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Best Hiking Trails In The World – One Day Hikes, Long Treks & More


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Jamie Arnold



Adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers are always on the lookout for the best hiking trails around the world. Whether you are looking for a one-day hike or a multi-day trek, there are plenty of options to satisfy your wanderlust. From rugged terrains to breathtaking views, these trails offer a chance to connect with nature and test your limits.


In this article, we will explore some of the best hiking trails in the world that are sure to leave you awe-inspired and craving for more. So, dust off your hiking boots, pack your backpack, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!


Each trail offers a unique experience, from the iconic Appalachian Trail in the United States to the challenging GR20 in France. Whether you prefer a hike along ancient ruins or a climb through snow-capped peaks, these trails cater to a variety of interests and skill levels.


So, if you’re ready to embark on a journey of a lifetime, let’s dive into the list of the best hiking trails in the world!


Appalachian Trail, USA

The Appalachian Trail is an iconic long-distance hiking trail that stretches over 2,180 miles (3,500 kilometers) through 14 states in the eastern United States. It offers a diverse range of landscapes, from picturesque forests and towering mountains to crystal-clear lakes and meandering rivers.


For adventure seekers, hiking the entire length of the Appalachian Trail is known as the ultimate challenge, taking around 5 to 7 months to complete. However, if you’re short on time, you can choose to hike smaller sections that suit your preference and fitness level.


One of the most popular sections of the trail is the Presidential Range in New Hampshire. This section offers stunning panoramic views of the White Mountains and the opportunity to summit Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeastern United States.


Another noteworthy section of the trail is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. This section boasts lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and abundant wildlife, making it a paradise for nature lovers.


Along the Appalachian Trail, hikers have the option to camp overnight in designated shelters or pitch a tent in the backcountry. These camping spots provide an opportunity to connect with fellow hikers and share stories of the trail.


It’s important to note that proper planning and preparation are essential when hiking the Appalachian Trail. Weather conditions can change quickly, and it’s crucial to pack the right gear, including sturdy hiking boots, rain gear, and a reliable backpack. Additionally, obtaining necessary permits and familiarizing yourself with trail regulations is essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.


Whether you choose to conquer the entire trail or hike a smaller section, the Appalachian Trail offers an unforgettable adventure. It’s a chance to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with nature in its purest form.


Inca Trail, Peru

The Inca Trail is a legendary hiking route that winds through the Andes Mountains of Peru, leading to the mystical ruins of Machu Picchu. This ancient trail, originally built by the Incas, offers a mesmerizing journey filled with history, breathtaking landscapes, and awe-inspiring archaeological sites.


The trail spans approximately 26 miles (43 kilometers), and the typical trek takes around 4 days to complete. Along the way, hikers are treated to stunning views of snow-capped mountains, lush cloud forests, and the lush valleys of the Sacred Valley.


One of the highlights of the Inca Trail is reaching the Sun Gate at dawn, where trekkers are rewarded with an unforgettable panoramic view of the majestic Machu Picchu. This extraordinary sight is a testament to the incredible engineering and architectural feats of the ancient Inca civilization.


It’s important to note that due to the popularity of the trail, permits are required to hike the Inca Trail, and they often sell out months in advance. Therefore, it’s advisable to book your trek well in advance to secure a spot on this incredible adventure.


The trek itself can be physically demanding, with steep ascents and descents, high altitudes, and varying weather conditions. However, with proper preparation and a moderate level of fitness, anyone can conquer the Inca Trail.


During the trek, hikers are accompanied by experienced guides who provide insight into the history and culture of the Incas. They also take care of logistics, including meals, camping arrangements, and transportation.


The Inca Trail is not just a hike; it’s an immersive cultural experience that allows you to step back in time and appreciate the remarkable achievements of the Inca civilization. It’s a chance to walk in the footsteps of ancient kings, witness breathtaking natural beauty, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


GR20, France

The GR20, located in Corsica, France, is known as one of the most challenging and rewarding long-distance hiking trails in Europe. Spanning approximately 112 miles (180 kilometers), the trail takes hikers through rugged mountainous terrain, rocky ridges, and picturesque valleys.


