Best Hikes in the World
Our world is pretty amazing and this collection of the best treks in the world proves that. This hiking guide includes multi day hikes and one day hikes, hikes that are rated extreme in difficulty and hikes that are easy for any traveler; there is something for everyone. It’s a comprehensive list of over 50 trails and full of travel tips that should help you with any hike you decide to plan. Norway, New Zealand and the USA all have their own travel guides so if you’re interested in hiking any of those countries, you can follow the link to their respective guides.
Best Hikes in Asia
Bhalu Gaad Waterfall, Mukteshwar – This is a gem hiding in the Kumaon Forest of Nainital District in the state of Uttarakhand, India. A short hike on the rock paved path took me to this surreal environment. I would call it an easy hike that’s about 1.25 km and takes around 30-45 minutes. This is assuming you are not like me and are not taking pitstops to take in the beauty of each and every nook of the trail. Though little known, the waterfall sees people of all ages and makes for a perfect family activity. No matter what season you visit, it will be a treat to your eyes. What I loved the most was its crystal clear pebbeled bed shining in bright yellowish brown color as the sunrays kissed the surface. Monsoon season attracts many to witness the waterfall at its fullest. *Jaunting Journeys*
Hampta Pass Trek – The Hampta Pass Trek is an unforgettable, enchanting trek based in the beautiful southeast region of Manali (Himachal Pradesh), India. Basically it is one of the easiest in the Himalayas also known as a “beginner’s trek”. The whole hike takes five days to complete starting from Manali to Chandrataal Lake. This was the most exciting trek we did together with our toddler Karen. Hampta Pass mesmerized us with its tremendous variations along the trail ranging from beautiful valleys, open green meadows, rivers, glaciers, picturesque landscapes and rocks. *Traxplorers*
Grade: Easy to Moderate
Distance: Approx. 26 km
Highest Altitude: 14,100 ft.
Sham Valley Trek : Ladakh, Indian Himalayas – Generally accessible from May – September each year after the winter snow melts, Ladakh is one of the most beautiful places in India to hike. Views are dotted with stunning white monasteries and buddhist stupas, while summits are celebrated with flurries of colourful Tibetan prayer flags. Hikes range from from 3,000m up to 5,000m+ in altitude, and even for the lower treks a few days of acclimatisation in Leh are a must before hand. The easiest trek is the Sham Valley Trek in Ladakh which takes around three days, stopping at basic homestays overnight. Sometimes referred to as the “baby trek” this is definitely not for babies (!) and a good level of fitness and adjustment to the altitude is required. *Soul Travel Blog*
Victoria Peak Hike – Victoria Peak in Hong Kong, or simply “The Peak”, is the #1 tourist destination in this world city. But though people go there mainly for the views over the harbour, it also offers some great hiking and walking possibilities. You can hike up the peak, climb down from it and walk around it. To walk around the peak, start outside the Peak Tower and take a sharp right to Lugard Road. This is a pedestrian path; go past the historic tramway building as you set out on the Circular Walk. Great views of the harbour turn into a nice walk on a paved path through quiet forest greens. Signs point out notable trees and plants as you go along. Follow the road until it merges with Harlech Road and from there continue in a loop around the summit back towards your starting point. The walk is about 3.5km and takes an hour at a leisurely stroll if you don’t keep stopping for photo ops (you will!). Try doing the trail at dusk so as you finish, you can see the great light shows over the harbour at 8 pm. *HK Victoria Peak*
Adam’s Peak –There is something particularly magical about watching the sunrise from the top of a mountain. Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada) is the second tallest peak in Sri Lanka and is a holy pilgrimage with a monastery atop its summit. If not for the concrete steps and handrails guiding your path, the sea of other pilgrims along the route will clearly guide your ascent. It’s challenging, simply because it’s so steep, but the view of the sun rising across the hills makes it worth it. Make sure you stick around at the top; the mountain is a perfect cone shape and its shadow can be seen from the summit. *Spin the Windrose*
Mount Bromo – Mount Bromo is one of the most iconic places to visit in Indonesia. One of the best ways to enjoy it is on a hike all the way to the crater. There are various trails to follow, but those who don’t have much time can start from the Sea of Sand that is right at the bottom. Various locals will be there to offer horse rides to the crater, but most of those horses are ill treated (look for signs such as whether they are extremely thin or have foam at their mouth) so it is better to just walk. It is an easy 45 minutes walk uphill on sand (make sure to cover your mouth and nose) to get to the crater. Once there, the view is astonishing. Make sure to avoid going during the weekend as that’s when most locals also go and the area becomes terribly crowded. *My Adventures Across the World*
Tigers nest aka Taktshang Lhakhang Monastery – The 3-hour uphill trek to the Tiger’s Nest was the highlight of my trip to Bhutan and is etched in my mind even after 5 years. It is the most sacred place of Buddhists, but it attracts nature lovers around the world irrespective of their religion because of the serene beauty. If the sight of the stunning monastery precariously perched atop the cliff overlooking Paro isn’t an incentive enough to make you walk all the way, there are numerous viewpoints speckled across your way to keep you motivated. What I loved about the trek was the natural terrain, the light dense forests and the spiritual vibes all around. *Backpack & Explore*
Hua Shan Hike – Everyone has heard of the Terracotta Army near Xian, but few know about Hua Shan. It’s the western mountain of the five Taoist mountains in China and known for its spectacular views. Taoist believe the mountain is home to the god of the underworld. It’s a must do on any Xian itinerary. Go early from Xian as it’s a 2-hour drive and the hike is long if you are planning to climb each of the 5 peaks. If you arrive at 8AM, you will be able to climb them all, but you must take the West cable car up and the North cable car down. The 5 peaks are simply named East, West, North, South and Center.
