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The Most Scenic Hikes Around The World


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Desiri Bakken



Adventure is a universal human desire. There’s something thrilling about stepping out of our comfort zones, exploring new places, and pushing our limits. One of the best ways to satisfy this yearning for adventure is through hiking. Not only does it provide a sense of freedom and connection with nature, but it also allows us to witness breathtaking landscapes and immerse ourselves in different cultures.


In this article, we will take you on a journey to discover some of the most scenic hikes around the world. From the majestic mountains of the United States to the ancient trails of Peru and the pristine landscapes of New Zealand, these hikes offer a mix of natural beauty, cultural significance, and physical challenge.


Each of these hikes has its own unique allure, allowing hikers to experience a sense of awe and wonder. As you delve into the details of each hike, you will be transported to remote corners of the globe, where breathtaking vistas, diverse wildlife, and rich history await.


Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner looking for an adventure, there’s something for everyone on this list. So lace up your boots, pack your backpack, and get ready to embark on a journey of a lifetime as we explore the most scenic hikes around the world.


Pacific Crest Trail, United States

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a legendary long-distance hiking trail that spans over 2,650 miles (4,265 kilometers) from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada. It traverses through three states – California, Oregon, and Washington – showcasing the diverse landscapes of the American West.


For avid hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, the PCT offers an unparalleled adventure. From the sun-drenched deserts of Southern California to the towering peaks of the Sierra Nevada and the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest, the trail promises stunning scenery at every turn.


One of the most iconic sections of the PCT is the John Muir Trail, which stretches for approximately 211 miles (340 kilometers) through the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Hikers on this section are treated to breathtaking views of granite peaks, alpine lakes, and meadows blanketed with wildflowers.


The PCT also offers a chance to experience solitude and serenity amidst the vast wilderness. As you hike through remote sections, you’ll witness the beauty of untouched nature, encountering wildlife such as bears, deer, and soaring eagles along the way.


The trail is rich in history and has been traveled by indigenous peoples for thousands of years. It has also gained popularity among thru-hikers, who attempt to complete the entire trail in one continuous journey, often taking six months or more.


While the PCT presents a physical and mental challenge, it is a rewarding experience for those who embark on this epic adventure. The sense of accomplishment and the memories created along the way make it a truly transformative journey.


Note: Proper planning, physical condition, and wilderness skills are essential for hiking the PCT. It’s important to research and prepare carefully, considering factors like weather conditions, water availability, and resupply options.


Torres del Paine Circuit, Chile

The Torres del Paine Circuit is a world-renowned trek located in the Patagonia region of Chile. This 80-kilometer (50-mile) trail is a true gem, offering an unforgettable journey through rugged mountains, vast glaciers, serene lakes, and windswept plains.


The highlight of the trek is the iconic Torres del Paine, three massive granite towers that rise dramatically against the backdrop of the Patagonian skyline. Witnessing the sunrise or sunset illuminating the towers is a sight that will leave you in awe.


As you traverse the circuit, you’ll be immersed in the stunning beauty of the national park, encountering towering peaks, turquoise lakes, and pristine forests. The trail takes you through various landscapes, including the famous Valle Francés (French Valley), where you can marvel at hanging glaciers and panoramic views.


Wildlife enthusiasts will be delighted to spot guanacos, foxes, and a variety of bird species, including the majestic Andean condor. The park is also home to the elusive puma, adding an extra element of excitement to your trek.


The Torres del Paine Circuit offers hikers a choice between the classic “O” circuit and the shorter “W” circuit. The “O” circuit covers the entire perimeter of the park and takes approximately 8-10 days to complete, while the “W” circuit focuses on the western side and can be completed in 4-5 days.


Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas and a true sense of wilderness. Camping along the trail allows you to fully immerse yourself in nature, with campsites strategically placed to offer incredible views and convenient rest stops.


It’s important to note that the Torres del Paine Circuit is a physically demanding trek, requiring a good level of fitness and preparation. The weather in Patagonia can be unpredictable, with strong winds and rapidly changing conditions, so adequate gear and clothing are essential.


