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It’s a big, beautiful world out there. Let’s hike it.


Compiling the 50 Best Hikes in the World was a monumental task—perhaps even a futile one, as for every hike, trek and walk we included, we left 100 off. (And more.) But a Bucket List has to start somewhere.

From the verdant ecosystems of Canada’s west coast, to the craggy sandstone of the American southwest, to the lush jungles and cloud-scraping alpine of South America, to the raw vastness of the Australian coastline, to the time-worn walking paths of Europe, to the snowy peaks of the Himalayas and into vibrant and diverse Africa, we searched for trails. We consulted bloggers and travellers. We included some of our own experiences, as well as many from our personal to-hike lists. And we want to hear from you, too.

Which hikes and treks did we miss? Is there a hike in your region that should have been on our list? Comment below, and we’ll endeavor to include it in the future—because 50 hikes just aren’t enough.

Some are long; some are short. Some are difficult; some are (relatively) easy. Starting in North America—and weighted heavily to our home continent—here are our picks for the 50 Best Hikes in the World:

 

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1. Hiking Boots - You'll need footwear up to the task. We’ve been using Keen Liberty Ridge boots and highly recommend them. 

2. Hydration - Consider how you'll stay hydrated. How will you obtain and how will you transport H2O?

3. First aid supplies - Is your kit well stocked? Have any items expired?

4. Communication - Do you have a way to make a distress call? Consider whether the trail will take you beyond cellular service. 

5. Fuel - How much to bring, how much will it weigh and are you getting the calories you'll need?

 


Best North America Hikes

West Coast Trail

British Columbia, Canada

West coast tail laddersCredit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/footloosiety/

Running for 75 km along the west coast of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island, in Pacific Rim National Park, the world-renowned West Coast Trail easily earns its spot on this list. Originally forged to offer shipwreck survivors in the Graveyard of the Pacific a route to safety, today, it’s a reservation-managed three- to six-day backcountry hike that attracts trekkers the world-round. Camping near Tsusiat Falls and the vertigo-inducing ladders of the southern half are two notable aspects of this trail—but every day is memorable on the WCT. Keep an eye out for offshore whales, and don’t forget some cash to buy a fresh-cooked lunch at the Crab Shack, near Nitnat Narrows.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Leigh from HikeBikeTravel
Morgan from Beauty in the Backcountry

Sunshine Coast Trail

British Columbia, Canada

Hut to Hut
Credit: Paul Kamon

A testament to what devoted locals and volunteers can achieve, the Sunshine Coast Trail showcases 180 scenic kilometres running along the coastline, through the mountains and past the lakes of BC’s northern Sunshine Coast. It’s Canada’s longest hut-to-hut hiking trail, and the only free one—forged and maintained by the Powell River Parks & Wilderness Society. Trekkers can explore routes from a few hours, to a full day, to a week or more—overnighting at the 12 huts and 20-odd campsites along the way. (Troubridge Hut is our top choice.) If you have 10 to 12 days, try the whole route in one push! However you explore, it’ll be clear why we chose this gem for our list.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Jill from On The Beaten Path
Four Dutchman take on the SCT during the Winter: sunshinecoasttrail.blogspot.ca

 

Chilkoot Trail

British Columbia, Canada & Alaska, USA

chilcoot trail golden steps pass hiking yukon alaska
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/delorenzo/

Running between northern BC and Alaska, and an absolute classic for two countries, this 53-km trek has been a hikers’ must-do for decades. Forged by First Nations, used extensively by fortune seekers during the Gold Rush and operated today as a reservation-managed multi-day hike, the Chilkoot Trail is a challenging slog that pays dividends in scenery, solitude and historical wonders. With a short season—mid-June to early September—inclement weather (expect snow in July) and hardy sections like The Pass, you’ll want to be in top-shape and well-prepared… it’s not for the novice. And don't forget your passport—you’ll cross the U.S./Canada border midway.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Brad from BikeHikeSafari
Carys from Canadian Geographic

 

Berg Lake Trail

British Columbia, Canada

Located in Mount Robson Provincial Park, near the BC/Alberta border, 23-km Berg Lake Trail is like a highlight reel for the Rocky Mountains. Under the shadow of 3,959-metre Mount Robson—the high point for the Canadian Rockies—you’ll wander past emerald-coloured Kinney Lake, and near thundering Emperor Falls, entranced by dramatic Rocky Mountain vistas throughout. Some lucky trekkers may even catch a glimpse of giant chunks of ice calving from the Mist, Berg and Robson glaciers. Of course, all this scenery draws a crowd—Berg Lake Trail is now managed by a reservation system, which opens annually on January 2.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Jenny from Jenny's Mountain Adventures
Hello BC's take - Destination BC
Leigh from Hike, Bike, Travel 

 

Skyline Trail

Alberta, Canada

skylinen trail jasper alberta
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/20509889@N00/

The 42-km-long Skyline Trail is Jasper National Park’s signature backpacking trail—a scenic showpiece that meanders above the treeline for more than half of its distance. Expect a workout—elevation gain from Maligne Lake is more than 1,200 metres—but it’s worth it, as one of the most stunning of all hikes in Canada’s Rocky Mountain national parks. Pack your camera—this trek is home to woodland caribou, grizzly bears and grey wolves. While some intrepid folks have jaunted through the trail in a day, most spend two to three days in this high-elevation (2,510 metres maximum) environment to truly appreciate its beauty. The trailhead is at Maligne Lake; backcountry permit is required for camping. The trail is linear, so book transport with Maligne Shuttle.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Leigh from Hike, Bike, Travel
Andrea - "Hiking the Sky: The Jasper Skyline Trail"

 

La Cloche Silhouette Trail

Ontario, Canada

Killarney
Credit: Dave Sproule.

