We have compiled a comprehensive list of some of the best and most famous hiking trails from around the world. You will find them conveniently organized by region. If you think we have missed any important trails please let us know using the form below this list.
Jotun, the fierce giant in Norse mythology, couldn’t have picked a better home than this famous National Park meaning ‘home of the giants.” It is one of the most popular hikes in Norway, spanning 14 miles one way, and offering stunning views of craggy ridges and the glacial-fed blue-green Gjende and Bessvatnet lakes. The most popular route of the hike begins at the Memurubu hut, followed by a ferry ride to Gjende.
The trail ascends 1,200 feet along narrow rocky ridges with frequent sheer drop-offs until it reaches a height of 5,719 feet, but the climb is not dangerous. It’s not a difficult or technical trek but can take eight hours so hikers should be relatively fit and accustomed to the outdoors.
King Alfonso XIII had the walk made in 1921 to open a dam on the Guadalhorce River. It wasn’t until recently that the 2-mile stone pathway built into but barely attached to the side of a cliff became a daredevil excursion. The three-foot-wide path has whole segments missing and crumbling away due to years of neglect, but people still flocked to attempt a crossing, GoPros in tow, until four people fell to their deaths in 2000 and the path was closed.
It is currently being renovated and a far safer path is intended to open in 2015, allowing people to take in gorgeous views of El Chorro Gorge from a much safer vantage point.
Spanning three countries, this famous hike through the Alps covers 170 kilometers and takes 7-10 days to complete. The route encircles the Mont Blanc Massif and passes through seven picturesque valleys. There are multiple routes, depending on the hiker’s skill level, fitness and endurance, but each route has ample options for lodging and meals along the way. Though in-depth experience is not necessary, being acclimated to long hours of walking through mountain country is helpful.
Though you do not need to have much hiking and climbing experience for this trail, it is highly recommended that you have the right gear, a guide, no fear of heights, and have hiked a via Ferrata before. Via ferrata is Italian for iron roads, and they are basically metal ladders built into a cliff wall that hikers can ascend with safety wires.
They were originally used in World War I by the Italian military, but now Leukerbad Via Ferrata is a popular hiker’s attraction. It’s a 1.28-mile hike to the vertical cliff face, and then an additional 3,280-foot elevation gain. Get ready for a tough 8-hour trip, but the view of the meadows and tiny Swiss town makes the prospect enticing.
Though no ropes or other gear are required, you don’t want to take this hike lightly. It’s a total of 5.75 miles, 2 of which have steep, knife-edge drop-offs on either side. It is full of tough terrain and daunting precipices, so you must be wary of not making a mistake, and in the winter time climbing gear is absolutely necessary. When you’re not afraid of taking your eyes off every step you make, you can enjoy the rugged Scottish Highlands, including Ben Nevis, the tallest peak in the British Isles.
Meaning “Blue Path” in Italian, this 12-kilometer-long trail winds through all five of the beautiful towns along Italy’s northern coast. It should take no longer than six hours to complete, but part of the attraction is stopping in the five coastal towns to shop, eat, take pictures, drink wine, and enjoy yourself. There are plenty of places to stay overnight if you want to extend the trip. The walk offers some of the most stunning views in Italy and should not be rushed.
The Lycian Way is a multi-day hike around part of the coast of ancient Lycia in Turkey. It stretches from Ölüdeniz to Geyikbayırı, near Antalya over a distance of approximately 540km (335mi). It is considered one of the world’s top ten walks. Summer in Lycia can get very hot, so it is recommended that you walk the route in spring or autumn; February–May, or September–November.
The Haute Route is a high hiking route between Chamonix in France and Zermatt in Switzerland. The route takes around 12 days to complete the 180km (112mi) trek from the Chamonix valley, home of Mont Blanc, to Zermatt, home of the Matterhorn. The route is well signposted, non-technical (requires no ropes, crampons, or protection devices), and takes advantage of the popular mountain huts and small inns and hotels in the villages along the way.
The GR 20 is a GR footpath that crosses the Mediterranean island of Corsica running approximately north-south, described by the outdoor writer Paddy Dillon as “one of the top trails in the world”. The whole trail is about 180 km long, clearly waymarked throughout, the walk for most people takes around 15 days. The trail is usually considered as two parts: the northern part, between Calenzana and Vizzavona, and the southern part, between Vizzavona and Conca.
Kungsleden, known popularly as “The King’s Trail”, is a hiking trail in northern Sweden between Abisko in the north and Hemavan in the south. Winding its way through one of Europe’s largest wilderness areas for a length of approximately 440km (270mi). During the winter months, it doubles as a ski trail. Throughout the trail, huts have been constructed separated by a distance that an average walker could expect to cover during the day, about 9-22kms (6-14 mi).
