I recently started training to hike the West Highland Way next year. Coming from rural Pennsylvania, I’ve always enjoyed time on the trails. However, recently as I was caught up in finishing my master’s degree, I wasn't been able to get out and hike as much as I would like. While I’ve done day hikes before, I have never actually completed a thru-hike. So, to challenge myself I decided to start training for a short seven day hike across Scotland.
The more I’ve been hiking, the more I’ve been dreaming about trekking around the world. So to get some inspiration, I decided to look up some of the coolest treks around the world. Today, I’m diving into the best treks I’m adding to my bucket list, and think you should too. Let’s dive in!
What Is The Most Popular Hike In The World?
Arguably, the most popular hike in the world is the awe-inspiring Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. This remarkable trek takes adventurers through a mesmerizing journey, offering stunning views of ancient ruins, diverse ecosystems, and the breathtaking Andes mountains. Each year, thousands of hiking enthusiasts from across the globe embark on this unforgettable adventure to immerse themselves in the historical and natural beauty of the Inca Trail.
And trust me, this trek is well worth it for the final view of the famous site. When I visited Machu Picchu, I took the scenic train route to visit the famous site. Still, I think about my trip to Machu Picchu daily. The history, the views, it is heart-stopping. I dream of the day when I’ll be able to return to Peru and hike the full Inca Trail.
Don’t Forget Your Hiking Etiquette
When venturing into the great outdoors, adhering to hiking etiquette is vital to ensuring a positive and respectful experience for both yourself and fellow hikers. If you decide to do any of the following treks, make sure you adhere to the following hiking etiquette rules.
Know Who Has The Right Of Way
Understanding and following right-of-way rules is a mark of a responsible hiker, ensuring safety and harmony on the trails. Uphill hikers are typically given the right of way, as it's more challenging for them to pause and resume their climb. When overtaking another hiker, it's common practice to announce your presence and wait for a suitable moment to pass safely. Yield to mountain bikers and horses, who may be less agile and easily startled. Additionally, maintaining a single-file formation when encountering groups helps in managing trail traffic and ensures a smooth passage for everyone.
Leave No Trace
Practicing the "Leave No Trace" principle is essential to responsible hiking. The goal of this is to preserve the beauty and integrity of natural environments. Proper waste disposal is paramount - all trash should be packed out and appropriately disposed of to maintain the cleanliness of the trail and surrounding areas. Additionally, minimizing the impact of campfires by using designated fire rings or stoves is crucial to preserve the campsite's integrity. By leaving nothing behind, you will ensure generations to come will get to enjoy the trail.
Make Yourself Known
Making your presence known on the trail is critical for safety and courtesy towards both fellow hikers and wildlife. Announcing yourself when approaching others, particularly from behind, can prevent surprises and promote a friendly hiking atmosphere. Moreover, ensuring you are visible on the trail by wearing bright clothing and utilizing reflective gear, especially during low light conditions or within dense vegetation, is a safety measure that should never be overlooked.
Prepare Well Before You Go
Proper preparation before embarking on a hike is the foundation of a successful and enjoyable outdoor adventure. Checking weather conditions beforehand allows you to equip yourself with appropriate clothing and gear, ensuring your safety and comfort throughout the journey. Thoroughly planning your route by studying the trail map, understanding the hike's difficulty level, and estimating the time needed is essential for a smooth hiking experience.
Carrying essential gear and supplies such as water, snacks, a map, a compass, a first aid kit, a multi-tool, and extra clothing ensures you are adequately equipped for any unforeseen circumstances. Lastly, informing a trusted individual about your hiking plans, including your intended trail, estimated return time, and other relevant details, adds extra safety to your outdoor excursion.
✈️ Pro Tip: Stay healthy on your trek by packing these Medications You Should Always Pack When Traveling.
Add These 9 Best Treks To Your Bucket List ASAP!
Looking for your next epic hike? These 9 amazing treks around the world a absolutely bucket list worthy.
Loma del Pliegue Tumbado Patagonia
Loma del Pliegue Tumbado is a 12-mile trail in Patagonia that is a challenging yet immensely rewarding hike. The trail showcases breathtaking panoramic views of the iconic Torres del Paine National Park, including the jagged peaks of the Cordillera del Paine. Hikers are treated to diverse landscapes, from lush forests to expansive mountain vistas.
