Fresh air, beauty, and total isolation—these are just a few of the things serious hikers live for. If you’re one of them, you probably know about these hiking routes. But if you’re a beginner, pay attention. These 5 hiking spots are some of the best in the world.
As a note, I’ve included 2 U.S. trails only because I’m more familiar with them. If you have something to add to the list, please feel free to leave a comment!
1. Appalachian Trail, U.S.
Want to be gone for a while? If so, the Appalachian Trail might be for you. As a warning, completing the entire thing will take, oh—5 months. That’s right. The Appalachian Trail stretches from Mount Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia. That’s a total of 2,174 miles. Parts of the trail are extremely difficult. Karen Berger, author of Eyewitness Companion’s Backpacking & Hiking describes it as “among the most strenuous to be found anywhere on earth.”
2. Pacific Crest, U.S.
The Pacific Crest trail is a personal favorite of mine. It may be because I live in the Pacific Northwest, but the Pacific Crest trail is full of natural beauty and some of the best scenic views in the world. Some of the highlights include Yosemite National Park, Mount Rainier, and Muir Wilderness. The trail stretches from Campo, Mexico to Provincial Park, Canada and totals 2,700 miles. Like the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest would take around 5 months to complete.
3. Mount Kenya, Africa
The Mount Kenya trail is not as long as the Appalachian or Pacific Crest, but it’s certainly as beautiful. It totals around 30-60 miles and takes about 5 days to complete, making it a better option for inexperienced hikers. Features include rain forests, flourishing vegetation and deep canyons.
4. Inca Trail, Peru
I’ve never been to Peru, but I dream about it almost daily. One of the reasons is for the Inca Trail, which leads to Machu Picchu, the capital city of the Incas. The trail itself totals 42 miles, though it is actually part of a longer stretch of road which totals 14,290 miles—all of it built by the Incas.
5. Swiss Haute Route
The Swiss Haute Route runs from Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland and totals 110 miles. On average, it takes 9-13 days to complete. I’ve been through parts of the route, specifically in Switzerland and I can safely say it’s one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen! The mountains are enormous, snowy peaks and the air is fresh and clean, so breathe deep, relax and enjoy the scenery!