This post was originally going to be called ’14 of the most Beautiful Hikes in the World’ but I quickly released how much of an impossible task this was going to be. Every single hike on the top 10, 15, 25 or even 50  lists are all amazingly beautiful and spectacular. How do you choose the top 14 most beautiful hikes when there are so many beautiful hikes in the world. And of course that jumps into the question: What and Who decides what a beautiful hike entails? Is it scenic views, the sense of accomplishment you get from completing them, wonderful weather or diverse wildlife on the trail. The point is, it is hard to define the Most Beautiful Hikes in the World. It is far easier to define the Most Famous Hikes in the World. So that’s what I’m going to do.

 

The Most Famous Hikes in the World is instead determined by popularity among hikers. That doesn’t mean that these hikes aren’t beautiful. They’re spectacular!!! I mean they aren’t the Most Famous Hikes in the World for nothing. I have chosen between 2 and 3 of the most well known hikes in every continent to share the love around the world and to prevent one continent getting all the fame *cough, cough, North America*.

 

If you are new to the hiking scene check out my recent post ‘Hiking: Tips and Tricks for First Timers’

 

So anyways, that is enough of my ramblings. Let’s get into it shall we.

The difficulty level ratings range from easy, to moderate, to advanced to extreme. The ratings are my own opinions so don’t take them to seriously. I mean you can, if you want, but if you end up attempting one of these treks, based on my ratings, and find the hikes far to easy or to hard for you, that’s on you, is all I’m saying. You have been warned!

South America

Inca Trail, Peru

Length: 43km (26.7 miles)

Duration: 5 – 7 days

Best Time to Visit: May to September

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Starting off strong we have perhaps the most famous hike in the world. The trail takes you through green valleys and deep gorges and leads to Machu Picchu. The extraordinary site is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, located on a 2,430-meter (7,970 foot) tall mountain ridge. Hiking the trail alone is not permitted so this is a chance to do some group bonding and make some new friends.

Another option to the Inca trail, is the Salkantay trail, which is a lesser known trail than Inca but leads to the same region . It is a more challenging walk but if you want to avoid the crowds, this is perfect for you.

 

Torres del Paine W Circuit, Chile

Length: 74km (46 miles)

Duration: 5 – 9 days

Best Time to Visit: October to March

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Located in beautiful Patagonia, Torres del Paine is a popular hike with rugged glaciers, turquise lakes and deep valleys. Most hikers do the W Circuit (named so as it snakes up and down the National Park’s major valleys) which takes you to the best parts of the route. To avoid the crowds book early in the season and attempt the O Circuit which connects the two points of the W. The Torres del Paine  mountains are three distinctive granite peaks in the Cordillera Paine mountain range which reach up to 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) above sea level.

La Ciudad Perdida (Lost City Trek), Columbia

Length: 75km (46 miles)

Duration: 4 – 6 days

Best Time to Visit: December to March

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Located deep in the South American jungle is an ancient city nicknamed the ‘lost city’ or  Tuyuna officially . It is said to be a city that predates Maccu Picchu by about 650 years.  Nowadays the city is slowly being engulfed by the surrounding jungle giving us a fading glimpse into an era long gone.

most famous hikes in the world

North America

Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim, U.S.A

Length: 38km each way (23,6 miles)

Duration: 4 days return trip

Best Time to Visit: May to October

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Very few of the millions of tourists that visit the Grand Canyon each year actaully go below the ridge. So how about a little adventure to seperate yourself from the average tourist. The route begins on the North Rim’s Kaibab Trail and drops 1,800m over 23km on a rugged and knee-battering downward path to the Colorado River, where hikers get a completely different experience to being above. If you’re lucky enough to reserve a place, treat yourself to a night in Phantom Ranch, the only lodging on the floor of the canyon. From there, the Bright Angel Trail takes you back up the canyon’s other side, a 15km switchback route that climbs up 1,370m to the South Rim, from where you can either take the Trans-Canyon shuttle back or do it all again in reverse

John Muir trail via Yosemite Valley, U.S.A

Length: 327 kilometers (203 miles)

Duration: Approx. 3 weeks

Best Time to Visit: May to September

Difficulty Level: Advanced if you do the whole thing

John Muir, the “Father of the National Parks,”, spent his life advocating the preservation of nature and the wilderness in the USA. His activism has helped to preserve the beautiful Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park, and many other wilderness areas in America. The path that was named after him truly befits his memory.  John Muir trail is probably the most popular trail in the States and for good reason. It treks through the beautiful Yosemite National Park, passes the giant Sequoia trees, the biggest in the world, and then you pass through the spectacular Ansel Adams Wilderness and Kings Canyon National Parks. You don’t have to do the full route as there are various exit points along the trail but if you want a proper strenous challenge, give it a go.

most famous hikes in the world

Asia

Everest  Base Camp, Nepal

Length: 130 kilometers (80.7 miles)

Duration: 12-14 days

Best Time to Visit: March to May, September to December

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Not every adventurer has the capacity or the funds to climb to the top of the earth. If so Everest Base Camp is the next best thing. On your trek you will experience various monasteries and temples as well as the generous hospitality of the people living within them. Reaching Base Camp is one of  those once in a lifetime adventures that you look back on and constantly have to tell everyone about how awesome it was, until they are blue in the face. At least I sure will. You may want to distance yourself from me for a while after I complete this trek. Just saying. You have been warned!!!

The Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal

Length: 160–230 kilometers (100-145 miles)

Duration: 15-20 days

Best Time to Visit: October to December

Difficulty Level: Advanced

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of the world’s most well-known treks. It is, in fact, so well-known that it is almost cliché. But there is a very good reason behind the hikers’ amazement, for sure. The trek encircles the gigantic Annapurna Massif who reaches its highest point at 5,416 meters (17,769 feet). Incredibly, the world’s highest peaks surround hikers all day long, from every direction, including the Annapurnas, Manaslu, and numerous other peaks which measure 6,000-8,000 meters (19,000-26,500 feet).

most famous hikes in the world

Europe

Tour du Mont Blanc, France, Italy, Switzerland

Length: 170km (105,6 miles)

Duration: 7 – 11 days

Best Time to Visit: July to September

Difficulty Level: Advanced

The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the most popular long-distance walks in Europe. The trek gives you the chance to hike through three of Europe’s most beautiful countries. It leads through distinctive mountain passes, idyllic alpine meadows, and glacial valleys which have some of Europe’s most impressive glaciers on display. Be prepared to make friends with everything from marmots to wild alpine goats as you admire woodlands, glaciers, meadows, and more along the way.

Dolomites High Route (Alta Via Uno), Italy

Length: 120 kilometers (75 miles)

Duration: 8 days

Best Time to Visit: June to September

Difficulty Level: Moderate

The Beauty of Europe, the Dolomite Mountains offer views like no other. Weaving through the dramatic Dolomite mountain range, the spectacular Alta Via Uno trek is deservedly listed as one of the most beautiful hikes in the world. This rugged trail will take you around some incredibly impressive cliffs; towering 3,000-meter (10,000 foot) peaks; past cyan blue alpine lakes; charming, shady forests; and vast, rolling pastures. A perfect European adventure holiday.

most famous hikes in the world

Africa

Mt Kilimanjaro, The Machame Route Tanzania

Length: 62 kilometers (38 miles)

Duration: 6– 7 days

Best Time to Visit: June to October

Difficulty Level: Advanced

Next up, we have one of my personal goals, Kilimanjoro, the highest mountain in Africa. Not just that, it is also the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, which means it dominates the surrounding landscape of the Tanzanian bush. The hike starts in a rich rainforest then rises up to leave the forested area behind and to offer breathtaking views over the surrounding savanna. Then the route climbs up to a volcanic plug and passes spectacular icefields before reaching the summit. Only question now is. Who is going to join me on this epic trek of a lifetime?

North Drakensberg Traverse, South Africa

Length: 65km (40 miles)

Duration: 4 – 6 days

Best Time to Visit: October to April

Difficulty Level: Advanced

Taking it back home, South Africa never ceases to amaze with it’s natural beauty and wildlife. Rightfully deserving a ranking among the most famous hiking trails, the North Drakensberg Traverse leads you along the edge of the Drakensberg escarpment. This remote and challenging trek includes rich vegetation and wildlife along with views of buttresses, spires, gorges, ridges, and more. Guess I just found my next adventure!

most famous hikes in the world

Oceania

Uluru Base Walk, Australia

Length: 10,5km (6.2 miles)

Duration: 2,5hr

Best Time to Visit: All year round

Difficulty Level: Easy

Although this can’t really be considered a hike, it is still one of the most famous walks in the world. This massive monolith in the middle of the Australian desert is like nothing else in this world (that I know of at least). Being a sacred space for the Anangu they ask you not to climb it and instead circumnavigate the big rock.

 

For more infomation on Uluru check out my post ‘ 10 Alternatives to Popular Tourist Destinations ‘

 

The Great Ocean Walk, Australia

Length: 80-100 kilometers (50-62 miles)

Duration: 6-8 days

Best Time to Visit: October to May

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Who says hikes have to be in the mountains? Australia’s Great Ocean Walk may be the most beautiful coastal hike in the world. Stretching over 100 kilometers (62.1 miles), the trail wanders through gum and eucalyptus forests and traverses sand dunes, green pastures, rocky beaches, and hair-raising cliffs. The hike features picturesque shipwrecks and crosses through an area rich in fossils.

The Milford Track, New Zealand

Length: 54 kilometers (33.5 miles)

Duration: 5 days

Best Time to Visit: December to March

Difficulty Level: Moderate

New Zealand hosts many beautiful world class hikes one of the most spectacular being the famous Milford Track with its U-shaped valleys and ice-gouged ledges. It is the most popular of  the country’s nine Great Walks and also one of the most famous treks in the world. The hike takes place in an awe-inspiring natural setting, a spectacular temperate rainforest. The hike also features the 5th largest waterfall in the world. This beautiful home of the hobbits is definately one of the top countries on my bucketlist.

most famous hikes in the world

And that’s it!! The most famous hikes in the world. Now obviously with a list like this I’m pretty much guaranteed to leave out one or two iconic hikes. There is just too many options to choose from here. Feel free to let me know what I missed in the comments and who knows…maybe I’ll do a part two someday.  Also I’m curious to know how many of these world class hikes have you completed or wish to try out in the future.

Feel free to follow my Instagram account where I post daily adventure pics. Now all I have left to say is, go out, have fun and LIVE DIFFERENT!!! 

 

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