Last updated on May 15th, 2021
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Hiking is one of the most popular forms of exercise in the world. Not only can it drastically improve your fitness, but it also allows you to explore wild and wonderful places that you would otherwise never have known about.
Whether you like rocky landscapes or beautiful beaches, hiking will always have something to offer. Some of the world’s most stunning hiking trails may take you to remote and otherwise untouched areas. This is why hiking is a great way to explore and experience things that the average person could only dream of.
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For inspiration, we’ll be listing and discussing 12 of the best and most beautiful places to hike. If you are looking to add an element of adventure to your life, be sure to try out some of the beautiful trails mentioned below.
Best Places to Hike and Backpack in the World
1. The Himalayas
Bhutan is one of the lesser-known and traveled countries in the world. With that being said, it is perfect for hikers who enjoy spending time away from the hustle and bustle of busy towns and tourist attractions.
With fantastic adventures, including the Snowman Trek, Laya Gasa Trek, and Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek, you will have several options to choose from. Some of these hikes last up to a whole month, making them both challenging and rewarding.
If you are looking for something a little easier, the Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek lasts only 6 days. The trails are also relatively simple, meaning that you do not have to be an experienced hiker to complete the challenge.
The Mount Everest Base Camp Hike is a bucket list option that all hikers look to complete at least once. This challenge lasts 14 whole days and is usually taken in groups of 12 to 18. On this adventure, you will get to explore wonderful Sherpa villages and towns. On top of that, you will get to admire the beautiful sunrise view over the summit of Mount Everest from Kala Patthar.
Kashmir is another great option. For example, the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek lasts 8 days and is of medium difficulty. It crosses numerous streams, lakes, and colorful alpine meadows. You will also be hiking at an altitude of over 4,000 meters above sea level, making it a tremendous challenge for any hiker. It is also important to note that you will have to follow trails that feature steep cliffs and drop-offs, so consider that if you’re scared of heights.
Iceland is one of the most magnificent countries in all of Europe, and it’s an attractive option for enthusiastic hikers around the world.
Mount Esja is just one stunning trail for you to consider in Iceland. Even though it is relatively short (only lasting roughly 5 hours in total), it will expose you to views of a lifetime. You will also need little to no experience to complete this excursion, making it perfect for hikers of all skill levels.
One of the most attractive features of this hike is the fact that it follows a mountain stream, which allows you to refill your water bottle with fresh water at any time. The path conditions are also fantastic and well-marked. Once you have completed the hike, you can stop at the foothill cafe for a bite to eat.
Kjolur is another fantastic option for hikers who are looking for something slightly more challenging. This adventure lasts up to 3 days. You will spend between 4 and 7 hours hiking each day, depending on how fast you move.
It is important to note that this hike is rather tough, so a guide is essential. However, with stunning views and beautiful hot springs along the way, it’s definitely worth trying out!
Peru is home to some of the world’s best and most beautiful hiking trails.
The Rainbow Mountain or Vinicunca trek is just one of these examples. This adventure will take you around three hours, depending on your speed. However, due to the high altitude, it is more challenging than you may think. The final ascent is especially tough.
With that being said, the view from the top is more than worth the effort. This route is roughly 10km long and is rated as difficult. Used for bird watching, hiking, and nature trips, you cannot go wrong with this choice.
The Cordillera Blanca is filled with a number of beautiful trails, including Laguna 69, Santa Cruz, and Huayhuash. Compared to some of the other options on this list, the treks mentioned above are lesser-known and underrated. With stunning views, beautiful lakes, and plenty of privacy, you will love all three of these options.
Laguna Paron will take you past one of the most breathtaking lakes in the world. Covered with jagged snow-covered peaks and crystal clear lagoons, this adventure should definitely not be overlooked. Sitting at 4,200 meters above sea level, this hike is not for the faint of heart. You can even spend a night at a shelter or campsite near the lake if you wish to extend the experience.
Lastly, the Machu Picchu and Salkantay hikes are two of the most famous and popular in the world. The former follows the original trails that the Incas used from the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu. You will also be able to observe impressive sites and historical artifacts, making it perfect for history lovers.
The Salkantay Trek is set at the highest peaks of the Humantay Mountains. On this adventure, you will be able to view some of the most beautiful places in Cusco, including snow-covered mountains and the Salkantay Pass. This trail peaks at 6,271 meters above sea level, making it both challenging and a trip of a lifetime.
The hike to the top of Mount Bromo in Indonesia is not a difficult one. Peaking at 2,329 meters above sea level, this trail takes just 45 minutes to complete one-way. However, even though it is not particularly tough, the view from the top of the crater is simply awe-inspiring. On top of this, if you prefer trails that are not cramped with thousands of tourists, this option may be perfect for you.
