The Best European-Style Walks in the U.S.
From Yosemite to the Green Mountains, these are our favorite lodge-to-lodge treks this side of the pond
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Sure, a multi-day hut-hiking tour in the Alps is a bucket-list trip. But why fly to Europe when you could skip the jet lag by taking an equally stunning stateside trek? You’ll find the same rewards—scenic vistas by day, prepared meals and plush accommodations by night—on a European-style walking tour right here in the U.S. Whether you want a guide to lead the way, a shuttle to haul your gear, or the chance to head out entirely on your own, these six hiking trips fit the bill.
High Sierra Loop Trail
Yosemite National Park, California
High Sierra Camps has outposts of classic canvas-tent cabins scattered throughout Yosemite’s high country. Situated at six-to-ten-mile intervals, each camp is accessible by trail and can be visited exclusively or as part of a 46-mile circuit. No matter where you stay, your accommodations will include hot breakfasts, bagged to-go lunches, and hearty dinners of flat-iron steaks and wild Alaska salmon served family style in the dining tent. If a guided tour is more your style, opt for a five- or seven-day package (from $1,292).
Katy Trail State Park, Missouri
You’ll see some of the best of the Midwest along the country’s longest-developed rail trail, which crosses 240 miles of farmland, historic landmarks, and the banks of the Missouri River. The journey starts in the small town of Clinton, with 26 trailheads along the way as it stretches east toward Saint Louis, stopping in towns every ten or so miles. Bed-and-breakfasts dot the route, some of which offer shuttles and baggage services. Check out the homey Lococo House (from $195) in historic Saint Charles and the Yates House (from $229), a reproduction of an 1800s-style roadside inn in charming Rocheport.
Walter Tishma Way
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Just outside Estes Park, this 42-mile route meanders past high peaks, waterfalls, and meadows full of aspen trees. You can hike for three days or up to a week, depending on your pace. If you plan on trekking between May and October, you can sign up for a self-guided trip with Footpaths of the World (from $670), and your gear will be waiting for you as you crash at various lodges along the way, like the famous Stanley Hotel and the Eagle Cliff House, a cozy B&B just outside Rocky Mountain National Park. Or go with a private guide for an additional $120 a day.
Superior Hiking Trail
Jay Cooke State Park, Minnesota
If you want to experience North America’s greatest Great Lake, a self-supported thru-hike of the 326-mile-long Superior Hiking Trail, which traverses a ridgeline overlooking Lake Superior and has more than 90 backcountry campsites, is one option. If you’d rather have a hot shower and comfortable bed as you head north toward the Canadian border, Boundary Country Trekking offers three-to-seven-night, lodge-to-lodge treks from May until October, or it can plan a trips for as many days as your heart desires (from $445). In addition to overnight accommodations at places like the Lutsen Resort’s log cabins, it will also arrange meals and map out shuttles and transportation. The walking part is up to you.
Take a six-day stroll through the Green Mountains on this leaf-peeping tour across Vermont. Country Walkers’ guided trips (from $3,148) include a section of the Long Trail and pass through old-growth forest, quaint New England villages, and Vermont’s highest peak, 4,393-foot Mount Mansfield. Accommodation at places like the Norwich Inn, which has its own microbrewery on-site, and Stowe’s Green Mountain Inn, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, includes meals and local wine or beer with dinner.
Len Foote Hike Inn Trail
Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia
Want to experience the Appalachian Trail without committing to the whole thing? Walk the Len Foote Hike Inn Trail, a mellow 9.8-mile loop in the foothills of north Georgia less than two hours from Atlanta. You’ll amble past the highest waterfall in the state on your way to a family-friendly, sustainably minded backcountry lodge called the Hike Inn (from $127), open year-round. Score a bed in the bunk room and two hot meals a day in the dining hall, and spend your days exploring Chattahoochee National Forest on your own.