Embarking on the Torres del Paine Circuit is a challenging adventure, but the rewards are immeasurable. The sheer beauty that unfolds before you, the sense of accomplishment upon completing the trek, and the memories of this awe-inspiring journey will stay with you for a lifetime.


Inca Trail, Peru

The Inca Trail is a legendary trek that leads to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru’s most famous archaeological site. This 26-mile (42-kilometer) trail traverses through the stunning Andes Mountains, offering hikers a blend of breathtaking scenery, rich history, and an unparalleled sense of adventure.


The trail begins in the Sacred Valley, near the town of Ollantaytambo, and winds its way through diverse ecosystems, including cloud forests, high mountain passes, and Inca ruins. Along the way, hikers are treated to panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, lush valleys, and the winding Urubamba River below.


The highlight of the Inca Trail is undoubtedly the breathtaking arrival at Machu Picchu. As you approach the Sun Gate, the famous entrance to the ruins, the sight of the ancient citadel emerging from the mist is nothing short of magical. Watching the sunrise over Machu Picchu is a truly surreal experience, evoking a sense of wonder and reverence.


Throughout the journey, hikers have the opportunity to explore other significant archaeological sites, including Wiñay Wayna and Intipata. These well-preserved ruins provide insights into the advanced engineering and agricultural practices of the ancient Incas.


Due to its popularity, the Inca Trail is regulated, and a limited number of permits are issued each day. It’s advisable to book your trek well in advance to secure a spot on this iconic route. Additionally, hiking the Inca Trail requires a moderate level of fitness, as there are steep ascents and descents along the trail.


While the Inca Trail may pose physical challenges, the rewards are immeasurable. The unique combination of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and the awe-inspiring destination of Machu Picchu make this trek a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Walking in the footsteps of the ancient Incas and intimately connecting with their history and spirituality is an adventure that will leave you with lasting memories.


Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is the highest peak in Africa and one of the most sought-after summits for adventurous hikers. Rising to an elevation of 5,895 meters (19,341 feet), this dormant volcano is a challenging yet attainable climb that offers stunning landscapes and a sense of triumph.


Trekking up Mount Kilimanjaro takes you through a range of ecological zones, each with its own unique climate and vegetation. From the lush rainforests at the base of the mountain to the alpine deserts higher up, the trail presents an ever-changing panorama of natural wonders.


There are multiple routes to choose from when climbing Kilimanjaro, each varying in length, difficulty, and scenery. The most popular routes include the Machame, Marangu, and Lemosho routes. These routes provide different perspectives on the mountain and offer various landscapes to explore.


As you ascend Kilimanjaro, the sense of accomplishment grows with every step. The final push to the summit takes place in the early hours of the morning, allowing you to witness the sunrise from Uhuru Peak, the highest point on the mountain. The breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape awash in hues of pink and orange is a sight that will stay etched in your memory forever.


It’s important to note that climbing Kilimanjaro requires acclimatization and physical preparation. The altitude and changing weather conditions can pose challenges, so it’s crucial to choose a reputable tour operator and ensure proper gear and equipment are used.


The reward for conquering Mount Kilimanjaro goes beyond reaching the summit. The journey itself is an opportunity to appreciate the raw beauty of the mountain, encounter unique flora and fauna, and connect with like-minded individuals from all over the world who share the same quest for adventure.


Whether you’re an experienced mountaineer or a novice hiker seeking an extraordinary challenge, Mount Kilimanjaro beckons with its majestic presence and promises an extraordinary adventure that will test your limits and leave you with a profound sense of achievement.


Cinque Terre Trails, Italy

The Cinque Terre, meaning “Five Lands,” is a stunning stretch of the Italian Riviera that consists of five colorful coastal villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. What makes this region truly special are the interconnected hiking trails that weave through these picturesque towns, offering hikers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and the charming coastal villages.