When you get up the mountain, first go to the east peak and backtrack to the west peak. Now comes the part the mountain is most famous for: the highest plank walk in the world. You’ll walk 150 meters on a plank hanging on a 1000-meter-tall cliff! It’s spectacular and a unique experience. Next up is east peak, central peak and finally north peak. Going from peak to peak is strenuous especially if it’s cold and drizzling. It might get slippery so watch out as some stairs are just a meter wide and have cliffs on both sides. There are various temples and shrines on the mountain which are worth stopping at too. Plenty of sellers sell water and snacks are available too so no need to carry too much. If you are fit, it will take 6-8 hours to hike the complete mountain. It’s an awesome experience! *Chris Travel Blog*
Cat Ba National Park – I’m not much of a hiker largely because I’m scared of heights but give me a reason to climb and I will. Cat Ba national park seemed to be on the list of everyone around and I was told that the view was gorgeous once you made it to the top. So, I was nervous. Luckily, there were two trails. The easy one and the hard one. We chose the easy one and with Shawn’s help I made it to the top. The feeling that I had when I finished the trail was a mix of adrenaline and sheer ecstasy. You can see it on my face and yeah… the view helped immensely too! *Globe Trove*
SaPa – Vietnam is a popular destination for hikers, and with stunning trails like those throughout the hills of SaPa it’s easy to see why. Whatever style of hike you’re looking for, it is available in SaPa. An “off the beaten trail” overnight hike with a local homestay is one of my all-time Asia highlights, but day hikes are also available – such as Cat Cat village. Whether you’re looking for an easy stroll through rolling green hills or a challenging trek in both distance and elevation gain through rural rice terraces, SaPa has something to offer every hiker. *Horizon Unknown*
Hallasan on Jeju Island – Hallasan is an extinct volcano on South Korea’s Jeju Island. At 1950m it’s South Korea’s highest peak and rises up proudly over the island. Part of the hike is through lush forests and during autumn its colours are truly magical.
There are 2 routes to the summit, one is 8.7km and the other is 9.7km. Both routes take around 4 hours. There are shorter trails available too. No specialist equipment is needed but the hike does get tough. Hallasan is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and with over 1800 plants species and 4000 animal species; it is a beautiful hike. *MC Adventure Blog*
Tup Keak Hike – If you’re looking for an amazing hike in Krabi, Thailand, you definitely need to check out Tup Keak! We had heard a lot about the views at the top of Tiger Temple, but hiking thousands of steps with lot of tourists didn’t sound ideal. We were so glad we decided to climb this hike! Although very strenuous (roughly 3 hours round trip) and at an incline the entire way, the views at the top were breathtaking. The coolest part about this hike was the photo you could get at the top! It looks as if you’re hanging off the edge of the world. If you’re looking for great views, 10/10 would recommend this hike! *Travel to the Beat*
Annapurna Circuit – The Annapurna Circuit was by no means an easy hike, but it is easily one of the most rewarding things I have done so far in my life. The best part about the circuit is you can do it as slowly or as quickly as you would like. Lodges are situated every few kilometres all along the trail. The Throng La Pass is the highest trekkable pass in the world at 5416 meters so be prepared for altitude changes. If you accomplish this, however, the sense of achievement is second to none. Once you make the pass, you can either continue the trek by walking or take a mixture of local buses or even a flight to get you safely back to civilization. No doubt the Annapurna Circuit is one of the best hikes in the world. *Backpackers Wanderlust*
Everest Base Camp – As someone who has done a decent number of hikes, I can say that the Everest Base Camp trek via Jiri in Nepal is one that I will never forget. I loved it as my husband and I did the less touristic route, starting from Jiri and including the mesmerizing Gokyo Lakes. A 28-day adventure filled with incredible scenery, snow-capped peaks, magical forests, friendly people and cultural experiences. It is a medium to difficult trek given the number of days involved. You might start to feel exhausted at some point, but for sure the views will help you keep on going. *Our World to Wander*
Mt Pundaquit – Mt. Pundaquit is a relatively easy hike (difficulty level: 3/9) and fits perfectly for beginners. Jump off point is at Brgy. Pundaquit in San Antonio, Zambales, Philippines. Passing through shrubby grounds and grasslands, the trail provides a magnificent view of the Pundaquit Mountain Range and what makes it more interesting is that you’ll have a view of the Zambales coast and thick pine tree forests on your way down to Anawangin Cove. Trekking Mt. Pundaquit and the descent to Anawangin Cove (a white sand beach that is only accessible by boat or by traversing the mountain range) goes hand in hand. Swimming in this amazing beach after a tough climb is sort of a rejuvenating reward. From Anawangin Cove, you have the option to go hopping to nearby islands.” *Ten Thousand Strangers*