The GR20 is divided into 16 stages, with the entire trek taking around 15 days to complete. The trail offers a variety of landscapes, from dense forests to glacial lakes, and rewards hikers with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea.


This trail is famous for its technical difficulty, requiring a good level of fitness, agility, and mountain experience. The steep ascents and descents, coupled with the unpredictable weather conditions, make it a challenge for even the most seasoned hikers.


Highlights of the GR20 include the stunning Cirque de la Solitude, a natural amphitheater surrounded by towering granite walls, and the beautiful Monte Cinto, the highest peak on the island of Corsica.


Throughout the trail, hikers have the option to stay in mountain refuges, which provide shelter and basic amenities such as food and water. These refuges also offer a chance to meet fellow hikers and share stories of the challenging journey.


While the GR20 may be physically demanding, the rewards are plentiful. From the sense of accomplishment upon completing each stage to the breathtaking natural beauty of Corsica, the GR20 offers an adventure that is both physically and mentally fulfilling.


It’s important to come prepared with the right gear, including sturdy hiking boots, trekking poles, and camping equipment if you choose to camp along the trail. Additionally, being familiar with navigation and having a map or GPS device is crucial for staying on the correct path.


If you’re up for the challenge and seeking a hiking experience that pushes your limits, the GR20 in France is the perfect choice. It’s a journey that will test your endurance, reward you with stunning views, and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.


Torres del Paine Circuit, Chile

The Torres del Paine Circuit, located in the stunning Patagonian region of Chile, is a bucket-list destination for avid hikers and nature enthusiasts. This iconic hiking trail offers a 52-mile (84-kilometer) loop around the Torres del Paine National Park, showcasing some of the most breathtaking landscapes on Earth.


The circuit is known for its dramatic mountain peaks, turquoise lakes, massive glaciers, and diverse wildlife. One of the highlights of the trail is the spectacular granite towers, known as the “Torres del Paine,” which stand tall and dominate the skyline.


The complete circuit typically takes around 8 to 10 days to complete, but there is also the option to hike shorter sections of the trail. The route is well-marked, offering a combination of well-maintained paths and challenging terrains, including steep ascents and river crossings.


The beauty of the Torres del Paine Circuit lies in its diverse landscapes. From hiking through dense forests and crossing vast barren plains to witnessing powerful waterfalls and marveling at the immense Perito Moreno Glacier, the trail offers an ever-changing panorama that will leave you in awe.


Along the trail, hikers have the opportunity to camp in designated campsites or stay in refugios, which are mountain lodges offering basic amenities such as beds and meals. The campsites and refugios are strategically located, allowing hikers to break up the trail into manageable sections.


It’s important to note that due to the popularity of the Torres del Paine Circuit, it is necessary to make reservations in advance, especially during the peak season. Additionally, the weather in Patagonia can be unpredictable, with strong winds and sudden changes in temperature, so proper gear and clothing are essential.


Hiking the Torres del Paine Circuit is not just a physical journey; it’s a spiritual and immersive experience. The awe-inspiring landscapes, the sense of tranquility, and the feeling of being completely surrounded by nature create a profound connection with the natural world.


If you’re seeking a hiking adventure that combines rugged beauty, awe-inspiring vistas, and a sense of solitude, the Torres del Paine Circuit in Chile is an absolute must-do. It’s a trail that will challenge you, captivate you, and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.


Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal

The Everest Base Camp Trek is a legendary adventure that takes you to the foot of the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest. Located in the Khumbu region of Nepal, this trek is a dream come true for mountaineers, adventurers, and those seeking a remarkable journey through the Himalayas.


The trek starts in the vibrant city of Kathmandu, where you’ll experience the rich cultural heritage of Nepal before flying to Lukla, the gateway to the Everest region. From there, the trail winds through picturesque Sherpa villages, stunning valleys, and awe-inspiring mountain vistas.


The journey to Everest Base Camp typically takes around 12 to 14 days, allowing for proper acclimatization to the high altitude. Along the way, you’ll pass through famous landmarks such as Namche Bazaar, Tengboche Monastery, and Dingboche, each offering unique cultural and natural experiences.


