9 Best Hiking Trails in the World

Must-do hikes for every adventurous soul

Kristina

|June 5, 2019

Kristina has been writing for the internet of things since 2010 and has recently moved from tech-themed op-eds to outdoor adventure writing. She enjoys writing about adventures in nature just as much as embarking upon them herself.


While hiking might not be the fastest means of getting around, there’s no better way to immerse yourself in nature. Losing yourself into the unknown of the trail, following the path of thousands, and listening to nothing but the sounds of nature, places you in a state of peace and tranquility.


From spiritual pilgrimages to thru-hiking and backpacking, trekking is an activity loved by both body and soul.

Looking for the next trail to tick off your list? Take a look at the 9 extraordinary hikes listed below.

Whether you're a history buff or love some wildlife watching, you’ll find something to your liking.

3 must-do hikes for nature lovers

1. West Coast Trail

Women Walking On West Coast Trail

West Coast Trail

Destination: Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Length: 46 mi (75 km)

Features: Indian Reserves, First Nations archeological sites, abundant wildlife

Travel in the footsteps of the First Nations People as the exceptional landscapes and untamed wildlife of Vancouver Island unfold in front of you.

Expect lighthouses, tidepools, pebble beaches, old-growth forests, and waterfalls. Wildlife is rich on the island, with bears, cougars, hummingbirds, wolves, gray whales, orcas, seals, eagles, and sea lions common sights. 

As one of the most popular hiking trails in the world, the WCT requires a reservation made in advance and hikers should prepare a solid hiking plan. Take a break from planning and opt for a hike the West Coast Trail with an experienced guide?

2. Appalachian Trail

Women On The Rock

Appalachian Trail

Destination: Georgia to Maine, United States

Length: 2,200 mi (3,500 km)

Features: longest, hiking-only trail in the world

Cross 14 states on the world’s longest hiking-only trail. From start to finish, the AT takes approximately 5 to 7 months to complete. Built in 1937, the trail is home to black bears, deer, elk, and other curious wildlife. 

3. Skyline Trail

Skyline Trail Jasper National Park Canada

Skyline Trail

Destination: Jasper National Park, Canada

Length: 27 miles (44 km)

Features: above the treeline, unpredictable weather, picturesque

Cited as the most picturesque trail in the Candian Rockies, Skyline Trail in Jasper National Park definitely has it all!

This rich trail takes you across alpine ridges, where snow-capped peaks are visible until late August, and past turquoise-colored lakes.

There are two possible starting points to the trail: at the shores of Maligne Lake and at the Signal Mountain. We recommend starting at Maligne Lake, as the elevation at that point is higher and the views are better.

While not very challenging, the steep elevation and unpredictable weather conditions can make it more demanding at times.

Campsites are located every few miles, but as the trail is a popular destination, we recommend you join a guided tour. Our guides give you the time to explore not only the best parts of Skyline Trail, but also the best of Banff and Jasper National Parks.

3 must-do hikes for history nuts

1. Transcaucasian Trail

Transcaucasian Trail

Transcaucasian Trail

Destination: Caucasus Mountains

Length: 1,864 mi (3000 km)

Features: off-the-beaten path, historic relics and sites

Always dreamed of building a hiking trail? Now is your chance to join the passionate group of people bringing the Transcaucasian Trail to life.

While the full trail is not yet ready to be hiked, there are parts of it in Armenia and Georgia ready to be explored!

Follow in the footsteps of historic peoples, and learn about the famous Silk Road along the way. The region is famous as the birthplace of wine and having over 40 indigenous languages are spoken across the region!

The trail traverses the Greater and Lesser Caucasus Mountains, which can only mean an abundance of awe-inspiring views at your fingertips. Head over to be one of the first!

2. Camino de Santiago

Man Walking On Camino De Santiago

Camino de Santiago

Destination: Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Length: 484 mi (780 km)

Features: pilgrimage, many possiblwe paths, easy

If you’re looking to simply disconnect from the chaos of the modern world and reunite with nature and yourself - Camino de Santiago pilgrimage is perfect. There are many different paths leading to the Santiago de Compostela and you can choose the length, difficulty, and scenery of your hike based on your needs and capabilities. The most popular is the French Way, starting in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.

Walking any chosen Camino trail should be easily attainable for anyone who is determined. There are plenty of accommodation options and restaurants along the way, camping is also available for those seeking solitude and remoteness.

Camino de Santiago was first discovered in the 9th century when remains of St. James’ were found in Santiago de Compostela. The pilgrimage was most popular in 10th, 11th, and 12th centuries, although it declined in popularity later on. In the modern day, thousands of tourists are tempted to embark upon the pilgrimage solely because of the solitude and peace they find along the way.

