Taft Point, California
This Yosemite hike takes only an hour or two. After barely breaking a sweat, hikers are treated to a generous view. From west to east: Cathedral Rocks, the face of El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls. Plus, there's 180 degrees of Yosemite valley thousands of feet below.
Ute Trail, Colorado
Famous for its 53 hikes over 14,000 feet, Colorado can be intimidating. However, the National Forest around Estes Park contains a number of trails that are both easy and exciting. Hiking to Dream Lake takes only two hours and involves a climb of under 500 feet. From the lake you can look east and see the end of the Rocky Mountains, where dramatic peaks give into the plains extending into the infinite flatness of the Midwest. To the west it's nothing but mountains.