Travelling 100 km though some of Ontario’s hilliest terrain in Killarney Provincial Park, the La Cloche Silhouette Trail is for the committed hiker. Starting in the west, the route rambles through forested hills, toward Acid and Lumsden lakes. You may have to cross a few streams; excellent wildlife-watching abounds. Soon, you’ll be enjoying views of Georgian Bay as you hike over billion-year-old pink granite. In the eastern section, the trail ascends towards The Crack, a strenuous daylong leg. The sparkling white quartzite cliffs are worth the sweat; this area was once taller than the Rocky Mountains. There are 54 campsites along the trail (permit required). Fall is the best time to tackle La Cloche, for the vivid red foliage and nightly wolf-howls. 

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Julie from Niackery.com
Don't Don't Operate - Our 80KM, 30 hour non stop hike

 

Bruce Trail

Ontario, Canada

bruce trail ontario waterfalls webster
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tedkaiser/

You can certainly try to hike the entire 885-km-long Bruce Trail in one non-stop effort. People have done it. But most tend to bite off smaller chunks—a day hike here, a weekend there, camping or staying at hotels and B&Bs along the way. Revel in the lush Carolinian forest, enjoy views of Lake Ontario in the south and Georgian Bay in the north, and generally appreciate the serenity along Canada’s oldest and longest continuous footpath. Some of the most remote trails are found along the Peninsula Section; the views from the Blue Mountains are jaw-dropping; and routes along the Niagara Escarpment lead to world-famous wineries. Waterfall hunters should head to the Iroquoia Section—but really, you can’t go wrong on the Bruce. (And the fall leaf show is spectacular!)

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

 Justin & Lauren from Justin + Lauren

 

Fundy Footpath

New Brunswick, Canada

Bay of Fundy Hike Beach Rocks
Credit: David Webb

The time to hike New Brunswick’s Fundy Footpath is now. Still relatively unknown, you can expect near-total serenity on this difficult, four-day, 42-km trek along the Bay of Fundy coastline. But word is getting out—and for good reason. Vistas from atop 100-metre-tall sea cliffs; empty beaches manipulated by extreme Fundy tides; thick mixed-woods forests—and did we mention zero crowds? This is for experienced hikers only. If your skill level isn’t quite there, try day-hikes on the nearby Fundy Trail—a maintained mixed-use network accessible for most people that still offers those wonderful views.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

David and Sheena from CelticCowpokes

 

Long Range Traverse

Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada

Gros Morne hike park newfoundland labradorCredit: Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism

Choosing a favourite hike in Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park is like choosing a favourite child. Extremely difficult—but possible, depending on your mood. In this case, Long Range Traverse is the winner. This is a challenging, unmarked 16-km hike that crests the second-highest point on The Rock. Trekkers are treated to vistas from atop an 800-metre summit that spans outwards over tundra and a glacial-carved fiord. Keep an eye out for woodland caribou, too. The route connects the eastern end of Western Brook Pond to the Gros Morne Mountain trail for an incredible experience in one of Canada’s most impressive national parks. (Buy a ticket to return via the Western Brook Pond Boat Tour, or hike out on the North Rim Traverse.) Up next, the Tablelands…

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Leigh from Hike, Bike, Travel

 

Mount Ida

Colorado, USA

Mount Ida Colorado
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sedona/

Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park is a hiker’s paradise. Just choose a trail and ramble—they’re all winners. Mount Ida, though, may be the best. Uncrowded, as it doesn’t summit a Fourteener (though it does reach 12,865 feet/3,921 metres), this strenuous alpine hike leads past trout-filled Timber Lake, abundant blooming columbines and the occasional elk herd as it crests the Continental Divide. Views toward the Never Summer Mountains are knee-weakening. Meander downslope to serene meadows and cerulean lakes this stunning 21-km hike (return) reaches its terminus. Backcountry camping is available, if you want to watch the sun rise over those picturesque Rocky Mountain panoramas.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

 Bob Sihler at SummitPost

 

Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim

Arizona, USA

grand canyon
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dhilung/

Of course we’re including the Grand Canyon on our list—and a Rim-to-Rim hike is quintessential for this park. The ultimate way to do this is in a single day—a 38-km, gruelling day-hike, that is. Start at the North Rim and descend via the North Kaibab Trail. It’s a lush pine forest on this side—perhaps not what you picture in the American Southwest. About 12 km in, you’ll find Phantom Ranch—a great stop for lunch (pre-order). Continue toward the switchbacks of the Bright Angel Trail as you head up to the South Rim, hopefully in time to catch sunset over one of the great natural monuments of the world. Tip: spring and fall are the best times to hike this route; summer hikers are prone to heatstroke.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Michelle from RimtoRim 

 

Kalalau Trail

Hawaii, USA

Kalalau Trail, Hawaii
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/91149185@N08/

Let the lazy tourists snooze the day away at some lux resort. You’ve come to Hawaii to hike! Tracing Kauai’s Na Pali Coast in its namesake state park, the 36-km (return) Kalalau Trail is a stunner throughout. Winding along lush jungle cliffs from Ke’e Beach to Kalalau Beach, the trail leads through five valleys and three stream crossings. Expect to arrive at Kalalau Beach in a day, then overnight on the serene Kauai coast: swaying palms, a cascading waterfall, lapping Pacific waves and guava trees (camping permit required) are your companions. The sweaty return trek awaits the following day—then you can feel justified spending the rest of your vacation in a hammock at your hotel.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

The Last Adventurer at Explore The USA
More info from The Wild Backpacker

 

Teton Crest Trail

Wyoming, USA

Starting from the Granite Canyon Trail in the south, the Teton Crest Trail winds into its namesake mountains, crossing high passes, meandering by alpine lakes and providing a frame-worthy photo op about every 10 steps. If you stopped to smell the wildflowers or revel in the late-summer foliage at every opportunity, you’ll never make the three- or four-day average for this 60-km hike. Immerse in one of Earth’s most spectacular mountain ranges as you pass South, Middle and Grand Teton and finish at the Leigh Lake Trailhead (and your waiting car). Pop into nearby Jackson Hole to provision and head back out—Grand Teton National Park has much more to explore.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Michael from The Big Outside
Becca & Alex from RoamWildandFree

 

Half Dome Hike

California, USA

As the most popular hike in Yosemite National Park, Half Dome Hike sees as many as 3,000 tourists on a busy summer weekend. And most of them underestimate this slog. With nearly 1,500 metres of elevation gain, this 26-km, 10-hour (return) hike is strenuous, scary and even a little dangerous—the final 125 metres of elevation is done via cable ladders. For fit hikers who come with snacks, water and sturdy boots, the view of Vernal and Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap and Half Dome await. Buy your permit, hike it on a weekday and don’t fool around on the ladders. Yosemite Search and Rescue is the busiest of any in America’s national parks—they don’t need more to do.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Kenton Lee from Rahul.net
Linda from GardenBetty
Kim from So Many Places

 

Angel’s Landing

Utah, USA

Angel's Landing
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cristic/

Located in Utah’s stunning Zion National Park, Angel’s Landing is going to be one of two things: your worst nightmare, or the best day ever. At just nine kilometres long, with about 450 metres of elevation gain and well-maintained switchbacks, it’s not a super demanding hike. The challenge is in your mind—the final kilometre will weaken your knees. Gripping a chain that runs along a steep, impossibly narrow ridgeline, you will scramble alongside a sheer 300-metre-drop, just inches away from disaster. You’ll feel on top of the world at the 1,760-metre summit—but you still have to get down, acrophobia be damned. 

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Matt from XPattMatt 
The Last Adventurer from The Last Adventurer Blog

   

Copper Canyon Rim-to-Rim

Mexico

Is this North America’s truly “grand” canyon? More than 1,600 metres deep and spanning 26,000-sq-km, Northern Mexico’s Copper Canyon is a diverse, beautiful and challenging trekking destination. And the way to tackle it is on a 60-km, seven to nine-day Rim-to-Rim hike that sees thousands of metres of elevation change. (Don’t worry, you’ll take your time and enjoy the sights.) Cross suspension bridges, visit 200-year-old settlements, spot bobcats, revel in boundless vistas, search out a hot springs and meet the local Tarahumara people. A mix of culture and adventure—with several operators running guided excursions—Copper Canyon is a must-hike.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

DaveBobK from SummitPost 
Marie Javins from GoNomad

 

 

Best South America Hikes

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Peru

Inca Trail Machu Picchu Peru
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/martinlang73/

One of the best-known hikes on the planet—and practically a rite of passage for any true backpacker—the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one part high-altitude slog, one part cultural excursion and one part life-changing revelation. A typical trek on this classic 88-km route takes about four days—guided tours are your best bet of getting a slot, as it’s limited to 500 hikers per day. Starting at 2,800 metres, you’ll reach a high point of 4,200 metres—expect reduced energy—as you approach the mystical Inca City in the Sky. (This is where the life-changing part comes in.) High-season is May to September—however, hikes run year-round and spaces are easier to find in the shoulder months.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

 Esther and Jacob from Local Adventurer
Alex from Alex In Wanderland
Ian from Golden Keys Blog

 

Cotopaxi

Ecuador

A day-hike up the world’s tallest active volcano seems an obvious addition to the list—and Cotopaxi, located about 100 km south of Quito, Ecuador, will impress even seasoned hikers. Though the mountain reaches a staggering 5,897 metres, many people end their hike at the glacier, at about 5,000 metres. Trekkers with advanced skills and crampons, ice axes and rescue gear can continue. The start point at Cotopaxi Refuge to the glacier is only about a four-hour hike and climbs 400 vertical metres—making it one of the best and easiest entries to extreme-altitude hiking on the continent. 

