World's Best Hiking Trails
Buckskin Gulch, Utah, USA
This is the longest and deepest slot canyon in the south-western states, and the fascinating lure of the once-removed tributary of the Colorado River can be hard for the adventurous hiker to resist. Over 20km long and rarely more than 6 meters wide, the terrain of this dim and narrow hike is varied, and calls for a range of scrambling, ankle wading, and waist-deep paddling you’re unlikely to ever forget.
Rocky Mountain National Park, Canada
As a world heritage site comprised of four stunning national parks, and three provincial ones, the majestic Rocky Mountains boast Canada’s best front and backcountry trails. Whether you’re stopping to admire Lake Louise’s emerald green waters in Banff, or marvelling at the thundering waterfalls, glaciers and hot springs of Yoho, expect to encounter elk, mountain goats and bighorn sheep along the way.
The Haute Route, Chamonix-Zermatt, France & Switzerland
From the base of Mont Blanc, to the foot of the Matterhorn, this is Swiss hiking at its finest. Over the course of 180km, you’ll pass the twelve highest peaks in the Alps as you wind your way through flowered meadows, past enormous glaciers, and alongside sparkling alpine lakes. Access to picturesque villages and inns along the way means hikers can enjoy the challenge without having to lug a heavy pack.
Everest Base Camp Trek, Himalayas, Nepal
Even if you’re not a climber, you can still experience the thrill of spending 20 days in the footsteps of the famous when you tramp to the camp at an altitude of over 5000m. The trek is gruelling, but definitely doable for the fit hiker, and it offers the unique chance to visit the ancient city of Kathmandu and experience authentic Nepalese culture at the local Sherpa villages along the way.
This is your chance to experience the thrill of hiking 100 miles inside the Arctic Circle. Running from Abisko to Hemaven at a length of close to 450km, many hikers choose to experience the land of the midnight sun by traversing the northernmost 100km stretch of the King’s Trail, where rugged arctic terrain is home to waterfalls plunging from snow-capped mountains, and roaming herds of reindeer.
Virtually untouched by human hands, you’re sure to fall under the mythical spell of this vast and varied backcountry region at the southernmost tip of South America. Argentine Patagonia is a hiker’s dream, offering endless vistas of grasslands and deserts, as well as the opportunity to tread among active glaciers on the world’s third largest ice cap in Los Glaciares National Park.
Routeburn Track, South Island, New Zealand
At 32km in length, it might not be the longest trail in the world, but this trek manages to pack a lot of hiking value into its short distance. Linking Mount Aspiring National Park with the striking Fiordland, birdlife abounds here, epic peaks beckon, and waterfalls and mountain lakes shimmer like jewels. Pick a direction and make a booking for the four public huts and two convenient campsites that line the way.
GR20, Corsica, France
Quite possibly the most taxing long distance trail in all of Europe, the 200km GR20 might also be the most popular dream trip for the serious hiker. Stretching diagonally across this Mediterranean island’s mountainous terrain, the trek’s breath-taking colours and towering pinnacles, forests, and craters are home to some 2000 species of wildflowers, as well as boars, foxes, and the region’s revered wild sheep.
Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA
Get set to be inspired by a hike into one of the seven wonders of the natural world! Averaging 1.6km in depth and featuring miles of trails along its 446km stretch of the Colorado River, the canyon’s size alone is enough to overwhelm the senses. But toss in the startling geological formations and colours you’ll encounter in one of the deepest gorges on earth, and you’ll leave already vowing to return.
Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada
With more than 100km of trails, this spectacular UNESCO world heritage site showcases some of the best of eastern Canada’s unique wildlife and outdoor splendour. With a natural diversity that’s nothing short of extraordinary, hikers can keep an eye out for the region’s whales and indigenous seabirds while they navigate everything from fjords, to arctic alpine summits, to volcanic coastlines.
Laugavegur Trek, Landmannalaugar, Iceland
From the geothermal wonderland of Landmannalaugar, to a scattering of highland glaciers, you’ll discover hot springs, volcanic mountains, and everything in between along this 55km track skirting south-west Iceland’s most colourful landscape. Hikers can expect to ford a number of icy, glacial rivers while admiring the striking, rainbow-coloured mountains of red, yellow and black.
Snowman Trek, Himalayas, Bhutan
Not for the faint of heart, nor for the inexperienced hiker, this 25-day trek into the heart of the country’s most remote valleys is widely viewed as one of the most strenuous hikes in the world. Stretching from Paro to the region of Lunana, this high-altitude trail crosses nine passes over 4500m, and includes the opportunity to mingle with migrating yak herders against a backdrop of 7000m peaks.
Great Ocean Walk, Victoria, Australia
You’ll experience rugged coastal scenery at its best when you weave your way through the stunning national parks strewn along Australia’s south-eastern shores. This 100km, one-way trek from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles is dotted with campsites and other lodging options, allowing hikers to make the most of their time exploring the trail’s endless forests, rocky shorelines, lighthouses, and shipwrecks.
Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Africa
If you thought scaling the world’s tallest free-standing mountain was a dream reserved only for climbers, you should know that with a little training and a lot of perseverance, you can join a group and hike your way to the top of the world in just 6-8 days. Cross incredible landscapes, in five separate zones, on your trek up from Serengeti National Park to watch the sun rise over Africa from 5800m.
The Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Peru
Rated by many as one of the top five hikes in the world, 43km of dedicated effort rewards the enthusiastic hiker with the opportunity to explore the mysterious “Lost City of the Incas”. Spanning a handful of significant Inca archaeological sites along its route between Km82 and Machu Picchu, you’ll reach altitudes of 4200m as you tread in ancient footsteps along this 4-day mountain trail trek.
Te Araroa, North & South Islands, New Zealand
Only recently opened, in 2011, The Long Pathway’s 3000km stretch showcases the very best of New Zealand’s naturally diverse landscape. Tramp along any of the national walkway’s multiple segments between Cape Reinga in the north and Bluff in the south to experience everything from dramatic beach dunes, to glistening alpine lakes, and sleepy rainforests, to craggy, snow-topped peaks.
Tour du Mont Blanc Trail, Chamonix, France
If you’ve ever wanted to hike three different countries in just ten days, you can have it all on this incredible 170km Swiss Alps circuit trail, linking France with Italy and Switzerland. From Chamonix, at the foot of “The White Mountain”, this strenuous but rewarding trek serves up drama at every turn with its magnificent hanging glaciers, unspoiled alpine meadows, and sweeping majestic views.
Haleakala National Park, Hawaii, USA
Never imagined you could hike around the world’s largest dormant volcano? Choose from 48km of crisscrossing trails at the summit of the highest point on Maui, and explore a stark, lunar landscape unlike any other. Multi-coloured cinder cones, extinct lava flows, and fields of volcanic ash litter the surreal crater floor, while three cabins offer the chance to turn your day hike into a multi-day adventure.