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The World’s 12 Best Hiking and Trekking Destinations 2024

The World’s 12 Best Hiking and Trekking Destinations 2024

Embarking on a hiking or trekking adventure can be transformative, offering a blend of breathtaking views, physical challenges, and a deep connection with nature. This guide explores some of the world’s most spectacular hiking and trekking destinations, each distinct in its appeal and challenge. Whether you’re a seasoned trekker or a novice looking to start, these trails promise unforgettable experiences.

1. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru

Image Credit: Shutterstock / J Duggan

Embark on a journey back in time as you traverse the Inca Trail, a path steeped in history and natural beauty. This 26-mile trek, typically completed over four days, is more than a physical challenge; it’s a passage through ancient Inca civilization. As you hike through diverse landscapes, including cloud forests and alpine tundras, you’ll encounter archaeological wonders like Runkurakay and Sayacmarca. These ruins are silent yet powerful testimonies of a sophisticated empire. Your final destination, the majestic Machu Picchu, is a crowning achievement of Incan architecture and ingenuity. The trail’s popularity is well-deserved, offering homage to human history and an intimate connection with the stunning Andean environment. The journey culminates with the Sun Gate’s breathtaking view of Machu Picchu at sunrise, encapsulating this ancient world’s magic and mystery.

Insider’s Tip

Book months in advance as permits are limited and highly sought after.

When To Travel

May to September offers the best weather conditions.

How To Get There

The trek starts from Cusco, which is accessible by air from Lima.

2. Tour du Mont Blanc, Europe

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sander van der Werf

Experience the splendor of the European Alps on the Tour du Mont Blanc. This captivating 110-mile trek will take you through three countries: France, Italy, and Switzerland. This journey is a feast for the senses, offering unparalleled alpine vistas, verdant valleys, and picturesque hamlets. Each day unfolds with new landscapes – from the towering, snow-capped peaks of Mont Blanc to the tranquil beauty of Champex Lake. The trail is a physical endeavor and a cultural immersion, allowing you to experience each region’s distinct flavors, languages, and traditions. Accommodations along the way range from cozy mountain huts to luxurious hotels catering to various tastes and budgets. The trek is typically completed in 10 to 14 days, allowing ample time to soak in the breathtaking scenery and rich cultural heritage. The Tour du Mont Blanc is not just a hike; it’s a journey through the heart of Europe’s most iconic mountain ranges, offering a blend of adventure, tranquility, and cultural enrichment.

Insider’s Tip

Consider staying in mountain huts for an authentic alpine experience.

When To Travel

Late June to early September is ideal.

How To Get There

The trek typically starts and ends in Chamonix, France, accessible by road or train from Geneva.

3. Overland Track, Tasmania, Australia

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Liam Preece

Set out on an adventure through the heart of Tasmania’s wilderness on the Overland Track, a 40-mile trail renowned for its stunning landscapes and ecological diversity. This six-day trek takes you through the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, a region celebrated for its pristine natural beauty and unique wildlife. Your journey begins at the iconic Cradle Mountain. It concludes at the serene Lake St. Clair, Australia’s deepest natural freshwater lake. Along the way, you’ll traverse through ancient rainforests, alpine heaths, and glacial valleys. The landscape teems with wildlife, offering chances to encounter endemic species like the Tasmanian devil, echidna, and the elusive platypus. The Overland Track provides an immersive experience in one of the world’s most remote and untouched parts. It’s a journey that challenges the body, stimulates the senses, and refreshes the soul. Whether you stay in basic huts or camp under the stars, this trek offers a unique opportunity to disconnect from the modern world and reconnect with nature in its purest form.

Insider’s Tip

Book your trek pass in advance, especially during the peak season.

When To Travel

October to May offers the most favorable conditions.

How To Get There

The trek starts at Cradle Mountain, accessible from Launceston or Hobart.

4. Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Mazur Travel

Discover Nepal’s diverse landscapes and rich cultural history on the Annapurna Circuit. This trek has captivated adventurers for decades. Spanning approximately 100 to 145 miles, the journey varies based on chosen routes and side excursions. As you traverse this trail, you’ll experience a dramatic shift in scenery, from lush rice paddies and subtropical forests to arid high-altitude plateaus. The trek is a window into the soul of Nepal, offering glimpses of rural life in remote villages and the opportunity to interact with the warm and hospitable Gurung and Thakali communities. The trek’s high point, literally and figuratively, is crossing the Thorong La Pass at 17,769 feet, a challenging yet exhilarating endeavor. Each step on this trail brings you closer to the towering Himalayas and deeper into a land rich in history and tradition. The Annapurna Circuit is not just a trek; it explores the human spirit amidst some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes on earth.

Insider’s Tip

Acclimatize properly to avoid altitude sickness.

When To Travel

September to November and March to May offer the best weather.

