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11 Best Hiking Trails Near Lake Campsites US

11 Best Hiking Trails Near Lake Campsites US

Do you love camping but also enjoy a good hike? If so, then you’re in luck! There are many great hiking trails near many popular lakeside campsites in the United States.

Here are 11 of the best hiking trails near lake campsites.

Best Hiking Trails Near Lake Campsites US

Lake Tahoe Rim Trail, California/Nevada

The Lake Tahoe Rim Trail is a great hiking trail for its remarkable alpine scenery, moderate difficulty, and ample opportunities for exploration. Spanning 165 miles between California and Nevada, the trail follows the shoreline of the beautiful Lake Tahoe, providing hikers with breathtaking views of the lake and the High Sierra Nevada Mountains. Along the way, you can visit some of the iconic features of the region, such as the Fin Dome, the Videttes, Glen Pass, and Paradise Valley. The trail is well-marked and well-traveled, making it suitable for both novice and experienced hikers.

The trail also offers a range of challenges to seasoned hikers. For a more strenuous trip, opt for the counterclockwise direction of the loop, as it will require more elevation changes and greater physical exertion than a clockwise journey. Additionally, you can choose to combine the John Muir Trail with the Lake Tahoe Rim Trail for an even more immersive experience in the wilderness.

Chelan Lakeshore Trail, Washington

The Chelan Lakeshore Trail is among the best hiking trails near lake camping sites in the United States due to its stunning lake views, excellent outdoor activities, and diverse terrain. The trail is located on the north end of Lake Cushman and is about two miles long; and follows the shoreline for stunning views of the lake. The trail isn’t too steep but does include some elevation gain and features multiple turn-offs for activities such as swimming, fishing, and kayaking. It is also a great spot to observe wildlife, with plenty of opportunities to see deer, coyotes, and bald eagles. The trail is surrounded by towering mountains and lush forests, which makes it a perfect spot for a peaceful walk in nature. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing stroll, a challenging hike, or a fun day outdoors, the Chelan Lakeshore Trail is sure to provide an unforgettable experience.

The Cleetwood Cove Trail, Oregon

The Cleetwood Cove Trail in Oregon is an excellent hike for those seeking an immersive nature experience. The trail is 2.2 miles long, with an elevation gain of 600 feet. It is an excellent opportunity to explore the breathtaking beauty of Crater Lake National Park, with its stunning views of crystal-clear deep blue waters. Along the way, hikers will pass through old-growth forests, creek-filled forests, and other vegetation. The journey culminates at the steep walls of the caldera, where you can take in the awe-inspiring views of the lake below. This hike is suitable for all levels of hikers, from experienced backpackers to those just starting out. With ample opportunities for wildlife sightings, breathtaking panoramic views, and peaceful surroundings, the Cleetwood Cove Trail is the perfect way to explore Oregon’s natural beauty.

The Eagle Falls Trail, Kentucky

The Eagle Falls Trail in Kentucky is an excellent hike for those looking for a moderate to difficult challenge. This 2.75-mile trail leads up to the highest point in the state, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape. While there, you’ll have a chance to spot eagles and other wildlife and explore a 1930s fire tower. The trail closes at 3 p.m. during certain seasons to protect the eagles roosting in the area. Camping is available nearby at Campground 2 or 3, with rates ranging from $24-49 per night, depending on the season. With its breathtaking scenery and wildlife, the Eagle Falls Trail is an unforgettable experience for any outdoor enthusiast.

The Rainbow Bridge Trail, Utah

The Rainbow Bridge Trail in Utah is one of the best hikes for an unforgettable outdoor experience. Not only does the trail offer stunning views of the red rocks and majestic mountains, but it also offers a unique and challenging experience. The trail is filled with narrow slots and steep climbs, which will test even the most experienced hikers. In addition, the trail is relatively short, so you won’t have to spend too much time on it. Plus, you can take the time to explore some nearby sights, such as Navajo Mountain and Rainbow Bridge, which are both within walking distance of the trail. Finally, the trail is easy to access, as it can be accessed by boat or by car. All in all, the Rainbow Bridge Trail in Utah is the perfect hike for anyone looking for an unforgettable experience in the great outdoors.

Ozark Highlands Trail, Arkansas

The Ozark Highlands Trail in Arkansas is a great hiking trail for many reasons. It has 1.2 million acres of recreation space, with nine beaches, many lakes and streams, and over 1,000 miles of trails. Numerous developed campgrounds exist for RV and tent camping, and primitive camping is also permitted in the five wilderness areas. In addition, the trail is home to Roaring River State Park, which features the Eagle’s Nest trail, a 2.75-mile long moderate-difficult hike that is home to many eagles. It’s also an excellent spot for photography, with views of white snow against the red rocks of Arches National Park. Other trails in the area include the Shaddox Hollow Nature Trail and Rim Rock Nature Loop, both of which offer stunning views of the lake and native Ozark vegetation. With so many opportunities for exploration, the Ozark Highlands Trail is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a beautiful nature experience.

