Clouds Rest hike from America's Best Day Hikes Book

America’s Best Day Hikes? Find the One Nearest You

‘America’s Best Day Hikes’ by Derek Dellinger is a trail guide complete with stunning photos, hikes arranged by region, and even an essay on bear safety.

The United States is home to more than 50 national parks and 10,000 state parks. That’s a lot of hiking options. And most of us don’t have the time to whittle down thousands of trails. In his latest book, Hudson Valley-native Derek Dellinger does a beautiful job of narrowing down the choices.

Dellinger has essentially created a bucket list of hikes across America, categorized by region: Northwest, Southwest, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Mountain. “America’s Best Day Hikes” has some great hikes, ranging from 2-mile wilderness jaunts to mountainous 10-mile loops.

Each entry also includes the hike’s distance, time commitment, and dog and camping laws, plus a topographic map and gorgeous photos. Plus, the extensive intro includes helpful tips on things like trail etiquette and bear safety.

“The Chain Lakes Loop in Washington, Ice Lake Basin and Island Lake in Colorado, and Mount Katahdin Knife Edge Loop in Maine might be my top three,” Dellinger said.

But it’s hard to narrow down, especially after he spent over a year researching, traveling, and photographing hundreds of hikes. “I spent 4 months road-tripping around the country to visit all the hikes myself … the book was essentially a full-time job for half a year,” said Dellinger.

Fisher Towers, Castle Valley, Utah; photo credit: Derek Dellinger.

‘Best Day Hikes’ Excerpt

In celebration of the book release, we’ve included a short excerpt from one of the book’s featured hikes below:

Clouds Rest from Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park: Distance: 13 miles, Elevation Gain: 3,170 feet.

While Half Dome may get all the attention, Clouds Rest might be the single best hike in Yosemite National Park. It’s certainly one of my favorite hikes, a perfect tour of challenging trails, unique landscapes, and unforgettable vistas. And the fact that it doesn’t get as much attention as Half Dome helps, too … At nearly 13 miles, this is a formidable day hike and is certainly worth considering as a backpacking excursion as well. It’s worth experiencing this incredible trail however you can.

(Excerpted from “America’s Best Day Hikes“; reproduced with permission from The Countryman Press, copyright 2019. All rights reserved.)


The book will release on October 22 and can be purchased on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, or online at The Countryman Press for $30. To see more gorgeous hiking photos from across the country, you can follow Dellinger on Instagram.

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Mary Murphy
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Mary is based in Denver, Colorado, but frequently travels abroad. Her outdoor interests span from climbing to landscape photography to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.

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