The highlight of the trek is reaching Everest Base Camp itself, located at an altitude of 17,598 feet (5,364 meters). Standing at the base of Mount Everest, you’ll witness the mighty peak up close, surrounded by a breathtaking panorama of other towering peaks.


While the Everest Base Camp Trek does not require technical mountaineering skills, it is a physically demanding trek that requires a good level of fitness. The steep ascents, rocky trails, and altitude can pose challenges, but the sense of accomplishment upon reaching base camp is unparalleled.


Tea houses and lodges are available along the trail, providing accommodation and meals for trekkers. This allows you to experience the warmth and hospitality of the Sherpa people, who are known for their mountain climbing expertise.


The best time to embark on the Everest Base Camp Trek is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons when the weather is generally stable, and the views are the most spectacular.


The Everest Base Camp Trek is not just a physical journey; it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of the Himalayas, witness a unique way of life, and gain a deep respect for the mountains and the people who call them home.


Embarking on the Everest Base Camp Trek is a life-changing experience that pushes you beyond your limits and rewards you with breathtaking landscapes and a profound sense of accomplishment. It’s a trek that will leave an indelible mark on your soul and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Pacific Crest Trail, USA

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) stretches over 2,650 miles (4,265 kilometers) from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada, traversing through the western United States. This long-distance hiking trail offers an incredible adventure through diverse landscapes, including deserts, mountains, and forests.


The PCT is renowned for its scenic beauty, with highlights such as the rugged peaks of the Sierra Nevada, the stunning volcanic landscapes of the Cascades, and the vast desert expanses of Southern California.


Hiking the entire length of the PCT is a monumental endeavor that takes approximately 5 to 6 months to complete. It requires meticulous planning, physical endurance, and mental resilience. However, for those who may not have the time or resources to hike the entire trail, there are several sections that can be explored as day hikes or shorter backpacking trips.


One of the most popular sections of the PCT is the segment that passes through the picturesque High Sierra. This section showcases spectacular alpine scenery, pristine lakes, and challenging mountain passes. Hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail in the High Sierra is a dream come true for outdoor enthusiasts and provides a deep connection with nature.


Another iconic section of the PCT is the stretch that traverses through the Cascade Range. This part of the trail offers breathtaking views of towering volcanoes, such as Mount Rainier and Mount Hood, as well as lush forests and stunning waterfalls.


When embarking on a journey along the Pacific Crest Trail, it’s essential to be prepared for the challenges that come with long-distance hiking. This includes carrying necessary gear, planning for resupply points, and being aware of potential hazards such as extreme weather conditions and wildlife.


The Pacific Crest Trail presents an opportunity to experience the vast beauty and untamed wilderness of the western United States. It is a chance to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse oneself in the tranquility and grandeur of nature.


Whether you decide to hike a small section or take on the entire trail, the Pacific Crest Trail offers an adventure of a lifetime. It’s an opportunity to challenge yourself physically and mentally, discover breathtaking landscapes, and forge a connection with the natural world.


Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is the highest peak in Africa and one of the most iconic hiking destinations in the world. Rising majestically to a height of 19,341 feet (5,895 meters), this dormant volcano offers adventurers the opportunity to summit the “Roof of Africa” and stand on top of the continent.


The trek to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that attracts hikers from all over the globe. Known for its snow-capped peak and diverse ecosystems, the mountain offers multiple routes to choose from, each varying in difficulty and duration.


The most popular route is the Marangu Route, also known as the “Coca-Cola Route,” which provides comfortable accommodations in basic mountain huts along the way. Other routes, such as the Machame and Lemosho routes, offer a more rugged and remote experience, with camping under the stars.


Ascending Mount Kilimanjaro requires physical stamina, mental determination, and proper acclimatization to the high altitude. The journey takes around 5 to 8 days, depending on the chosen route, allowing trekkers to slowly adapt to the changing altitude and decrease the risk of altitude sickness.