Tour du Mont Blanc
The Tour du Mont Blanc is a world-famous trek that circumnavigates Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe. This trek is over 100 miles long and is quite a rewarding challenge. Tour du Mont Blanc takes you through stunning alpine scenery across Italy, France, and Switzerland. It's an awe-inspiring journey where you'll witness glaciers, alpine meadows, and charming villages.
Te Araroa New Zealand
Te Araroa, or "The Long Pathway," is a long-distance trail traversing the entire length of New Zealand. I was first introduced to this trail when one of my favorite YouTubers Elina Osborne made a video series of her trek. This epic trek showcases the diverse landscapes of Aotearoa, from lush forests and stunning coastlines to rugged mountains and volcanoes. It's a true adventure for those seeking to explore the beauty of this island nation.
Pacific Crest Trail
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a monumental long-distance trek spanning the western United States, from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. This trail promises a journey through diverse ecosystems, including deserts, forests, and breathtaking mountain ranges like the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades.
The PCT is one of the longest and most challenging thru-hikes in the world. The length of time it takes to hike the entire PCT can vary significantly based on several factors, including hiker pace, physical condition, weather conditions, and the amount of time spent in towns or taking breaks. On average, most thru-hikers complete the entire PCT in about five to six months.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo National Park Dolomites
Tre Cime di Lavaredo National Park, located in the Dolomites, is a hiker's paradise offering a variety of trails amidst the dramatic limestone peaks. The iconic Three Peaks of Lavaredo stand as a symbol of this stunning region. With multiple well-marked paths, hikers can choose trails suited to their preferences and hiking abilities. The trails meander through lush meadows, alpine lakes, and rugged terrains, showcasing the diverse beauty of the Dolomites. For those seeking a challenge, Via Ferrata routes provide an exhilarating climbing experience, making Tre Cime National Park a haven for both adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers.
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is an iconic trek that takes you through stunning Andean landscapes and ancient Incan ruins. The highlight of the trek is reaching the breathtaking archaeological wonder of Machu Picchu, making this journey a cultural and historical adventure. While the Inca Trail is only 26 miles, the elevation and elements make it a challenging trek.
✈️ Pro Tip: After trekking to Machu Picchu, head to Lima and do these 15 Must-Dos in Lima, Peru.
The GR20 is a renowned trail in Corsica, known for its challenging and captivating trekking experience. Stretching over 93.2 miles, this route offers breathtaking vistas, alpine lakes, and dramatic cliffs. Awarded the title of the most challenging trek in Europe, it traverses the rugged landscapes of the island. Hikers can expect a demanding yet rewarding journey through the beautiful and diverse terrain of Corsica. The GR20 promises adventure and scenic beauty for those seeking an unforgettable hiking experience.
The Arctic Circle Trail
The Arctic Circle Trail is a 102.5-mile hiking route through Greenland's pristine Arctic wilderness. The trail takes adventurers from the interior settlement of Kangerlussuaq to Sisimiut on the coast. This trek offers an unparalleled experience of the Arctic's untouched beauty, featuring vast tundra and stunning views along the way.
The Camino Portugues
The Camino Portugues is a historic pilgrimage route leading to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. It covers varying distances, usually over 150 miles, depending on the starting point. This trail provides a unique cultural and spiritual journey through picturesque villages, historical sites, and diverse landscapes. Pilgrims on the Camino Portugues seek self-discovery and a sense of camaraderie with fellow pilgrims on this sacred and memorable journey.
Is Going On A Trek Worth It?
Embarking on a trek is undeniably worth it for those seeking adventure, connection with nature, and personal growth. Trekking offers an immersive experience that allows you to escape the routine and venture into the wild, offering a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The breathtaking scenery, ranging from towering peaks to serene meadows, provides a sense of awe and wonder that rejuvenates the soul. Trekking is an opportunity to challenge your physical and mental limits, fostering resilience, determination, and a sense of accomplishment as you conquer varied terrains and obstacles
Would you consider doing any of these treks? Let me know in the comments!