6 of the Prettiest Lakes in the US…and How to Get There
After a long hike in the great outdoors, it’s nice to be rewarded with a little something special. A reward for completing a hike means different things to each backpacker, but typically, seeing a gorgeous lake located in the middle of the wilderness does the trick. Most lakes in general are a pretty sight to see, but these lakes seem to sparkle a bit more than the average:
Located on the Colorado River, a reservoir makes up the beautiful Lake Powell, lying on the border between Utah and Arizona. The lake is located within Glen Canyon National Park, and on your way to the lake, you’ll be sure to see many sights like Rainbow Bridge, Hole in the Wall, and endless sandstone rock formations. Backpackers can choose to conquer the trails themselves, instead of going on the traditional guided tour.
To get there: there are several trails you can take, including Agua Tierra, the Horseshoe Bend Trail, or the Hike from Hwy 89 North. Go to the Carl Hayden Visitor Center for more information on hiking as well as things to at the lake.
Located in North Carolina, Lake Santeetlah is part of the Tennessee River watershed, and it is an absolutely stunning sight to see. Lake Santeetlah is part of the Nantahala National Forest, where there are tons of hiking trails and wilderness in the area. Coming to the lake will provide a peaceful and unique getaway into the outdoors, as well as a decent hike for those who enjoy it.
To get there: The best way to get to the lake is the Santeetlah Lake Trail. This trail is 15 miles of awesome scenery, whether you prefer to do it on a mountain bike or your feet. While the trail is a great experience for backpackers, those who want to just check out the lake can do so.
If you’ve ever seen pictures of Crater Lake, they almost look unreal. The water is a gorgeous blue color, that makes it a unique and popular destination for many backpackers. Just as beautiful as the lake is the greenery surrounding it, which makes the whole trip here incredibly worth it. Although the area gets rather snowy in the winter, it usually all melts by June.
To get there: There are many trails in Crater Lake National Park that will take you up to high peaks which will give you the most incredible views of the lake. These hikes include Garfield Peak, Watchman Peak, and Mt. Scott Standard Summit Route. Or, you can opt for other hikes around the lake, like the Castle Crest Wildflower Trail.
Lake Superior, surrounded by Ontario, Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin, typically gets recognition for being one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. However, in addition to its size, it is also one of the prettiest. During your hike around the lake, you’ll be able to take in spectacular views of everything here, including the Sawtooth Mountains and a variety of different tree species that make up the boreal forests.
To get there: Lake Superior and the Great Lakes in general are surrounded by hundreds of hiking trails, all different lengths and difficulties. However, the most popular lake trail is the Superior Hiking Trail, which is 310-miles long. Of course, you don’t need to hike all those miles to see the lake, but if you decide to take advantage of the route, there are many camping sites where you can take a rest along the way.
Located in Montana, Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. Created by glaciers and nearly 30 miles long and 15 miles wide, there is so much beauty to observe. As there are over a 1,000 miles of wilderness trails within Flathead National Forest, you’ll be sure to catch a glimpse of some wildlife while you’re here. Flathead Lake is also just 30 miles from Glacier National Park, where there are several other beautiful lakes to see.
To get there: The Jewel Basin Hiking Area is the most popular route to Flathead Lake. There are over 15 different trails for hiking and backpacking, where you can camp out and enjoy the views.There are also trails for those who prefer to bike there instead of hiking.
Located in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado, calling Hanging Lake ‘pretty’ is an understatement. The water in the lake is a pristine blue/green, and the tranquil waterfalls will make you feel like you are really somewhere else. Formed by a rare geological process, visitors should take care when coming here, as the delicate ecosystem might not be around for long.
To get there: Hanging Lake Trail is the way to go, but keep in mind that it is steep and a bit rugged. Located 10 miles from from Glenwood Springs, backpackers will pass by Dead Horse Creek and the cliffs of Glenwood Canyon on their way up.