Ala-Kol Lake Trek – Kyrgyzstan is fast becoming a new trekking hotspot and the Ala-Kol Lake trek has become one of its most popular. For a relatively short 3-day trek, it showcases the very best of what Kyrgyzstan has to offer from the glaciers, high altitude lake and mountains at Ala-Kol to the rivers and fresh alpine meadows and forests of the Karakol and Altyn-Arashan valleys. And the best part is a natural hot spring at Altyn-Arashan to soothe those aching limbs after the monstrous 2nd day! Difficulty level is medium/hard but this is entirely due to the steep hike up to the lake and the further incline over the Ala-Kul pass on day 2. *Two Stay Wild*
Best Hikes in the Middle East
Monastery Trail in Petra – While the archaeological site of Petra in Jordan has many hiking trails, the Monastery Trail is the most rewarding and strenuous one. This hiking trail starts from Petra city center and takes visitors up 800 steps to reach the Monastery, one of Petra’s most impressive monuments. The hike easily takes about an hour to an hour and a half one way and climbing all those ancient steps in the harsh sun is quite difficult. However, the massive and elaborate facade of the Monastery, as well as sweeping views over Petra from the mountaintop, are well worth this vigorous hike. *Dotted Globe*
Muqal Cave Trail at Wadi Bani Khalid – There is a trail that goes up to the headspring of Wadi Bani Khalid in the Sharqiyah Desert of Oman where there is located a little cave called Muqal Cave. It is not a long hike; it can easily be done in less than half a day. The route passes along the dramatic rock canyon of Wadi Bani Khalid. The reason that this trail is among my favourites was how puzzling it can be to work out the passable trail! Hiking it felt a bit like being inside a video game. It is an easy hike provided you work out the intended route! Bonus level is figuring out how to access the cave at the end! *Teja on the Horizon*
Best Hikes in Europe
Path of the Gods Hike – Path of the Gods is a beautiful hike from Nocelle to Bomerano, though we took it from Nocelle to Praiano. If you want an “easier” hike, I’d recommend starting in Nocelle as the reverse direction has much more climbing involved. Definitely a great option though if you want something a bit more challenging. The path follows the coast and gives you glorious views of the ocean and pretty landscapes. This hike takes a few hours to complete depending on fitness levels and how quickly you can hike. We took the bus back to Positano from Praiano; however, as a note, the buses are unreliable so it might take a little longer than planned!
Murren – Gimmelwald – This is possibly one of the most charming hikes I have been on. The entire path is flanked by rolling hills, traditional Swiss homes and views of majestic mountains in the distance. Take the cable car from Lauterbrunnen to Murren and then begin your easy hike to Gimmelwald. You can hike back or continue to Stechelberg, a tiny town nestled in the mountains. Make sure you stop in some of the honesty shops along the route and grab a local sausage for a snack! The Murren to Gimmelwald hike takes a few hours to complete at a leisurely pace.
Rigi – One of my favorite hikes in Switzerland is certainly the “Mark Twain Trail” up to Mount Rigi, which is located near the touristic hotspot of Lucerne. As the name suggests, this trail was used by Mark Twain who later wrote about his experiences in the book “A Trip to Mt. Rigi”. While the hike includes over 10 kilometers of trail and an ascent of 1358 meters, I never felt it was extremely hard or exhausting, even though it can get quite steep from time to time. With its romantic views (especially once you reach the top), it is definitely worth the hike as you wouldn’t get the same feeling if you just took the train up to the summit. *Michael Gerber*
Pfeishütte Innsbruck Trail…Hiking in Austria is always a treat for the amazing views and beautiful landscape. One place I really loved hiking at was Innsbruck. This little city in the alps region is perfect for a skiing or hiking trip. Head to the top with the Hafelekar Station to start your hike. We hiked all the way to the Pfeishütte mountain cabin and back again. Difficulty was moderate but as beginners with no time limit and good hiking boots, we were fine. We highly recommend this route for hikers looking for an Austrian weekend getaway in the summer. *Together in Transit*
Oia to Fira – This hike takes about 3 hours to complete and is fairly easy throughout with only a few minor inclines. You can hike one way and then take the bus back in the direction you came from. We hiked it Oia to Fira and loved every view we had of the coast. Sneakers are fine for this hike.