The Cinque Terre trails are a network of paths that connect the five villages, allowing hikers to explore the rugged cliffs, vineyards, and terraced hillsides that make up this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Each trail presents its own unique charm, offering a mix of coastal scenery, quaint villages, and lush landscapes.


One of the most popular trails is the Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Path), which connects all five villages along the coastline. This trail offers stunning panoramic views of the turquoise waters, vibrant pastel-colored houses, and terraced vineyards that cling to the cliffs. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the charming streets of each village, sample delicious local cuisine, and soak in the laid-back atmosphere.


For a more challenging hike, the Sentiero Rosso (Red Path) takes you through the inland hills, offering panoramic views of the entire region. This trail is less crowded and allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Cinque Terre, away from the bustling coastal towns.


While hiking the Cinque Terre trails, be prepared for steep ascents and descents, uneven terrain, and narrow paths that hug the cliffs. It is recommended to wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water, as well as a camera to capture the breathtaking vistas.


As you hike from village to village, you’ll witness the harmonious blend of nature and human ingenuity. The vineyards, olive groves, and historic buildings that dot the landscape are a testament to the deep-rooted traditions and resilient spirit of the local communities.


Embarking on the Cinque Terre trails is not just a physical journey but also a cultural and sensory experience. The breathtaking scenery, the warm hospitality of the locals, and the fusion of nature and architecture make this hiking adventure in Italy an unforgettable exploration of the Mediterranean charm.


Milford Track, New Zealand

The Milford Track is often referred to as the “Finest Walk in the World,” and for good reason. Located in the heart of New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, this 33-mile (53-kilometer) trail takes hikers through some of the most awe-inspiring and pristine landscapes on Earth.


The journey begins at the head of Lake Te Anau and meanders through lush beech forests, past cascading waterfalls, and alongside crystal-clear rivers. The trail culminates at Milford Sound, a world-renowned fjord with towering peaks, dramatic cliffs, and vibrant wildlife.


What sets the Milford Track apart is its untouched beauty and sense of isolation. The trail is limited to a controlled number of hikers per day, ensuring that you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature without the crowds.


Highlights of the Milford Track include passing through the breathtaking Mackinnon Pass, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The trail also features a stunning side trip to Sutherland Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in the world, plunging an impressive 580 meters (1,904 feet) into the valley below.


Along the way, you may encounter native bird species such as the kea, the world’s only alpine parrot, and the elusive kiwi. The flora of the Fiordland National Park is equally remarkable, with an abundance of ferns, mosses, and unique alpine flowers.


The Milford Track is usually hiked over four days and three nights, with well-maintained huts and campsites available along the route. These accommodations provide a comfortable respite after a day of hiking and offer communal spaces to socialize with fellow adventurers.


It’s important to note that due to the remote location and challenging terrain, proper preparation and equipment are essential. It is recommend to book your hike well in advance and be aware of the weather conditions, as the region is known for its unpredictable and rapidly changing weather.


Hiking the Milford Track is a truly unforgettable experience that allows you to connect with the raw beauty and untouched wilderness of New Zealand. The serenity, the dramatic landscapes, and the sense of accomplishment upon completing this remarkable journey will leave you with memories that last a lifetime.


Zion Narrows, United States

The Zion Narrows in Zion National Park, located in the Southwestern United States, is a hiking experience like no other. This iconic hike takes you through the narrowest section of the Zion Canyon, where the towering sandstone walls rise up to 2,000 feet (610 meters) above you, and the Virgin River guides your path.


The beauty of the Zion Narrows lies in its unique blend of stunning geology and the exhilaration of walking through water. The trail is the river, and hikers must wade through ankle to waist-deep water for most of the journey, creating a sense of adventure and a connection to the natural environment.


The awe-inspiring narrow walls of the canyon create an enchanting atmosphere as you make your way deeper into the Narrows. Sunlight filtering through the narrow openings above creates mesmerizing patterns of light and shadow, and the occasional hanging gardens and waterfalls add to the magical ambiance.