This beast of a trail, the A.T., is 2,200 miles (3,500 km) long and spans 14 states. Some dedicated thru-hikers attempt to complete the trail in its entirety all in one go, but it’s far more popular to hike smaller sections. There are several towns along the way where people can stock up on supplies, and there are shelters, lean-tos, or huts that hikers stay in along the way. It is part of the Triple Crown of Hiking.
Crossing through California, Oregon, and Washington, and covering 2,663 miles (4,286 km), the PCT was officially completed in 1993. It’s a National Scenic Trail and passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks, as well as the Sierra Nevadas and Cascade Mountains. Completing this trail all at once can take 4-6 months, so it is much more common for hikers to complete it in smaller doses. It is part of the Triple Crown of Hiking.
This is the longest trail in the Triple Crown of Hiking, covering 3,100 miles (5,000 km) and traverses five centrally located states. It follows along the Rocky Mountains and takes a grueling six months to complete a thru-hike, and only about 20-30 people attempt the entire trail a year.
This 23.6-mile hike through intense vertical rises and drops, seven backbreaking summits, and an 18,000-foot elevation gain is no walk in the park. In fact, it is aptly considered the toughest hike on the U.S. East Coast. There are no switchbacks, so the hike requires plenty of scrambling and resourcefully finding handholds in case of an emergency. Devil’s Path can be dangerous, especially when wet or icy, but with the right precautions, it’s simply a challenging hike with endless views of deciduous trees, even though it’s only 3 hours from Manhattan.
If you don’t suffer from claustrophobia, you may after hiking this trail. Some of the slot canyons created by millennia of tectonic plate shifting, flash flood erosion, and devilish winds across the plateaus measure only ten inches across. Adults may need to suck in quite a bit to get through, but kids can easily pass, and the area is mostly safe and kid-friendly. As long as you are aware of any storm or flood threats, and carry ample amounts of water with you, this incredible sandstone geological attraction is a great place to spend the day exploring.
The Narrows in Zion National Park, (near Springdale, Utah) is a section of the canyon on the North Fork of the Virgin River. The hike of The Narrows is one of the premier hikes on the Colorado Plateau. The term The Narrows refers to both the through-hike of The Narrows, and to The Narrows themselves, especially the 5.8km (3.6mi) long section of the canyon between the end of the Riverside Walk Trail and Big Spring. The Narrows lies north of, and upstream of, the main Zion Canyon.
The Mist Trail is one of the most popular short hikes in Yosemite National Park, California, USA. The hike follows the Merced River, starting at Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley, past Vernal Fall and Emerald Pool, to Nevada Fall. Along the trail, enormous boulders, some the size of a house, are dwarfed by the sheer faces of exfoliating granite, which rise 914 m (3000ft) from the river.
Visiting the Grand Canyon is adventurous enough, but hiking from the south rim down to the Colorado River is even more exciting. It starts at the Grand Canyon Village and then descends 4,380 feet, over 8 miles (12.9 km), where you can then hike another 1.9 miles (3 km) to Phantom Ranch. It can be a hazardous hike, the dehydration, sudden rainstorms, loose footing, and flash floods as some risks, but the beautiful views and glimpses of wildlife make up for it.
This 11-mile (18 km) trail is known for its strenuous uphill climbs. Most people split the hike into two days, camping out at the beach in Hanakoa Valley or Kalalau Beach, but other fit hikers complete the entire round trip hike all in a day. It is important to get a permit if you do camp since rangers are cracking down on the number of “squatters” that reside there. From Hanakoa you can hike another 1/2 mile to the magnificent Falls. The rising of the water at the stream crossings can be a potential hazard, as well as the narrow but level “crawler’s ledge” at mile 7.
Located adjacent to Montana’s Glacier National Park, this trail in the Canadian Rockies is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site. The trailhead starts after a 15-minute boat ride across Waterton Lake and then extends to a tough 10.8-mile round trip hike, climb, and scramble. The benefits are abundant, though, as the trail passes four waterfalls, an adrenal-inducing ridge walk, sedimentary rock walls, and a picturesque alpine lake. There is a cable handrail to help hikers in the dodgy sections, but otherwise completing the trail is not much of a problem.
The West Coast Trail is a 75km (47mi) long backpacking trail that winds its way along the southwestern edge of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. It was built in 1907 to facilitate the rescue of survivors of shipwrecks along the coast, part of the treacherous Graveyard of the Pacific. It is now part of Pacific Rim National Park and is often rated by hiking guides as one of the world’s top hiking trails.
