If you love to explore the outdoors and would rather find yourself surrounded by dazzling lakes, impressive mountains, cascading waterfalls and sprawling meadows, than be in a big city crowded with millions of pedestrians and cars, with your only views of towering dull colored skyscrapers, then you need to find yourself walking among one of these magnificent hiking trails from around the world.
If you are an expert hiker, then you've probably challenged yourself on one or a few of these hikes that can last for days and even months. One of the most popular hikes in the world is the Inca Trail in Peru, lasting for four days, where you’ll hike through jungles, explore ruins and end your hike at the stunning Machu Picchu, one of these most amazing urban creations of the Inca Empire. For the proficient and skilled hiker, the Appalachian Trail, which stretches through 14 states, from Georgia to Maine takes approximately 5 to 7 months to complete. This hike takes careful planning, but this scenic trail will no doubt, take your breath away.
While not everyone can devote a couple of weeks to hike Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa or trek across the Pacific Crest Trail, which may take about 6 to 7 months to complete, you can definitely plan your own hike carefully so that you can see just how amazing our natural Earth really is. Whether you are an expert hiker or just starting out, check out these 20 epic hikes around the world that will give you wanderlust.
20 Inca Trail
The best time to hike the Inca Trail in Peru is between May and September. This trail is one of the most popular hikes in the world and is a total distance of 26 miles, which approximately lasts about four days. The epic trail is one of the world's greatest hikes because it takes you through lush Amazonian jungles, you'll see the snowcapped Andes Mountains, ancient ruins, stunning terrain and of course, end at the lost city of Machu Picchu. According to many experts, it's believed that the Incas, the advanced civilization of South America trekked this hike five centuries ago as a holy pilgrimage that would end with them entering Machu Picchu.
19 Everest Base Camp Trek
Mount Everest in Nepal is one of the most dangerous mountains to hike because of its extreme altitude, where climbers can be overcome with a lack of oxygen. It is undeniably a fatal hike, unless you are an expert. However, if you still wish to find yourself surrounded by these stunning mountains, you can trek to Everest base camp, which is more of a trail than a climb. With a total distance of about 70 miles, this hike will take you 14-16 days to complete with the best times to go between March to May or September to November. There are mountain paths with gentle gradients and there is no need for ropes or any other technical equipment. The trek will take you through the Khumbu Valley, where you'll experience the beauty of Sagamatha National Park and breathtaking views of 4 of the 6 highest peaks in the world.
18 Yosemite Grand Traverse
Yosemite Grand Traverse in California is a nearly 60 mile hiking traverse and includes an ascent of Cloud's Rest, a section of the John Muir Trail, a lakeside camp beneath the famous Cathedral Peak and will take you through the heart of Yosemite. Hikers need about 6 to 7 days to hike this trail with the best times to go in mid-July to mid-September. During the hike you'll pass through amazing waterfalls, granite basins, and meadows. One of the most spectacular parts of this hike is making your way up Half Dome, which rises nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8,800 feet above sea level. Via the Cable Route, you'll see views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, and stunning panoramic views of Yosemite Valley and High Sierra.
17 Bay of Fires
Hike along breathtaking beaches with white sand and turquoise waters along the east coast of Tasmania in Australia. This four-day hike with a distance of 16 miles is only allowed with a guide, but it is so worth it, with amazing beach views, boulders covered in red lichen, dazzling waters and unique flora and fauna. This hike is a lot more relaxing than others with it being split up into four days with something new to do each day. On your first day, you'll enjoy an early morning trek along the beach, ending your day at a beach camp tucked away in secluded dunes. Your second day consists of exploring the Bay of Fires coastline, checking out a lighthouse and even enjoying a relaxing spa. The third day you can choose to kayak, fish or snorkel, and on the final day, go for a morning swim, and later, you'll venture through forests and enjoy a forest lunch among the plants and birds.
16 Kalalau Trail
The Kalalau Trail in Kauai, Hawaii will take you through impressive jungles, stunning waterfalls and a mile long arc of Kalalu Beach while you trek through the Hawaiian heat. This hike weaves through one of the world’s most natural wonders, the Na Pali coast, where you'll get beautiful views of unspoiled beach and pristine blue Pacific waters. The trail is a 22-mile round-trip hike that lasts three to five days. The hike will take you through lush valleys; streams and you'll find footpaths that scale steep sea cliffs. At the end of your hike, you'll be in complete awe by the isolated beaches and massive mountains that make up this beautiful paradise in Kauai. If you find yourself hiking in the valley, take a dip next to the 300-foot Hanakapi'ai waterfall.
