Top 10 Hikes in the World
Hikers often have their wish lists of the most amazing treks on the planet. Have a look at the 10 best hikes from around the world and get ready to book your trail pass
When to go: If you like more hiking time in a day, best to go during December-January when the sunset isn’t until 10 p.m. During that time and through March is the warmest season with low chance of rain.
Difficulty: The trail covers all skill levels. Some paths may be strenuous but generally unintimidating. You don’t necessarily need a guide either.
Things to know: You can check in at a local hostel near the park entrance or just pitch a tent. If you’ve got the money, one of the adventure lodges, such as La Remota with upscale pampering and daily expert guides, is a nice way to go too.
When to go: The best times are in the spring and fall. If you are attempting to hike its entirety (over 9,000 have done it), then consider starting in the north to have a bit more warm weather as you near the end – about 6 months after your start!
Difficulty: Some stretches are flat and easy, others are the up and down variety that gets your heart pumping. Still others might get your hands involved. Consult guidebooks and websites to make sure you know which variety you’re going to get.
Things to know: Certain sections of the trail can be rather “crowded”. Other stretches might be muddy during rainy periods or just overwhelmed with mosquitoes. Check your target trail section at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
When to go: Avoid March through May as that is the rainy season. Otherwise expect cool temperatures on the slopes throughout the year, but hot days near the start/finish line. Weekends bring the most hikers who arrive on Saturday for a Sunday climb.
Difficulty: This is a strenuous hike with some risks from weather and wildlife, but also from Acute Mountain Sickness (altitude sickness).
Things to know: The most popular path is the Marangu Route where you are going to find more fellow travelers. Other options are the Umbwe, Londorossi and Machame Routes. Altitude sickness can be an issue, and while not being alarmist, it should be said that it can be fatal if not taken seriously. Guides are required.
When to go: October is best for milder temperatures and clear blue skies.
Difficulty: The climb is gradual and the trail is good, but it takes about 3 weeks to complete the circuit and the highest points are up over 5,000 metres.
Things to know: You must have a trail permit, easily purchased in Kathmandu. Teahouses are spread out on the trail making accommodations and food pretty easy.
When to go: April to October is best to avoid the rains. The trail is actually closed in February.
Difficulty: More than a walk in the park, but less than an alpine climb. If you are in half-decent shape, this four-day trek will be fine. Wear good boots; it’s tough on the ankles at some points.
Things to know: The trail goes higher than 4000 metres so you should spend a bit of time in Cusco to adjust and avoid getting altitude sickness on the trail. Be sure to use an authorized, professional guide. The trail and Machu Picchu itself have entrance fees. Hiking packages should include this in the price as well as your return ticket to Cusco on the train. Get that trail pass well in advance because the number of hikers per day is controlled.
When to go: The trail is only open from May through September. July and August are peak season so apply early for a trail pass.
Difficulty: Challenging just for the variety of terrain. You can expect to get wet, cold and damp at any time.
Things to know: Only 52 hikers are allowed to set off each day and the required trail permit can be denied at times. The trail is only open from May through September.
When to go: Take advantage of the European summer from June through September.
Difficulty: All levels at one point or another, from easy meadows to strenuous climbs.
Things to know: Book your accommodations along the trail in advance, especially in late July and August when it’s high season. You can camp if you prefer not to hostel it. Rain is likely, especially on any given afternoon. There is some ladder climbing involved, and for those looking to ease the challenge a bit, some cable cars and chair lifts. Get a guide or a tour unless you are really experienced.
When to go: December through March.
Difficulty: The climbs aren’t too demanding but you’ll still be working at about a medium level of challenge and have some tough stretches. But the trail is clearly marked so a guide isn’t necessary.
Things to know: It’s popular so you won’t be alone, for better or worse. While the loop can be done in three days you can add on some ascents of Mount Tongariro and the Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings: Mount Ngauruhoe. A trail pass from the visitor center is required.
When to go: August and September are best. Snow lasts well into summer in the upper reaches.
Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous with Half Dome being something for the more experienced.
Things to know: You need to protect your food from bears, for one thing. You also need a trail permit which you can order in advance, the sooner the better. Otherwise it is first-come, first-served for the rest. There are a lot of considerations for this hike, from gear to safety to supplies, and too numerous to list here. Research and plan carefully. Public transportation to trailheads makes it possible to do this challenging hike in segments and reverse the order (descent vs. climb) in some cases.
When to go: July through September is the best time.
Difficulty: The hike is medium challenging, but the trails are well marked.
Things to know: Book that trail pass well in advance. You will also have to book your campsite for each night of the hike, and the park officials expect you not to be where you intended. Though the summer temperatures in daytime will be comfortable, it often dips below freezing at night. Also, you are going to want to bone up on your bear knowledge and how to safely avoid and understand them. It’s their park, really. You’re just a guest.