Wilderness. Featuring rugged terrain and spectacular vistas, this trip is best done in two or three days. Each of the peaks offers panoramic vistas and four additional 4,000-foot summits can be reached via short day hikes. While the rewards are high, the demands are also, so only embark on this trail if you are sure your knees are up to it. Because significant sections are exposed, it is also important be prepared for the White Mountain’s notoriously variable weather conditions. Bears are also found in the Pemigewasset Wilderness, so carrying bear spray is a very good idea.
6. UTAH: THE HIGHLINE TRAIL IN UTAH’S UINTA MOUNTAINS
Sunrise in the Uinta Mountains, Utah
If you are looking for a trail less traveled, the Highline Trail through Utah’s Uinta Mountains is worth your consideration. Roughly 75 miles through challenging terrain, most of which is around 11,000 feet in elevation with the highest point about 12,600 feet, this trail can be difficult and above all remote, so make sure you are well prepared for a wilderness experience largely above the tree line. That said, the Highline Trail is justifiably revered by hikers and if you enjoy having long stretches of trail to yourself, serene lakes, gorgeous views of high mountains, pine forests and lots of wildlife, put this trail on your list.