One of the greatest additions to any adventure, whether at home or abroad, is getting in a good hike. Sure, the climb to the top will sometimes have you questioning, "Why am I doing this?" but the answer is always clear once you're rewarded with sky-high panoramic views. The accomplishment of knowing you just reached the summit of a mountain, whether small or large, is always worth the sometimes strenuous trek. For pure adrenaline junkies looking for hikes in World Wonders, in far-out destinations, and some of the largest in the world, this is the list for you.
10 Mount Batur, Indonesia
Though it might not sound appealing to wake up as early as 1 am to embark on a strenuous Indonesian hike, the views you'll be rewarded with are sure to make you forget your lack of sleep. Mount Batur is an active volcano on Indonesia's popular island of Bali. The only proper way to conquer a hike on this beast is by starting in the pitch-black dark and racing the clouds to the top so you can catch a glimpse of the sun rising over this Southeast Asian island. Though you can hike Mount Batur without a guide, it's highly recommended to hire one. Not only will they provide much-needed flashlights, but Mount Batur is a slippery slope of rock, sand, and dirt, and with the assistance of a guide, you'll be better able to navigate your way up without a potentially fatal accident. When you get to the top, enjoy your breakfast over the orange hues of the sun rising; just be prepared to possibly share your food with one of the many monkeys waiting for tourists.
- Distance: 5.8-6.8 Miles roundtrip (depending on the route)
- Total Hiking Time: 4-6 Hours
- Difficulty: Moderate
9 Rainbow Mountain, Peru
Most head to Cusco to see the infamous Machu Picchu, but those looking to get a workout in would be remiss if they skipped Rainbow Mountain in the nearby town of Vinicunca. With strokes that look like they could have only come from a paintbrush, Rainbow Mountain is a moderately difficult hike but well worth the views once you arrive at the top. Though Rainbow Mountain is not the steepest of hikes, what makes it difficult is the beginning point already being at 4300 meters above sea level, or 14,107 feet. That's higher elevation than the city of Boulder, Colorado, and that's only at the starting point! Take advantage of Peru's coca leaves, enjoyed in either tea form or simply by chewing. They are a natural remedy for the unavoidable altitude sickness you're bound to face when in Peru. Along your journey on Rainbow Mountain, you might want to throw in the towel many times. You might see snow-encapsulated mountains ahead and question if you'll even get to see those rainbow hues. Most certainly, you'll have several locals offering you Caballos or horses to take to the top. First and foremost, do not get a horse. If you have altitude sickness, imagine how they must feel carrying a human on their back. Secondly, stick with it! It's a tough hike due to altitude alone, but it is well worth the unique incredible views of the hued geological formations.
- Distance: 5 Miles Roundtrip
- Total Hiking Time: 5-6 Hours
- Difficulty: Moderate
8 Dao Titop, Vietnam
Any tour to Ha Long Bay will likely make a pit stop at Dao Titop or Titop Island. Ha Long Bay is one of the natural wonders of the world, and though there are many incredible ways to view it, the top of Dao Titop just might be the best one. All that separates you from some of the best views of the bay are 427 stone steps on Dao Titop. It's a fairly easy hike, though the sweltering humidity of Northern Vietnam might add a little strain. Make sure to bring a swimsuit, so when you're done hiking, you can cool off at one of Titop's infamous beaches. You'll even have the option to go kayaking.
- Distance: 0.3 miles
- Total Hiking Time: 30 minutes
- Difficulty: Easy
7 Mount Etna, Italy
Sicily differs from mainland Italy for many reasons. The cuisine is different, the locals' attitude is different, it's nittier and grittier, and most notably, it holds Italy's highest peak, Mount Etna. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, meaning it's not possible to get all the way to the top due to safety concerns. However, if you want to hike this glorious volcano, there are many trails in which you can still get some stunning Sicilian views, with a light workout along the way. Etna's geographical landscape primarily consists of pebble-like gravel, so you'll want to bring a good pair of hiking shoes. Catch some lady luck with one of the many coccinella, or ladybugs, you're bound to see. Though it's unknown why so many ladybugs make Mount Etna their home, it's suspected that the high elevations keep them away from other predators. Regardless, you're bound to have some ladybug companions while enjoying this beautiful, easy hike.
- Distance: 2 miles
- Total Hiking Time: 1.5 hours
- Difficulty: Easy
6 Roy’s Peak, New Zealand
New Zealand has more hikes than can be counted on one-hundred hands. Its picturesque and mountainous landscape makes for not only beautiful scenery but a lot of great workout options as well. One of the most famous hikes on the South Island is Roy's Peak, a somewhat strenuous uphill battle to catch some of the best panoramic views of Lake Wanaka's blue hues. Roy's Peak is an all-day affair, so you'll want to bring snacks and a lot of water. The trail zigzags, primarily at a steep rate, so take as many breaks as you need. You might even be accompanied by the occasional sheep or bunny as you get closer to the summit. Though going uphill is often the hard part of a hike, the hike down from Roy's Peak can be hard on the ankles due to its steep decline. Once you arrive at the top, you're likely to see a line of people waiting for the perfect Instagram shot, as this hike has become one of New Zealand's most popular.