Kleftiko Beach – Most people who visit Milos, Greece do not realize that you can actually hike to Kleftiko Beach. This is probably because this hike is extremely hard to get to. Once you figure out how to get there (see link above), the actual hike only takes about 50 minutes. It’s not a difficult hike but you do need to watch your step as there may be snakes along the path. The hike ends in the famous Kleftiko Beach that’s visited frequently by yachts and cruises!
Some of the best hiking in the world is found in Norway’s vast, desolate landscape. This country has some pretty amazing hiking opportunities but is enormous and difficult to cover on just one trip. To maximize time and efficiency, hike trails that are close distance-wise as traveling in the country does take longer than expected due to strict road laws that prohibit exceeding the speed limit. For a list of amazing hikes that include Trolltunga, Preikestolen and Kjeragbolten as well as lesser known ones like Bondusvatnet and Langfossen, read the best hikes in Norway guide.
Remete Cave Hike – Hiking to Remete Cave in Hungary is a real gem that mostly only locals know about. There are several hiking trails in the area so you can get to it from different towns. It is a great day trip from Budapest to get away from the busy city life. Take the train from Nyugati Station to Nagymaros and then you can start your hike. It is about a 9 km round trip hike which will take about 3 hours. You will get great views from the cave to the River Danube and the mountains. *Travel Hacker Girl*
Camino Primitivo Trail – Camino Primitivo through Asturias and Galicia provinces in northern Spain is one of our favorite hiking trails. The route has a very long history and is considered to be the first Camino de Santiago ever walked. Camino Primitivo or the Original Way was completed for the first time in 9th century by Spanish King Alfonso II as a pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. The total distance of the hike is 321 km and it takes between 12 and 14 days to walk it. The scenery on the Camino Primitivo is fantastic; mountains covered with lush green forest, turquoise colored lakes, small waterfalls and cozy, old towns and pastures with hundreds of cows and sheep around. The walk is quite tough with many hills and mountains to conquer every day but breathtaking views from the top are more than rewarding.
People walking the Camino are called pilgrims due to the origin of the walk. Every night pilgrims stay at special hostels called albergues where only people walking the Camino are allowed to stay. The albergues have good facilities; most of them have wi-fi, a fully equipped kitchen, washing machine etc., Prices are between 5 and 10 Euro per person. Walking the Camino Primitivo is a unique and budget-friendly way to explore some off the beaten path areas of Spain. *Stingy Nomads*
Camino Francés – There are many versions of the Camino de Santiago that lead to the grave of St. James (Santiago in Spanish), but the most famous is the Camino Francés. I started my Camino in St. Jean Pied de Port, a French village just across the border, and then walked 800 kilometers across Spain. Apart from the Pyrenees crossing, the hike is pretty easy and flat. But actually, I view it as more of a pilgrimage rather than a hike. Even for those who are not religious, most who walk it do consider it to be a spiritual experience in the end. For me, the most memorable part was the fellow pilgrims from all walks of life that I met along the way. *The Nomadic Vegan*
Fisherman’s Way – The Fisherman’s Way or Rota Vicentina is a 125 km multi-day hike that takes you from Sagres in the South West corner of the Algarve to Porto Covo in the Alentejo. This part of Portugal is famous for its stunning coastline, and walking the Fisherman’s Way is one of the best ways to experience it. The route is split into sections, each varying in distance and difficulty: some days are hard and some days feel much easier. Overall the average distance is around 14 km per day. Along the way, there are plenty of places to sleep and restaurants to eat at This is definitely one of the world’s most under-rated hikes so it’s worth doing it before it becomes famous. *Portugalist*
Eagle’s Nest Hike– The German Alps has its fair share of traditional gasthauses and scenic mountain views so what makes hiking to the Eagle’s Nest so special? If you didn’t know, the Eagle’s Nest (or Kehlsteinhaus in German) was built in the late 1930s for Adolf Hitler as his mountain retreat for entertaining dignitaries. Since then, it has been converted to a restaurant offering panoramic views of Berchtesgadener Land. Due to its mountain location, you can only get to the Eagle’s Nest two ways: hiking or by bus. And the two hour hike up is a great way to enjoy the scenery and get a workout before enjoying schnitzel and beer at the top! The route is a well marked trail with paved portions so no scrambling is required. While it is quite steep and can be tiring, it’s not overly difficult. Be sure to visit the Documentation Center at the base of the mountain to learn more on the Nazi history of the area. *Countdown to Friday*
Valbona Valley National Park – One of the most beautiful hikes in Albania is the one between Theth and Valbona. It is considered an easy(ish) hike – I did it and I’m not a hiker – and it takes about 6 hours (can be extended by camping along the trail or taking rests). The scenery you come across during this hike is breathtaking and it makes the hike more enjoyable and easier to complete. It is important to know that there are water sources along the way so you can bring your water bottle, and there are also a few places where you can eat traditional food (such as FLIA) and/or have a drink (including Turkish coffee). *Kosovo Girl Travels*
Puy Pariou Hike – Hiking up a volcano in France was one thing I loved ticking off my bucket list. I liked it more than I liked hiking up Vesuvius in Italy because Vesuvius was too crowded, but the Puy Pariou was lovely. We only saw a handful of other people during the 3 or 4 hours we were there. The neighbouring Puy de Dome is supposedly more crowded. The hike is moderately difficult and takes about an hour while walking fast or 2 hours while walking slow, but there are quite a few shady spots with fallen logs that you can sit on to take a break. The trees appeared to form a beautifully arched pathway to the top and the sunlight streaming through in a few places was just perfect! Upon reaching the top, we stopped for a long time to gaze quietly into one of nature’s old wonders. *The Winged Fork*