3. Ganden to Samye Trek

Ganden To Samye Trek Tibet

Ganden to Samye Trek

Destination: Lhasa, Tibet

Length: 49 mi (80km)

Features: the first monastery in Tibet, high altitude, wildlife

This hike will take you from Ganden monastery, founded in the 15th century, to Samye, the first Buddhist temple. The hike is just as historical as it is spiritual. Samye Temple is a top destination for the Buddhists of Tibet, who hike thousands of miles to reach this sacred location.

During the hike, you’ll deepen your knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism, along with the culture and religion of the area. You’ll hike across snow-capped mountain passes, verdant alpine meadows, and around turquoise-blue holy lakes, where you’ll meet the nomads who live at high altitudes. At the end, you’ll be rewarded by views of the oldest known Tibetan temple, standing solemnly in the surrounding barren desert.

While the trek might not be technically demanding, you shouldn’t underestimate it. You start your journey at 13,940 feet (4180m) above sea level and your body will need to acclimatize prior to ascending further. Halfway through the trek, you’ll reach the highest point - 17,224ft (5250m) above sea level, after which you’ll start descending towards your goal - Samye Monastery at 11,600ft (3540m). Previous hiking and camping experience at high altitude is necessary if you wish to go there by yourself. Otherwise, we recommend hiring a guide.

3 Must-do Hikes For Adrenaline Rush Junkies

7. Laugavegur Trail/Fimmvorduhals Pass

Laugavegur Trail Iceland

Laugavegur Trail/Fimmvorduhals Pass

Destination: Highlands Region, Iceland

Length: 50 mi (80 km)

Features: diverse terrain, cool temperatures, weather changes

The Laugavegur Trail/Fimmvorduhals Pass combines two of the most scenic hikes in Iceland: the Laugavegur Trail between Landmannalaugar and Thorsmork, and the Fimmvorduhals Pass from Thorsmork to Skogar. The trail can be divided into a few smaller hikes, however, to fully immerse yourself in Icelandic nature we recommend that you hike it all at once, over a period of 4-6 days.

If you’re looking to experience the thrill of geothermal pools, rhyolite hills, black lava fields and bubbling hot springs - Iceland is the place to go. 

Changing weather patterns means that to hike in Iceland’s wilderness, you have to be ready and plan ahead. To avoid the hassle and make the most of your time, why not let someone else do the planning and join a guided tour? Leaving early morning from Reykjavik to Landmannalaugar,  a day hike into the highlands for most hikers of varying skill levels. 

Or opt for a multiday hike that takes you across the whole Laugavegur/Fimmvorduhals Trail. On a guided tour, all you need to worry about is putting one foot in front of the other while enjoying Iceland’s wild nature.

8. Kalalau Trail

Kalalau Trail

Kalalau Trail

Destination: Island of Kauai, Hawaii

Length: 11 mi (18 km)

Features: flash floods, falling rocks, steep ascents

Combine a 5 million-year-old volcanic island with one of the world’s wettest spots on Earth - Mount Waiʻaleʻale - and you get the Kalalau Trail. The trail is the only land access to this rugged yet spine-tingling natural wonder known as the Na Pali Coast. 

The trail begins at Ke’e Beach and takes you through five deep rainforest valleys, each of which requires a steep ascent and descent until you eventually drop to the sea level at Kalalau Beach.

Along the way, expect to wade tiny yet quick streams, hidden waterfalls, and cobblestone pathways. While the hike can be dangerous, the rewarding views you get along the way will keep you motivated.

9. El Caminito del Rey

People Walking On El Caminito Del Rey

El Caminito del Rey

Destination: Malaga, Spain

Length: 5 mi (8 km)

Features: steep walls, narrow gorge, man-made wooden and metal walkways

Once known as one of the more dangerous hikes in the world, the trail was renovated for adventurers in 2015.

This rope-and-cable trail is at the top of any reputable hiker’s bucket list and it’s perfect for those seeking to test not only their physical limits but also mental capabilities. Wobbly suspension bridges that hug steep cliffs will put you on your toes all the way to the end.

Surrounding the trail, the scenery is truly breathtaking. Turquoise pools surrounded by pine forests. A steep limestone gorge towering above the Guadalhorce River.

The walk to it may seem like a challenge in itself but the extra effort is well worth it!

 

Feel inspired? Embark on an unforgettable hiking tour in Canada or in Iceland!