- Distance: 10.1 miles
- Total Hiking Time: 7 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate
5 Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand (Hooker Valley)
Since New Zealand has so many options, it's worth mentioning at least two. Roy's Peak might be a more difficult hike, but if you're looking for something just as breathtaking without the blood, sweat, and tears, the Hooker Valley trail at Mount Cook is a perfect option. The trail in total is just shy of 7 miles, with a mainly flat, paved surface. You'll walk through snow-capped mountains, glaciers (so long as you're not there during summer), piles of rocks in many shapes, colors, and sizes, and more. Once you reach the final point, you'll be at Hooker Lake, a lake with a background that looks like a laptop desktop with its monstrous snowy mountains. Bring a snack, take in the views, and enjoy this fairly easy hike with great reward.
- Distance: 6.8 miles roundtrip
- Total Hiking Time: 3 hours
- Difficulty: Easy
4 The Great Wall of China, China
Most might not think of the Great Wall of China as a hike, but indeed, it is. The Great Wall of China is a whopping 13,171 miles, so obviously, no one will be hiking this entire thing, at least not in a day. Most travelers choose to enter the Great Wall of China from Beijing's city center, but if you're looking for a quieter spot to enjoy this world wonder, head a little outside the city and enter through the suburbs. You'll likely have to climb up a few stairs or maybe a steep hill, and you can choose to walk as much or as little of the wall as you want. There are no rules; it's totally up to you. At some points, the Great Wall twists and turns and has hills going upward and downward, but overall, it's an incredibly easy hike. It can be a little scary looking over; there's very little to barricade the Great Wall in many sections of it. Practice precaution and find peace and serenity in this magnificent World Wonder.
- Distance: 13,171 miles
- Total Hiking Time: It's up to you! Spend 30 minutes to 12 hours
- Difficulty: Easy
3 The Treasury At Petra, Jordan
Speaking of World Wonders, did you know that the Treasury at Petra in Jordan is actually a hike? Most assume it's a monument you show up to, take some photos, and enjoy the views, but that is far from the truth. From the entry gate to The Treasury itself, there's at least a mile walk, with many historic structures along the way. You can take your time to observe everything, or you can get to The Treasury quickly and observe what's along the way on the way back. If you want to enjoy The Treasury without the crowds, it's highly recommended to get there early, meaning you should get there as quickly as possible and enjoy the rest of what Petra has to offer on your walk back. You've likely seen photos of visitors enjoying The Treasury from higher elevations. This is because there's a hike to get to the top. Skip out on those cute high heels and sandals, and put on your best pair of walking/hiking shoes. To get up there, you will need the assistance of one of the many Bedouins who hang out at Petra. Give them a small tip in the local currency, Jordanian dinar, and they'll gladly help you get to the top, where you can hang out with them and enjoy a nice cup of tea. Don't let the desert-like landscapes of The Middle East fool you; Petra can get quite chilly, so bring a jacket, weather-depending. Past The Treasury, there's even more to see, and an entire day can easily be spent at this World Wonder.
- Distance: 5 Miles
- Total Hiking Time: 4 Hours
- Difficulty: Easy
2 Edge Of The World, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is rapidly changing. With their Vision 2030 Campaign, which is designed specifically to bring in a larger tourist infrastructure to the Kingdom in, perhaps, an attempt to eradicate their questionable human rights history, now more than ever is the perfect time to visit. Travelers from all over are eligible for an e-Visa, and even women tourists can visit Saudi alone. Even if you do not have time for a proper Saudi holiday, if you fly Saudia Airlines, you're likely to have a long layover in either Riyadh or Jeddah. This layover can be extended directly on Saudia Airlines' website, giving you some time to explore. If you have any time at all in Riyadh, a top-notch activity is to go outside the city and hike The Edge of The World. You can get there by either renting a car or hiring a driver. The Edge of the World is really as epic as it sounds. It's a large cliff with a steep upward hike along rugged terrain and sharp rocks, requiring good shoes and a lot of patience. Though the distance is short and will take under 2 hours for the average hiker, come prepared with a lot of water to fight the blazing Arabian sun paired with the intense workout of climbing uphill. Once complete, you'll have one of the best conversation pieces by saying, "I've hiked to the Edge of the World in Saudi Arabia."
- Distance: 0.2 miles
- Total Hiking Time: About 90 minutes
- Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
1 Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
What would a hiking list for adrenaline junkies be complete without the inclusion of the world's tallest freestanding mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro? Fly into Tanzania's Kilimanjaro Airport, spend a night or two in the nearby town of Moshi, and get prepared for the most epic adventure of your life. Hiking Kilimanjaro is surprisingly more of a mental challenge than a physical one. That's not to say it's not physically difficult. It takes a certain level of stamina to keep the momentum going for the several-day hike. There are several routes to choose from. The quickest route is the Umbwe Route, but it's also the most challenging. It takes about three days to reach the summit on this route, which is not recommended as your body is less likely to adapt to the intense altitude, meaning there's a lower success rate. One of the more popular routes is the Machame Route, which takes either 6 or 7 days, giving your body ample time to acclimatize. The Rongai Route is allegedly the easiest, lasting a span of up to 8 days and having an 80% success rate. The Machame Route is the alleged most scenic route, with a different route on your descent, treating your eyes to even more Kilimanjaro scenery. You'll see the geographical climate change as the oxygen lowers, and you'll be surprised by day three that you're already above the clouds. There's a lot to know before climbing Kilimanjaro to ensure you're properly prepared. With a good attitude matched with sheer grit and determination (and maybe a little Diamox), you're likely to reach the summit and gain some serious bragging rights.
- Distance: 23 miles-56 miles (Depending on Route)
- Total Hiking Time: 3-9 Days (Depending on Route)
- Difficulty: Hard