How To Get There

The trek usually starts in Besisahar or Bhulbhule, which is accessible by bus from Kathmandu or Pokhara.

5. Pacific Crest Trail, USA

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Andrew Schigelone

Embark on a journey along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). This formidable yet rewarding trek spans 2,650 miles from Southern California’s deserts to Canada’s forests. This trail is a test of endurance, traversing diverse ecosystems, including arid deserts, dense woodlands, and alpine peaks. The PCT offers more than just physical challenges; it’s a pilgrimage through some of the most spectacular landscapes in the American West. As you hike through iconic regions like the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Range, the trail presents opportunities for introspection and personal growth. Whether you’re a thru-hiker aiming to complete the entire trail in a single season or a section hiker exploring shorter segments, the PCT promises a profound connection with nature. The trail’s immense length and varied terrain make it a journey of contrasts, where moments of solitude in the wilderness are juxtaposed with warm encounters in trailside communities. The Pacific Crest Trail is not merely a path across a continent; it’s a gateway to discovering the grandeur of the natural world and the limits of human endurance.

Insider’s Tip

Water management is crucial, especially in desert sections.

When To Travel

April to October, with the timing depending on the section.

How To Get There

Access points vary, with major cities like San Diego or Seattle near trail endpoints.

6. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Slepitssskaya

Ascend to the roof of Africa on Mount Kilimanjaro. This mountain stands as a beacon for adventurers around the world. Rising to 19,341 feet, Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak and one of the most accessible of the world’s major summits. The journey to Uhuru Peak, the summit, takes you through a microcosm of the earth’s ecosystems, from rainforests and moorlands to alpine deserts and arctic conditions. This trek is more than a climb; it’s a journey through diverse ecological zones, each offering its own unique beauty and challenges. The trek typically takes 5 to 9 days, depending on the chosen route, each providing a different perspective of this majestic mountain. While technical climbing skills are not required, the journey demands physical fitness and mental fortitude, especially as you approach the summit in high altitude’s thin, cold air. Reaching the summit at dawn, as the African plains stretch out below you bathed in the morning light, is an unforgettable experience, a celebration of the beauty and power of the natural world. Climbing Kilimanjaro is not just an adventure; it’s a journey of self-discovery and a chance to witness the grandeur of nature at its most sublime.

Insider’s Tip

Choose a longer route for better acclimatization and summit success.

When To Travel

January to March and June to October offer the best conditions.

How To Get There

Most treks start near the town of Moshi, accessible from Kilimanjaro International Airport.

7. Camino de Santiago, Spain

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Armando Oliveira

Set out on a transformative journey along the Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrimage route that culminates at the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. This historic path, winding approximately 500 miles across northern Spain, is more than a trek; it’s a spiritual and cultural odyssey that attracts thousands of pilgrims and adventurers each year. The Camino Francés, the most popular route, takes you through picturesque landscapes, from the Pyrenees mountains to the rolling hills of Galicia. Along the way, you’ll encounter historic cities, quaint villages, and a mosaic of fields, vineyards, and forests. The Camino is a physical journey and an opportunity for personal reflection and connection with fellow travelers from around the world. Each step on this path is steeped in history, lined with Romanesque churches, medieval monasteries, and centuries-old bridges. The camaraderie among pilgrims is palpable, and the sense of shared purpose creates a unique and enriching experience. Whether seeking spiritual solace, cultural immersion, or physical challenge, the Camino de Santiago offers a journey that resonates long after the walking ends.

Insider’s Tip

Carry a Credential (Pilgrim’s Passport) to stay in pilgrim-specific accommodations.

When To Travel

April to October, May and September are ideal for avoiding the heat and crowds.

How To Get There

Start from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, which is accessible by train or bus from major French cities.

8. The Great Wall of China, China

Image Credit: Shutterstock / aphotostory

Venture along one of the world’s most iconic landmarks, the Great Wall of China. This extraordinary feat of engineering, stretching over 13,000 miles, offers a hiking experience that is as culturally significant as physically challenging. The sections near Beijing, such as Mutianyu and Jinshanling, are ideal for trekkers, presenting a perfect blend of accessibility and scenic beauty. As you traverse these ancient stones, you are walking through centuries of history, with each tower and battlement telling a story of China’s past. The breathtaking vistas offer panoramic views of mountains, plateaus, and lush valleys. Hiking the Great Wall is a journey of contrasts: the restored sections display the wall’s former glory, while the wild, unrestored parts offer a rugged, authentic experience. Each season brings its own beauty, from the vibrant greens of spring to the snow-dusted ramparts of winter. This trek is more than a physical endeavor; it’s a chance to connect with a pivotal part of human history and to witness the endurance of one of the world’s greatest civilizations.

Insider’s Tip

Visit the less crowded sections like Jinshanling for a more authentic experience.

When To Travel

Spring (April-May) and Autumn (September-October) offer the best weather and fewer tourists.

