If your inner wanderlust is calling you to seek greater heights, look to the trails that weave through the land of the free. From mountains to deserts to tropical forests, the following list has some of the best places to hike in the US.

Such peace comes from trading in your GPS app for trailblazers or a pair of Nikes for hiking boots. Looking down on the rest of the world from a mountain peak or getting lost in the trees can be a major stress reliever and a good workout, as well as a fun summer activity.

1. Appalachian Trail

tea, coffee, beer
Samantha Fehd

This trail stretches across the entire east side of the country from Georgia to Maine. On average, anyone hiking the AT spends about three months backpacking over 2000 miles of mountainous terrain.

It's definitely a right of passage for the pros, but for people like me, a day hike up Blood Mountain is still a brutal level five hike. Expect spectacular summit views and stone trails.

2. Arches National Park

For a more touristy view of the west, Arches will humble anyone's impression of beauty. The red stones make giant masterpieces that are truly works of art. Standing under one will make you feel so small, and some daredevils even choose to bungee from the top of them. It's the perfect spot for postcard-worthy photography.

3. Precipice Trail

Known to be one of the most challenging trails, Precipice takes you on an off-trail experience through Acadia National Park. The out-and-back will have you scaling boulders on metal rungs as a glorified ladder, but gives you an exclusive view of the water. It's strictly for experts and thrill-seekers.

4. Angel's Landing

Zion National Park is perfect for majestic canyon hiking. If you follow the Big Bend from the Grotto trailhead, you'll face about five miles of strenuous slopes. At the top of the canyon, you'll see literally breathtaking drop offs and cliff sides.

If you live to seek new heights, trek up this over 1400-foot cliff. NOT recommended for the acrophobic.

5. Kalalau Trail

water, pasture, grass
Samantha Fehd

For sights that are literally from the movies, take the land and seaside trail within Kalalau Valley. More adventurous explorers can hike part or all of the 22-mile trail through waterfalls, the infamous valley, and Na Pali coastline.

Thanks to big blockbusters like Lost or the Jurassic Park series, property ranchers are happy to lead tourists (like me) on horseback to see where King Kong left his foot print.

6. Mooney Falls

Take an exotic three-mile hike on Mooney Falls Trails if you want to visit one of the best waterfalls in the Grand Canyon. You can reach the 200-foot waterfall through caverns or by following the Colorado River. Then you can wade in the gemstone pool in your own tiny corner of paradise. Bring a bathing suit and waterproof camera.

7. Highline Loop

Glacier Park is home to some of the most notorious mountainscapes in the US, where bighorn sheep roam, bald eagles fly overhead, and the smell of alpine fills the air. The Highline Loop Trail is known for outstanding views of green and white-tipped mountains and stomach-turning, narrow cliff sides.

Take the road trip with your friends, and hike up to the hotel if tent-pitching isn't exactly your style. 

8. McWay Falls

If you're traveling through Cali, take a quick stop right off Highway 1 in Big Sur, to look out on both the northern and southern coastal views. The out-and-back is only about half a mile total, but "hikers" really go for the overlook to spot the waterfall that falls into turquoise ocean. Unfortunately, the beach is closed to the public.

9. Emerald Lake

For an easier hike that doesn't sacrifice beautiful mountain views, head to the Colorado Rockies for a view of Emerald Lake. The Bear Lake Loop Trail is less than four miles, and it's a relatively steep but easy-to-moderate trek up.

En route, you will see Hallet Peak and a few, crystal-clear lakes. A warm summer day is the best time for a dip in the blue-green waters.

10. Stairway to Heaven

Known by many names, including the Ha'ikü Stairs, it is also called "The Forbidden Staircase," because it is legally forbidden due to its questionable stability. Honolulu does not want that liability, and I don't blame them. When I first looked up the giant mountain staircase in O'ahu, Hawaii, I put it on my bucket list.

However, there is also the chance of a heavy thousand-dollar fine if you live to get caught climbing. With thousands of steel steps, up to 2000 feet high, I decided to admire it from a hike through the village below and it was just as breathtaking. Do not attempt it, or do so at your own risk.

Now that you know the best places to hike in the US, pack up your hiking gear and get moving!