Gasadalur Hike – There are few villages more stunning than Gasadalur, Faroe Islands. Set in a valley of mountains with a waterfall cascading through it into the ocean, it’s out of a fairytale. But even better, there’s a short but sweet hike via an old postal track that takes you up and over one of the mountains for some unbeatable views of this beautiful area. Reaching the top of the mountain and looking down to see the village below was one of the best moments of any hike I’ve done. Hiking to Gasadalur is easy in terms of distance and terrain but the weather can be very bad and it does take you uncomfortably close to the edge of a cliff! *Lost in the Midlands*
Peak Pilgrimage Hike – The Peak Pilgrimage is a 35-mile hiking route through the valleys of the English Peak District between the villages of Ilam and Eyam. What makes this hike unique is the tragic-heroic story of Eyam. In 1665, the bubonic plague arrived and as villagers succumbed to the disease, the decision was made to quarantine the village, preventing the spread of infection to the surrounding area and saving thousands of lives. Just outside the village is a boundary stone with holes where money was put to soak in vinegar as disinfectant before neighbours collected it in exchange for goods. The walk between Ilam and Eyam is easy-going and beautiful, following the Rivers Dove, Lathkill and Derwent, with plenty of breath-taking spots to reflect on the sacrifice made by the villagers of Eyam. My favourite part is the verdant mossy beauty of Lathkill Dale. *Ipse Wilderness*
Teesdale Way – Following the path mostly of the River Tees from its start at Cross Fell in Cumbria to the North Sea close to Redcar, the 147 kilometre (92 mile) Teesdale Way is a glorious walk that takes in the beauty of the high fells: spectacular waterfalls (Cauldron Snout, High Force and Low Force) and the industrialized landscapes of the North Sea coast.
The route follows much of the more famous and more difficult Pennine Way until Middleton in Teesdale and then ambles down the river to the gorgeous 12th-century town of Barnard Castle. It’s possible to walk between local B&B’s or stay in local pubs en-route and enjoy the ambience of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where I spent my childhood, which of course is why it’s special to me. *A Social Nomad*
Isle of Skye Brothers Point Hike – As one of Scotland’s busiest attractions, it might seem hard to get the Isle of Skye to yourself, that is, until you’ve hiked Brothers’ Point. Located on the Trotternish Loop and down a gravel driveway, Brothers’ Point (Rubha nam Brathairean in Gaelic) is one of the Isle of Skye’s best hidden gems. This easy 2.25 mile (3.5km) hike is my favorite hike not only because of its seclusion and low level of difficulty but also because of the stunning views of the Scottish coastline. Try to spot the recently discovered dinosaur footprints on the beach or hike through the bog alongside a cliff for incredible panoramas of the east coast of Skye. *Life Well Wandered*
The Lycian Way Trail – The Lycian Way is a moderately easy hiking trail that stretches for over 300 miles (500km) along the southern coast of Turkey. We experienced incredible views of the rugged terrain and local farms while overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. This experience is not to be missed. The entire hike can take around 30 days, but if you’re like us and don’t have that much time, you can easily hike a small section for just a few days. One of the best parts about this hike is that you don’t need to camp as the trail passes by small towns with family-run guesthouses. So not only did we get to see gorgeous views and the natural beauty of the area, but we also stayed in cozy B&B’s and ate delicious home-made Turkish food prepared by the locals! *Budget Your Trip*
Best Hikes in Canada
Sulphur Skyline Hike – The Sulphur Skyline hike located in Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada is labeled as a strenuous but very rewarding hike. The distance to complete this hike is 8.8 km round trip, has an elevation loss/gain of 700 meters and takes about 4-6 hours to complete. Even though the hike was challenging, the views at the end were spectacular. The hike to the viewpoint is a steep uphill climb with occasional switchbacks through the forest. Towards the end, the area opens up to stunning 360 degree views of Jasper National Park. In addition to the views, one will have a chance to see mountain goats at the summit. *The Wandering Queen*
Lake Agnes Tea House – Western Canada has some of the best hiking trails in the world. The hike to Lake Agnes Tea House, in particular, is my absolute favorite. I love it because this trail has it all – history, natural landscapes, beautiful lakes and waterfalls. The trail starts at Lake Louise, one of the famous glacial lakes of Banff National Park. From there it’s a 3.8 km hike to the oldest Tea House in Canada. It can be completed in 2 to 3 hrs. Difficulty Level – Medium *Traveling Pari*
Best Hikes in the US
The USA has its own fair share of best treks in the world. You not only have hundreds of hiking trails emanating from the West Coast but the Midwest and East coast both have their fair share of trails. There are top states for hiking, however: Arizona with its famous Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon and Grand Canyon hikes, California and its Yosemite National Park, all of Utah‘s National Parks and of course, Hawaii’s volcano hikes. Each state has its own individual beauty but again, the USA is sizable so make sure you stick to one region or state. If you’re planning to do some California hiking and you only have a week or so, then stick to California for this trip as it travel times are long between most states. Read the best hikes in the US guide for more details.
