The 16 Best Sunset Hikes in America

Experience golden hour like you never have before.

Independence Monument is one of the most popular and recognizable formations in Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction, Colorado.
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What's better than a good hike with people you love? A good hike with people you love that also comes with a killer sunset. We've traveled from coast to coast to track down trails that deliver on both fun and views. Here are 16 hiking trails to try for the best sunset vistas in America.

The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve in Glen Jean, West Virginia

Setting sun behind the girders of the high arched New River Gorge bridge in West Virginia
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With this hike in West Virginia, you'll be above the clouds with glee inside New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, which is brimming with storybook sunset locations. For the most captivating sundown show, try Long Point Trail for a halt-you-in-your-heels view of the New River Gorge Bridge. We also love the Endless Wall Trail, which is excellent for views of the cliff line along the gorge's rim, and Beauty Mountain Trail, a short stroll that pays big in dusky dividends.

Munds Wagon Trail to Merry Go Round Rock in Sedona, Arizona

Beautiful sunset from Merry Go Round Rock in Sedona, Arizona.
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It's no surprise that many couples pick this location for their wedding photos. At sundown, you'll get awe-inspiring views on this moderate trail in Coconino National Forest. When you've arrived at the Merry Go Round Rock, you'll look out toward Sedona with the circular Cow Pies Rock directly ahead, the Mogollon Rim on the left, the famed Snoopy Rock in a cluster of rock formations to the rear, and Mitten Rock to the right of the Cow Pies. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is encouraged to get you to the trailhead. Note to history buffs: Munds Wagon Trail was one of the first cattle trails in and out of Sedona. In 1902, it was revamped into a working wagon trail to transport produce and goods.

High Drive Bluff Trail in Spokane, Washington

Eventide awe awaits with unobstructed Western-facing sightlines on High Drive Bluff Trail. With an elevation of 2,340 feet, this trail sits within a 500-acre area filled with Ponderosa Pine, bunchgrass meadows wrapping around steep hillsides, and plenty of wildlife. As a testament to people's love for this nook of Spokane, the 20-mile trail system is maintained entirely by volunteers.

Beauty Spot at Unaka Mountain in Unicoi County, Tennessee

Sunset on Unaka Mountain
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The landscape here feels like it's straight out of a country song waxing poetic on verdant fields, undulating mountain ranges, and Father Time. And when you get a glimpse of the view at Unaka Mountain Beauty Spot, you'll know why. The treeless mountaintop provides an unobstructed view of the Tennessee and North Carolina mountains. The cherished vantage point is also a stellar vista showcasing the Cherokee National Forest and the city of Erwin and also serves as a go-to destination for hikers of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail to set up camp and watch the sunset. If you're not an experienced hiker, fear not. You can also drive up the mountain to a parking area and walk up a 300-foot hill to reach the vantage point.

Watchman Peak Trail in Crater Lake National Park near Crescent, Oregon

Winter sunset of purples and pinks at Crater Lake National Park
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Those who journey to southern Oregon will be rewarded by a heck of a view come twilight. At the top of Watchman Peak Trail, a moderate 1.6-mile hike with 420 feet of elevation gain, you'll be able to soak up some of the best scenery in the entire park, including a clear overview of Wizard Island. Perched atop the Cascade Mountain Range, it's safe to say that Crater Lake is unlike any place you've ever visited. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for alpine flowers like Davidson's Penstemon, western pasqueflower, sticky cinquefoil, Newberry's fleece flower, and others.

The Pier and Lee's Wood Trail at Leesylvania State Park in Woodbridge, Virginia

Sunset over Leesylvania State Park, Virginia
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Virginia may be for lovers, but it's also for sunset scopers. Situated a few miles outside Washington, D.C., off of I-95, Lee's Wood Trail at Leesylvania State Park is a roughly two-mile moderate trail loop. The trail has five historical stops along the way, one of which was used as a lookout point for soldiers during the Civil War and is now a popular stop for sweeping views of the Potomac River. Bonus: At the trailhead, travelers will discover a sandy beach and fishing pier, another idyllic spot to watch the sun's rays do their thing.

Snake River Canyon Rim Trail in Twin Falls, Idaho

The Gem State delivers on beautiful sunsets at the Snake River Canyon Rim Trail, a 10-mile system of hiking and cycling trails with staggering panoramas of the Snake River Canyon below. Start your hike at the Twin Falls Visitor Center on the trail's Western leg and keep your sights fixed on the Perrine Bridge, where BASE jumpers often leap at sunset. Fun fact: Daredevil Evel Knievel unsuccessfully tried to jump the mile-wide chasm of the Snake River Canyon on September 8, 1974, just south of the Perrine Bridge over the canyon (his parachute malfunctioned, so he landed at the bottom of the canyon). To this day, you can still see a monument carved with the likeness of his rocket motorcycle.

