Are you a West Coast native looking to explore the natural wonders your part of the country has to offer? Maybe you’re in the region to sightsee and explore nature or you’re a die-hard hiker relocating somewhere such as Santa Clara County and have narrowed down your last few options for Mountain View apartments. 

While finding that perfect new place to live or stay short-term is important, it’s also exciting to get a head start on envisioning the hikes you’ll be able to dig into on your days off. No matter what brings you to the western part of the country, here are some examples of local parks and trails that will fit your outdoor lifestyle whether you are new to the west or touring the outdoor offerings of the region you’ve always called home.  

Yosemite National Park


If you’ve never had the chance, experiencing any national park first-hand can be seen as an almost rite of passage for some American outdoor enthusiasts. The Western U.S is home to many parks but some are more famous than others. One of the most famous examples is Yosemite located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

It’s earned its popular status as one of America’s most well known national parks because of the clear beauty found within. Inside Yosemite, you can find waterfalls, streams, mountains, cliffs and more. With its natural diversity, any hiker can be certain to find their own corner of Yosemite to absolutely love. 

Bay Trail: Shoreline Lake

If national parks aren’t really for you and you’re looking for something not quite as big as a weekend commitment; just an easier way to wind down after a day of sightseeing of work, Shoreline Lake might be what you’re looking for as your next favourite trail. There’s the chance to see wildlife there, which is always exciting to pair with paved miles of hiking trails. 

Admittedly, paved trails aren’t for everyone so trails like Shoreline Lake, it allows for more accessibility with plenty of nature. Paved trails mean that someone intimidated by the unevenness of a mountainous climb can still experience the landscapes on an easier hike. 

Mount Rainer

Mount Rainier

America’s fifth designated national park is located in Washington state and contains over 200,000 acres to explore. No matter where you find yourself in this national park, be it around the meadows, waterfalls, or deep forest, the beauty of Mount Rainier itself is sure to make it seem to be a perfectly painted picture. 

Fascinatingly, Mount Rainier itself is not only an active volcano but also the most glaciated peak in the continental U.S making for an amazing and truly humbling sight to be seen for anyone touring the natural wonders of the Western U.S.

Hoh River Trail: Hoh Rainforest

For hikers who don’t mind sticking around for the long haul, the 31-mile Hoh River Trail in Washington offers a three-day trek through the lush foliage of Olympic National Park’s Hoh Rainforest.

Hikers can enjoy the site of moss-covered trees and dense ferns while making their way to the towering Mount Olympus and eye-popped Blue Glaciers. The hike is approximately 40 miles long and there is no shortage of campsites along the way, but watch out for black bears, elk, and other woodland critters who may be attracted to any food you leave out.

The Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest

One of the most beautiful and unique national parks in the Western U.S., not to mention the world, is the Petrified Forest in Northeast Arizona. Covering almost 350 square miles of colourful badlands and semi-desert shrub-steppe, this park takes its name from its abundance of centuries-old fossils, most commonly petrified wood, but also remnants of Triassic Age plants and even dinosaurs.

The Petrified Forest is famously home to the Painted Desert, a 160-mile stretch of rolling stone hills. Eroded by time and wind, these hills appear striped with vivid hues of red, orange, yellow, and lavender. 

Have you explored the parks of Western U.S?