Hiking is not just a rejuvenating escape from the hectic pace of life. Science is continuously discovering how it offers a multitude of benefits to our health. To sweeten the deal, it’s also a great workout, burning between 400 and 700 calories per hour depending on the challenge. So, get your hiking shoes on because we have put together a collection of “Bucket List” of the best hikes for solo female travelers. The hikes selected are within monitored National Parks which means that they are very safe, even when hiking alone. We have also chosen hikes of an average skill level so advanced climbing skills are not required. Let’s begin…
1.Superior Hiking Trail Near Grand Marais, Minnesota
Length: 9.6 miles
Estimated Time: 5 hours
The Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota has been rated one of the best American adventure trips by National Geographic. Although a day hike explores only a portion of the 310-mile trail, the views on this section will be etched in your memory for a lifetime. The trail is a footpath that hugs the ridge-line above Lake Superior. It exposes you to a collection of terrain, including cliffs, mountain ranges, streams, wild rivers and waterfalls.
Cellular connection may be weak, so if you plan to go off trail. Be sure to have a GPS Watch to track your route. It is an adventurous wilderness hike and the variety of trails allow you to select a route that suits your available time and fitness level. You can choose between a day hike or an epic 3-week journey! It’s also teeming with wildlife, which adds to the sense of adventure.
2. Seven Hollows Trail, Morrilton, Arkansas
Length: 4.5 mile loop trail
Hiking Time: 3 – 4 hours
This loop trail is part of the Petit Jean State Park and cuts through several small canyons below an impressive canopy of forest trees. It has natural stone arches and rock shelters that are unique to this region. There is a rich history of prehistoric Native Americans who once dwelled in the area. Proof of their existence is still scattered amongst the trees and stone structures. It is truly a sight to see.
3. James K. Carr Trail, Anderson, California
Length: 3.4 miles there and back
Hiking Time: 2 – 3 hours
Most Whiskeytown visitors pour in for the water sports and recreation, but the highlights of this area are without a doubt the rugged canyons, waterfalls, wild forests and streams. The mountain trails are shaded by trees, and eight creeks offer magnificent views and great rest stops when you need a break.
The trail boasts the famous 220 foot, Whiskeytown waterfall which is located deep in Shasta Cascade’s forest. It was kept a closely guarded secret by locals and loggers for more than 40 years.
4. Pipiwai Trail & Waimoku Falls, Hawaii
Length: 4 miles
Hiking Time: 2 – 3 hours
Be prepared to experience a breathtaking trail that cuts through a bamboo forest, a vision you will not soon forget. This trail is the treasure of the National Park System and offers up a diverse scenery, ending in the spectacular 400 foot tall, Waimoku Falls.
Situated in the Eastern regions of Maui, it offers up a collection of more than seven pools and waterfalls surrounded by a lush green tropical forest.
5. Waterfall Trail, Payson, Arizona
Length: 600 feet there and back
Hiking Time: 30 – 40 minutes
The Waterfall Trail begins with Fossil Creek, located in the Tonto Natural Bridge Park. This is one of Arizona’s many natural wonders. The spring-fed creek is an incredible turquoise blue and flows wildly, making for a stunning scenic view.
The trail is well marked and easy to walk, just make sure you have reliable hiking boots. If you plan to wade in the river, be sure to have suitable water shoes as the rocks are sharp and jagged. There is a waterfall cave at the end of the trail which serves as the perfect picnic spot.
6. Mount Jo Trail in Lake Placid, New York
Length: 2.6 mile loop trail
Hiking Time: 2 – 3 hours
The exposed summit ledges can be reached with little effort and delivers one of the best views of all the peaks. It is one of the best vantage points you’ll find.
Mount Jo is 700 feet over Heart Lake and situated south of Lake Placid in the High Peak Zone of the Adirondacks. It has 2 trails that lead to the summit. The loop trail is open and the scenery is vast, guaranteed to take your breath away.
7. Mills Lake near Estes Park, Colorado
Length: 5.3 miles there and back
Estimated Time: 3 – 4 hours
The hike to Mills Lake starts from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead. It submerges you in the forest and further in, crosses Alberta Falls, a 30 foot thundering waterfall.
