“The very basic core of man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences.” Alexander Supertramp
Hiking is all about the experience. Whether you are venturing out into the wild for the challenge, some solitude or comradery with friends. In modern society it seems people are often consumed by being seen by the world and when we trek into nature we change. It is now about the world being seen by us. Here is a list of some of the best hikes in the world. Go find your adventure, one may just be in your very own backyard.
Tour du Mont Blanc: France, Italy and Switzerland
Imagine walking through three countries, staying in refuges, experiencing alpine climbs, sun, rain, fog and snow!
A 105 mile wilderness hike set to make the heart soar and the adrenaline rush. And all in less than two weeks! Physically taxing, visually exciting and the chance to meet fascinating people of all age groups along the way.
The Tour du Mont Blanc or TMB is one of the most exciting long distance wilderness walks in Europe.
Taking about eleven days, with accommodation either in refuges or tents, the Tour du Mont Blanc takes you on a high altitude 105 mile trek through France, Italy and Switzerland in a circular route around Mont Blanc with a combined height gain and loss of around 33,000 feet.
Views en route are spectacular, refuges are memorable, the people you meet are remarkable and the sense of wilderness awe inspiring.
The Sierra High Route: California USA
The Sierra High Route (SHR) is about 200 mile across the High Sierra. This trail is a remote trek and a route finders dream. It barely joins any established trails and crosses 33 high passes.
It is a rugged alternate to the John Muir Trail (JMT)– it boasts about 100 miles of cross-country travel, numerous Class III scrambles, and endless miles of boulder hopping. SHR hikers are rewarded with pristine alpine settings, long stretches of solitude, and a sense of true adventure.
Laugavegurinn/Fimmvörðuháls Pass: Iceland
This four-day hike runs between the Landmannalaugar hut in the north and Thórsmörk park in the south, with an option to start or end at the stunning 200-foot-high Skógafoss waterfall (this 15-mile add-on is well worth it).
Few hikes offer the pure wilderness experience of Laugavegurinn, which wanders through otherworldly volcanic landscapes, paired with stays at comfy huts each night. In between, there are steaming fumaroles, expanses of lichen-covered volcanic rocks, and stunning views of copper-colored rhyolite peaks.
Te Araroa Trail: New Zealand
New Zealand’s landscape is famously various, and the trail is a natural showcase of that diversity. It winds 3000 km along coastal sand or the ridgelines of forested ranges, across farmland and volcanoes in the North Island and across the beautiful national parks, high country stations and mountain passes in the South Island.
Te Araroa means “The Long Path” and so it is. At an average of 25 kms a day, the trail takes 120 days to walk – four months.
Franconia Ridge Loop/Traverse: New Hampshire USA
One of the most magnificent hikes in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, It is located in Franconia Notch, the route involves climbing four 4000 footers: Mt Flume (4328′), Mt Liberty (4459′), Mt Lincoln (5089′), and Mt Lafayette (5260′) by the Franconia Ridge Trail, which runs north to south between Flume and Lafayette.
Once you’re on the ridge, the hiking is fairly easy provided you have clear skies, warm temperatures, and little wind.
Pacific Crest Trail: California, Oregon, and Washington USA
The Pacific Crest Trail is a National Scenic Trail that runs 2,663 miles from the US Mexico border through California, Oregon, and Washington, where it reaches north to the US Canadian border. The Pacific Crest Trail is known as a challenging hiking and backpacking route through some of the country’s most spectacular wilderness ranges.
The trail passes through seven national parks and 25 national forests. The sheer beauty and variety of the great Pacific mountain ranges is a sight to be seen.
Caribou Tracks (Gates of the Arctic National Park and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge): Alaska USA
This is not an actual trail or hike. Arctic National Park and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a massive place consisting of mountains, tundra, and coastline with few visitors, no trails, and a menagerie of Arctic wildlife.
The idea of this adventure is to follow the herd of caribou as they migrate. The caribou migrate 120 to 400 mile in Spring and Fall. Can you hear their clicking ankle on the tundra? Imagine walking behind them in silence in that vast expanse of wilderness. Definetly a unique experience.
Dosewallips to Lake Quinault (Olympic National Park): Washington USA
Few spots in the Lower 48 are as wild and isolated as Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Here, the Pacific slams into North America and the unrelenting weather keeps deep, wild rain forests and glacial peaks difficult to access.
This 34 mile trail goes between a beautiful temperate rain forest and rhododendron grove near Hood Canal at sea level, through beautiful alpine meadows to the snowfields of Anderson Pass, and into Enchanted Valley—home to black bears and elk.
