We have compiled a list of some of the best and most famous hiking trails from around the world. You will find them conveniently organized by region. If you think we have missed any important trails please let us know in the comments section below.
1. Besseggen Ridge
Jotunheimen National Park, Norway
Jotun, the fierce giant in Norse mythology, couldn’t have picked a better home than this famous National Park meaning ‘home of the the giants.” It is one of the most popular hikes in Norway, spanning 14 miles one way, and offering stunning views of craggy ridges and the glacial-fed blue-green Gjende and Bessvatnet lakes. The most popular route of the hike begins at the Memurubu hut, followed by a ferry ride to Gjende.
The trail ascends 1,200 feet along narrow rocky ridges with frequent sheer drop offs until it reaches a hight of 5,719 feet, but the climb is not dangerous. It’s not a difficult or technical trek, but can take eight hours so hikers should be relatively fit and accustomed to the outdoors.
2. El Caminito del Rey (The King’s Pathway)
El Chorro, Spain
King Alfonso XIII had the walk made into 1921 to open a dam on the Guadalhorce River. It wasn’t until recently that the 2 mile stone pathway built into but barely attached to the side of a cliff became a daredevil excursion. The three foot wide path has whole segments missing and crumbling away due to years of neglect, but people still flocked to attempt a crossing, GoPros in tow, until four people fell to their deaths in 2000 and the path was closed.
It is currently being renovated and a far safer path is intended to open in 2015, allowing people to take in gorgeous views of El Chorro Gorge from a much safer vantage point.
3. Tour du Mont Blanc
Switzerland, Italy, and France
Spanning three countries, this famous hike through the Alps covers 170 kilometers and takes 7-10 days to complete. The route encircles the Mont Blanc Massif and passes through seven picturesque valleys. There are multiple routes, depending on the hiker’s skill level, fitness and endurance, but each route has ample options for lodging and meals along the way. Though in depth experience is not necessary, being acclimated to long hours of walking through mountain country is helpful.
4. Leukerbad Via Ferrata
Though you do not need to have much hiking and climbing experience for the this trail, it is highly recommended that you have the right gear, a guide, no fear of heights, and have hiked a via ferrata before. Via ferrata is Italian for iron roads, and they are basically metal ladders built into a cliff wall that hikers can ascend with safety wires.
They were originally used in World War I by the Italian military, but now they Leukerbad Via Ferrata is a popular hiker’s attraction. It’s a 1.28 mile hike to the vertical cliff face, and then an additional 3,280 foot elevation gain. Get ready for a tough 8 hour trip, but the view of the meadows and tiny Swiss town makes the prospect more enticing.
5. Aonach Eagach Ridge
Glen Coe, Scotland
Though no ropes or other gear are required, you don’t want to take this hike lightly. It’s total of 5.75 miles, 2 of which have steep, knife-edge drop offs on either side. It is full of tough terrain and daunting precipices, so you must be wary of not making a mistake, and in the winter time climbing gear is absolutely necessary. When you’re not afraid of taking your eyes off every step you make, you can enjoy the rugged Scottish highlands, including Ben Nevis, the tallest peak in the British isles.
6. Sentiero Azzuro
Cinque Terre, Italy
Meaning “Blue Path” in Italian, this 12 kilometer long trail winds through all five of the beautiful towns along Italy’s northern coast. It should take no longer than six hours to complete, but part of the attraction is stopping in the five coastal towns to shop, eat, take pictures, drink wine, and enjoy yourself. There are plenty of places to stay overnight if you want to extend the trip. The walk offers some of the most stunning views in Italy and should not be rushed.
7. Lycian Way
Ölüdeniz to Geyikbayırı, Turkey
The Lycian Way is a multi-day hike around part of the coast of ancient Lycia in Turkey. It stretches from Ölüdeniz to Geyikbayırı, near Antalya over a distance of approximately 540km (335mi). It is considered one of the world’s top ten walks in the world. Summer in Lycia can get very hot, so it is recommended that you walk the route in spring or autumn; February–May or September–November.
8. Haute Route
Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland
The Haute Route is a high hiking route between Chamonix in France and Zermatt in Switzerland. The route takes around 12 days to complete the 180km (112mi) trek from the Chamonix valley, home of Mont Blanc, to Zermatt, home of the Matterhorn. The route is well signposted, non-technical (requires no ropes, crampons, or protection devices) and takes advantage of the popular mountain huts and small inns and hotels in the villages along the way.
