Whether it's a personal goal, a tick on your bucket list, or your love for nature; hiking is a great way to explore a country and what it has to offer. Walking through nature and connecting with it will leave you in awe of how amazing planet Earth really is, and how wonderful it is to be able to enjoy its splendour!
From elephants roaming close to glaciers in the surreal Mountains of the Moon, to the absolute serenity and peace of the Tonquin valley, here are the 7 best hiking trails in the world.
Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/karlnorling
The Inca trail is a must on every hiker’s bucket list. This mysterious trail will lead you to the once, long-lost city of Machu Picchu, Peru. It is one of the most famous and recognisable archaeological sites, and was discovered by accident in 1911! Machu Picchu can be reached by bus or train, but it’s not the same as taking the same route the ancient Incas took to build this once, great city.
The Peruvian government only gives permits to 200 hikers and 300 porters for a day due to the immense popularity of the trail, so be sure to book in advance. The whole hike takes 3 - 4 days to complete. Permits are fully booked in advance especially during the high season, which is during the months of June to August. The Inca trail is shut down in February for maintenance.
It is recommended to hire a guide as they will provide you with the history of the trail and its other attributes, as well as help you with the camping procedure. However, taking the hike without a guide is just as rewarding, as the other hikers you meet on the trail will make conversation and end up being your friends as they accompany you through the hike. You don’t have to carry a heavy bag filled with travel items; you just need to pack the essential daily items - the porters will carry the remainder in a duffel bag, straight up to the camp site.
The Inca Trail is quite an experience as it will connect you with the ancient Incas who used this trail, and the sunrise at Macchu Picchu will leave you in awe. Don’t forget to take a llama selfie!
The King’s Trail is Sweden’s legendary 275-mile gateway into Western Europe’s last great wilderness, making it one of the best treks in Europe. The trail begins 100 miles inside the Arctic Circle, and would take between 4 days to a week to complete. Due to multiple entry and exit points along the trail, you have the option of hiking for only short segments of the trail.
The trail winds through Birch forests and offers views of the open tundra and huge glaciers, with low angle lighting that’s sure bring a tear to your eye due to the overwhelming vastness and beauty of the “far north”.
The trail is scattered with huts set up by the Swedish Tourist Association, and fully stocked. If you want a more leisurely hike you can spend a day hiking and stop at a hut, the distance between each hut is about 13 - 21Km (8 – 13 Miles), or you can skip some of the huts and continue on your hike, and camp along the way.
The trail is busiest in August as it is holiday season for Europeans, however if you are looking for a more solitary experience go in September, less people and less bugs! Besides, you may be greeted by the Nordic wilderness’s famous residents - the reindeer.
Picture Credit - Jean-Christophe BENOIST
One of Earth’s geological marvels, no hiker’s list of trails is complete without the Grand Canyon. The Colorado River and its many tributaries have carved out this marvellous canyon from the surrounding rock for millions of years. It's been home to many Native American tribes for thousands of years, and is regarded by them as a holy site.
The immense canyon is 277 miles in length and 18 miles wide with a depth of a mile. The hike takes 4 – 6 days, unlike most hikes the Grand Canyon hike begins at the top and ends at the bottom. Most people go from May - October, however if you want to avoid the crowds, go during March or November for a more contemplative experience.
The hike is no easy feat; however, you will be rewarded by the sheer splendour of the surroundings. You can rest at the several campsites such as Bright Angel Campground or even enjoy a pre-booked stay at the exclusive lodge, Phantom Ranch. You can hire a mule service to transport your gear from one campsite to the next, however be sure to have a well-sorted day pack - you have to pay a certain fee for this facility.
It’s called the Grand Canyon for a reason, so bask in its grandeur and take the wonderful memories home with you.
Photo Credit - Diego Delso
The Bay of Fires will offer you dramatic landscapes, secluded coves, white sandy beaches and the turquoise blue Tasman Sea, setting it apart from other hike trails. It is a guided trip which takes four days to complete; a round trip of the trail is 16 miles long.
It is a serene landscape that will leave you awe-struck and is teeming with unique wildlife and flora. The bay was named ‘Bay of Fires’ in 1711 by the Captain of the ship, Adventure, who saw the fires of the aboriginal people along the beaches.
You will be accompanied by the sea up until you come across the granite boulders covered in red lichen, or forests along the shoreline, which will take you away from the beach for a bit. There are three lodging accommodations along the trail.
The Bay of Fires is a must-visit due to its unique beauty.
It sounds exactly what it looks like, and it looks like something out of a tropical fairytale. With elephants roaming around high altitude glaciers, Mountains of the Moon is a surreal landscape and a once in a lifetime experience, so be sure to add it to your list.
The hike takes 6 to 7 days, and the round trip is 38 miles. It is recommended to hire guides and porters, their charges aren’t that expensive and they know the way very well as they are locals. The Ruwenzori range lies on the Uganda-Congo border, and is the highest mountain range in Africa.
There is a three day hike through two 14,000-foot passes and surreal forests of giant groundsel and lobeilias ending at the Bujuku Hut Base camp if you want to climb Mount Sepeke. If you want to climb the glaciers, and Mount Stanley, which offers unique views of the Congo Basin, hike for one more day to Elena Hut. Two more days on the trail will take you to Scott Elliot Pass, and back to the starting point for your return to Kampala.
You have to hike through the Mountains of the Moon to believe it!
Photo credit - www.adventurejordan.com
This trail will lead you to the mystical city carved out of the rose-coloured stone, Petra. Once occupied by nomadic Arabs – the Nabaetaens – Petra was a trading hub. It has been deemed a heritage site by UNESCO since 1984.
The trail begins at the ancient city of Dana, leading you to the Feynan Eco-lodge from where you will enter the vast Wadi Araba expanse, climb the Sharah Mountains and pass by iconic oasis and Bedouin camps before reaching magnificent Petra.
The roundtrip is 50 miles, and the full trek will take 7 days. This trek is quite gruelling but the end result is so rewarding. Seeing the breathtaking architectural monument, Al Deir - The Monastery – at the end of your journey will make it all worthwhile.
It is recommended to go during October through to April, as the temperatures are not so high. Book a tour with Adventure Jordan, as they discovered this route that goes through the dessert and the mountains.
Take this trail and feel like a Bedouin nomad, and let the mystical beauty of Petra take your breath away.
Photo credit - ThartmannWiki, commons.wikimedia.org
This beautiful and serene area of the Jasper National Park is gaining popularity amongst hikers, so it should be on your list of hiking trails. With an amazing view of the surrounding landscape, this is a trail that’s sure to give you peace of mind.
A round trip in this horseshoe shaped trail is 27 miles, and takes 3 to 5 days to complete. With the Ramparts range looming over the Amethyst lake at its feet, the sight is calming and gives you a sense of how overwhelmingly beautiful nature is.
If you're wary about grizzly bears roaming the surrounding forests, you can opt to book accommodation at a wilderness lodge instead of camping outside in the open. This trail caters to all fitness levels and can even be trekked on horseback.
Whilst enjoying the serenity of the surroundings, be sure to say hello to the wild caribou who roam around the area.
These hikes will make you contemplate the sheer vastness of nature and what it has to offer, it may even reveal things about your own self that you never knew before. So start getting that hiking gear and book those flight tickets, because these hiking destinations are not to be missed!