top of page
  • Maddie LaBerge

Arizona Makes the List for Best States For Hiking in America

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

Are you an avid hiker looking for your next adventure? Look no further! The list of the best states for hiking in America was just released and it provides an in-depth analysis based on a comprehensive Hiking Index Score. Arizona hikers rejoice, because the Grand Canyon state made the top 10 list!

a man hikes alone in sedona, arizona

Methodology behind the list of best states for hiking in America

In order to determine the rankings, five factors were highly analyzed: number of hiking trails per 1,000 square miles, number of waterfalls per 1,000 square miles, average yearly temperature, average yearly rainfall and percentage of state and national park coverage. Each factor was scored for a maximum of a 100 score. The number of hiking trails were weighted at two times the other factors. Rainfall was scored inversely, so lower levels of rain were actually given a higher score.


Other factors that were considered were:

  • National Parks

  • Weather

  • Coastline

  • Parks

  • Temperature

  • Boats & Water Sports Facilities

  • Beaches

  • Sports Camps & Clinics

  • Kayaking & Canoeing Attractions

  • Ski & Snowboarding Facilities

  • Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing Facilities

  • Outdoor Activities

  • Hiking Trails

  • Biking Trails

  • Golf Courses

  • Adrenaline & Extreme Sports Facilities

  • State area

Why This Place analyzed data from the US Census Bureau, National Park Service, Trailforks, World Waterfall Database and the National Climatic Data Centre.


With all of that being said, let's get into the top 10 states for hiking!


Top 10 States for Hiking

top four best states for hiking, connecticut, massachusetts, hawaii and california

1. Connecticut

Connecticut ranked as the best state for hiking in the US, with a HikingIndex Score of 73.98 out of 100 across the five examined factors. The Constitution State boasts an impressive number of hiking trails in proportion to its size. In fact, it comes second only to Massachusetts with a staggering 1,455 hiking trails per 1,000 square miles.

The state also has the third-highest state and national park coverage, accounting for 8.49% of its total area, and the fifth-highest number of waterfalls relative to its size, with 30 waterfalls per 1,000 square miles.

2. Massachusetts

Scoring 72.31 out of 100, Massachusetts ranked as the second-best state for hiking in the US. It was found to offer 2,221 hiking trails per 1,000 square miles which was the highest figure out of any state. The state also features 14 waterfalls per 1,000 square miles and 5.01% of its total area is covered by state and national parks.

3. Hawaii

Hawaii was found to be the third-best state for hiking in the US, with a score of 72.09 out of 100. The Aloha State has the warmest average annual temperature at 73.5°F and the highest number of waterfalls relative to its size, with an impressive 85 waterfalls per 1,000 square miles. It also has the second-highest percentage of total area covered by state and national parks, at 9.46%.

4. California

California is fourth on the list, scoring 69.49 out of 100 across the five factors. The Golden state offers 107 hiking trails and seven waterfalls per 1,000 square miles and has one of the lowest yearly average rainfall at 22.3 inches. A respectable 7.63% of California's total state area is covered by state and national parks, meaning it ranks fifth highest for this factor.

best states for hiking: new jersey, arizona, washington, new hampshire, utah, rhode island

5. New Jersey

New Jersey ranked as the fifth best state for hiking in the US, with a HikingIndex Score of 69.49 out of 100. The state has 650 hiking trails per 1,000 square miles, ranking the fourth-highest in this factor. It also has nine waterfalls per 1,000 square miles and 8.14% of its total area is covered by state and national parks. The Garden State also offers average temperatures of 53.6°F year round.

6. Arizona

Arizona is the sixth-best state for hiking in America, with a Hiking Index Score of 64.25. It has the second-lowest average rainfall behind Nevada, with 11.6 inches annually and an average temperature of 61.1°F. Home to the Grand Canyon, Arizona offers 52 hiking trails and one waterfall per 1,000 square miles, and 2.17% of its total area is covered by state and national parks.

7. Washington

Washington ranked seventh with a score of 62.45 out of 100. The Evergreen State has 140 hiking trails and 47 waterfalls per 1,000 square miles, ranking second for the latter factor. It receives an average of 43.2 inches of rainfall annually, and 4.18% of its total area is covered by state and natural parks.

8. New Hampshire

With a score of 61.55 out of 100, New Hampshire ranks as the eighth-best state for hiking in the US. The Granite State offers 482 hiking trails and the third-highest number of waterfalls relative to its size with 40 per 1,000 square miles. It has an average temperature of 44°F, yearly average rainfall of 48 inches, and 1.40% total national and state park coverage.

9. Utah

Utah ranked as the ninth-best state overall for hiking, with a score of 61.22 out of 100. The state offers 87 hiking trails per 1,000 square miles and 1.86% state and national park coverage. The landlocked state has one waterfall per 1,000 miles and the third-lowest annual rainfall, at an average of 13.5 inches.

10. Rhode Island

Rhode Island is the tenth-best US state for hiking, scoring 60.65 out of 100. Despite being the smallest state in the US by area, Rhode Island has the third-highest number of hiking trails relative to its size, with 1,131 hiking trails per 1000 square miles. The Ocean State also has two waterfalls per 1000 square miles and 49 inches of rainfall annually.


After picking up hiking in Oregon, I can't believe it didn't make the top 10 list! I loved hiking in Oregon, with my favorite trails being the Bigfoot Trap Trail in the Applegate and the Britt Trail System in Jacksonville. However, if only one of the three states I've lived in could make the list, I am proud it is my current home, Arizona.


Complete Data Table

You can explore the comprehensive rankings, scores and factors for each state below and see where your state ranks. The data table provides a valuable resource for those who want to delve deeper into the specifics and make informed decisions based on their preferences.

top states for hiking chart

top states for hiking data

If you are looking for something to do this Father's Day weekend and you live in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Hawaii, California, New Jersey or Arizona, you should definitely add hiking to your list. However, if you're in Arizona I suggest packing lots of water, since we are officially in the triple digits.


If not, start planning your next hiking trip in these states, no doubt it will be an unforgettable experience! Let me know your favorite hiking trail in your state in the comments.


Happy Hiking! And remember to take only photographs and leave only footprints!



Comments


Don't miss a thing.

Thanks for subscribing!

FOLLOW ME ELSEWHERE

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
bottom of page