9. The GR20
The GR 20 is a GR footpath that crosses the Mediterranean island of Corsica running approximately north-south, described by the outdoor writer Paddy Dillon as “one of the top trails in the world”. The whole trail is about 180 km long, clearly waymarked throughout, the walk for most people takes around 15 days. The trail is usually considered as two parts: the northern part, between Calenzana and Vizzavona and the southern part, between Vizzavona and Conca.
Abisko to Hemavan, Sweden
Kungsleden, known popularly as “The King’s Trail”, is a hiking trail in northern Sweden between Abisko in the north and Hemavan in the south. Winding its way through one of Europe’s largest wilderness areas for a length of approximately 440km (270mi). During the winter months it doubles as a ski trail. Throughout the trail, huts have been constructed separated by a distance that an average walker could expect to cover during the day, about 9-22kms (6-14 mi).
11. Appalachian Trail
Georgia to Maine, United States
This beast of a trail, the A.T., is 2,200 miles (3,500 km) long and spans 14 states. Some dedicated thru hikers attempt to complete the trail in its entirety all in one go, but it’s far more popular to hike smaller sections. There are several towns along the way where people can stock up on supplies, and there are shelters, lean-tos, or huts that hikers stay in along the way. It is part of the Triple Crown of Hiking.
12. Pacific Crest Trail
U.S.-Mexico Border to U.S.-Canada Border, United States
Crossing through California, Oregon and Washington, and covering 2,663 miles (4,286 km), the PCT was officially completed in 1993. It’s a National Scenic Trail and passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks, as well as the Sierra Nevadas and Cascade Mountains. Completing this trail all at once can take 4-6 months, so it is much more common for hikers to complete it in smaller doses. It is part of the Triple Crown of Hiking.
13. Continental Divide
Mexico to Canada, United States
This is the longest trail in the Triple Crown of Hiking, covering 3,100 miles (5,000 km) and traverses five centrally located states. It follows along the Rocky Mountains and takes a grueling six months to complete a thru hike, and only about 20-30 people attempt the entire trail a year.
14. Devil’s Path
Catskill Forest Preserve, New York
This 23.6 mile hike through intense vertical rises and drops, seven backbreaking summits, and a 18,000 foot elevation gain is no walk in the park. In fast it is aptly considered the toughest hike on the U.S. East Coast. There are no switchbacks, so the hike requires plenty of scrambling and resourcefully finding handholds in case of an emergency. Devil’s Path can be dangerous, especially when wet or icy, but with the right precautions it’s simply a challenging hike with endless views of deciduous trees, even though it’s only 3 hours from Manhattan.
15. Dry Fork Coyote Gulch
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
If you don’t suffer from claustrophobia, you may after hiking this trail. Some of the slot canyons created by millennia of tectonic plate shifting, flash flood erosion, and devilish winds across the plateaus measure only ten inches across. Adults may need to suck in quite a bit to get through, but kids can easily pass, and the area mostly safe and kid-friendly. As long as you are aware of any storm or flood threats, and carry ample amounts of water with you, this incredible sandstone geological attraction is a great place to spend the day exploring.
16. The Narrows
Zion National Park, Utah
The Narrows in Zion National Park, (near Springdale, Utah) is a section of canyon on the North Fork of the Virgin River. The hike of The Narrows is one of the premier hikes on the Colorado Plateau. The term The Narrows refers to both the through-hike of The Narrows, and to The Narrows themselves, especially the 5.8km (3.6mi) long section of canyon between the end of the Riverside Walk Trail and Big Spring. The Narrows lies north of, and upstream of, the main Zion Canyon.
17. Mist Trail
Yosemite National Park, California
The Mist Trail is one of the most popular short hikes in Yosemite National Park, California, USA. The hike follows the Merced River, starting at Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley, past Vernal Fall and Emerald Pool, to Nevada Fall. Along the trail, enormous boulders, some the size of a house, are dwarfed by the sheer faces of exfoliating granite, which rise 914 m (3000ft) from the river.