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Arianwen from Beyond Blighty
Julie from How to Catch a Goat By Its Tail
Erica from As Her World Turns

 

Fitz Roy Trail

Argentina

Fitz Roy Trail Argentina
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/m4caque/

Arguably Patagonia’s most famous hike—the route toward 3,359-metre-tall Monte Fitz Roy impresses with vistas over dozens of glaciers and staggering scenery that typifies this legendary region. (The apparel company Patagonia uses Fitz Roy in their logo!) Located in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, and accessed from the town of El Chalten, a typical Fitz Roy trek is about four-days, with around 1,200 metres of elevation gain. Weather changes by the minute—expect anything from bluebird to freezing. Most go guided, but the trail is well-marked—adventurous self-guided trekkers can feel free to explore at their desire.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Bob from Piran Cafe
Nicole from Third Eye Mom

 

Santa Cruz Trail

Peru

Santa Cruz hike peru
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aramk/

Start from the small mountain town of Huaraz, Peru, and set out on this classic three-day trek into the Peruvian Andes. You won’t know whether to look up at the 6,000-metre peaks that surround, or down to the cerulean, glacial-melt lakes that dot the alpine as you climb ever-higher. Acclimatization is your friend—by the time you reach the mountain pass at Punta Union, you’ll hit 4,750 metres above sea level. Wheeze! The full trail is about 50 km, and despite its beauty, remains off-radar for many travellers—meaning getting into this amazing outdoor adventure is relatively easy. (And you’ll enjoy some solitude along the way.)

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Liane & Lars from Bob Around the World
Antonio & Amanda from The Adventure Junkies

 

Paso de las Nubes

Argentina

If you’re short on time, you can pack a lot of scenery into this two-day, 23-km hike near the border of Chile and Argentina, in Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi. Starting in Pampa Linda, this route wanders though lake country at the base of Mount Tronador, treating hikers to views of glaciers, waterfalls, mountain peaks and dense forest. It climaxes at Paso de las Nubes, which means, “Pass of the Clouds,” before descending to serene, blue water Laguna Frias. A water taxi and a bus return you to Pampa Linda, where you can continue your exploration of Argentina.

 

 

La Ciudad Perdida (Lost City Trek)

Colombia

La Ciudad Perdida (Lost City Trek), Colombia
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/katiebordner/

Located deep in the jungle, in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, this challenging 44-km jungle trek beckons the adventurous. Constructed by the Tayrona between the 8th and 14th centuries, this “Lost City” was only re-discovered in the 1970s. Today, you’ll need to hire a tour company—which is nice, as porters can carry your gear while you ford streams, scramble up steep slopes, fight off mosquitoes and even get a chance to meet the indigenous Kogi who live in the region. The payoff at the end is immersion in an area forgotten by time—and ignored by tourists who think Machu Picchu is the only Lost City on this continent.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Antonio from theadventurejunkies.com
Adina from adinaontheroad.wordpress.com

 

Isla del Sol Traverse

Bolivia

Gazing over the lapping waves of Lake Titicaca—the world’s highest commercially navigable waterbody—is enough of a reason to include this hike on your list. But it gets better from there. A 15-km day hike on a roadless island in the middle of Titicaca, this undulating walk is only challenging if you’re not properly acclimated to the 3,800 metres of elevation. You’ll pass pre-Columbian ruins, sandstone formations and picturesque beaches while enjoying vistas over the dark blue waters toward the sky-raking Andes beyond—6,429-metre Cerro Ancohuma is the king of them all. It’s a gentle hike, but one of the best ways to immerse in the spectacular Lake Titicaca environs.

 

Torres del Paine Circuit

Chile

Torres del Paine Circuit, Chile
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/fkehren/

Starting from Punta Arenas, the southernmost city in the world, the 83-km Torres del Paine Circuit offers a visual smorgasbord nearly unrivalled. During your 10 days in the wild, you’ll marvel at 3,000-metre granite peaks that stab into the clouds rushing off the Pacific, herds of grazing guanacos, ethereal blue glaciers, serene lakes and vast windswept plains. In summer, enjoy long hours of daylight for carefree hiking, with plenty of time to lose yourself in these far-flung vistas. If you’re experienced, go self-guided—though operators abound in the region. 