Even though the hike is only 3.2 miles round trip, the terror associated with traversing an active volcano whose last outburst was in January 2014 makes up for the easy climb. Its eruptions are mostly small and consistent, allowing visitors to witness lava rivers and fiery bursts, and even camp out on the caldera. Volcanic activity is heavily monitored so the chances of you avoiding a violent eruption are high, though never guaranteed.
The Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Andes, is world-renowned, and for good reason. But for as strenuous as the trek is, it’s not as spine-tingling as it’s neighbor, the Huayna Picchu, which leads to what is believed to be the ruins of Machu Picchu’s high priest. The path to the top of the 8,924 foot pyramid contains knife ledges, stone staircases, barely perceptible stepping stones built into the ledge, and breathtaking views of the surrounding ruins and Andes landscape. Don’t get too distracted loing around though, a misplaced step or lack of attention could lead to dire consequences.
The Santa Cruz Trek is a popular three or four-day hike in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range. The best time to do the trek is during the dry season, from May to September. The hike may be done in two directions: from Vaqueria to Cashapampa, or from Cashapampa to Vaqueria. However, from the logistical perspective, it may be better to go from Vaqueria to Cashapampa, because from Cashapampa it is easier to go by public transportation back to Huaraz. This 48km (30mi) trek is one of the most popular routes in the Peruvian Andes crossing the Punta Union Pass.
The W route is by far the most popular hike in the magnificent Torres del Paine National Park, Chile, named because of the shape of the route. The route takes in the breathtaking scenery of the region including Glacier Grey, Refugio Pehoe, Valle del Francés, Hosteria las Torres and the Torres del Paine themselves.
The Israel National Trail winds its way nearly 1000km (600mi) across Israel, from the Lebanese border all the way to the Red Sea in the south. The trail crosses the entire country from Dan in the north of the country to Eilat at the southernmost tip of Israel on the Red Sea. It takes an average of 45-60 days to complete and ves into the grand scale of biblical landscapes as well as the everyday lives of the modern Israeli.
From the ancient city of Dana, Jordan, this epic hike leads you across the vast desert expanse of Wadi Araba before climbing into the Sharah Mountains past iconic oasis and Bedouin camps toward Petra itself for a round-trip journey of approximately 80km (50mi). Make your way through the narrow slots before being stopped in your tracks by the exquisitely carved façade of Al Deir, better known as the Monastery.
This trail leads to one of best views of cityscapes in the world. The 2.5 mile round trip trek overloing Cape Town is a popular, well-traveled hike with a hint of danger at the end. It takes just some skills to reach the summit due to a series of chains, metal rungs and ladders tacked into the cliff wall at the very end, but you absolutely do not want to fall. Completing the hike at night during a full moon has an extra appeal, and there is a safer route to the top for this purpose.
The Blyde River Canyon Trail is located within the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve in Mpumalanga, forming the northern part of the Drakensberg escarpment. It provides one of the most scenic mountain views available in South Africa, with a deep gorge vista and beautiful rock formations. The once-rapid river formed spectacular swirl holes, and being the third largest gorge in the world, this breathtaking area, is undeniably a natural wonder worth viewing. The entire length of the Blyde River Canyon Trail is approximately 60km (37mi) and takes around five days to complete the hike, although it is possible to explore in shorter two to three-day trails as well.
This dormant volcano makes for the perfect bucket lister as it is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. It looms in the north Tanzanian sky, along the Kenyan border, at 19,341 feet. There are seven official trekking routes to the top and guides are needed to reach the summit. Hikes can take anywhere from 4-9 days depending on the fitness of the hiker, weather, and altitude sickness. No technical skills are necessary, as the gradual inc is not much than a long hike.
Enveloped deep in the jungle, this trail was barely heard of 15 years ago, but as it’s gained popularity the government has spent significant amounts of money to improve it. It is full of challenges: the 120 mile round trip trek can take 3-12 days, it is prone to dangerous tropical weather, disease-riddled mosquitoes lay waiting to attack, you must endure the wilds of the jungle, and even some of the people living around the trail can be hostile. Going with a guide is strongly recommended. The area also has a huge World War II significance, so many of the visitors come in remembrance of those lost.
Though it’s recently been featured on tons of “World’s Craziest Hikes” lists, the truly treacherous section of the trail is only a small portion on the huge, winding trail up the westernmost of China’s Five Great Mountains. This portion is quite terrifying, with its dilapidated wooden planks over top a sheer drop off, and not much to hang on to. The multiple trails scattering the five mountains were originally meant as imperial pilgrimage sites scared to the Taoists, but now the7.5 mile trail from the gate to the top of the highest peak, South Peak, is visited by both spiritual travelers and tourists.
