Top Hikes with a View

With such varied terrain and true ecological diversity from coast to coast, you know that hiking is a great way to see the country. The nation’s top hikes with a view let you ramble on and take in nature with a newfound appreciation. Gain a new perspective by setting out on one of the hikes below.

These top hikes with a view will let you bask in the natural splendor across the United States. Five of the best hiking trails for enjoying the scenery and view are:

Lace up your boots, grab a water bottle and get ready to take in some of the most amazing vistas the U.S. has to offer, structured in no particular order.

Mount Mansfield in Vermont

Laura Cowles Trail to Sunset Ridge Trail Loop summiting Mt Mansfield in Underhill State Park Vermont.

It’s a fact: Vermont is a hiker’s paradise. The state’s ridgelines at the Canadian border and the peaks of the Green Mountains offer some of the best views in the nation. You’ll find everything from gentle hiking trails through woodlands and meadows to rocky mountains to climb as you ramble on through The Green Mountain State.

Looking for Vermont’s top hike with a view? Consider conquering Mt. Mansfield. You’ll find that Mt. Mansfield is the highest peak in the state and offers some of the best views in the eastern half of the U.S.

Nestled in the Chittenden County area of the Green Mountains, the heavily-trafficked Mt. Mansfield trail is best reserved for experienced hikers and adventurers. The 7.3-mile loop will let you see beautiful wildflowers in the spring and summer, but the best sight to behold is the vista at the top. 

The most technical part of the hike is along the Maple Ridge Trail. You’ll need to overcome a rock wall with limited grips and toe holds and leap over a deep chasm. There’s no margin for error along this part of the trail. 

The technical challenges are worth it, though. Mt. Mansfield is among two places in Vermont where you will encounter an arctic tundra. The expansive eyeshot at the top will stir your soul and awe-inspiring views will stay with you.

Mount Washington in New Hampshire

A 360 degree view of the Mt Washington summit in New Hampshire on a Sunny day.

Fans of the great outdoors find few things as satisfying as crushing a challenging trail–especially if the view at the top is worth it. Scaling Mt. Washington in New Hampshire certainly fits this bill.

You can reach the top of Mt. Washington by taking Tuckerhead Ravine and Lion Head Trail. You’ll find these heavily trafficked trails near Gorham, New Hampshire. There’s a lot to see along the way on these trails. Wildflowers, wildlife, and even a waterfall make this scenic scramble memorable. 

There are 7 waypoints along this 7.4-mile trail, letting you break down the hike into manageable treks. You might need the resting points, as this trail is best reserved for very experienced adventurers and hikers. The 4,242-foot elevation gain on the trail means you’ll be going up. 

This steep journey up gives Mt. Washington a reputation as being one of the most dangerous mountains in the U.S., and this means you’ll need to take care each step of the way. You’ll need to do your homework before you head out on this trail, as there are no markings along Tuckerman’s Ravine. You’ll also need the right gear. Weather conditions are also a significant consideration, as storms, snow, and wind can turn the hike from dangerous to deadly on a dime.

The challenges and considerations are rewarding, though. The view from the Mount Washington summit shows you an endless sky, accented by the rolling hills of New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

Chimney Top in West Virginia

The North Fork Mountain trail to Chimney Top in Cabins, West Virginia is a 5.4 mile 1,960 foot ascent.

West Virginia’s Chimney Top, located in the heart of the North Fork Mountains in the Monongahela National Forest, offers the kind of views that will change your perspective on the world around you. You’ll experience the true beauty of nature by taking in this exhilarating vista.

The views aren’t the only exhilarating thing about Chimney Top. Though the hike to the top is only 5.4 miles, the trail is rated as difficult. This means you’ll end the day feeling accomplished. Steep terrain and the unrelenting final spur will get your adrenaline pumping. The 1,960-foot elevation gain is difficult, but certainly, worth the effort.

The trek to Chimney Top makes the perfect day trip. However, there are a few places to camp along the way if you’d like to extend the journey. You won’t find potable water along the trail, so you’ll need to bring water with you.

The best time to make the journey up is when the weather is warm and fair, and experts recommend coming out between the months of April and October. Spring and summer bring wildflowers; fall brings changing leaves in breathtaking bright hues. 

The hike to Chimney Top is part of the greater North Fork Mountain Trail. The larger trail spans nearly 25 miles. This out and back trail is lightly trafficked and is used for mountain biking, camping, backpacking, and other outdoor activities.

Old Rag Mountain in Virginia

Old Rag Mountain is a 3,284 feet mountain in Virginia and is part of the Shenandoah National Park. This is a 360 degree summit view taken during August.

Old Rag Mountain sits in the Shenandoah National Park. You’ll feel like you’re on top of the world when you traverse the trails and rock scrambles leading to the peak. Though Old Rag isn’t the highest point in the national forest (that title goes to Hawksbill Mountain), it’s likely the most scenic.