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Jeff from albinger.me
Michael from thebigoutside.com
Robert from robertharding.com

 


Best Hikes in Africa

 

Otter Trail

South Africa

One of South Africa’s most-loved treks, Otter Trail rambles over the country’s rocky east coast as it passes beneath the Tsitsikamma Mountains, meanders along sea cliffs, leads though lush rainforest and opens onto serene beaches where whales spout offshore. (And the namesake otters scurry around, too.) Though this is a hut-to-hut hike, with comfy accommodations nightly, it’s a challenging route, involving undulating, uneven terrain and some river crossings. Plus, it books up quickly. Insider tip: look for cancellations to grab a spot on the fly. Total length is 42 km, and it’s usually done in four to five days.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Scott from trackingthewild.com

 

Mount Kilimanjaro

Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/t3rmin4t0r/

Casting a vast rain-shadow across the East African plains, 5,895-metre-tall Mount Kilimanjaro is the best-known trek on the continent. There are five routes to the top, with Rongai, Shira, Lemosho and Machame loops considered the most scenic. (Marangu is a hut-to-hut trail, the shortest of the lot and a linear trek.) Expect to take between seven to 10 days—this will be a guided trek, so the schedule is set. Porters do the heavy lifting, and you’re free to enjoy the scenery as you acclimatize to the extreme elevation. It’s popular to catch sunrise at the summit, though some travellers sleep in and opt for the less-crowded sunset. Either way you do it, an infinite vista from the snows of Kilimanjaro is a must-check on your hiker’s Bucket List (though you will be one of about 16,000 to annually do so).

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Megan from Mapping Megan
Dave & Deb from theplanetd.com

 

Mount Kenya

Kenya

Itself an impressive 5,199 metres tall, Africa’s second-highest peak dwells in relative obscurity, playing second-fiddle to mighty Kilimanjaro. But this dormant volcano has plenty to offer the trekker and climber. Set just below the equator in a biodiverse eco-zone, this glaciated massif is one of East Africa’s most technical treks. Expect to take between four and seven days to complete one of the many routes. Point Lenana is the most popular hike—it offers the highest altitude one can reach without technical gear and mountaineering experience (4,979 metres). Batian, the summit, is for experts only. You may catch a glimpse of Kili, some 320 km away—wave to the crowds of tourists as you enjoy relative serenity on Africa’s mountainous understudy.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

 David from trekkinghero.com

 

Pays Dogon

Mali

Pays Dogon, Mali
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/un_photo/

Welcome to Dogon County—or Pays Dogon—a UNESCO World Heritage Site in West Africa and home to vibrant culture, impressive natural wonders and treks from overnight to 10 days or more. A week is a good start—you’ll need to hire a tour operator, who will take care of accommodation, guiding and meals. Revel in views of the Bandiagara Escarpment replete with cliffside dwellings, witness a traditional Dogon Mask Dance, engage with locals at the various villages and dine on traditional foods. As much of a cultural experience as a natural one, an excursion into Dogon Country will leave you changed.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Larry from larrybuttrose.blogspot.ca
Andy from andysworldjourneys.com

 

Hoerikwaggo Trail

South Africa

Another of South Africa’s gems, the 88-km Hoerikwaggo Trail treks along the Cape Peninsula—near Cape Town—for five days. Hikers will climb Table Mountain on day one and two, before meandering along a coastline littered with birdlife on day three and onward to arrive in Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve following that. Accommodation is tent-camps along the way—expect barbecues and hot showers. We call it “Glamping,” they call it “Slackpacking.” There have been some trail closures recently—check local conditions before attempting this lovely multi-day trek.

 

 


Best Hikes in Asia & Middle East

 

Petra

Jordan

petra jordan hike trail wadi rum
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/didierbaertschiger/

Have you seen Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade? Want to go to that temple at the finale? It’s in Petra, Jordon, one of Earth’s great archeological sites and the climax of a magical desert trek. From Dana Reserve, the hike to Petra is 90 km—best done in winter, when temperatures are bearable. Rather than being trucked into Petra via motorcoach with the tourist hordes, this weeklong trek through the Wadi Araba Desert, into the Sharah Mountains where the Bedouins roam and onward to Petra is an immersive and engaging experience. And your effort culminates with a vista of Al Deir (The Monastery) and the equally famous Al Khazneh (The Treasury) once you arrive. The best way to see the world is self-propelled—and the trek to Petra proves that once again.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Rob from stophavingaboringlife.com
Sandra from flyingfourchette.com
Susie from susieday.com

 

Mount Kinabalu

Malaysia

Mount Kinabalu Indonesia Hiking Hike Trek
Credit: David Webb

You can be forgiven for underestimating Malaysian Borneo’s Mount Kinabalu. From Mesilau Gate, the route to the top is only 10.72 km. And you get an overnight break at Laban Rata, a guesthouse at 3,270 metres. Easy, right? Guess again—by about four kilometres into the trail, the relentless uphill slog begins. Elevations above 3,000 metres steal your breath—rewards are alpine vistas, twisted rattan trees and ridge-walks through the clouds. Some six or seven hours after you start, you’ll arrive at Laban Rata guesthouse. Here, you’ll rest until 2:30 a.m. then begin a final 2.72-km/800-vertical-metre scramble up plutonic granite to catch sunrise at the 4,095-metre summit of this, the “Revered Abode of the Dead.” Finally, it’s a knee-crushing jaunt down 2,000 vertical metres to Timpohon Gate and a cold beer. No doubt, it’s one of the toughest—and most rewarding—22-km hikes on the planet.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Explore's very own editor David Webb
Kristin from bemytravelmuse.com
Dave & Deb from theplanetd.com