Without a doubt, the ultimate prize of this trail is Mills Lake. It is nestled just below Half Mountain and surrounded by Forest and large boulders that make the perfect picnic spot. From this position, you will have magnificent views of the Keyboard of the Winds, Pagoda Mountain, Chiefs Head Peak and Thatchtop Mountain.
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8. Turtlehead Peak Trail in Las Vagas, Nevada
Length: 5 miles to the summit and back
Hiking Time: 3 – 5 hours
The Turtlehead Peak trail is an incredibly beautiful, yet challenging trail. The desert scenery has wild flowers, red rock formations, petroglyphs and impressive views of Sandstone Quarry. It is part of the National Conservation Area located west of the Las Vegas Strip.
There are more that 30 miles of hiking trails to explore in the area and Turtle Peak trail is well worn, offering a 360-degree view of the breathtaking landscape, from the summit of Las Vegas to the Red Rock Canyon mountains.
9. Beehive Basin Trail in Big Sky, Montana
Length: 4.5 miles there and back
Hiking Time: 3 – 4 hours
Beehive Basin is part of the Yellowstone National Forest Trail and is the jewel of Big Sky. It boasts a crystal clear lake in the basin that overlooks Lone Peak. On a windless day, the reflections on the lake will make for postcard-worthy pictures. Be sure to have your camera handy.
It is worth making your way to the top of the basin for even more spectacular views, you will just need an extra dose of energy to get to the top of the steep slopes.
10. Braille Trail in Belleview, Missouri
Length: 1 mile loop trail
Hiking Time: 30 minutes
Last on our list we have the Braille Trail. The landscape is scattered with elephant-sized granite boulders, the reason the Elephant Rocks State Park got its name. This 7.5 acre property is great to explore if you are looking for an easy hike and time alone. You can climb up the enormous dome rocks by way of wooden steps. Once at the top, enjoy the incredible scenery. You can’t help but feel small amongst such large structures and wide open spaces.
10 Essentials For a Safe Solo Adventure
The assumption that women hiking alone are more vulnerable to getting injured, lost or mugged could not be more incorrect. Statistics show the opposite. Women are more likely to get to safety when lost on a trail and less likely to be victims of an attack. The rule is simple, be alert and prepared.
The rule is simple, be alert and prepared.
Solo hikers, male or female can avoid emergencies by having the right tools available. This can turn an unexpected event into a minor detour and an exciting story to tell.
- Pack a first aid kit.
- Always have a map and compass handy.
- Carry a pocket knife, a whistle and pepper spray for personal protection.
- Have all-weather protection handy. Pack Sunscreen, rain gear, and extra layers for warmth.
- Pack extra food and water.
- Bring along fire-starting supplies.
- A headlamp is lightweight and comes in handy should the hike, take longer than expected.
- Do your homework. Don’t walk blindly onto a trail. Read up on your destination so you know you have the right gear and are prepared for different terrain, weather and the length of the hike.
- Let someone know where you will be going, and when you expect to be back.
- Trust your instincts. If a situation feels unsafe, don’t take unnecessary risks.
We hope this article featuring the best hikes for solo female travelers has helped plant some seeds for your next outdoor adventure. We’d love to hear from you so let us know what you are planning and feel free to share your story.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi! I’m Bianca, from Cape Town, South Africa and MyWildEarth. From a young age, my grandmother filled my head with stories of adventure, and crossing the great oceans in massive ships. I recognized that traveling was not just a dream for me, but my purpose. The obsession in my mind had to become a reality, and from the age of 18, I worked to travel as often as I could.
The world inspires me. Different cultures, exotic food, new adventures and ever changing landscapes, are what make my soul explode.
I love to share my stories so others know that the life they seek is not beyond their reach. The world is a playground that belongs to all of us, and we should live every precious day with a happy and free spirit.
Let’s continue the conversation via email. Register here and I will send you new travel articles, travel photos, questions, suggestions, guides and more ONLY when I have something meaningful to say.