15 Tongariro Alpine Crossing
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing in New Zealand is only a one-day hike and considered the best day hike in the world, and offers spectacular views while you trek along ancient lava flows, crater lakes, glacial valleys, steaming vents and more. The 12-mile hike is best in November to April and can be a little challenging as you hike up valleys and later descend on a volcanic rock scree track to the glowing Emerald Lakes and further descend in a zigzag path where you'll come to an end. Those who travel here are asked to respect the sanctity of these mountains and not touch or enter the waterways including the alpine lakes because they are sacred to the local tribes of New Zealand.
14 Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is Africa's highest mountain reaching 19,341 feet, and has become extremely popular for hikers and tourists alike. It 's also gained fame because its also said to be the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. There is an array of climbing routes here with a trail time of five to nine days to complete. You don't have to be an expert for this hike, since there are a number of guides who have taken celebrities, film makers and political leaders on this trail. You'll enjoy beautiful landscapes as you make your way up and while there isn't much wildlife on the routes, you'll see many unique flowers and plants. All the main routes are walking routes and are all pretty much straightforward, so don't worry about needing any special equipment.
13 Tour Du Mont Blanc
Tour Du Mont Blanc stretches through three European countries, including France, Italy and Switzerland and is a 105-mile hike that will take about ten days to complete. It's considered one of the most popular long-distance hikes in Europe with views of massive mountains; glacial valleys and you'll find yourself at the base of the highest mountain in Western Europe. As you hike this trail, with the best times to go anytime from July to mid-September, you'll take in the phenomenal views of all three Alpine countries, taste regional cuisine and learn about cultures in the villages of the Alps and even navigate around glaciers, alpine meadows and walk through mountain passes.
12 The Long Range Traverse
In Canada's most easterly province of Newfoundland, you'll find yourself among jaw-dropping landscapes as you hike the Long Range Traverse. The 25-mile hike, which can take three to six days takes you through land that seems untouched as you explore hidden lakes, trek over tundra, see coastal fjords, and even find yourself among moose and caribou. The hike is not quite for beginners, since it is an unmarked and rugged backcountry route of Gros Morne National Park and independent hikers are required to pass navigational tests with Parks Canada. However, there are also one-day treks to the top of Gros Morne Mountain, where you'll have stunning panoramic views from the summit.
11 Trek To Petra
Before you make your way to Jordan's most famous archaeological site known as Petra, take the hikers-only route that will take you around five to nine days to complete before you end at this awe-inspiring place of temples and tombs. The trek to Petra is roughly 50-miles and takes you through gorges and rocky terrain. The trail is quite different than the others listed here because everyday you hike, you'll be among different geology every single day as well as a different trail everyday such as desert paths, goat shepherd trails, to very remote hunters' routes. Even though this trail is so remote, hikers should not fear it since it’s actually not that difficult of a hike. Of course, you'll end your hike when you make your way to Petra, exploring the ancient site and learning about its important history.
10 Sentiero Azzurro (The Blue Trail)
The Blue Trail or Blue Path is considered one of the most popular and easiest treks in the entire Cinque Terre National Park in Italy. The trail takes you along the dazzling Ligurian coast with views of the rocky coastline. This narrow trail connects all the five villages, starting at Monterosso and ending after 7.5-miles in Riomaggiore. Along the route you'll pass by olive and lemon groves, and stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. When you make your way to the last part of this hike, the Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Trail), coincides with the Via dell'Amore (Lovers' Lane), a road carved in the rock that is most known for its romantic atmosphere and sea landscape.
9 The Narrows
The Narrows, in Zion National Park, in Utah is considered one of the best slot canyon hikes in the world, meaning you'll be trekking through narrow canyons, which are formed in sandstone and limestone rock. The canyons are so narrow; the river covers the bottom in many spots along the route, which means you may have to swim to get to where you want to be. However, the landscape is breathtaking with dramatic Southwest scenery that makes it one of the best hikes you’ll ever go on. The average hiking time is just about 12 hours with a distance of 16 miles. Just prepare to get wet as you hike through the cold waters of the Virgin River on slippery rocks.