However, if you are looking for a slightly longer hike, the climb to the top of Mount Semeru is undoubtedly an option to consider. This hike will take between 5 and 7 hours, depending on your fitness level and speed. With that being said, you are likely to stop often to take lots of pictures of the magnificent scenery. Most tourists who complete this hike enjoy watching the sunrise or sunset from the top.
If you are interested in viewing the wildlife in the area, Gunung Leuser National Park is the spot for you. The Orangutan Trek will take you deep into the park to view the vast Orangutan population within. On top of the magnificent wildlife, the views are also stunning and attract plenty of tourists year-round.
Jordan is another underrated country that is filled with a number of stunning trails.
For example, the Petra Trail is just over 11 kilometers long and will take around 4 hours to complete. The difficulty rating of this hike is average – however, the views are anything but average. Used for bird watching and hiking, this route will take you through canyons and caves. You will also be able to view unique architecture from thousands of years ago. This hike is one for the bucket list for those of you who enjoy history.
The Wadi Ghuweir Trek is exactly 27 kilometers long and features an elevation gain of over 1,000 meters. It’s much more challenging than the Petra hike, making a guide recommendable. You will be taken through various tunnels and caves to view ancient buildings and carvings. You will also have to cross several rivers to complete this point-to-point trail.
Lastly, the Dana Biosphere Reserve is a stunning nature reserve that features a few beautiful trails. With a unique landscape, you are unlikely to have seen anything like this hike in your life. These trails also take you through stunning canyons and caves.
The Lycian Trail in Turkey stretches for about 500 kilometers and offers incredible views. With many stops, including one at Patara Beach, the natural beaches of Kas, and the historic ruins of Olympos, you will be blown away by the natural beauty of this area. This excursion will take you 29 days to complete, making it incredibly challenging. However, if you are an enthusiastic hiker, it’s definitely a bucket list adventure. You will get to view several traditional Turkish settlements, nomadic footpaths, and ancient Roman roads. In total, this hike passes through 25 historical sites.
Uludag Mountain is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Turkey. During the winter months, it is famous for skiing. However, in the summer, it offers an absolutely magnificent hiking trail. You will be able to explore colorful meadows, rocky areas, glacial lakes, and so much more. The trail leads from Sarialan to Cobankaya and will take you roughly 3 days to complete.
Cappadocia is a hiker’s paradise, as it features unique landscapes and an abundance of historical sites. A few of the area’s most popular hiking trails can be found in the Pigeon and Love Valleys. While on this adventure, you will be able to view Cappadocia’s famous chimneys, rock churches, and unique rock formations.
7. The Rockies
The Rockies are filled with numerous hiking trails that should unquestionably be on any hiker’s bucket list.
In the US, Yellowstone is home to Mount Washburn, a stunning hike that takes you past open meadows and gnarled rock faces. The route is just over 7km long, making it perfect for slightly less-experienced hikers. The views are also out-of-this-world, making it an incredibly popular hike amongst the locals.
The Cascade Canyon Trail in Grand Teton is another superb option. This 14.6km hike will take you through spectacular lakes, meadows, and rocky canyons. It is also quite moderate in terms of its difficulty rating, so it is perfect for just about anyone.
The Iceberg Lake Trail in the incredible Glacier National Park is by far one of the most captivating hiking trails you will find in the world. On this 15-kilometer excursion, you will pass Altyn Peak and Mount Wilbur. The trail offers views of a waterfall and a stunning emerald lake with floating icebergs.
On the Canadian side, you can choose to hike to Lake Louise or Lake Moraine in Banff National Park. The former will take you roughly 1.5 hours one-way, while the latter takes just 45 minutes. Even though the difficulty is basic, the views are outstanding. On both hikes, you will be able to view stunning, crystal clear lakes, rocky cliffs, and pine forests. Also, the snow-capped mountains are absolutely breathtaking during the colder months.
If you are looking for something slightly longer, the Emerald Lake Trail in Yoho National Park is just under 11 kilometers. This loop features an elevation gain of 380 meters. While sections of the hike are partially paved, you will also walk through rocky areas and pine forests. On top of this, you will get to view stunning waterfalls, rivers, snow-capped mountains, and tons of wildlife.
Lastly, Jasper National Park offers a few beautiful trails that you should consider when in the area. For example, the Old Fort Point Loop is just under 4 kilometers long and has a moderate difficulty rating. With that being said, you will get to view stunning lakes, rivers, and rocky cliffs while on this adventure. The area is also filled with wildlife and fauna, making it perfect for nature lovers.
Often considered the Mecca of hiking and backpacking, Patagonia in the deep south of the Americas should not be missed.
El Chalten, Argentina, is filled with wonderful trails for hikers of different levels. For example, you can journey up to Condor Lookout to view some of the most beautiful sunrises in the world. This hike is only 1 hour long and is easy, making it perfect for small children.