Whether you choose to hike a portion of the Narrows as a day trip or embark on a multi-day backpacking adventure, the experience is guaranteed to leave you in awe. The wading and navigating through the river, the challenge of boulder hopping, and the anticipation of what lies around each bend make this hike both exciting and immersive.


It’s important to note that hiking the Zion Narrows requires a permit, and it’s crucial to check the weather conditions and the water level of the river beforehand. Flash floods can occur in the canyon, making it dangerous to hike during certain times of the year. Proper gear, including sturdy footwear and a walking stick, is essential for stability and safety in the river.


The Zion Narrows is a bucket list hike for adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike. It offers a unique opportunity to witness the power of nature, to marvel at the beauty of the towering slot canyons, and to find solitude in the heart of a popular national park. With each step, you’ll be captivated by the sheer grandeur and timeless beauty of the Zion Narrows. 

Overland Track, Australia

The Overland Track is Australia’s most iconic long-distance hiking trail, spanning approximately 65 kilometers (40 miles) through the stunning Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. This trek takes you on a memorable journey through ancient rainforests, alpine plateaus, and pristine lakes, offering a true wilderness adventure.


The trail begins at Cradle Mountain and concludes at Lake St Clair, passing through diverse landscapes that showcase the natural beauty of Tasmania. Along the Overland Track, you’ll encounter rugged mountains, crystal-clear rivers, and breathtaking waterfalls, making it a photographer’s paradise.


One of the highlights of the Overland Track is reaching the summit of Cradle Mountain. The challenging climb rewards hikers with panoramic views of the surrounding wilderness, including the expansive Dove Lake and the picturesque Barn Bluff.


Throughout the journey, you’ll have the opportunity to spot unique wildlife, including wombats, wallabies, and Tasmanian devils. The area is also teeming with birdlife, with the vibrant plumage of the green rosella and the melodic tunes of the native currawongs filling the air.


Camping is a part of the Overland Track experience, with well-equipped campsites located at strategic points along the trail. These campsites provide a place to rest, cook, and connect with fellow hikers, enhancing the sense of camaraderie and adventure.


It’s important to note that the Overland Track is best hiked during the summer months (November to April) when the weather is milder, but advanced planning is still required. A permit is necessary, and it’s advisable to book well in advance due to the limited number of hikers allowed on the trail each day.


The Overland Track offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the raw beauty of the Tasmanian wilderness. The ever-changing landscapes, the serenity of the remote wilderness, and the sense of accomplishment upon completing the trek make this experience a true adventure for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts.


Embark on the Overland Track, and let the captivating beauty of Tasmania’s wilderness captivate your senses and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.


The Haute Route, Switzerland/France

The Haute Route is a legendary high Alpine trek that connects the Chamonix Valley in France with Zermatt in Switzerland. This spectacular route takes hikers through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the European Alps, offering a true journey of mountaineering and natural beauty.


Stretching approximately 180 kilometers (112 miles), the Haute Route takes hikers across majestic mountain passes, glacial valleys, and picturesque alpine meadows. The trail offers unparalleled views of towering peaks, including the iconic Matterhorn and Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps.


As you traverse the Haute Route, you’ll encounter charming mountain villages, where you can experience the unique blend of Swiss and French cultures. The hospitable locals and cozy alpine huts along the way welcome tired hikers with warm meals and a comfortable place to rest each night.


The Haute Route is a challenging trek that requires solid physical fitness and mountaineering skills. Some sections involve glacier crossings and steep ascents, making it essential to have the necessary equipment, including crampons and ice axes, for safe travel over icy terrain.


While the Haute Route can be completed in its entirety, there are options to undertake shorter sections or variations depending on skill level and time constraints. No matter the route chosen, each step provides breathtaking vistas, a sense of awe, and an unforgettable experience.


The best time to hike the Haute Route is during the summer months, typically from July to September, when the snow has melted, and the weather is more favorable for trekking. It’s important to stay updated on weather conditions and be prepared for rapid weather changes at high altitudes.