This hike up the world’s highest via ferrata in the world is punishing, to say the least. There are alternate options to peaking the 13,435 foot Mount Kinabalu, but this one is the quickest as well as the most adrenal-inducing – it requires crossing suspension bridges and climbing metal rungs jutting out from a vertical cliff face with no safety nets. That being said, it’s not known for being a particularly dangerous hike. Throughout the trek up the mountain, you can enjoy vistas of the Borneo rainforest, granite rocks, alpine forests, and orchid meadows.
This unique and culturally significant trek through a deep gorge in the Himalayas is the epitome of extreme. For centuries, local villagers of the Zanskar Valley would make the 45.4 mile round trip journey in the dead of winter with their trading goods to get to the capital city of Leh. The tour can last 9 to 27 days, and hikers walk atop a frozen river, endure below-freezing temperatures, view frozen waterfalls, and sleep in caves. It’s a risky path, as the river is not as solidly frozen in certain areas, and there is no way out of the gorge once you commit, but crossing this trek off the bucket list would earn you eternal bragging rights.
The Annapurna Circuit is the most famous trek within the Annapurna mountain range of central Nepal. The total length of the route varies between 160–230 km (100-145 mi), depending on where the trek is ended. The trek begins at Besisahar or Bhulbhule in the Marshyangdi river valley, rises to an altitude of 5,400m on the Thorung La pass and concludes in the Kali Gandaki Gorge. Besisahar can be reached after a seven-hour drive from Kathmandu.
It has often been voted as the best long-distance trek in the world and usually takes about 15–20 days, leaving from Kathmandu with a stopover in Phara before returning to the capital. Tea houses and lodges along the circuit are available for meals and accommodations though some opt for tents.
Tiger Leaping Gorge is a scenic canyon on the Jinsha River and is part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas World Heritage Site. Hiking the length of the gorge is possible. The hiking path (“the high road”) is well-maintained and marked, although sometimes narrow. This trail is longer than the lower road, approximately 22km (14mi), but is varied. It features a variety of waterfalls and a fair number of guesthouses for trekkers. These guesthouses are not well heated, which combined with the unpredictable nature of high mountain weather makes this trek unadvisable during the rainy season, although in recent years the raining periods got shorter and it possible to hike there again.
The Tongariro Northern Circuit is one of the Great Walks of New Zealand. It is a three to four-day hike through the Tongariro National Park including the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a day’s march that incorporates the Northern Circuit’s most stunning scenery. The complete trail forms a 50km (31mi) long loop trail that circumnavigates Mount Ngauruhoe with around 7,000 hikers completing the walk each year.
The Milford Track is a popular hiking route located amidst mountains and forests in the Fiordland National Park on the South Island of New Zealand. The 53km (33mi) hike starts at the head of Lake Te Anau, traversing rainforests, wetlands, and an alpine pass to complete the Milford Sound at Sandfly Point.
The Routeburn Track is a world-renowned hiking trail on the South Island of New Zealand. The track is usually completed by starting on the Queenstown side of the Southern Alps, at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu, and finishing on the Te Anau side, at the Divide, a total distance of 32km (20mi). The New Zealand Department of Conservation classifies this track as a Great Walk and maintains four huts along the track: Routeburn Flats Hut, Routeburn Falls Hut, Mackenzie Hut, and Howden Hut.
The Abel Tasman Coast Track is a 51 km (32 mile) long walking trail within the Abel Tasman National Park of the South Island of New Zealand. It extends from Marahau in the south to Wainui in the north, with many optional side tracks. It is well sheltered, and with mild weather in all seasons, and is accessible and open throughout the year. To walk the entire 51km length of the coastal track takes from 3 to 5 days. Single-day walks are popular as many points are accessible by boat from beaches along the track.
This long-distance walking trail in Western Australia covers 623.3 miles (1,003.1 km). Its name is from the indigenous people from that area, and the regular trail markers display a snake, or wagyl, a mythical creature from Noongar culture. There are 58 evenly spaced sections where either towns or campsites provide hikers with a place to stay. There is plenty to see along the way as it meanders through state forests, national parks, other reserves, and farmland.
The Overland Track is one of Australia’s most famous bush walks, situated in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania. The official length of the trail is 65km (40mi) running from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair which hikers should expect to complete in around 5–6 days. The track winds through terrain ranging from sheer mountains, temperate rainforest, wild rivers, and alpine plains all in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Aside from the main track, there are also several alternative side tracks, including to the summits of Cradle Mountain and Mount Ossa, the tallest mountain in Tasmania.
Of course, there are many more fantastic hiking trails that we could add to this list but we needed to stop somewhere. If you’re wondering why the trek to Mount Everest didn’t feature on this list, well that’s because we created a bucket list item, especially for that epic journey.
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