I have traveled to over 50 countries on seven continents, more than half of which were visited solo. I love traveling, being outdoors, and hiking. I hope to inspire others to travel and explore further, even if that means going alone.
Hey, I'm Ashley!
Hiking is a fantastic way to explore the outdoors and connect with nature. However, for many people, getting to popular hiking destinations can be a challenge, especially without a car. The good news is that with the increasing popularity of eco-friendly travel and sustainable tourism, more and more hiking destinations are becoming accessible without a personal vehicle.
Let’s highlight some of the best hiking destinations that can be accessed without a car, so you can plan your next adventure with ease.
For many visitors to Glacier National Park, the thought of hiking the park without a car may seem impossible. After all, the park covers a million acres and offers endless opportunities for exploration, from stunning hikes to breathtaking viewpoints. However, with a little planning and preparation, it’s entirely possible to enjoy all that Glacier National Park has to offer without a car.
When planning a trip to Glacier National Park, transportation is a key consideration, particularly when it comes to getting to and from the airport. The best option is to pre-arrange a taxi service that will take you from the airport to your hotel.
I would only use a taxi for traveling between the airport and your hotel. The taxis aren’t very reliable for shorter distances closer to the park and further from Kalispell. Therefore, make sure your hotel is located in Apgar Village or Many Glacier and make sure to book these accommodations a year in advance!
If you have a hotel reservation in the park, you will not need an advanced vehicle reservation. I confirmed with the park that taxis and shuttles are allowed entry to park lodging areas only. They can not go past Lake McDonald Lodge from the West or Rising Sun from the East.
It’s also important to remember that you’ll need to pre-arrange a taxi for the return trip as well. While the cost of a taxi each way may seem steep at a little over $100, it’s worth the investment for the peace of mind it offers. Plus, good luck getting an Uber to pick you up from the park.
If you’re planning to explore the park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road, keep in mind that it typically opens from late June/early July through Labor Day. During this time, you can take advantage of the park’s shuttle services.
Starting from the Apgar Visitor Center on the west side, you can catch a shuttle to Logan Pass, which is the starting point of the Highline Trail. There are also shuttle stops at various hikes along the way, such as Avalanche Lake.
If you plan to explore further east on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, you can hop on a separate shuttle from Logan Pass to the St Mary Visitor Center. However, unless you’re planning to hike Piegan Pass, it’s not necessary to make this trip. The side west of Logan Pass includes some of the best hikes on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. You’ll likely find plenty to explore without heading too far east.
It’s worth noting that the shuttle operates every 30-40 minutes and runs from 7 am to 7 pm on the west side and 8 am to 7 pm on the east side. The last shuttle from Logan Pass departs at 7 pm, so make sure you plan your hikes accordingly. The shuttle is also on a first-come first-served basis. No advanced reservation is required for the park shuttle.
With so many trails to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide where to stay and which hikes to tackle. Here’s a tip: if you’re looking for lake hikes and want to avoid shuttle services, head to the Many Glacier side.
You’ll have access to a variety of trails with varying levels of difficulty, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Plus, the views from the Many Glacier side are some of the best in the park.
As of 2023, the Many Glacier entrance started requiring advanced reservations as well. However, you will be able to bypass this with a lodging reservation.
If you’re looking for the best hikes on the Many Glacier side, be sure to check out this blog post.
If you are unable to grab a hotel in Apgar Village or Many Glacier, there are other options available.
Transportation and commercial activity service reservations will provide the advanced vehicle reservation.
With its towering cliffs and stunning canyons, Zion is a hiking paradise. It also happens to be one of the easiest, if not the easiest, place for hiking without a car.
First, you will need to get to Vegas, NV, the closest airport to Zion. From there, you can take a pre-arranged shuttle to St. George, UT, which is about 2 hours away. I recommend using St. George Shuttle for this part of the journey. Once you arrive in St. George, take a pre-arranged taxi to your accommodations in Springdale, UT. St. George Taxi is a great option for this leg of the journey.