Coronado Heights in Lindsborg, Kansas

Brace yourself for unreal beauty at Coronado Heights, the Southernmost of seven Dakota Sandstone bluffs. Fun fact: It's widely believed that the explorer, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, and his cohort viewed the very prairie you'll also see from this lookout point 300 feet above the valley floor. Another piece of intel? The park picnic area and castle were created in the 1930s as a WPA (Works Progress Administration) project that provided paid work for people in need of a job. Beyond relaxing with a nice picnic at sunset, you can spend time flying kites, climbing to the top of the castle, and biking.

The Guadalupe Peak Hike at the Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Culberson County, Texas

Rows of Pink Tinted Clouds Over Guadalupe Mountains
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At the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, lace up your hiking boots to climb to the "Top of Texas" on the Guadalupe Peak Hike, a moderately strenuous 8.5-mile trek to an 8,751-foot summit, the highest point in the Lone Star State. Pro-tip: Starting about seven hours ahead of sunset will have you arriving at the peak just as the sun's shimmering lavender, peach, and golden hues lavish over the mountains, canyons, desert, and dunes that make up this otherworldly landscape.

Ute Canyon Overlook Trail and Serpents Trail at the Colorado National Monument in Grand Junction, Colorado

Independence Monument is one of the most popular and recognizable formations in Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction, Colorado.
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At Ute Canyon Overlook Trail, visitors journey along a .2-mile lightly trafficked loop trail studded with wildflowers. The canyon's rim creates a juncture where Ute Canyon and Monument Canyon form a confluence of two deep ravines. The interpretive trail at Ute Canyon Overlook is unique in that it provides points along the path to capture both sunrise and sunset vistas. For something more challenging, there's Serpents Trail, named after its many switchbacks, and the park's only auto road until Rim Rock Drive, where you may catch a glimpse of bighorn sheep and eagles, along with sheer-walled, red rock canyons.

Gopher Tortoise Trail in Gulf Shores, Alabama

A colorful sunset over the seaoats and dunes on Fort Pickens Beach in the Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida.
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Pop in the coordinates 30.264785, -87.653860 into your GPS and get ready to teleport yourself to Shangri-La. A stone's throw away from the Gulf of Mexico and the beige-bliss sand of the Gulf Shores, Alabama, sits the in-island freshwater Lake Shelby. Here, the gin-clear, 900-acre lake within Gulf State Park is an excellent vantage point to watch the sun dip below the horizon. Along Gopher Tortoise Trail, revel in the natural beauty of Alligator Island and its surrounding forest and marsh. Be sure to be on the lookout for "Lefty," one of the park's resident American alligators.

Rubicon Trail in Tahoe Basin National Forest in Zephyr Cove, Nevada

Head to the Rubicon Trail along the shoreline of Lake Tahoe for a sunset unlike any other. The trail even goes past the Vikingsholm Castle, known as "Tahoe's Hidden Castle" — considered one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the country. On the trail, you'll also weave through wooded areas, granite outcroppings, and more. Worth noting: The trail has a minor incline along a ridge above Emerald Bay, and its elevated location makes for postcard-worthy sunset views.

F.J. McLain State Park Trails in Hancock, Michigan

F.J. McLain State Park is perched directly West of Lake Superior and boasts dramatic views of Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. There's a slew of easy-to-intermediate hiking trails to choose from that will take you through wooded areas to the Keweenaw Waterway Upper Entrance Lighthouse and waterfront locales. The West Loop Trail takes visitors to the beach near the lighthouse and gets our sunset vote. FYI: In the winter months, the hiking trails at McLain State Park turn into snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails, and the ice formations along the shoreline are something to behold.

East Bluff Trail at Devil's Lake State Park in Baraboo, Wisconsin

East Bluff Trail at Devil's Lake State Park, perched along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, will blow your eventide expectations. This 1.5-mile trek takes hikers up a 500-foot quartzite bluff that dangles over a 360-acre lake. When you're done oohing and aahing at iconic rock formations like Balanced Rock and Devil's Doorway, relish sunset with a picnic atop the majestic bluffs. The adventurous set may also enjoy chasing their sunset views with a harness while rappelling or rock climbing at this first-rate Midwest climbing hub.

Gulf Islands National Seashore in Pensacola, Florida

Established in 1971, the Gulf Islands National Seashore is America's largest stretch of protected national seashore, and there's no shortage of spots to take in Mother Nature at nightfall. One of our favorite hiking trails is the one winding toward Perdido Key, with jaw-dropping vistas over the Gulf of Mexico after meandering along the salt marshes, maritime forest, and sand dunes.

Monument Trail Loop in High Point State Park in Sussex County, New Jersey

Stormy sunset at the overlook in High Point State Park, the top of NJ, in late spring
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As its name implies, High Point State Park possesses the highest elevation in the state, standing 1,803 feet above sea level. You'll be treated to the etched landscapes of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York, all from inside the park. Our go-to sunset hike is the Monument Trail Loop, which brings you to the highest elevation point in about 2.5 hours. Kick back when you reach the picnic grounds at the top (some with barbecue setups) and take in 360-degree views and the obelisk monument, a memorial to New Jersey veterans.

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