The world is full of beautiful landscapes and breathtaking vistas, and there’s no better way to experience them than by lacing up your hiking boots and hitting the trail. From picturesque coastlines to rugged mountain ranges, these international hiking trails should be on every adventurer’s bucket list. Here are the top 10 bucket list destinations for hikers around the globe:
Inca Trail, Peru
The Inca Trail is a 26-mile (42 km) trek through the Andes that culminates at the majestic ruins of Machu Picchu. This iconic hike will take you through lush cloud forests, ancient Incan ruins, and breathtaking mountain passes. The trail can be challenging, but the reward of witnessing the sunrise over Machu Picchu is worth every step.
Appalachian Trail, United States
The Appalachian Trail spans over 2,190 miles (3,500 km) across 14 states in the eastern United States. The trail offers a diverse range of landscapes, from the lush forests of the Great Smoky Mountains to the rugged terrain of Maine’s Baxter State Park. Hikers can tackle the entire trail in one go or explore it in sections, making it an ideal adventure for all skill levels.
Tour du Mont Blanc, France, Italy, and Switzerland
The Tour du Mont Blanc is a 110-mile (170 km) hike that circles the Mont Blanc massif, passing through France, Italy, and Switzerland. The trail takes you through picturesque alpine villages, lush valleys, and impressive glaciers, offering spectacular views of the highest peak in the Alps. With comfortable accommodations available in mountain huts, this hike is perfect for those who want to combine adventure with comfort.
Milford Track, New Zealand
Located in Fiordland National Park on New Zealand’s South Island, the Milford Track is a 33-mile (53 km) hike that showcases the country’s stunning natural beauty. The trail takes you through dense rainforests, past cascading waterfalls, and across suspension bridges, culminating at the iconic Milford Sound. Due to its popularity, hikers must book their spots well in advance during peak season.
Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal
Trekking to the base camp of Mount Everest is a challenging and rewarding adventure for seasoned hikers. The 70-mile (112 km) round trip hike takes you through the heart of the Himalayas, offering a glimpse of Sherpa culture, Buddhist monasteries, and breathtaking mountain vistas. While the hike itself doesn’t require technical climbing skills, it does demand physical fitness and acclimatization to high altitudes.
John Muir Trail, United States
The John Muir Trail is a 211-mile (340 km) hike in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California, named after the renowned naturalist and conservationist. The trail showcases the beauty of Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks, and includes a section of the famous Pacific Crest Trail. The route passes through some of the most stunning wilderness areas in the United States, including the Ansel Adams Wilderness and the John Muir Wilderness.
Laugavegur Trail, Iceland
The Laugavegur Trail is a 34-mile (55 km) trek through the otherworldly landscapes of Iceland. The trail takes you through colorful rhyolite mountains, vast lava fields, geothermal hot springs, and stunning glacial valleys. With varied terrain and dramatic landscapes, the Laugavegur Trail offers a unique and unforgettable hiking experience. Hikers can opt to stay in mountain huts or camp along the route, depending on their preference.
Camino de Santiago, Spain
The Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James, is a network of ancient pilgrimage routes that lead to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. The most popular route, the Camino Francés, stretches 500 miles (800 km) from the French border to Santiago de Compostela. The trail takes you through the diverse landscapes of Spain, from the Pyrenees Mountains to the rolling vineyards of La Rioja, while offering the opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the country.
W-Trek, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
The W-Trek is a world-renowned 50-mile (80 km) hike in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. This multi-day trek takes its name from the W-shaped route that leads hikers through the park’s most iconic landscapes. The trek offers breathtaking views of the Paine Massif, Glacier Grey, and the park’s famous granite towers. With well-marked trails and designated camping areas, the W-Trek is suitable for hikers of all experience levels.
Great Ocean Walk, Australia
The Great Ocean Walk is a 65-mile (104 km) coastal trail that stretches along the southeastern coast of Australia, from Apollo Bay to the iconic Twelve Apostles. This spectacular hike offers stunning ocean views, dramatic cliffs, and the chance to spot native wildlife like kangaroos, koalas, and various bird species. The trail can be done in sections or as a multi-day adventure, with designated campsites and comfortable accommodation options available along the way.