It continues along rushing Graves Creek, flows into the Quinault River, and then pours into Lake Quinault. Be prepared for wildlife, wildflowers, history, serenity, and a comfortable, three-day backpack—with a bear canister for food, of course!
Everest Base Camp Trek: Nepal
The two-week trek to Everest Base Camp and back has become increasingly popular—REI even runs a trip. Beyond the chance to come face to face with the mountain from the spot where climbers begin their ascent, the route passes through the heart of the Khumbu region and wanders into its bustling, little capital, Namche Bazaar. Perched at 11,286 feet, this is where most trekkers spend a few days getting acclimatized and immersing themselves in the local culture
From here, the trek heads up past smaller villages, like at 13,074-foot Pangboche, with its famed Buddhist monastery, before topping out at 17,650 feet at base camp, with the summit towering over 11,000 feet above. Read more with my Everest Base Camp Guide.
Overland Track: Tasmania Australia
The Overland Track is one of Australia’s most famous bush treks, situated in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania. More than 8000 walkers each year complete the track. Officially, the track runs for 65 km from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair.
However, many choose to add the hike along Lake St Clair as a natural extension, bringing the length to 82 km. The track winds through terrain ranging from sheer mountains, temperate rainforest, wild rivers and alpine plains all in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
The Long Range Traverse: Newfoundland Canada
Newfoundland’s Long Range Traverse is a unique 35-kilometer backcountry route. The storied traverse follows the ridgelines and valleys of Newfoundland’s highest peaks where they rise abruptly 2,500 feet above the island’s west coast along the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The landscape here in Gros Morne Naitonal Park is as dramatic as it is remote, carved by glaciers from massive, uplifted blocks of granite that form the plateau. Land-locked fjord-like bodies of water, locally called “ponds,” dominate the views seaward toward the Gulf.
The Narrows: Utah USA
A 26km (16mi) journey through dramatic canyons carved over centuries by the Virgin River, the Narrows in Zion National Park is a hike like no other. The route is the river, with over half of the hike spent wading and sometimes swimming. The hike can be traversed in a day, though some choose to take the hanging gardens and natural springs at a more leisurely pace – spending a night at one of the park’s 12 camp grounds.
Colorado Trail: Colorado USA
Spanning 486 miles, the Colorado Trail runs from the mouth of Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver to Durango, through historic mining towns and along ancient Indian trails. For the “short version,” stick to the most beautiful 68 miles between San Luis Pass and Molas Pass. Expect to see a lot of wildlife and plenty of gorgeous wildflowers.
Buckskin Gulch: Utah USA
Prepare yourself for some absolutely incredible rock formations. The Bucksin Gulch is one of the most popular destinations for slot canyon hikers, clocking in at 13 miles. In some places — like the 2-foot-wide Wire Pass — you’ll need to remove your backpack just to squeeze through. Plan about three to four days for this one.
Also known as “The King’s Trail,” Kungsleden, this 275-mile trek will give you a tour of some of Sweden’s most beautiful landscapes — it runs through four national parks and a nature reserve. Unless you want to spend a month hiking, stick to the northernmost 65 miles.
The Snowman Trek: Bhutan
A challenging but rewarding high-altitude hike, the Snowman Trek passes beneath six mountains and crosses nine passes. Highlights include Buddhist monasteries, small villages like Laya and unique wildlife like Himalayan blue sheep.
Paine Circuit Trek: Torres del Paine, Chile
If you want the view of a lifetime, look no further than Chile’s Torres del Paine Circuit. One of the most popular ways to experience Patagonia, the 75-mile hike offers surreal panoramas of icy lakes, blue glaciers, mountains and forests. Most people opt for the three- to four-day “W” route rather than the full five- to eight-day circuit.
Superior Hiking Trail: Minnesota USA
Named one of the five best hikes in America by Readers Digest in May 2005, the 275-mile Superior Hiking Trail overlooks Lake Superior and passes through forests of birch, aspen, pine, fir and cedar. Highlights include rushing waterfalls and a plethora of wildlife.
Inca Trail: Peru
The ultimate way to visit Machu Picchu, this 27-mile trek combines Andes Mountains scenery with the subtropical Amazon jungle, ending at the Sun Gate on Machu Picchu mountain. Only 200 trekkers are allows on the trail each day in order to prevent erosion, so plan ahead and expect a four- to five-day journey through cloud forests, alpine tundra, settlements, tunnels and Incan ruins.