During the climb, hikers will encounter different climate zones, ranging from lush rainforests to barren alpine deserts. Along the way, the breathtaking beauty of the landscape, including glaciers, valleys, and sweeping vistas, rewards the perseverance and effort of climbers.


Reaching the summit, Uhuru Peak, is a truly extraordinary experience. Standing on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro at sunrise, surrounded by magnificent views as far as the eye can see, is a moment of unparalleled joy and accomplishment.


It is important to undertake the Mount Kilimanjaro trek with experienced guides and porters, who provide valuable support and ensure the safety of climbers. They also share their knowledge of the mountain and its cultural significance.


Embarking on the Mount Kilimanjaro trek is not just about reaching the summit; it’s about embracing the journey itself. It’s a test of physical and mental endurance, an opportunity to immerse oneself in the stunning natural beauty of Tanzania, and a chance to appreciate the majesty of one of the world’s most iconic mountains.


If you’re ready to take on the challenge and experience the magic of Mount Kilimanjaro, prepare to be awed, inspired, and transformed by this incredible adventure.


Tour du Mont Blanc, France, Italy, and Switzerland

The Tour du Mont Blanc is a legendary long-distance hiking trail that takes you on a circumnavigation of the Mont Blanc massif, crossing through picturesque landscapes in France, Italy, and Switzerland. This iconic trek is known for its breathtaking alpine scenery, charming mountain villages, and cultural diversity.


Spanning approximately 110 miles (170 kilometers), the Tour du Mont Blanc offers a challenging and rewarding adventure. The trail takes you through alpine meadows, rugged mountain passes, and alongside pristine glacial lakes, providing stunning views of the majestic Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe.


The trek typically takes around 10 to 12 days to complete, depending on the chosen itinerary and fitness level. Hikers have the option to stay in cozy alpine refuges or charming mountain villages along the way, immersing themselves in the local culture and cuisine.


The Tour du Mont Blanc is not just a physical journey; it’s a cultural experience as well. Along the trail, you’ll encounter various languages, traditions, and culinary delights from the three countries it traverses. From savoring Swiss fondue to indulging in Italian gelato, the cultural immersion on this trek is unmatched.


Highlights of the Tour du Mont Blanc include passing through iconic locations such as Chamonix Valley in France, Courmayeur in Italy, and the Col de Balme in Switzerland. Each day offers a new adventure, with breathtaking vistas, challenging ascents and descents, and encounters with fellow hikers from around the world.


It’s important to come prepared with appropriate hiking gear, including sturdy boots, rain gear, and layers to accommodate varying weather conditions. The trail is well-marked, but having a detailed map or GPS device is recommended for navigation.


The Tour du Mont Blanc is a trek that combines physical exertion with natural beauty and cultural immersion. It’s a chance to challenge yourself, connect with nature, and experience the diverse landscapes and traditions of three incredible countries.


Whether you’re an experienced hiker seeking a new challenge or a nature lover wanting to explore the beauty of the Alps, the Tour du Mont Blanc is an adventure that will leave you in awe and provide memories to treasure for a lifetime.


Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, located along the stunning Italian Riviera, is a collection of five colorful fishing villages that are connected by a network of scenic hiking trails. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a unique and charming hiking experience, where stunning coastal views meet centuries-old architecture.


The five villages of Cinque Terre – Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore – are perched along the rugged coastline, with colorful buildings cascading down the cliffs and overlooking the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea.


The hiking trails in Cinque Terre are well-maintained and provide stunning views of the villages, vineyards, and terraced slopes. The most famous trail is the Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Trail), which connects all five villages and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the coast.


Each village has its own unique charm and atmosphere. Monterosso al Mare is known for its long sandy beach and medieval quarter, while Vernazza boasts a picturesque harbor and winding streets full of character. Corniglia is perched on top of a cliff with stunning views, Manarola is famous for its colorful houses and the romantic Via dell’Amore (Lover’s Lane), and Riomaggiore is the gateway to the Cinque Terre and offers a vibrant atmosphere.