18. Bright Angel Trail
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Visiting the Grand Canyon is adventurous enough, but hiking from the south rim down to the Colorado river is even more exciting. It starts at the Grand Canyon Village and then descends 4,380 feet, over 8 miles (12.9 km), where you can then hike another 1.9 miles (3 km) to Phantom Ranch. It can be a hazardous hike, the dehydration, sudden rainstorms, loose footing, and flash floods as some risks, but the beautiful views and glimpses of wildlife make up for it.
19. Kalalau Trail
Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii
This 11 mile (18 km) trail is known for it’s strenuous uphill climbs. Most people split the hike into two days, camping out at the beach in Hanakoa Valley or Kalalau Beach, but other more fit hikers complete the entire round trip hike all in a day. It is important to get a permit if you do camp, since rangers are cracking down on the number of “squatters” that reside there. From Hanakoa you can hike another 1/2 mile to the magnificent Falls. The rising of the water at the stream crossings can be a potential hazard, as well as the narrow but level “crawler’s ledge” at mile 7.
20. Crypt Lake Trail
Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada
Located adjacent to Montana’s Glacier National Park, this trail in the Canadian Rockies is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site. The trailhead starts after a 15 minute boat ride across Waterton Lake, and then extends to tough 10.8 mile round trip hike, climb, and scramble. The benefits are abundant, though, as the trail passes four waterfalls, an adrenaline inducing ridge walk, sedimentary rock walls and a picturesque alpine lake. There is a cable handrail to help hikers in the more dodgy sections, but otherwise completing the trail is not much of a problem.
21. West Coast Trail
Vancouver Island, Canada
The West Coast Trail is a 75km (47mi) long backpacking trail that winds its way along the southwestern edge of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. It was built in 1907 to facilitate the rescue of survivors of shipwrecks along the coast, part of the treacherous Graveyard of the Pacific. It is now part of Pacific Rim National Park and is often rated by hiking guides as one of the world’s top hiking trails.
Pacaya Volcano National Park, Antigua, Guatemala
Even though the hike is only 3.2 miles round trip, the terror associated with traversing an active volcano whose last outburst was in January 2014 makes up for the easy climb. It’s eruptions are mostly small and consistent, allowing visitors to witness lava rivers and fiery bursts, and even camp out on the caldera. Volcanic activity is heavily monitored so they chances of you avoiding a violent eruption are high, though never guaranteed.
23. Huayna Picchu (Inca Trail)
Machu Picchu, Peru
The Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Andes, is world renowned, and for good reason. But for as strenuous as the trek is, it’s not as spine-tingling as it’s neighbor, the Huayna Picchu, which leads to what is believed to be the ruins of Machu Picchu’s high priest. The path to the top of the 8,924 foot pyramid contains knife ledges, stone staircases, barely perceptible stepping stones built into the ledge, and breathtaking views of the surrounding ruins and Andes landscape. Don’t get too distracted looking around though, a misplaced step or lack of attention could lead to dire consequences.
24. Santa Cruz Trek
Cordillera Blanca, Peru
The Santa Cruz Trek is a popular three or four day hike in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range. The best time to do the trek is during the dry season, from May to September. The hike may be done in two directions: from Vaqueria to Cashapampa, or from Cashapampa to Vaqueria. However, from the logistical perspective, it may be better to go from Vaqueria to Cashapampa, because from Cashapampa it is easier to go by public transportation back to Huaraz. This 48km (30mi) trek is one of the most popular routes in the Peruvian Andes crossing the Punta Union Pass.
25. W Trek
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
The W route is by far the most popular hike in the magnificent Torres del Paine National Park, Chile, named because of the shape of the route. The route takes in the breathtaking scenery of the region including Glacier Grey, Refugio Pehoe, Valle del Francés, Hosteria las Torres and the Torres del Paine themselves.
26. Israel National Trail
The Israel National Trail winds its way nearly 1000km (600mi) across Israel, from the Lebanese border all the way to the Red Sea in the south. The trail crosses the entire country from Dan in the north of the country to Eilat at the southernmost tip of Israel on the Red Sea. It takes an average of 45-60 days to complete and delves into the grand scale of biblical landscapes as well as the everyday lives of the modern Israeli.
27. Petra Through the Back Door
Dana Reserve to Petra, Jordan
From the ancient city of Dana, Jordan, this epic hike leads you across the vast desert expanse of Wadi Araba before climbing into the Sharah Mountains past iconic oasis and Bedouin camps toward Petra itself for a round trip journey of approximately 80km (50mi). Make your way through the narrow slots before being stopped in your tracks by the exquisitely carved façade of Al Deir, better known as the Monastery.
