We Found 11 of the Best Hiking Trails

If you’re a fan of college basketball then you know terms like Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight apply to bracket rounds when it comes to March Madness – the all-encompassing single-elimination tournament that brings the college basketball season to an end. But have you heard of the Elite 11?

The Elite 11 are 11 scenic trails found across the United States. The 1968 National Trails System Act designated these 11 trails for “the conservation and enjoyment of the nationally significant, historic, natural, or cultural qualities. The Elite 11 include the New England National Scenic Trail, the Natchez Trace Trail, the Potomac Heritage Trail, the Arizona Trail, the Ice Age Trail, the Florida Trail, the Pacific Northwest Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the North Country Trail. Let’s check out the ones that are close to our fabulous glamping accommodations.

Sawyer Tiny House at Natchez Trace Tiny House Villiage
Sawyer Tiny House at Natchez Trace Tiny House Villiage

Natchez Trace: The trail runs for over 60 miles from Tennessee down through Mississippi and runs parallel to the Natchez Trace Parkway. If you book a stay at Natchez Trace Tiny House Village, you are close to the northern-most portion of the trail, known as the Highland Rim Section. This portion of the trail stretches for 20 miles, is dog friendly, and can be done via hiking or biking. The War of 1812 Memorial can be found at Milepost 426.3 and honors those who marched on the Natchez Trace during the war, which was an important route for moving soldiers to defend the area.

Yurt at Tranquil Timbers Campground
Yurt at Tranquil Timbers Campground

Ice Age Trail: Located entirely in the state of Wisconsin, the 1000-mile footpath is the result of a retreating glacier from over 10,000 years ago. There are several access points to the trail located near our Wisconsin glamping accommodations. Stay in an ultra-cool yurt at Tranquil Timbers and hike the portion of the trail in Sturgeon Bay that takes you through Potawatomi State Park. Rent a cottage or cabin at Lakeland in Milton and you can access the Milton Segment of the trail which runs 4.3 miles through historic Milton or the Storrs Lake Segment which runs 1.8 miles through wetlands. If you’re glamping in a cabin or cottage at Arrowhead, near the Wisconsin Dells, the Devil’s Lake State Park portion of the Ice Age trails is less than 15 miles from camp.

Pacific Crest Trail: This is the mother of all trails running 2,653 miles from Washington State to the U.S.-Mexico Border. Certainly adventurous hikers have taken on the task of hiking the whole trail, but luckily it can also be done in sections. Suggestions for day trips in each state can be found at the Pacific Crest Trail Association website, pcta.org. Highlights of the trail include Desolation Wilderness in El Dorado National Forest (stay at Tahoe Valley); Jefferson Park in Central Oregon (about 80 miles from Thousand Trails Bend-Sunriver); and Goat Rock’s Wilderness (about an hour from Thousand Trails Chehalis).

Cabins at Encore Miami Everglades
Cabins at Miami Everglades RV Resort

Florida Trail: Divided into geographic regions, the Florida Trail runs about 1500 miles from north to south in the Sunshine State, starting north near Pensacola on the Panhandle, and heading down south to the Miami area. Access to the trail while glamping with Petite Retreats, can include a stay at a colorful cottage at Encore Tropical Palms in Kissimmee or lodge, bunkhouse, or cabin glamping rentals at Encore Miami-Everglades. There are plenty more access points and plenty more places to glamp with us in Florida, so check out floridatrail.org and petiteretreats.com to see what suits your Florida Trail agenda.

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