How To Get There

Accessible from Beijing by bus or private tour.

9. The Lycian Way, Turkey

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Favious

Experience the allure of the Mediterranean as you trek the Lycian Way in Turkey, a 300-mile trail that weaves through ancient ruins, secluded beaches, and rustic villages. This path takes you through the heart of ancient Lycia, a region rich in history and natural beauty. The trail, marked by rugged coastline and pine-covered mountains, offers stunning views of the turquoise Mediterranean Sea. As you hike, you’ll encounter remnants of Lycian civilization, from rock tombs to amphitheaters, immersing you in a land where history is etched into every stone. The Lycian Way is not just a trail; it’s a journey through time, offering insights into the lives of the civilizations that once thrived along this coast. The trek also provides an authentic taste of Turkish culture as you pass through small villages where traditional life continues for centuries. Whether exploring the ghost village of Kayaköy or swimming in the crystal-clear waters of Ölüdeniz, the Lycian Way offers a unique blend of adventure, history, and cultural immersion.

Insider’s Tip

Be prepared for self-sufficiency in remote sections and carry enough water.

When To Travel

March to June and September to November offer the best climate.

How To Get There

The trail begins in Fethiye, accessible by bus or car from major cities in Turkey.

10. John Muir Trail, USA

Image Credit: Shutterstock / John Couture

Embark on an epic journey through the heart of California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range on the John Muir Trail. This path encapsulates the raw beauty of the American wilderness. Spanning 211 miles from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney, this trail offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in the United States. As you trek through this diverse landscape, you’ll encounter majestic waterfalls, serene alpine lakes, and some of the tallest peaks in the contiguous United States. The trail, named in honor of the renowned naturalist John Muir, highlights the beauty he worked to preserve. It winds through iconic wilderness areas, including Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks, each offering its own unique beauty and challenges. The journey typically takes about three weeks, traversing through deep canyons, high mountain passes, and lush meadows. Along the way, you’ll likely encounter diverse wildlife, from mule deer to black bears, adding to the sense of adventure and connection with nature. The John Muir Trail is not just a hike; it’s a pilgrimage through some of the most stunning landscapes in North America, a journey that offers solitude, beauty, and a profound sense of accomplishment.

Insider’s Tip

Secure permits early, as they are in high demand during summer.

When To Travel

July to September is the most favorable period.

How To Get There

The trailhead is in Yosemite National Park, accessible from major cities in California.

11. Everest Base Camp, Nepal

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Slepitssskaya

Embarking on the trek to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, you’re not just setting out on a physical journey but a cultural one. This 12-day trek, which covers about 80 miles round trip, is a nod to human endurance and nature’s majesty. Your path winds through the Khumbu Valley, with each step bringing a new perspective of some of the tallest peaks in the world, including Everest itself. The terrain varies from lush rhododendron forests to stark, rocky landscapes and icy glaciers, offering a diverse hiking experience. Along the way, you’ll encounter the unique Sherpa culture. These local communities are renowned for their mountaineering expertise and deep connection to the Himalayas. Staying in teahouses and interacting with the Sherpa people offers a glimpse into their rich traditions and resilient lifestyle, adding depth to your adventure.

Insider’s Tip

Consider hiring a guide or porter from the local community to enhance your experience.

When To Travel

Pre-monsoon (March to May) and post-monsoon (September to November) seasons are ideal.

How To Get There

The trek typically starts with a flight to Lukla from Kathmandu.

12. GR20, Corsica, France

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ondrej Prochazka

The GR20 in Corsica, France, presents a formidable challenge for even seasoned hikers. Stretching approximately 112 miles across the island, it traverses the rugged terrain of Corsica’s mountainous spine. This trail, often regarded as one of the toughest in Europe, demands physical stamina and mental resilience. Depending on the season, you will navigate steep ascents and descents, rocky paths, and occasionally, snow-covered trails. The landscape along the GR20 is as challenging as it is breathtaking. From towering granite peaks to lush forests and serene mountain lakes, the trail offers a constantly changing backdrop that captivates and inspires. Each day’s hike brings a new set of challenges and rewards, making the journey an achievement in itself.

Insider’s Tip

Pack light but include essential gear for sudden weather changes.

When To Travel

June to September, with July and August being the busiest.

How To Get There

Access is usually from Bastia or Ajaccio in Corsica, which have airports and ferry connections.

The Bottom Line 

Each of these 12 destinations offers a unique experience beyond just hiking or trekking; they are journeys that inspire, challenge and transform. Whichever path you choose, remember to respect the natural environment and local cultures. Embrace the adventure, and let these trails lead you to some of the planet’s most breathtaking views and experiences. Happy travels!

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The post The World’s 12 Best Hiking and Trekking Destinations 2024 first appeared on The Green Voyage.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Andrei Moldovan 2709. 

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