8 The Haute Route
The Haute Route is a demanding high-level traverse in the French and Swiss alps, where it'll take you about ten to twelve days to hike from Chamoinx, France to Zermatt, Switzerland. This hike explores many glaciers, valleys, lakes and towering snow-capped peaks. You'll cross many high passes with the highest being 9,800 feet, which means you'll have to start slowly until your body adjusts to having less oxygen in the air. June to mid-July is said to be the best time to take on the Haute Route, since it is the quietest and most serene.
7 Fitz Roy Trek
Fitz Roy Trek in Patagonia, Argentina takes you through Los Glaciares National Park, which is the size of Delaware, and gives you stunning views of beech forest, waterfalls, open plains, glaciers and the iconic ridge known as the Fitz Roy Massif, with an elevation of 11,073 feet. The best times to hike this 36-mile trail are February to March, where you'll avoid the crowds of summer. It'll take you about four to seven days to complete this trek. For beautiful views of the sunrise, experts suggest hiking up the predawn hours to Laguna de los Tres by headlamp from Camp Poincenot.
6 Snowman Trek
Snowman Trek in Bhutan is for the hiker who is mentally and physically fit. This 200+ mile and 25+ day hike is said to be one of the most difficult hikes in the world because of its unpredictable weather and tricky terrain. Only with a guided tour can you traverse eleven passes, most of which are more than 16,000 feet. For much of the year, the routes are covered in snow, so it’s best to go at the end of spring or in the autumn. Of course, when you climb up you'll experience snow and ice, but certain days can also be sunny and rainy, too. You also must be prepared for the route's terrain, where you can experience extremely narrow paths, anticipate steep climbs, expect snowy mountain passes and have close encounters with glaciers sub-tropical forest.
King's Trail or Kungleden in Sweden is another very famous hiking trail that is made up of both alpine terrain and low-lying mountain birch forest. The trail is a 275-mile traverse, however, you can take the shorter 65-mile route, which will take you approximately three to five days. You'll see just as much while on this trek and its amazing landscape such as the astounding Arctic landscape, open tundra, glaciers, and Sweden's highest peak, Mount Kebnekaise. King's Trail will take you through endless beautiful parts of the Swedish Lapland landscape, and you can even see it all if you prefer to ski! Best times to go on this trail are August to early September.
4 Appalachian Trail
Ranging from Maine to Georgia, the Appalachian Trail in the United States is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. If you wish to do the trail in one go, you'll need careful planning and five to seven months of free time. This 2,180-mile long hike will take you through fourteen states where you'll trek through wooded, scenic pastoral and wild lands. Each year, over three million people hike a portion of the trail, with just a very few walking the entire length. Most hikers are said to start in Georgia because the northernmost section in Maine is considered to be the toughest part of the hike. While on the trek, you'll be going up and down a lot, with the total amount of climbing for the entire hike roughly 515,000 feet, or the equivalent of going to the summit of Mt. Everest more than seventeen times.
3 Bernese Oberland Trails
In the region of Bernese Oberland in Switzerland you'll find twenty-two long distance hiking trails to discover. The region is best known for its trio of massif - the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. You'll hike along scenic landscapes and pass through the heart of the Bernese Alps from Meiringen to Kandersteg. While on your journey, you may come across Swiss villages and a popular ski resort. One featured hike to Tanzbodeli features jaw dropping panoramic views of high peaks while the First to Schynige Platte offers amazing views of the Bernese Alps. Most of these hikes range from 3.5-miles to ten-miles, so it's up to you to choose your trek.
2 Pacific Crest Trail
The Pacific Crest Trail spans 2,650 miles going through California, Oregon and Washington. The hike will take approximately six to seven months as you trek through seven national parks and plenty of deep forest, state parks, wilderness areas and the driest desert in North America, the Mojave Desert. The pathway will lead you to some of the most beautiful parts of the United States and hikers will witness varied terrain from deserts to snowy mountains. The trek can be challenging, with bears, mountain lions, bees and rattlesnakes along your journey, so hikers should be prepared for anything along the Pacific Crest Trail.
1 Laugavegurinn/Fimmvorduhals Pass
The Laugavegur trail in Iceland is known for its scenic beauty and extreme diversity. The hike is about 50 miles, which will take you about four days to complete. The trek begins in Landmannalaugar, a geothermal rainbow colored wonderland, and you'll wind through deserts, plains and gorges, see colorful mountains, black sand, hot springs, glacier rivers and end in a lush birch forest in the Thorsmork valley. On the trek, you'll also be walking through volcanic landscapes, get stunning views of rhyolite peaks and watch as clouds cast shadows across marbled mountains. You will be stunned with the beauty of these Icelandic highlands.