Best Hikes in the Caribbean & the Americas
La Mina Waterfall Hike – Puerto Rico is SO diverse and there are a thousands things to do. But El Yunque Rainforest is definitely one of the most adventurous places to visit. There are many amazing hikes and waterfalls and such beautiful things to see on every corner. My favorite hike is a super easy 30 minute hike on a walkway that leads to La Mina Waterfall, one of the most magnificent waterfalls I’ve ever seen. The best part? You can jump right in! The best feeling in the world is jumping into the cold, powerful waterfall after a long day hiking around the super humid rainforest. *Maps and Muses*
El Limón Waterfall – El Limón is located deep within the jungle of the Dominican Republic. The views along the path are filled with trees and greenery but the ultimate view is at the end when you reach the waterfall. The hike takes about 1-2 hours depending on your pace. It’s a pretty straight path, though uneven, so wear sneakers.
Mount Liamuiga – This is an incredible hike to the top of a volcano on the island of St. Kitts. The hike itself is extremely challenging; there are many times when you have to use both your hands and feet to grab and climb on tree roots. You will be exhausted at the end but it is 100% worth it. The length of time to complete the hike all depends on fitness levels. We completed it in about 3.5 hours; however, our guide told us he does it in 1.5 hours. As a note, the end is extremely sketchy as you have to basically scale a rock using tree roots to pull yourself up. I’m not usually one to promote using a guide for hiking but admittedly, I was grateful for him as not only got us up safely but also was able to get this amazing photo of us!
W Trek in Torres Del Paine – Patagonia is a giant mass of wilderness at the southern tip of South America, and Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile is home to some of the region’s most breathtaking scenery. The W Trek is a hiking route that navigates the park’s spectacular maze of granite towers, snow-capped mountains, mirrored lakes, glaciers and forests. While it’s not a difficult technical hike, there is a fair amount of elevation gain and the long distances require stamina and endurance. It’s worth it for the relentless natural beauty all around, and the magical moment when you emerge into view of Grey Glacier at the west end of the trail. *Career Gappers*
Lopes Mendes Hike – Lopes Mendes has been voted one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil and the world. The challenge is that there are only two ways to get there: either by foot or by boat. Ilha Grande does not allow any cars so the island has remained well protected. This makes for some rather wild paths from Abraao, the main town, to Lopes Mendes. The hike is a bit challenging as some paths are quite steep and the heat really gets to you after a while. It takes about 3 hours and you will need hiking boots and a lot of water. It will, however, reward you with some amazing views of the island and of course at the end a white sand slice of paradise. *Claire Imaginarium*
Pedra da Gavea – Rio is known for its famous beaches, thrilling carnival, awesome natural beauty and unparalleled landscape dotted with impressive mountains that leaves everyone in awe. One of these is Pedra da Gavea, (Stone of Gavea), a huge mountain that stands 844 m (2,769 ft) above sea level and is one of the highest mountains in the world that ends directly in the ocean. It also provides the setting of what is known as the most difficult hike in Rio. What makes the hike so special is that Pedra da Gavea is located within the biggest urban forest in the world, The Tijuca National Park. Being at the top of Pedra da Gavea was marvelous! I had one of the most breathtaking views of Rio that I had ever seen. *7 Continents 1 Passport*
El Chaltén – Our favorite hike in El Chaltén, Argentina is Mirador del Cerro Torre. On a clear day, you’ll see the peak of the famous Monte Fitz Roy and the lovely glaciers surrounding it. It’s only 3km each way and easy enough that my 6yo conquered the whole thing, but the views and the sense of accomplishment are incredibly rewarding! There are some technical sections requiring light scrambling, but all that just makes the hike that much more fun. *The Family Voyage*
Acatenango Volcano Hike – Acatenango is a volcano about 3976 meters above sea level, located outside of Antigua, a couple of hours from Guatemala City. The hike is tough, but I would say you can do it without a lot of preparation. Take into consideration that you should acclimate to the altitude for a day or two before you head off. Most people do the guided hike over 2 days. From the camp you get the most amazing views over several volcanoes including an active volcano called Volcano Fuego, and if you’re lucky, you can see it erupt during the night. Getting up early in the morning to catch the sunrise from the very top of the volcano was worth every drop of sweat and aching muscle. What makes this one of my absolute favorite hikes was not only the breathtaking views but also seeing the volcano erupt with glowing magma. *Why Not Ju*
Best Hikes in Peru
Huayhuash Circuit – The Cordillera Blanca Mountain Range in Northern Peru is famous among hikers and climbers for being very beautiful, but it is also famous for being very challenging. The extreme high altitude mixed with harsh weather conditions make it a difficult area to explore. However, being somewhat determined and stubborn, I wasn’t going to let the warnings of others stop me from conquering what many claim is the most beautiful hike in the area – the Huayhuash Circuit.