The Cinque Terre trails range in difficulty, from easy strolls along the coast to more challenging hikes that involve steep ascents and descents. Along the way, you can stop at local cafes, trattorias, and gelaterias to indulge in delicious Italian cuisine and savor the flavors of the region.


It’s important to note that some of the trails may require a Cinque Terre Card, which allows access to the trails and provides unlimited train rides between the villages. Additionally, carrying a refillable water bottle and wearing comfortable hiking shoes are essential for a pleasant trek.


Whether you choose to hike the entire coastal path or explore shorter sections between villages, the Cinque Terre offers a unique hiking experience that combines natural beauty, cultural exploration, and delicious food. It’s a place where the beauty of the Mediterranean meets the charm of traditional Italian coastal life.


Embarking on a hiking adventure in Cinque Terre allows you to immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes, marvel at the colorful village architecture, and experience the warmth and hospitality of the local communities. It’s a journey that captures the essence of Italy and leaves you with unforgettable memories.


Great Wall of China, China

The Great Wall of China is one of the most iconic and awe-inspiring man-made wonders in the world. Spanning over 13,000 miles (21,196 kilometers) and dating back more than 2,000 years, this ancient marvel showcases the rich history and engineering prowess of China.


Hiking on the Great Wall offers a unique opportunity to not only witness the grandeur of its architecture but also to immerse oneself in the cultural heritage of China. The wall meanders through diverse landscapes, including mountains, forests, and rolling hills, providing breathtaking vistas along the way.


Several sections of the Great Wall are open for hiking, each offering a different experience. The most popular section is the Badaling Great Wall, located near Beijing, which is easily accessible and well-preserved. However, for a more authentic and less crowded experience, sections such as Jinshanling or Jiankou are recommended.


The hike along the Great Wall can vary in difficulty, depending on the section chosen. Some sections involve steep ascents, uneven steps, and rugged terrain, requiring a moderate level of fitness and proper hiking gear.


As you traverse the ancient pathway, you’ll pass through watchtowers, fortified gates, and guard stations, offering a glimpse into the historical significance of the wall. The sweeping views of the surrounding landscapes, with the wall snaking across the mountains, create a truly remarkable sight.


It’s important to note that weather conditions can vary, so it’s advisable to check the forecast and prepare accordingly. Wearing comfortable and sturdy hiking shoes, carrying sufficient water and snacks, and applying sunscreen are essential for an enjoyable hike.


The Great Wall provides a captivating hiking experience that not only allows you to explore China’s architectural marvel but also offers a connection with the rich history and culture of the country.


As you walk along the ancient stones, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and reverence for the countless generations that have traversed the Great Wall. It’s a symbol of human determination, strength, and ingenuity, and a reminder of the power of human achievement.


Embarking on a hiking adventure along the Great Wall of China is a truly unforgettable experience. It’s a chance to step back in time, marvel at the magnitude of human creation, and create lasting memories that will stay with you forever.



Embarking on a hiking adventure allows us to connect with nature, challenge ourselves, and immerse ourselves in the beauty of our world. The best hiking trails in the world offer a wide range of experiences, from the rugged escapades of the Appalachian Trail in the United States to the cultural exploration of the Great Wall of China. Whether it’s conquering the heights of Mount Kilimanjaro, trekking through the picturesque villages of Cinque Terre, or experiencing the majestic beauty of the Torres del Paine Circuit, each adventure brings its own unique rewards.


As we explore these trails, we not only discover breathtaking landscapes but also gain a deeper appreciation for our planet’s diversity and the incredible feats of human engineering. From ancient wonders to natural wonders, these trails offer a chance to witness and appreciate the splendor that our world has to offer.


However, it’s important to approach these hiking adventures with respect and preparedness. Proper gear, physical fitness, and an understanding of the trail’s requirements ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. Additionally, being mindful of environmental conservation and practicing responsible tourism will help preserve these natural treasures for generations to come.


Whether you’re seeking solitude, adventure, cultural immersion, or simply a sense of achievement, venturing out on these best hiking trails in the world promises an adventure like no other. So, lace up your boots, pack your backpack, and set out on a journey to discover the wonders of our planet, one step at a time.