The Fitz Roy Trek is another gorgeous hike in El Chalten with aesthetic photo opportunities. Starting from town, you will cover 10km one-way. Most people complete the roundtrip in 8 or 9 nine hours. It’s also difficult with steep climbing at the end.
The Perito Moreno Glacier Walk is a hike like no other. As the name suggests, you will walk across the magnificent glacier of Perito Moreno. The adventure also includes a ferry ride, making it diverse and exciting. The duration is between 5 and 10 hours.
Torres del Paine is the crown jewel of Chile and famous for the O and W circuits. Both hikes include some of the biggest attractions of Torres del Paine, such as granite peaks, glaciers, and stunning lakes. These routes are perfect for nature enthusiasts who appreciate wildlife and beautiful scenery.
The Tierra Del Fuego National Park is one of the most beautiful areas of South America. The Sendero Costera Trail is roughly 7.5 kilometers long and will take you roughly 2 to 3 hours to complete. The views are absolutely incredible, featuring vast lakes, ice-capped mountain peaks, and numerous glaciers.
9. Norwegian Fjords
Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) is a massive tourist attraction in Norway. This hike is only 2 kilometers long one-way, but includes 350 meters of elevation gain. The views from the top are out-of-this-world. The area is also rich in wildlife and different plant species.
The Kjeragbolten hike is another fantastic option for you to check out in Norway. This adventure is 12km roundtrip and includes an elevation gain of 570 meters. The hike is also strenuous, making it perfect for hikers who love a challenge. You should complete the hike in between 6 and 8 hours. The journey includes hiking up rock faces, adding an element of thrill and adventure. Also, the views are top-notch.
10. The Alps
The Gornergrat hike can be found in Zermatt, Switzerland. It’s an easy 4.5km point-to-point trek and will take you between 3 and 5 hours to complete. Once you have scaled this mountain, you will be able to view the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, and Pollux peaks. The scenery of this hike is stunning, earning it a reputation for being one of the best trails in the Alps.
Another great hiking trail that hikers should consider to explore the Alps is the Tour du Mont Blanc. This route takes you around the Mont Blanc massif, starting in France, going through Italy, and ending in Switzerland. Lasting 10 days, you will get to view some of the most exquisite and breathtaking scenery in the world. Crystal clear lakes, glaciers, and ice-capped peaks are just a few of the stunning features you will walk past.
11. New Zealand
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is arguably the most famous hiking trail in all of New Zealand. The trail is just under 20 kilometers long and reaches a maximum peak of 1,886 meters. The trail difficulty is moderate, making it the perfect challenge for any hiker.
This hike is a bucket list experience. You will cover vast landscapes that feature crystal clear lakes and meadows. Most of the walk is over raw volcanic terrain, including solidified lava flows, loose tephra, and lava bombs. This adventure offers a truly unique experience.
New Zealand is home to other beautiful hikes in the world. The Whanganui journey includes river crossings, meaning that you will need to kayak or canoe certain sections. If you are looking for a true adventure, this hike may be perfect for you. The 5-day trip even includes a night spent in a Marae, which adds an element of culture.
On top of this, the Lake Waikaremoana Track is a moderate hike that includes plenty of history and culture. You will discover a plethora of wildlife and stunning scenery on this journey, including waterfalls, beaches, rainforests, rivers, and misty valleys. The adventure lasts between 3 and 4 days, depending on your fitness level and speed.
Ol Doinyo Lengai is the only active volcano in Tanzania. The hike to the top will take you between 6 and 10 hours. This track is perfect for those hikers who are looking for a unique challenge. You will cover over 1,600 meters of elevation within just 5 kilometers, making it incredibly steep. The peak is over 2,960 meters above sea level and is made out of carbonatite rock.
The 6-day Mount Meru hike is an excellent option if you are looking for a slightly longer hike. This trip will take you 6 days. Reaching a peak of 4,566 meters, this hike is certainly an adventure of a lifetime.
Lastly, one of the most popular hikes in the world can be found in this beautiful country. The Mount Kilimanjaro hike will take you 9 days to complete. Even though the terrain is relatively easy to walk up, this hike is brutal and should not be taken lightly. In fact, less than half of climbers actually reach the summit, making it an incredible adventure and challenge. The peak is nearly 5,600 meters above sea level.
Hiking is a great way to expand your knowledge of the world and experience exciting adventures. If you are looking for some of the world’s best and most beautiful trails, you may want to look into the countries listed above.
The Himalayas offer some of the world’s most popular trails, including the Mount Everest Base Camp Trek. Iceland is a highly underappreciated country that offers some of the most incredible and unique views you will ever see. Peru and Indonesia are also known for their great hiking expeditions.
Whatever you may be looking for, the places mentioned above are sure to have something just for you.