The Tongue Mountain Range Trail, New York

The Tongue Mountain Range Trail in New York is a great hiking trail for those looking for an adventure. With 25 miles of rugged terrain, the trail takes hikers through majestic forests, vast meadows, and winding streams and offers spectacular views of the surrounding Adirondack Mountains. Although the hike is challenging, it is also incredibly rewarding, with its many scenic overlooks and the opportunity to spot some of nature’s most beautiful creatures. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow, making it an excellent option for beginners. What sets this trail apart is that it is also home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, elk, and even the occasional bear.

The Crack-in-the-Wall Trail, Utah

The Crack-in-the-Wall Trail in Utah is a perfect hiking destination for adventure seekers. Known as one of the most challenging trails in the area, it offers stunning views of rugged red-rock canyons and rock formations, making it an excellent spot for photography. The trail is 18 miles long, with an elevation gain of 1,200 feet. At the top, you’ll find a dramatic crack in the wall, framed by the colorful canyon walls, and a breathtaking view of the surrounding desert. While certainly a difficult hike due to the steep grade, it’s doable for an experienced hiker, and the reward at the end is well worth the effort. With its thrilling vistas and unspoiled beauty, the Crack-in-the-Wall Trail is an unforgettable experience that no nature lover should miss.

Frisco Lakeshore Trail, Colorado

The Frisco Lakeshore Trail in Colorado is a great hiking trail for many reasons. It is an 8.0-mile loop with a moderate-difficult level of difficulty. The elevation at the trailhead is nearly 10,000 feet, and the hike ascends another 3,000 feet, so hikers should be aware of the effects of altitude and be prepared. The stunning views of the stunning alpine lakes and snow-capped mountains year-round make this hike a great experience. South Mineral Campground is the nearest campground, with all sites being first come, first served, and no hookups or water available. Dispersed camping is also allowed in the area. Hikers can start near Frisco at the trailhead and make their way along the loop, encountering both Ice Lake and Island Lake. Along the way, hikers can also take in the views of the treeline from above and the cascading waterfalls.

Cascade Lake Trail, Idaho

Cascade Lake Trail is the perfect destination for all those looking for a thrilling adventure surrounded by nature’s beauty. This scenic highway offers hundreds of miles of hiking trails, the iconic Three Sisters mountain range, and dozens of gorgeous lakes. There are plenty of activities to enjoy, such as SUP rentals, camping, fishing, kayaking, backpacking, and just relaxing and enjoying the views. Plus, you can purchase an annual Northwest Forest pass or day pass at the ranger station on the right side of the highway when driving to the Cascade Lakes from Bend. You’ll need to fill out a free self-service hiking permit at the trailheads if you plan to hike between Memorial Day and October 31st. Finally, the campgrounds here are open from April to October, with amenities such as water, sports rentals, and a camp store.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes Trail, Michigan

The Sleeping Bear Dunes Trail in Michigan is a great hiking trail for several reasons. Firstly, its breathtaking views of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the nearby Lake Michigan shoreline make it one of the most scenic trails in the Midwest. It’s a relatively easy hike, with only a few inclines to navigate and a total length of 4.5 miles. It’s a loop trail, which will take hikers back to their starting point, and it allows for a good amount of exploration of the area. Finally, the trailhead is located close to the Sleeping Bear Dunes Campground, which offers RV sites and a dump station to accommodate those wanting to stay overnight. All in all, the Sleeping Bear Dunes Trail is an excellent option for those wanting to experience the beauty of nature in the Midwest.

Hiker resting on bench, looking out at lake, Kesankijarvi, Lapland, Finland

Tips for safe and enjoyable hikes with your family

Plan the hike ahead of time

Planning a hike ahead of time is essential for having a safe and enjoyable experience with family. By taking the time to properly research the hiking trail beforehand, one can ensure that they are familiar with the route and the common hazards to look out for. This pre-planning can include consulting a trail map, learning the appropriate blazing to stay on the trail, and noting any extreme weather that may occur in the area. Knowing the terrain ahead of time will also help one determine the proper footwear, clothing, and supplies to bring for the hike.