The Haute Route offers hikers an opportunity to immerse themselves in the rugged beauty of the Swiss and French Alps. The tranquility of the alpine wilderness, the challenge of the terrain, and the reward of reaching each new summit make this trek an unforgettable adventure for those seeking a true mountaineering experience.


Embark on the Haute Route, and let the grandeur of the Alps inspire you as you traverse high mountain passes, breathe in the crisp alpine air, and witness the majesty of one of Europe’s most remarkable landscapes.


Great Wall of China, China

The Great Wall of China is an architectural marvel and one of the world’s most iconic structures. Spanning approximately 13,171 miles (21,196 kilometers) across northern China, this ancient fortification is a testament to human ingenuity and determination.


Hiking the Great Wall offers a unique opportunity to explore its striking landscapes and rich history. The wall winds its way through mountains, valleys, and rugged terrain, presenting hikers with unparalleled views of the surrounding countryside.


There are several sections of the Great Wall that are accessible for hiking, each with its own character and allure. One of the most popular sections is the Badaling Great Wall, known for its well-preserved ramparts and strategic location. Another popular option is the Mutianyu Great Wall, which offers breathtaking views and the chance to ride a cable car for a different perspective.


For a more remote and less crowded experience, the Jinshanling and Jiankou sections are recommended. These sections provide a more authentic and adventurous hike, with crumbling towers, steep ascents, and rugged trails.


As you hike along the Great Wall, you’ll envision the historical significance of this engineering marvel. Built over centuries to protect China from invaders, the Great Wall stands as a symbol of resilience and human determination.


Along the way, you’ll encounter watchtowers, beacon towers, and strategically placed forts that offer a glimpse into the military and cultural history of ancient China. Some sections also pass through charming rural villages, allowing you to interact with local communities and get a taste of traditional Chinese culture.


It’s important to note that hiking the Great Wall requires physical stamina, as some sections can be steep and challenging. Proper footwear and comfortable clothing are essential, along with sun protection and plenty of water to stay hydrated.


Embarking on a Great Wall hike is not only a physical adventure but also an opportunity for cultural immersion and exploration. The grandeur of the ancient wall, the captivating landscapes, and the connection to history make this hike an unforgettable experience, leaving hikers with a deeper appreciation for the rich heritage of China.



Embarking on a hiking adventure is one of the most rewarding ways to explore the world. From the pristine trails of New Zealand to the ancient paths of Peru, and from the rugged beauty of the Swiss Alps to the cultural treasures along the Great Wall of China, the most scenic hikes around the world offer a blend of natural splendor, cultural experiences, and personal growth.


These trails not only take us through breathtaking landscapes but also allow us to challenge ourselves physically and mentally. The sense of accomplishment that comes with conquering a difficult ascent, the tranquility found in the solitude of nature, and the moments of awe as we witness magnificent vistas are what make hiking such a cherished activity for outdoor enthusiasts.


As we hike along these trails, we immerse ourselves in the beauty of the natural world and gain a newfound appreciation for the fragile ecosystems and diverse wildlife that call these places home. These experiences inspire us to become better stewards of the environment, ensuring that future generations can also enjoy the wonders of untouched nature.


Whether it’s the rugged Pacific Crest Trail in the United States, the sacred Inca Trail in Peru, or the enchanting Cinque Terre in Italy, these hikes connect us with our adventurous spirit and allow us to create lasting memories. Each step we take brings us closer to ancient cultures, awe-inspiring landscapes, and a deeper understanding of our planet’s infinite beauty.


So, get out there and embrace the call of adventure. Lace up your boots, pack your essentials, and embark on a journey to discover the most scenic hikes around the world. Let the trails guide you to extraordinary places, where breathtaking vistas, cultural treasures, and personal transformation await. From the mountaintops to the valleys, every step will bring you closer to the wonders of our planet and leave you forever changed.