 

Mount Kailash

Tibet

Climbing to the summit of 6,714-metre Mount Kailash, in Tibet, is forbidden—it is a site sacred for five religions. (Hindus believe Shiva sits in wait at the top.) It has never been scaled, but the 50-km route around its base is a must-trek trail with deep spiritual connections. You’ll enjoy vistas of Himalayan waterfalls, an exploration of Sapta Rishi Cave, a 5,670-metre pass and plenty of opportunity to sit in awe of Mount Kailash and find spiritual solace in this place of great beauty and great meaning. And make sure to take a swim in Lake Manasarovar—one of the world’s highest lakes, it is said to purify those who enter its pristine waters. (Operators run guided trips from April to November.)

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Cam from thehikinglife.com
Bhawna Grover from makemytrip.com

 

Annapurna Circuit

Nepal

Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jmenj/

Considered the hiker’s Holy Grail, the 205-km Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayas of Nepal is a smorgasbord of sights, sounds, colours and culture. Starting in the dense, monkey-infested jungle and leading toward mountains like Thorung La, the highest pass at 5,416 metres, and with views of Annapurna III and Gangapurna—striated with ice and mighty in their stature—it won’t take long to see why this trek is so highly regarded. But there’s more to come. Rhododendrons (which bloom in wet spring weather), high-altitude tea houses, friendly locals who will adorn you with a Bindi—travellers tend to come away changed forever. Though still facing challengers, Nepal is open for business following the disastrous earthquake of 2015. They need your tourism dollars now! 

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Kristin from bemytravelmuse.com
Brian from wanderingsasquatch.com
Kim from so-many-places.com

 

K2 Base Camp

Pakistan

Let the tourist hordes fall in line en route to Everest Base Camp—you’re headed to the base of world’s most dangerous mountain, K2. (Don’t worry; you’ll be OK at Base Camp.) One of the Himalaya’s most scenic treks, this multi-week hike offers expansive views of 8,000-metre-plus peaks like K2, Gasherbrum and Broad Peak as well as the stunning Baltoro and Godwin-Austen glaciers as you slog upwards as high as 5,600 metres above sea level. This is an exhausting trek—you’ll need to be in top shape to enjoy it—but the payoff and bragging rights are well worth the effort.

 Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Chris from chrishorobin.wordpress.com

 

Mount Rinjani

Indonesia

Mount Rinjani, IndonesiaCredit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cesar/

A trip to Indonesia’s second-highest volcano will have two distinct chapters. Since Mount Rinjani is located on the idyllic tropical island of Lombok, next door to Bali, plan to arrive early and spend a few days lounging on the beach and surfing or paddleboarding. Generally, conserve your energy for the upcoming steep and sweaty trek on this 3,726-metre-tall volcanic cone. A three- to five-day experience, you’ll hike upwards through the humid jungle, long-tailed macaques swinging from the vines, slowly acclimatizing to the altitude. Eventually, the trees give way to barren alpine and you’ll be treated to an above-cloud vista and the magical emerald lake that sits in the caldera. Some hikers do the final push in the early morning, aiming for a spectacular sunrise. Now, you just have to hike back down again… because those beaches are calling your name.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

This couple from TheYogaNomads.com
Jordan & Jenn from stokedforsaturday.com

 

The Langtang Trek

Nepal

This week- to 10-day trek in the area north of Kathmandu plays second (or third) fiddle to better known routes in Nepal’s Annapurna/Mustang region. It lacks the 8,000-metre peaks, sure, but more than makes up for the elevation-deficit with lovely rhododendrons, oaks and larches and pastures replete with yaks. Elevations crest near 4,000 metres as you trek towards Langtang Glacier, with opportunities to go higher if you have the time. Lovely moraines and glaciers speckle the scenery. And best of all, the crowds clamor towards Annapurna—leaving you to enjoy near-total serenity in these magnificent mountains. 

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Dennis from seetheworldinmyeyes.com
Alice from mynudi.blogspot.ca

 

Stok Kangri

India

Stok Kangri, India
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jorneriksson/

So you want to climb a mountain? A real mountain? This is your chance to get above that magical 20,000-foot mark and take a selfie where jet-planes fly. Welcome to Stok Kangri, in the Ladakh Region of Northern India. It’s a good idea to get acclimatized to the elevation—the trailhead starts at 3,610-metres. Though not a technical summit, you will need to be in excellent physical shape to make this five- to eight-day trek up to the 6,153-metre summit of this peak in Hemis National Park. July and August are the times to go—it may even be snow-free at the summit. Tour operators love to hike to the peak for sunrise, making your summit selfie even better in the morning’s golden glow.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

David from himalayanwonders

 


Best Hikes in Europe

 