Stay hydrated and nourished

Staying hydrated and nourished on a hike can make the experience more enjoyable and safer for families. Hydration is an essential factor in preventing dehydration and fatigue. Families can stay hydrated throughout their hike by bringing a reusable water bottle, such as the CamelBak water reservoir or the Hydro Flask insulated water bottle. Additionally, having nutritious snacks and foods can help give families a boost of energy and keep them going. For example, protein-rich snacks like trail mix or energy bars can help fuel hikers and provide essential nutrients. By planning ahead and packing nutritious foods and plenty of water, families can make their hiking experience more enjoyable and safe.

Wear appropriate clothing

When planning a hiking trip with your family, make sure you’ve dressed appropriately for the terrain and weather conditions. Wear sturdy shoes or hiking boots and dress in layers in case the temperature changes. Pack a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and bug repellent to protect your skin from the elements. Make sure to wear clothing that covers your entire body so as to avoid getting ticks, and if you’re hiking in Alaska, consider boots with good tread and trekking poles to help keep your balance. Bring extra clothing such as a coat, gloves, and a scarf on colder days.

Bring the necessary supplies

When planning a hike with your family, ensure you have the essentials. To be adequately prepared, you should always carry navigation tools like a compass and maps; sun protection items like sunscreen, hats, and polarized sunglasses; clothing and extra layers for insulation; headlamps or flashlights for illumination; a first aid kit or supplies; waterproof matches, lighters, flint, and trioxide tablets for fire starting; tools and a multi-tool with a knife, and duct tape for repairs; nutrition such as an extra day’s worth of food; a means of treating water, and at least one extra water bottle; a tarp, ropes, a space blanket, and/or a large plastic bag for emergency shelter. Additionally, if you are hiking in an area with altitudes higher than 8000 feet, oxygen deprivation can cause altitude sickness, and you should take extra precautions.

Check the weather ahead of time

It is essential to check the weather before hiking, as it can significantly influence your safety and comfort. The rough terrain and unpredictable weather can pose a risk to even the most experienced hiker in Alaska. Harsh conditions such as snow and rain can make trails slippery, which could lead to falls and injuries. Additionally, it is essential to pack for any weather events, such as lightning and thunderstorms, and to bring a GPS in case of getting lost. Similarly, hikers should also wear proper attire and footwear, like boots with good tread, to ensure their safety. Checking the weather ahead of time can help you plan ahead and be better prepared for your hike.

Back view of young hiker


What kind of camping areas are available near the hiking trails?

When looking for a camping area near hiking trails, several options are available. Campgrounds that have quick access to some of the best hiking trails offer many benefits, but can also be very popular and challenging to find a campsite. Rustic hike-in camping options are also available, typically located near drinking water and primitive toilet facilities. Backcountry camping options are also available, which don’t have as many amenities and can only be reached by foot or boat. Additionally, five Pennsylvania state parks allow backpacking and overnight hikes, with pre-registration required. Finally, many State Forest Hiking Trails require multiple nights and offer shorter hikes for overnight trips.

Are there any backpacking trails in the US near lake campsites?

Yes, there are a variety of backpacking trails near lake campsites throughout the US. For example, Craig Lake State Park in Michigan offers backcountry camping, as well as Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Wisconsin and Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Michigan. Other backpacking trails in US National Parks include the Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier National Park, Thunder Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, and Rim to Rim in Grand Canyon National Park. Additionally, The Narrows in Zion National Park, Enchanted Valley in Olympic National Park, and Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park are all great trails for backpacking near lake campsites.

What kind of wildlife can be found near the hiking trails?

The wildlife you may encounter near hiking trails will depend on the location and region of the trail. However, here are some common types of wildlife you may encounter near hiking trails in the United States:

Black bears
Mountain lions
Alligators (in certain southern states)
Bald eagles

Are there any fees associated with hiking near lake camping sites?

Yes, there are fees associated with hiking near lake camping sites. Depending on the agency managing the trail, there can be permits, park entrance, and reservation fees. For example, the Chilkoot Trail requires a permit, while other trails may only require a parking or park entrance fee. Devils Lake has an 11-month advance reservation system, and fees start at $20 per night for a non-electric site, plus a $7.95 reservation fee. The Narrows requires a backcountry permit with costs varying from $15-25, depending on your group size. To ensure a hiking permit, it is best to reserve your spot ahead of time.

Can I bring my dog on hiking trails?

Whether or not dogs are allowed on hiking trails can vary depending on the location and specific trail regulations. Many hiking trails in the United States do allow dogs, but it’s important to research and check the rules of the particular trail beforehand.

Even on trails that do allow dogs, there may be restrictions on where they can go or how they must be leashed. It’s important to follow these regulations to ensure your dog’s and other hikers’ safety.

If you plan to bring your dog on a hiking trail, it’s also important to consider their physical ability and fitness level. Dogs should be in good health and able to handle the distance and terrain of the trail. Bringing enough food and water for your dog is also crucial.