The trek up to Old Rag Mountain will take you up a 2,348 elevation gain over the trail’s 9.1 miles. It might take an experienced hiker 6 or so hours to make the journey around the clockwise loop trail. Experience is necessary for the trip up to Old Rag, as the rock scrambles are rated among the most challenging in the Mid-Atlantic region.

In fact, some hikers refer to the rock scramble up to Old Rag Mountain as “legendary.” It’s even been called “the most badass hike in Virginia” by others. You’ll find craggy peaks to conquer, crevasses to descend, cracks to crawl through, and side-steps to take along steep cliffs.

You’ll also find that the Old Rag Mountain trail is quite popular because of these scrambles and the spectacular views at the end. This means you shouldn’t expect solitude along the way, especially if you’re making the journey on a weekend. If you’re seeking peace and quiet, consider making the journey up on a weekday morning.

The Saddle Ridge section of the trail was recently rerouted. The reroute created 3 parking areas for those making the day trip: an upper lot at SR 600 and Nethers Road, a lower lot for RVs and trailers, and an overflow lot to use when those are full.

There are 7 waypoints along the trail up to Old Rag. These points give you a place to rest and catch your breath along the way.

Mount Si in Washington State

Very popular Mountain view in Washington state called Mount Si

Although most of the hikes on this list have been on the East Coast, that doesn’t mean there aren’t great views along the Pacific Coast, too. In fact, the Mount Si trail in Washington offers scenic views of the Snoqualmie River valley and surrounding areas to let you connect with nature in new ways.

More than 100,000 people make the trek up Mount Si each year. They must be onto something, as the 8-mile roundtrip journey offers some of the best views you’ll find in the Pacific Northwest. The trail features an elevation gain of 3,100 feet in just four miles, but don’t let that stop you. Novice hikers and weekend warriors will enjoy conquering the trail’s challenges, while more experienced hikers will still find the trek stimulating. It sits at a perfect sweet spot for accessible vistas.

You’ll start climbing and find switchbacks as soon as you leave the trailhead. The steady ascension is still gentle. The trail to Mount Si flattens when you reach Snag Flat. This portion of the trail will take you through an old-growth forest. This stand of trees still stands after fires and logging have ravaged the region. You’ll appreciate the size of these trees, some of which have been standing for centuries. 

Climbing starts again after Snag Flat. You’ll take in views of Mount Rainier as you make the trek upward. Need to pause and catch your breath? There are 4 waypoints on the trail, even one with benches about a third of the way up.

Angels Landing in Utah

Angels Landing in Zion National Park in Utah

Angels Landing Trail is among the most popular trails in the Zion National Park. It’s easy to see why, as the breathtaking views and technical challenges make this trail a worthwhile endeavor. 

The trail to Angels Landing starts out at the Grotto Trailhead. You’ll cross over the Virgin River, travel along the easy West Rim Trail, and then cool off at Refrigerator Canyon. That’s when things get a little more complicated. You’ll go through a series of switchbacks known as Walter’s Wiggles, then travel a narrow and steep ridge to Angels Landing. You’ll find anchored support chains to help you along the sheer cliffs toward the top.

Angels Landing sits 1,500 feet above Zion Canyon. The 4.4 mile trail is rated difficult. You’ll endure an elevation gain of 1,604 feet as you make the trek to the top.

This trail isn’t for you if you have a fear of heights. It is also best to be avoided during periods of inclement weather, as high winds, rain, and storms can make the trek to Angels Landing even more dangerous. It’s wise to visit Angles Landing during the spring, summer, or fall. Don’t bother coming out in the winter, as the trail is often iced over and impassable.

Despite all the challenges, the view from Angels Landing is well worth the hype. Not only does the summit provide great canyon views, but you’ll also find hearty trees, wildlife, and more.

Chimney Rocks in Pennsylvania

This is a quick view of the summit of Chimney Rocks in Pennsylvania in early spring

Looking for magnificent views with moderate effort? Look to Chimney Rocks in Pennsylvania. This dog-friendly hike near Quincy, PA, in the Michaux State Forest offers phenomenal views with minimal difficulty

Reaching Chimney Rocks is simple. You can take a walk along the Hermitage and Appalachian Scenic Trails. This is a 4.8-mile loop. You’ll find wildflowers in the spring and summer on this trek and take in beautiful geological formations on your way to the summit. This trail is rated as moderate, which means experienced hikers won’t get bored while weekend warriors might be challenged. The trail will take you up a 1,007-foot elevation gain, which is gentle in some spots and steep in others.

Though accessible year-round, you might find snow or mud on the trail in winter and early spring. Fall might be an ideal time to visit, as the summit will provide views of the surrounding forest when trees produce fiery autumn colors.

Top Hikes with a View with Bivwack Outdoors

Get outside and experience views like never seen before. You’ll be amazed as to the impact they will have on you. Don’t fret over having the right gear or if you have the time. Affordable gear and time management are on your side.