Tiger Leaping Gorge: Yunnan China
Legend has it that a South China tiger once leapt 25 meters across the Yangtze River to escape a hunter, giving this gorge its name. One of the deepest gorges in the world, it clocks in at about 9.3 miles long and 18,360 feet deep in between the snow-covered peaks of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the Haba Snow Mountain.
Backpackers can spend anywhere from three days to a week trekking the narrow winding trails beneath waterfalls and through pine and bamboo forests, visiting quiet rural villages along the way.
Pembrokeshire Coast Path: Whales UK
The National Trails website for England and Wales describes this breathtaking coastal trek well: “From St. Dogmaels in the north to Amroth in the south, the trail covers almost every kind of maritime landscape, from rugged cliff tops and sheltered coves to wide-open beaches and winding estuaries.”
The 186-mile path is an estimated 35,000 feet of ascents and descents, but some 130 shorter circular walks exist for the not-so-hardcore hikers. The Pembrokshire Coast Path passes through 58 beaches and 14 harbors, giving backpackers views of volcanic headlands, red sandstone coves, flooded glacial valleys, and a plethora of coastal flora and bird life along the way.
Sentiero Azzurro: Cinque Terre Italy
Pass through picturesque fishing villages, vineyards and terraced hills on this 7.5-mile path that follows the Italian Riviera coastline and connects five villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. Far from a challenging hike, the Sentiero Azzurro is almost completely flat and usually requires only about five hours — though you should allot plenty of time to stop in each village and enjoy the local cuisine and wine.
Muliwai Trail: Big Island Hawaii
Named “Best Hike in Hawaii” by Backpacker magazine, the Muliwai Trail stretches 9 miles from the Waipio Valley to the Waimanu Valley, allowing hikers to explore old ruins, swimming holes and a black sand beach on the way.
Bibbulmun Track: Torndirrup National Park Australia
Though there are plenty of smaller hikes — including day hikes — available, the full, long-distance Bibbulmun Track spans 620 miles of Western Australia, from Kalamunda in the Perth Hills to the historic town of Albany on the south coast. Attempting the full trek takes approximately 60 days and leads backpackers through forests, tranquil farmland, vineyards, waterfalls, wild beaches and granite boulders.
Named after the Bibbulmun Nyoongar — an aboriginal group that traveled long distances on foot for ceremonies — “the Bibb” passes through 22 national parks and other reserves, offering glimpses of beautiful coast scenery, wildflower displays and wildlife, such as emus, kangaroos, seals, dolphins and whales.
North Drakensberg Traverse: South Africa
Aaren Adventures best describes this strenuous five- to six-day trek through South Africa’s highest mountain range: “A trek across this epic landscape begins by ascending chain ladders to reach the top of this barrier and the plateau of Mount-aux-Sources, where the Tugela River plunges 3,110 feet off the top in a series of five cascades that make for the second highest waterfall in the world.
From here, the trek crosses the high plateau — broken by rock formations, views out across the cliffs, and the huts of Sotho herdsman — before it works its way down past more waterfalls and river crossings before meeting up with the welcome civilization of the Cathedral Peak Hotel.”
Mount Huashan: China
As wonderful as Chinese tea is, it is definitely not something you’d closely associate with exhilaration, adrenaline and the fear of death. Mt. Huashan in China, however, manages to bring all of these things together by featuring a death-defying cliff-side mountain climb that brings daring visitors to a tea house 2,160 m (7,087 ft) up on the mountain’s southern peak. The trails up Mount Hua Shan involve steep staircases, vertical ascents, and a plank trail consisting of wooden platforms bolted onto the mountainside.
El Caminito del Rey, El Chorro Spain
El Caminito del Rey is an air path built into the walls of the Gaitanes Gorge of Spain, in the province of Malaga. It starts in the municipal district of Ardales, goes to Antequera and it ends in El Chorro (close to Álora.)Caminito del Rey is one of the most impressive and dangerous mountain trails in the world.
Wonderland Trail: Mt Rainier Washington USA
The Wonderland Trail is a gorgeous, world-renowned route but a demanding grind of a hike. The trail offers few flat stretches and involves more than 22,000 feet of elevation gain along its approximate 93-mile length.
The trail is entirely within the Mt Rainier National Park and passes through major life zones of the park, from lowland forests to subalpine meadows of wildflowers. As the trail circles the mountain, hikers see different faces of Mount Rainier, carved by 25 named glaciers.
Hope you enjoyed this list and I encourage you to seek out some adventure and put a few of these on your list. They are once in a lifetime experiences that will give you memories and stories forever. Book a trip now!
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