When booking your accommodations in Springdale, make sure you choose a hotel located on the Town of Springdale Shuttle route. This shuttle is the best way to get around Springdale and the park. From there, take the shuttle to the Zion Visitor Center.
The next step is to take the Zion Canyon Shuttle, which will take you to multiple hikes within the park. Two of the most popular hikes along this route are the West Rim to Scout Lookout or Angels Landing, and The Narrows.
For a full guide on hikes to explore that are located on the Zion Canyon Shuttle route, check out this blog post:
Sedona, Arizona, is a fantastic destination with many breathtaking hiking trails that cater to all levels of experience. However, hiking Sedona without a car can be a bit tricky. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
The first step is to fly to Phoenix, AZ, the closest airport to Sedona. From there, you can take a pre-arranged shuttle to your accommodations in Sedona. I recommend using Groome Transportation for this leg of the journey and staying near one of the Sedona Shuttle stops for convenience.
Once you arrive in Sedona, the best way to get around and access the hiking trails is by taking the Sedona Shuttle. This shuttle is free and runs year-round from Thursday through Sunday. It picks up from two park and ride lots, the North SR 179 Park and Ride and the Posse Grounds Park and Ride, which provide access to different trails.
The shuttle pickup from the North SR 179 Park and Ride provides service to the following trails.
The Posse Grounds Park and Ride is closer to town and provides service to the following trails. These trails below are better than those above in my opinion.
Check out these blog posts for more about the hiking trails in Sedona:
Grand Canyon National Park is known for its vastness and stunning natural beauty, attracting millions of visitors every year. Hiking Grand Canyon National Park without a car is extremely easy when staying in the park.
Although, I have never attempted this route, Groome Transportation also provides shuttle service to the Grand Canyon. If flying into Phoenix, take a shuttle from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport to Flagstaff, Arizona. You will then need to take a separate shuttle from Flagstaff to the Maswik Lodge Lobby in Grand Canyon National Park. An alternative, to remove one shuttle, fly into Flagstaff instead of Phoenix. After arriving to the park, you can stay at the Maswik Lodge or another nearby lodging alternative.
To get around and explore Grand Canyon National Park without a car, use the park shuttle bus system. The shuttle service operates on multiple routes and provides visitors with access to several popular trailheads and scenic viewpoints. This service is free and runs throughout the year.
Another alternative is to hop on a guided tour. Many companies offer guided hiking tours that include transportation to and from the park. These tours are a great way to experience the park’s most beautiful and remote areas and get expert guidance along the way.
I have used Wildland Trekking who provides multi-day inn-based and backcountry tours in the Grand Canyon. But, if you’d prefer just a quick day tour, there are plenty of day tours to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas.
Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness in Colorado is a popular destination for hikers and backpackers. Known for its fall foliage especially, the Maroon Bells Wilderness is must visit destination in the fall.
The best option for hiking the Maroon Bells without a car is to fly into the Aspen/Pitken County Airport. From here, you can grab an Uber to your hotel in downtown Aspen or Aspen Highlands.
If staying in downtown Aspen, grab the free RFTA shuttle from Ruby Park in downtown Aspen to Aspen Highlands. Aspen Highlands is where the Maroon Bells shuttle service begins. If staying in other nearby areas, check this page for information on getting to Aspen Highlands.
Keep in mind you will need advanced reservations to ride the Maroon Bells shuttle. After riding the 30 minute shuttle, try one or both of the following hiking trails.
Discovering new hiking trails is an experience like no other and you don’t need to rely on a personal vehicle to enjoy these adventures. There are many hiking destinations that can be accessed without a car, whether by public transport, shuttle services, or even guided tours. So next time you’re planning a hiking trip, consider leaving the car at home and embracing the freedom of car-free travel.
April 19, 2023