Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, I can't help but be a hiking enthusiast myself. I'm thankful to be from an area with so many great trails, such as those at Mount Baker, but I also love finding new treks while abroad. Some of my personal favorites have been Roy's Peak in New Zealand, Cruz Loma in Ecuador, and The Dolomite Mountains in Italy. I have collaborated with several other travel bloggers to create a list of 14 awesome trails around the world that you will definitely want to add to your hiking bucket-list.
1. Salkantay Trail, Peru
If you're planning a trek to Machu Picchu, consider the less traveled but more adventurous Salkantay Trail. This incredible alternative to the Inca Trail is a 73 km trek through the snow-capped Salkantay Pass. While trekking, you'll pass through a number of diverse environments, including stunning turquoise lagoons, snow-covered mountains, desert-like terrains, beautiful waterfalls, humid rainforests, and local mountain villages.
For even more of an adventure, check out Refugios Salkantay. This experience requires travelers to trek without a guide, however they set you up with locals to participate in homestays in the villages along the way. They feed you, provide you with a place to sleep, and allow you to truly immerse yourself in the Peruvian Andes culture. And, bonus, all of the proceeds go directly to the locals with whom you stay.
2. Preikestolen, Norway
The view from Preikestolen is outstanding. It overlooks the 42 kilometer long Lysefjorden in Norway, which on a clear day, is unforgettable. The fjord appears to never end. This is a surreal experience which you will never forget. Also, for those who love an adrenaline rush, you are able to get as close to the ledge as you please. You can even dangle your legs over the side! For those who are looking to avoid the 604 meter sheer drop, don't worry, there are plenty of safe places away from the edge.
Overall, it is a beautiful and pleasant hike, with a view to leave you speechless! We recommend that you visit either in the evening to catch the sunset, or early morning for the sunrise. This will help you capture the best photos, as well as avoid the crowds - it can get very, very busy!
3. Lion Rock Hike, Hong Kong
When most people hear Hong Kong they don't think of good hiking. Well, they're wrong! Hong Kong has some amazing hiking trails that will yield the best views of Hong Kong. My favorite is Lion Rock hike on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong. After hiking just over an hour, you'll be rewarded with an epic view of Hong Kong. You'll feel so removed from the city being at the top, and then you'll realize how huge of a city it is looking down on it. In a concrete jungle with skyscraper after skyscraper, it's a great place to escape the chaos. Hikers of all ages can be seen on the trail. I hiked on a Sunday when there were several elderly people and families with small children making their way up. The trail is well marked, but watch out for the naughty monkeys along the way!
4. Ausangate Trek, Peru
If you have not heard of Ausangate, then that's exactly why it's one of my favorites. It is a high altitude trek that can take about 5 to 7 days. Cusco is the city prior to the trek in Peru. It is not for the faint of heart, as the starting elevation is above 4000 meters, and you will go over at least two passes above 5000 meters. Why do it? The remoteness and the views. It's one of those treks where you will not even see another hiker on the trail. You'll only see llamas and shepherds. That's about it. It's easy to get lost, so you must have a guide. Be prepared for below zero freezing temperatures and the altitude. But, hey, you're doing it for the landscapes - world class, if I may add. In the end, it's all worth the effort.
5. Enchanted Rock, Texas
If you're visiting Austin, but wanting to get out of the city for a bit, I love Enchanted Rock! There are tons of very cool hikes there, but the best is to hike up to the top of the famous rock from which the park gets its name. It's unique because, well, it's one giant rock. From the top, you can see for miles! I feel like it's unexpected for Texas and a nice breath of fresh air when visiting.
6. Pioneer Cabin Trail, Idaho
Pioneer Cabin Trail was almost missed during our travels. We had no interest in going to Idaho until friends talked us into meeting them in Ketchum, ID (Sun Valley). This area has ended up being my absolute favorite so far. Mountain biking, fishing, hiking, trail running, mountaineering, swimming, etc. There is something for everyone. We were interested in the hikes in the area. After scouring the internet and speaking with locals, Pioneer Cabin Trail was always no. 1. With all the beautiful, exotic, and famous hikes around the world, I have discovered that the quiet ones in the US have ended up being some of my favorites. During the hike, we ran into only about 5 groups, so it’s not heavily trafficked. This hike is considered strenuous - for the legs, lungs and mind. Your reward for climbing over 3,000 feet are beyond beautiful views, meadows filled with flowers, and an old ski hut from the 30s. Hikers and skiers still use it today for shelter and a place to rest. The views of the mountains are truly humbling, and you can be proud of yourself for making it up there.
7. Oeschinensee Trail, Switzerland
Hiking is one of our favorite activities. No matter where we travel in the world, we always try to do at least one hike; usually the most well-known and beautiful one in the area. There is one hike that stole our hearts 10 years ago, and last summer we travelled back to Switzerland just to be able to do it again. It didn’t disappoint - the Oeschinensee – Oberbärgli – Heuberg hike at Oeschinen Lake UNESCO World Heritage Site in Central Switzerland is still our favourite hike ever.
What makes this hike special? It’s a rather long and strenuous hike, but it has such spectacular views all the time! Behind every corner there are amazing vistas: a turquoise blue lake, a meadow with Swiss cows, mountain goats or sheep, a mountain river, a waterfall and then another, even a steep rocky climb and a glacier in the distance. If you do just one hike in Switzerland, make it this one! Here you can read more about hiking at Oeschinensee in Switzerland.
8. Big Bend National Park, Texas
I have spent my last two years travelling around the United States. It is such a large country offering so much scenery that differs from coast to coast.