Kungsleden

Sweden

Welcome to the King’s Trail—440-km-long hiking path carved through Sweden’s stunning mountains, forests and lakes between Abisko and Hemavan. Created in the early 1900s by the Swedish Tourist Association, and improved over the decades with trail markings, bridges and huts, Kungsleden has become one of Europe’s most beloved wilderness treks. Hike 10 to 20 km per day, and stay at woodfire-warmed rustic huts each night… paradise. A popular weeklong route starts in the north, from Abisko to Nikkaluokta. Or try the Ammarnäs to Hemavan leg, which delves into the Lapland Mountains. (Some routes require tent camping.) Or just research a route and ramble freeform—it’s safe and accessible, two more reasons it earns its spot on our list.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Cody from codyduncan.com
This couple from trekkingdivingliving.com

 

West Highland Way

United Kingdom

West Highland Way, U.K.Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bartvandorp/

There a lot of lovely walks in the British Isles—civilized treks that often include pub nights and stays in hotels or B&Bs. West Highland Way is considered by many to be the best of them all—a 154-km route from Milngavie (near Glasgow) to Fort William, in Scotland. Baggage transfer companies are plentiful, so you can concentrate on the walking—passing lochs, rivers, mountains and moors. You’ll also get a taste of local culture, as you wander through any of the eight en route communities. Pick a route—some choose a simple afternoon walk, some will walk for three or four days, and a few will do the whole thing. Earn that pint!

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Andrew from ramblingman.org.uk

 

Caminito Del Rey

Spain

One of the shortest hikes on our list, Spain’s Caminito Del Rey earns its spot for uniqueness and mental and physical challenge. The full route is just shy of eight kilometres—but folks flock for the three kilometres of renowned, terrifying boardwalks. At times, you’ll need to clip into a safety harness to tight-rope-walk over these railings and broken-down pathways—a Via Ferrata-style cable runs the length of the treacherous paths. (The route was recently revitalized, and made safer, following a series of deaths in the early 2000s). It takes about four to five hours to complete the full route, and some of the boardwalks are perched precariously more than 100 metres high. It’s breathtaking, death defying and a definite must-hike.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Brad from mywanderlist.com/caminito-del-rey-malaga
Matthew from expertvagabond.com/caminito-del-rey

 

Mont Du Blanc Trek

France/Italy/Switzerland

Mont Du Blanc Trek, France/Italy/Switzerland
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/philippestanus/

Ten days in the Alps is as close to heaven as you will find here on Earth. The Mont du Blanc circuit usually starts and finishes in Chamonix, France, and leads into Switzerland and Italy, displaying pastoral valleys and high passes, ethereal glaciers and picture-perfect mountains—culminating with vistas of 4,809-metre Mont-Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps. Highlights include thermal baths, picturesque European towns and mouth-watering local food (and wine!) in three countries. Most travellers book with a tour operator, such as G Adventures. One of Europe’s—and the world’s—premier hikes, Mont Du Blanc is a must-do.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Sonny from SonnyBennett.com
Laurel from monkeysandmountains.com

 

Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock)

Norway

You may have seen images of this dizzying lookout—photos of foolhardy tourists dangling their feet over a 640-metre sheer drop. This is Pulpit Rock—acrophobics beware. From Preikestolen Fjellstue, the trail is a moderate 4.1 km, climbing 330 metres to the lookout at Pulpit Rock. The route is very well-maintained, carved from the granite by master trail-makers from Nepal. And you should expect crowds—it’s like the Grouse Grind of Norway. The view is second-to none—600-plus metres above breathtaking Lysefjord, with unobstructed access to the very edge of a nausea-inducing precipice. Don’t fool around up there! (But do get a selfie.)

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Tim, Julie, Tyler & Kara from EarthTrekkers.com
Kelly from kellygrainger.com
Victoria from PommieTravels.com

 

Cinque Terre Trek

Italy

cinque terre italy riomaggiore
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/imaffo/

We’ll probably get some flak for not including the Dolomites on this list—but we’ve decided to opt for something a little different for hiking in Italy. Try trekking the country’s rugged, historic and enchantingly beautiful Cinque Terre Coast. Via a circuit of cliffside paths set above crashing waves, you’ll explore a series of villages that date back 1,500 years or more. It will be a battle for the title of “Most Beautiful” on this trek—is it the terraced sea cliffs, or the ornate architecture and antiques in towns like Monterosso and Riomaggiore that are the more wondrous? Discuss the topic at-length over a seafood lunch before continuing on to the next stop on this slow-mo tour of one of Italy’s most stunning regions.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

italybeyondtheobvious.com/cinque-terre-hiking
Diana from dtravelsround.com

 

The Haute Route

France-Switzerland

haute route switzerland hike hiking
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jfdervin/