28. Lion’s Head
Table Mountain National Park, South Africa
This trail leads to one of best views of cityscapes in the world. The 2.5 mile round trip trek overlooking Cape Town is a popular, well-traveled hike with a hint of danger at the end. It takes just some skills to reach the summit due to a series of chains, metal rungs and ladders tacked into the cliff wall at the very end, but you absolutely do not want to fall. Completing the hike at night during a full moon has an extra appeal, and there is a safer route to the top for this purpose.
29. Blyde River Canyon
Blyde River Canyon, South Africa
The Blyde River Canyon Trail is located within the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve in Mpumalanga, forming the northern part of the Drakensberg escarpment. It provides one of the most scenic mountain views available in South Africa, with a deep gorge vista and beautiful rock formations. The once rapid river formed spectacular swirl holes, and being the third largest gorge in the world, this breathtaking area, is undeniably a natural wonder worth viewing. The entire length of the Blyde River Canyon Trail is approximately 60km (37mi) and takes around five days to complete the hike, although it is possible to explore in shorter two to three day trails as well.
30. Kakum Canopy Walk
Kakum National Park, Ghana
There’s nothing like viewing an incredibly biodiverse rainforest from a bird’s eye view, and this 1,150 foot canopy walk is the perfect place to do it. It’s the only hanging bridge that looks like this in Africa, making it a top tourist destination. Although seeing animals is not guaranteed from the treetops, you can sometimes catch a glimpse of the elephants, civets, leopards, bongos, duikers, monkeys, butterflies and birds that call this place home. Walking with a guide is imperative, but worth it considering the vast knowledge of the flora and fauna they can impart to you.
31. Mt. Kilimanjaro
This dormant volcano makes for the perfect bucket lister as it is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. It looms in the north Tanzanian skyline, along the Kenyan border, at 19,341 feet. There are seven official trekking routes to the top and guides are need to reach the summit. Hikes can take anywhere from 4-9 days depending on the fitness of the hiker, weather, and altitude sickness. No technical skills are necessary, as the gradual incline is not much more than a long hike.
32. Kokoda Track
Owen Standley Range, Papua New Guinea
Enveloped deep in the jungle, this trail was barely heard of 15 years ago, but as it’s gained more popularity the government has spend significant amounts of money to improve it. It is full of challenges: the 120 mile round trip trek can take 3-12 days, it is prone to dangerous tropical weather, disease-riddled mosquitoes lay waiting to attack, you must endure the wilds of the jungle, and even some of the people living around the trail can be hostile. Going with a guide is strongly recommended. The area also has a huge World War II significance, so many of the visitors come in remembrance of those lost.
33. Mount Hua (Hua Shan)
Huashan National Park, China
Though it’s recently been featured on tons of “World’s Craziest Hikes” lists, the truly treacherous section of the trail is only a small portion on the huge, winding trail up the westernmost of China’s Five Great Mountains. This portion is quite terrifying, with it’s dilapidated wooden planks over top a sheer drop off, and not much to hang on to. The multiple trails scattering the five mountains were originally meant as imperial pilgrimage sites scared to the Taoists, but now the7.5 mile trail from the gate to the top of the highest peak, South Peak, is visited by both spiritual travelers and tourists.
34. Low’s Peak Via Ferrata
Kinabalu National Park, Malaysia
This hike up the world’s highest via ferrata in the world is punishing to say the least. There are alternate options to peaking the 13,435 foot Mount Kinabalu, but this one is the quickest as well as the most adrenaline inducing – it requires crossing suspension bridges and climbing metal rungs jutting out from a vertical cliff face with no safety nets. That being said, it’s not known for being a particularly dangerous hike. Throughout the trek up the mountain you can enjoy vistas of the Borneo rainforest, granite rocks, alpine forests and orchid meadows.
35. Chadar Trek
Zanskar River Valley, India
This unique and culturally significant trek through a deep gorge in the Himalayas is the epitome of extreme. For centuries, local villagers of the Zanskar Valley would make the 45.4 mile round trip journey in the dead of winter with their trading goods to get to the capital city of Leh. The tour can last 9 to 27 days, and hikers walk atop a frozen river, endure below freezing temperatures, view frozen waterfalls, and sleep in caves. It’s a risky path, as the river is not as solidly frozen in certain areas, and there is no way out of the gorge once you commit, but crossing this trek off the bucket list would earn you eternal bragging rights.