I took a trip to Big Bend National Park (Texas) in March, where I backpacked in to go camping for a few days. You can easily spend your time doing day hikes as well, since there are many trails. This park has forested mountains, a vast desert, and a huge canyon. It is the first time I have ever seen something like it with the three very unique environments all in one place. The Emory Peak trail was the highlight trail for me. The strenuous 10.5 mile (round trip) ended with a steep climb and rock scrambling to make it to the peak. It was completely worth it to view a 360 degree view of the park, being that this is the highest peak in the park. Lastly, you can stand right next to the antenna for their radio system while you are up there.
9. Gozo Coastline Trek, Malta
Malta may be a popular sun, sea and party destination, but this tiny island has so much more to offer than just beaches and nightlife. If you want to experience the real Malta, put your hiking boots on and go explore the country’s picturesque countryside and rugged coastline. For a unique hiking experience, I highly recommend taking a trip to Malta’s sister island, Gozo, where you can walk along the entire coastline in three days.
Start at Mgarr Harbour, and make your way towards the east coast of the island, until you reach Ramla Bay; a stunning beach known for its rust-coloured sand. There’s a bit of climbing and bouldering involved along the way, so a good level of fitness is required. The second part of the trek starts from Ramla, where you’ll need to go up a steep clay hill on the side of the bay and walk along the coast until you arrive at the iconic Azure Window in Dwejra. The last day of the hike is actually the easiest – the way from Dwejra back to Mgarr Harbour mainly involves level surfaced paths running along cliffs and a smooth coastline.
The best thing about this three-day trek is that you can pitch a tent by the sea and fall asleep to the sound of waves lapping against the shore!
10. Tama Lakes Walk, New Zealand
One of my favorite hikes that I have done till now is the Tama Lakes Walk in Tongariro National Park. Tongariro National park is the oldest national park in the North Island of New Zealand. The national park was formed in 1894, and it has three active volcanic mountains – Mount Ruapehu, Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro. The Tama Lakes Walk is a 6 hours return walk with a medium level of difficulty. The end points of the walk are the Lower Tama Lake and the Upper Tama Lake. The hike provides spectacular views of the volcanic rocks and streams of water. The views of the lakes at the peak were refreshing and beautiful. I would definitely recommend this walk, and it is one of the must do walks in New Zealand. Tongariro National park is also famous for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing walk.
11. Lycian Way, Turkey
The Lycian Way in Turkey is a little known but adventurous hiking trail in the southwest of Turkey. It goes all the way from Fethiye to Antalya, passing through ghost towns, ancient ruins, incredible beaches and mountaintops along the way. While many people hire a guide to help them find the right way, with a bit of experience and courage, you can do it all by yourself. The trail leads you away from civilization most of the time, so you should come prepared when it comes to food and water, however, there are restaurants and guesthouses along the way for those who don´t want to carry a tent on their back.
12. Hadrian's Wall, England
Guarding the old border between England and Scotland, Hadrian's Wall path offers hikers a beautiful way to patrol England's Roman history. The wall was built in 122 AD to keep out the Scottish hordes, and it has been transformed into an 80 mile (128/k) heritage hiking path. The path runs from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne to Bowness-on-Solway. Along the way, you hike alongside the ubiquitous English sheep through the beautiful English countryside, taking in the view of Northumberland National park and visiting the ruins of the Roman fortifications. You can do as much or as little of the path as you like. I did this four day itinerary and it was perfect. Bring sturdy footwear, proper rain gear and a curiosity for history. Happy trails!
13. The Samaria Gorge, Crete
If you find yourself in Crete with an entire day to kill hiking, I would suggest that you spend it in the Samaria Gorge. If you don't find yourself in Crete with a day to kill, get yourself to Crete and experience this amazing hike. This 6-8 hour, 13-km hike is intense and amazing. You begin in Xyloskalo (you can take a bus from Chania) early in the morning, descending down the wooded mountainside into the dry (or mostly dry) riverbed.
Along the way, you'll come across little chapels, a nod to the sacred energy felt in the gorge both by modern Christians and ancient Minoans. The climax comes toward the end of the hike, when you come to the Iron Gates, a divide between cliffs that will make you feel like an ant. At the end of the hike, a little stand, a wise business venture, serves fresh squeezed orange juice, while you wait for a bus to take you to the nearby seaside town Agia Roumeli. (Or you could walk but...you just did that for 6-8 hours.)
14. Goatfell Mountain, Scotland
Goatfell on the Isle of Arran, Scotland is the highest point of the island standing at 2800ft. The trail changes from forest, to rolling green hills, to a bouldery mess. Goatfell was the first mountain I had ever hiked, and I was absolutely not ready for it. I wasn't even wearing the right kind of shoes. Alas, we hiked it anyway and I loved it! It's not secret that Scotlands landscape is stunning. After about 30 minutes in we met a man who was on his way down who told us we were almost at the top. About two and a half hours later we finally made it! (he lied.) The view was...not great. But if it was a clear day in summer I hear it is absolutely stunning! Unfortunately, that's when the exhaustion hit. The hike down was a blur, I fell twice and ripped my new trousers (that I should not have been wearing on a hike!) I've set myself to goal to go back to Goatfell this summer and face the beast once more. I'll wear hiking boots. I'll wear proper walking gear. I'll try not to fall.
What's the best hike you've ever done?
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I believe in God's grace through Jesus. I love to learn, in a variety of contexts - reading God's Word, interacting with people from diverse backgrounds around the world, and as a student of Linguistics and Foreign Languages at Western Washington University. Pages of My Passport is dedicated to sharing this journey of learning through written and visual content.