We’re back in the Alps! Forged more than a century ago as a link between two of the world’s great mountain towns (Chamonix, France and Zermatt, Switzerland), The Haute Route practically overwhelms the senses. Over 10 days, trekkers are treated to views of 10 of the 12 highest peaks in the French and Swiss Alps, marching over passes that near 3,000 metres of elevation. From the whitewash of high snowfields, to Sound of Music-worthy meadows, you’ll never be bored. Stay at comfy huts along the way (reservations or travelling with an organized tour group is recommended). Finish in the pristine (car free!) town of Zermatt, set beneath the world-famous East Face of the Matterhorn. The Haute Route typifies everything a multi-day mountain hike should be, and that’s why it’s on our list.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Cat from WalkingWoman.com

 


Best Hikes in Australia & New Zealand

Bay of Fires Walk

Tasmania

bay of fires tasmania australia
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/98675081@N00/

Often done over four days, the Bay of Fires Walk represents a spectacular immersion in the coastal environments of Tasmania. You’ll leave footsteps on white-sand beaches, explore dramatic rock formations and secluded sea caves, trek though fragrant eucalyptus forests and even have opportunities for kayaking and snorkeling. The path may be soft sand or loose gravel, but elevation changes are minimal—no more than about 50 metres—making this multi-day route accessible for most hikers. Day hiking is also popular in the area. Multi-day hikes are offered as packages from Bay of Fires Lodge—or pack a tent and explore solo.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

This Aussie-Canuck from masey.co
Jennifer from travelbugwithin.com.au

 

Bibbulmun Track

Australia

Running from Kalamunda to Albany in Western Australia, the Bibbulmun Track is a massive overland route stretching for 1,000 km through diverse and beautiful terrain. Experience forests of karri and tingle trees, valleys obscured by mist, the scenic Darling Range, giant granite outcrops and infinite coastal views. It is well-marked throughout—and don’t worry, you don’t have to march the full 1,000 km. The Bibbulmun is broken into nine sections, each ranging from 60 to 200 km. Whether you powerwalk a short section in one night, or take time to smell the purple enamel orchids over a few days, this bootleather tour of a remote region of Australia is a must-trek.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Andrew from aushiker.com

 

Great Ocean Walk

Australia

twelve 12 apostles
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrismaidlow/

Located on the rugged west coast of Victoria, the 104-km Great Ocean Walk treats trekkers to a plethora of scenic wonders, from historic shipwreck sites, to haystack rock formations, to diverse wildlife sanctuaries, to brilliant sunsets and more. Wreck Beach, site of two famous nautical disasters, is a must-do side-trip in Great Otway National Park, as is Cape Otway Light Station. Accommodation along the hike ranges from bring-your-own-tent to a luxurious eco-lodge. This hike is easy to do at your own pace—itineraries range from simple day hikes, to overnights, to multi-day legs to the full eight-day route. 

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Frank from ourhikingblog.com
Max from gonomad.com

 

Milford Track

New Zealand

Considered one of the most scenic treks in the Southern Hemisphere, Milford Track, on New Zealand’s South Island, is blessed with 54 km of mountain peaks, idyllic lakes, serene fiords and dense forest. Running through Fiordland National Park, near Queenstown, just a few of the highlights include massive Pompolona Ice Field, 1,154-metre Mackinnon Pass and Sutherland Falls (the country’s highest waterfall). Stay in rustic, publically owned huts along the four-day route and wake to birdsong each morning in this biodiverse, wildlife-rich region. As one of the most popular hikes in New Zealand, you’ll need to book your spot well in advance, whether you choose to go independently or with a tour operator.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Liz from youngadventuress.com
Nisa from cookiesound.com

 

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

New Zealand

Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mhx/

Set in New Zealand’s oldest national park, a dual UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of the most spectacular hikes on the planet. At 20 km, it is a hardy day-trek, but once you leave the low-lying totara trees, you’ll be motivated forward by views of Ngauruhoe, Tongariro and Ruapehu’s volcanic peaks—as well as the emerald lakes, lava flows and steam vents. Elevation tops out at about 1,800 metres and the whole route takes eight to 10 hours, allowing for stops to appreciate the view. Expect changing weather, arrange for a shuttle to pick you up at the end and prepare for the most jaw-dropping day of your life on the North Island’s premier trail.

Hikers who have lived the adventure: 

Charli from wanderlusters.com

 

Tasmanian Overland Track

Tasmania

We’re back in Tazzy for its signature hike—the Overland Track, a 65-km jaunt through the heart of this island’s most scenic environs. Leading from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair, this six-day trek leads from hut-to-hut (reservations recommended)—but hikers should pack a tent in case the cabins fill up. Be impressed as it passes Cradle Mountain’s craggy peaks and glacial lakes, the bird-filled trees of Waterfall Valley, the moss-covered woodland of Lake Windermere, the high summit of Mount Ossa, the myrtle forests near Windy Ridge and the grassy plains near Lake St. Clair. (And so much more!) If you want to see the best of Tasmania in less than a week, this is the way to do it.

Hikers who have lived the adventure:

Brooke from worldofwanderlust.com
Frank from ourhikingblog.com.au
The folks over at besthike.com

 

keen
This world's best hiking round-up was brought to you by our friends at Keen. We're sporting their high performance Liberty Ridge hiking boots as we scramble up ridges and into the alpine. Which summits will your Keens take you to?

    

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