36. Annapurna Circuit
Annapurna Mountain Range, Nepal
The Annapurna Circuit is the most famous trek within the Annapurna mountain range of central Nepal. The total length of the route varies between 160–230 km (100-145 mi), depending on where the trek is ended. The trek begins at Besisahar or Bhulbhule in the Marshyangdi river valley, rises to an altitude of 5,400m on the Thorung La pass and concludes in the Kali Gandaki Gorge. Besisahar can be reached after a seven hour drive from Kathmandu.
It has often been voted as the best long distance trek in the world and usually takes about 15–20 days, leaving from Kathmandu with a stopover in Pokhara before returning to the capital. Tea houses and lodges along the circuit are available for meals and accommodations though some opt for tents.
37. Tiger Leaping Gorge
Yunnan Province, China
Tiger Leaping Gorge is a scenic canyon on the Jinsha River and is part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas World Heritage Site. Hiking the length of the gorge is possible. The hiking path (“the high road”) is well-maintained and marked, although sometimes narrow. This trail is longer than the lower road, approximately 22km (14mi), but is more varied. It features a variety of waterfalls, and a fair number of guesthouses for trekkers. These guesthouses are not well heated, which combined with the unpredictable nature of high mountain weather makes this trek unadvisable during the rainy season, although in recent years the raining periods got shorter and it got possible to hike there again.
Australia & New Zealand
38. Tongariro Northern Circuit
Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
The Tongariro Northern Circuit is one of the Great Walks of New Zealand. It is a three to four day hike through the Tongariro National Park including the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a day’s march that incorporates the Northern Circuit’s most stunning scenery. The complete trail forms a 50km (31mi) long loop trail that circumnavigates Mount Ngauruhoe with around 7,000 hikers completing the walk each year.
39. Milford Track
South Island, New Zealand
The Milford Track is a popular hiking route located amidst mountains and forests in the Fiordland National Park on the South Island of New Zealand. The 53km (33mi) hike starts at the head of Lake Te Anau, traversing rain forests, wetlands, and an alpine pass to complete the Milford Sound at Sandfly Point.
40. Routeburn Track
South Island, New Zealand
The Routeburn Track is a world-renowned hiking trail on the South Island of New Zealand. The track is usually completed by starting on the Queenstown side of the Southern Alps, at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu, and finishing on the Te Anau side, at the Divide, a total distance of 32km (20mi). The New Zealand Department of Conservation classifies this track as a Great Walk and maintains four huts along the track: Routeburn Flats Hut, Routeburn Falls Hut, Mackenzie Hut, and Howden Hut.
41. Abel Tasman Coast Track
Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand
The Abel Tasman Coast Track is a 51km (32 mile) long walking trail within the Abel Tasman National Park of the South Island of New Zealand. It extends from Marahau in the south to Wainui in the north, with many optional side tracks. It is well sheltered, and with mild weather in all seasons, and is accessible and open throughout the year. To walk the entire 51km length of the coastal track takes from 3 to 5 days. Single day walks are popular as many points are accessible by boat from beaches along the track.
42. Bibbulmun Track
Torndirrup National Park, Australia
This long distance walking trail in Western Australia covers 623.3 miles (1,003.1 km). It’s name is from the indigenous people from that area, and the regular trail markers display a snake, or wagyl, a mythical creature from Noongar culture. There are 58 evenly spaced sections where either towns or campsites provide hikers with a place to stay. There is plenty to see along the way as it meanders through state forests, national parks, other reserves, and farmland.
43. Overland Track
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania
The Overland Track is one of Australia’s most famous bush walks, situated in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania. The official length of the trail is 65km (40mi) running from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair which hikers should expect to complete in around 5–6 days. The track winds through terrain ranging from sheer mountains, temperate rainforest, wild rivers and alpine plains all in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Aside from the main track there are also several alternative side tracks, including to the summits of Cradle Mountain and Mount Ossa, the tallest mountain in Tasmania.
Of course, there are many more fantastic hiking trails that we could add to this list but we needed to stop somewhere. If you’re wondering why the trek to Mount Everest didn’t feature on this list, well that’s because we created a bucket list item, especially for that epic journey.