The Huayhuash Circuit is 8 days of hiking at altitudes of 4,000-5,000m (13,000-16,500 feet) above sea level. Each day was a struggle and even just getting out of my sleeping bag every morning with weather below zero was a challenge! However, it was the most beautiful hike I’ve ever done with huge mountains surrounding me the entire way and blue coloured lakes. I am already planning my return to do it again! *Destinationless Travel*
Lares Trek – When most people think of Peru, they think about the Inca trail and Machu Picchu. However, even if your end goal is seeing Machu Picchu in the morning light, there is a lot more to the beautiful Andes than the Inca trail. If you’re a history buff and want to see lots and lots of Incan ruins, do the Inca trail.
The Lares trek is about untouched nature, seeing a couple of local villages and really soaking in the beauty of the Andes. It’s a demanding three day hike but the opportunity to immerse yourself in nature without another soul around (other than your trek family of about 10) is a wonderful experience. Day 1 of the trek is a warm up, still at relatively low elevation and the terrain is largely paths and gravel roads. Day 2 is the most demanding but also yields the most spectacular views. During this day you will see snow-capped mountains, llamas and alpacas roaming freely and stunning lakes and rivers nestled in the dramatic mountain landscape. You may also find out what altitude sickness looks like. If you’re anything like me you will curse and wonder why you did this to yourself but you’ll still take about a million photos, smiling all the way through because you realise it’s the most spectacular and physically challenging thing you have done in your life.
When I reached the summit at 4,800 metres (15,748ft), I sat down on a boulder, promising myself not to move for a while and gazing down on the world while counting my blessings. Lares trek is undoubtedly magical. You get to see a part of the world that seems inaccessible. And the reward for this gargantuan effort on day 2? A dangerous and challenging trek down on the other side of the mountain over unstable gravel. This is where people slip and fall. I know I did. The irony of the Lares Trek is that the harder the trekking, the better the views. So while I was trying to stay vertical, I was graced with views of beautiful valleys nestled between mountain ranges. And day 3? Day 3 is about wishing you didn’t have to leave. *Pocket Guide to the World*
Machu Picchu Hike – A true bucket list worthy hike, the Inca Trail is 26.2 miles of pure torture. It’s rated as moderate but it is a 4-5 day trek with 6-8 hours of hiking a day with significant altitude gain. But you know what they say, the bigger the risk the bigger the reward, and in this case you’re rewarded with one of the last remaining ancient wonders of the world, a truly incredible sight to behold. To protect the sensitive environment, they only award 500 permits a day so you must go with an officially designated guide and plan your trip months in advance. *The Down Lo*
Laguna 69 – All you need is to see a picture of the incredible icy blue glacial lake to decide it’s worth it. This is a challenging, but doable trek. Walking up will take around 3 hours. The first part is pretty steady; you will walk through grassland, past grazing cows, over streams and denser green vegetation. About halfway through it starts to get harder, the path gets steeper and the air gets thinner. You may only walk a few yards and be out of breath. But just as you feel like giving up, you will see a tiny glimpse of that blue lake. Seeing Laguna 69 in full view is breathtaking. The lake sits at 4600 metres above sea level but the good news is that coming back down is a lot easier. The lower you descend the more energy you feel! This trek can be difficult at times but it’s totally worth the effort. The amazing photo opportunities and scenery alone are enough to keep you going. *Honest Explorer*
Best Hikes in Africa
Robberg Nature Reserve Hike – The Robberg Nature Reserve hike is generally recognized as the most beautiful hike in the famous Garden Route in South Africa. Not only does it offer splendid views on posh Plettenberg Bay, it will also take you along a colony of sunbathing fur seals. The scenery is spectacular and changes as you make your way to ‘the point’, the farthest point of the peninsula where the waves crash violently against the algae-colored rocks. The complete loop of the peninsula is 11km and contains some steep inclines and declines near ‘the point’. There are 2 shorter alternatives that won’t take you as far into the peninsula but are still worthwhile. Although, in my opinion, some of the most spectacular views are concentrated near ‘the point’. *Wapiti Travel*
Ribbok Trail – Golden Gate Highlands National Park in South Africa’s Free State province stretches over 340km2 of grasslands and Afromontane forest. It is home to various mammals, such as black wildebeests, blesboks, elands, as well as 257 bird and 117 beetle species. But perhaps it is best known for its towering sandstone peaks that have been carved by the elements over millenia. Of the eight hiking routes, the Ribbok Trail is the longest and most difficult. This 28km hiking trail takes around 4-5 hours on day one and 6-8 hours on day two when it ascends a 600-metres gradient. We overnighted alongside the river in the Ribbok Hut which has no electricity, though firewood is available to make a fire in the donkey shower for heating shower water. At the end of the well-marked route, you pass Langtwoon Dam and can take a refreshing dip in the rock pools. *Eager Journeys*
