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Hiking the US: The Best Destinations in the Southern States 
 
by Diana Bocco August 09, 2005

The best destinations for hiking in the south.

Take a break from the bustle and hustle of the city to enjoy the wilderness.

Alabama: Chinnabee Silent Trail

A six-mile difficult hike (even hardest descent because of loose rock) leading to waterfalls and thick woodlands. The beautiful shelter at the top is one of the highlights of the hike, allowing visitors a picnic break and a great view of the surrounding mountains. A favorite among seasoned hikers and weekend backpackers.

Arizona: Havasu Canyon

A permit is a must, since Havasu is located inside the Havasupai Indian Reservation. Havasu Canyon offers a unique opportunity to explore a Supai Indian village, swimming holes, and 19th century mining remains. Caves, mining routes, metal stairs hooked to the side of the vertical sandstone formations, and cascading waterfalls are all frequent sights along the trail. Get a camping permit to make this unique experience a complete adventure.

Arkansas: Butterfield Trail

Once used as a stagecoach route, the 14.5-mile loop trail starts just outside the park's visitors center. Especially beautiful after spring rains fill Butterfield Falls and the numerous currents alongside the path. Easy and sharp sections mix throughout the trail, allowing for breathing breaks. Great summit view of neighboring hilltops.

California: Mount Whitney

The highest point in the continental US offers a strenuous 10.7-mile hiking trail ascending over 6,000 feet. Permits are required (and should be reserved well in advance) to hike up the mountain, and hikers usually camp on the trail, dividing the ascend into two to four days. It's possible to do a one-day hike up Mount Whitney, but this is only recommended to very experienced hikers, as altitude sickness becomes a serious problem. Bears are common and approved food canisters are a requirement in order to secure a permit. EXTRA: Located at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome is a granite dome almost five thousand feet high. Once considered unclimbable, it can now be ascended by following a 8.5-mile trail that starts on the valley floor. Once near the top, hikers use the aid of metal cables raised on posts (there since 1919) to reach the rounded summit.

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