Tugela Falls Hike – Tugela Falls is the highest waterfall in Africa and the second in the world. But you don’t need to tackle a grueling multi-day hike to appreciate this natural wonder. All you need is about a day in South Africa’s famous Drakensberg mountain range. The difficulty level for the Tugela Falls hike is moderate. Expect a steep winding uphill start, followed by a hair-raising chain ladder climb up to the plateau of the mountain. Once there, it’s an easy walk alongside the river before it drops off into the escarpment below. For hikers looking for more of an adventure, there’s a small hut where you can spend the evening. It’s a spectacular spot for star-gazing, sweeping views of the landscape and watching the sunrise over the South Africa and Lesotho border. *Wanderlust Movement*
Mount Nyiragongo Volcano Hike – Hiking up to the summit of Mount Nyiragongo was one of the most thrilling travel experiences I’ve had. Towering high above the infamous Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nyiragongo is an active volcano that boasts the largest lava lake in the world. While the grueling 6-hour hike isn’t for the faint of heart, reaching the summit right before dark and getting the chance to spend the night sleeping beside crashing waves of bright-red lava is one of Africa’s most alluring experiences. *No Hurry To Get Home*
Mount Longonot Trail – Located just off the Rift Valley, Mount Longonot is a popular hiking destination not only for tourists but also for Kenyans living in Nairobi or nearby. The trek starts with an easy walk between zebras, antelopes and giraffes. It then turns into medium difficulty for about an hour until you reach the rim of the volcano. From here the 7.2km tour is easy for most people, with only some short steep sectors. At the top you can enjoy a wonderful view over the valley, in particular overlooking Lake Naivasha and Hell’s Gate which lie near the volcano. If you cannot make it during the week, my suggestion is to leave as early as possible to avoid both people and heat. *Humanitalian*
Best Hikes in Australia
Natural Bridge Hike – I love the Natural Bridge hike in Springbrook National Park in Queensland, Australia for three main reasons. First, it’s one of the rare, leisurely yet exciting walks that I can do with my not-so-young or not-so-healthy relatives, even on a hot day. The bitumen path along the rainforest is well maintained, which is incredible considering how remote we are into the rainforest. Second, it leads to a scenic waterfall that breaks into a cave. Third, the most determined visitors who are willing to stay after dark will get rewarded with fascinating glow worms lighting the cave ceiling and glowing mushrooms along the path. *My Favourite Escapes*
Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk – If the weather’s fine, you can’t beat a stroll along the picturesque NSW coastline on the popular Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk. I like to start at Waverley Cemetery, where you can usually even find a place to park the car. The path keeps walkers off the road and is an easy stroll with a few hills; and I love the spectacular views from the cliffs out to the open ocean. At the right time of year, it’s popular for the views of Whales on their migratory routes. If you fancy a swim, you have the choices of Bronte, Tamarama or Bondi beaches on your way. Annually in October, this stretch of coastline plays host to the free Sculptures by the Sea exhibition, showcasing the work of local and international artists set against the backdrop of the ocean or integrated with the cliffs. From Waverley Cemetery to Bondi Beach is an easy distance of 2.8kilometres. There is minimal shade so don’t forget the hat and sunscreen to protect you from the sun! *Globe Blogging*
Butterbox Hike – The Blue Mountains in NSW, Australia is known for its beautiful dramatic scenery. It is a major tourist destination in Australia so it can be hard to get away from the crowds when you stick to the typical lookouts and bushwalking trails. One lesser known hike is the Butterbox hike which is located at the end of Mount Hay Road. It is rated as a hard walking track (although we did the hike with our baby in a carrier). The 3.1km hike will take you anywhere from 1 to 1.5hrs to complete.
The walk will take you down a narrow and rocky path through the bushlands and around Mount Hay. The views over the Blue Mountains canyons and cliffs are truly spectacular so make sure to take a small picnic basket along and sit down to simply enjoy the views. *Mum Knows Best*
Best Hikes in New Zealand
For a detailed look at New Zealand’s spectacular hiking, read the best hikes in New Zealand guide which includes Rangitoto Volcano Hike and The Tongariro Alpine Crossing on the North Island as well as Kepler Track and Abel Tasman Hike on the South Island.