30 Best Hiking Trails Across the Globe: Immersing oneself in the great outdoors, feeling the earth beneath your feet, and venturing into the unknown—hiking trails across the globe offer a gateway to unparalleled adventures and unforgettable experiences. From ancient pilgrimage routes steeped in history to rugged mountain paths that lead to breathtaking vistas, these trails have captured the hearts and imaginations of outdoor enthusiasts, wanderers, and nature lovers alike. Each step along these paths unveils a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and personal growth. Join us as we embark on a journey to explore the 30 best hiking trails across the globe, where stunning landscapes, fascinating histories, and awe-inspiring features await those who dare to wander.
1. Inca Trail (Peru): This iconic trail takes hikers through the mesmerizing ruins of Machu Picchu, offering breathtaking views of the Andes Mountains and an immersion into ancient Incan history. The trail’s popularity stems from its historical significance, stunning landscapes, and the sense of accomplishment upon reaching the legendary “Lost City.” Nothing better and an easy number one to our list of the Best Hiking Trails.
2. Appalachian Trail (USA): Stretching over 2,190 miles, the Appalachian Trail is a cherished destination for hikers seeking an immersive experience in the eastern United States. This long-distance trail winds through diverse landscapes, including forests, mountains, and meadows, providing glimpses of wildlife and stunning vistas along the way. Its popularity lies in the opportunity to disconnect from the modern world and reconnect with nature.
3. Torres del Paine “O” Circuit (Chile): Located in Patagonia, this challenging 75-mile circuit showcases the rugged beauty of Torres del Paine National Park. Hikers are treated to breathtaking views of granite peaks, pristine glaciers, and crystal-clear lakes. Its popularity arises from the untouched wilderness, the awe-inspiring Torres del Paine towers, and encounters with unique wildlife like guanacos and Andean condors.
4. Cinque Terre (Italy): This picturesque coastal trail traverses the five colorful fishing villages of the Italian Riviera. Hikers meander along cliffside paths, passing vineyards, olive groves, and charming seaside towns. The trail’s popularity stems from the stunning coastal scenery, cultural immersion, and the opportunity to indulge in local cuisine and wine along the way.
5. Everest Base Camp Trek (Nepal): Embark on a challenging trek through the mighty Himalayas to reach the iconic Everest Base Camp. This trail offers stunning mountain panoramas, Sherpa villages, and a close-up view of the world’s highest peak. The trail’s popularity lies in the ultimate sense of achievement that comes with standing beneath the towering summit of Mount Everest.
6. Pacific Crest Trail (USA): Extending over 2,650 miles, the Pacific Crest Trail takes hikers on an epic journey from Mexico to Canada through the diverse landscapes of California, Oregon, and Washington. The trail’s appeal stems from its pristine wilderness, stunning vistas of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges, and the opportunity for long-distance hiking adventures.
7. Great Ocean Walk (Australia): Along Victoria’s stunning coastline, the Great Ocean Walk unveils majestic limestone cliffs, pristine beaches, and the famous Twelve Apostles rock formations. Hikers can witness breathtaking sunsets, spot unique wildlife like kangaroos and koalas, and experience the tranquility of coastal rainforests. The trail’s popularity arises from the dramatic coastal scenery and the chance to explore Australia’s natural wonders.
8. Tour du Mont Blanc (France, Italy, Switzerland): Encircling the majestic Mont Blanc massif, this multi-country trail offers awe-inspiring alpine landscapes, charming villages, and glacial valleys. Hikers can revel in the beauty of snow-capped peaks, vibrant wildflower meadows, and picturesque mountain refuges. The trail’s popularity lies in its accessibility, diverse scenery, and the opportunity to experience alpine cultures.
9. Laugavegur Trail (Iceland): Cutting through Iceland’s breathtaking highlands, the Laugavegur Trail showcases otherworldly landscapes, including steaming geothermal areas, colorful rhyolite mountains, and glacial valleys. Hikers encounter lava fields, hot springs, and the stunning Thórsmörk Valley. The trail’s popularity arises from the unique geological features and the chance to explore the raw beauty of Iceland’s interior. Hiking and hot springs, definitely makes this one of the Best Hiking Trails.
10. Kalalau Trail (USA): Located along the rugged Na Pali Coast in Hawaii, the Kalalau Trail leads hikers to secluded beaches, towering sea cliffs, and lush valleys. The trail’s popularity stems from its tropical paradise setting, the opportunity for swimming and snorkeling, and the sense of solitude and tranquility found in this remote corner of the world. Hard to not vote this as one of the Best Hiking Trails.
11. Overland Track (Australia): Tasmania’s Overland Track takes hikers on a 40-mile journey through the heart of the island’s World Heritage-listed wilderness. The trail showcases ancient rainforests, alpine meadows, and the stunning beauty of Cradle Mountain. Its popularity lies in the unique flora and fauna, pristine landscapes, and the chance to witness Tasmania’s wild beauty up close.
12. West Highland Way (Scotland): This iconic Scottish trail covers 96 miles of breathtaking highland scenery, picturesque lochs, and charming villages. Hikers can immerse themselves in the mystical beauty of the Scottish Highlands, encounter historic castles, and enjoy the warm hospitality of local communities. The trail’s popularity arises from its accessibility, cultural heritage, and the chance to experience Scotland’s natural splendor.
13. The Haute Route (France, Switzerland): This classic high-level trek links the famous mountaineering centers of Chamonix in France and Zermatt in Switzerland. Hikers navigate glaciers, cross high alpine passes, and witness stunning views of iconic peaks like the Matterhorn. The trail’s popularity stems from the alpine grandeur, proximity to iconic mountains, and the challenge of high-altitude hiking.
14. Abel Tasman Coast Track (New Zealand): Along New Zealand’s South Island, the Abel Tasman Coast Track unveils golden beaches, turquoise waters, and lush forests. Hikers can explore secluded coves, encounter playful fur seals, and enjoy stunning coastal panoramas. The trail’s popularity arises from its accessibility, diverse ecosystems, and the opportunity for water activities like kayaking and swimming.
15. Camino de Santiago (Spain): The Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James, is a network of pilgrimage trails leading to the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in northwest Spain. Hikers embark on a spiritual journey through beautiful countryside, charming villages, and historic landmarks. The trail’s popularity lies in its rich history, cultural significance, and the sense of camaraderie among pilgrims from all walks of life.
16. Milford Track (New Zealand): Known as the “Finest Walk in the World,” the Milford Track immerses hikers in the awe-inspiring landscapes of New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park. Traversing through lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and glaciated valleys, the trail culminates at the breathtaking Milford Sound. Its popularity stems from the pristine wilderness, dramatic scenery, and the chance to experience one of New Zealand’s most iconic hikes.
17. The Narrows (USA): Located in Zion National Park, The Narrows offers a unique hiking experience through a narrow slot canyon carved by the Virgin River. Hikers wade through ankle-deep to waist-deep water, surrounded by towering sandstone walls, sculpted by thousands of years of erosion. The trail’s popularity arises from the surreal beauty of the canyon, the sense of adventure it offers, and the refreshing immersion in natural beauty.
18. Queen Charlotte Track (New Zealand): Spanning 44 miles through the Marlborough Sounds, the Queen Charlotte Track combines coastal vistas, native forests, and secluded bays. Hikers can spot native birds, explore historic sites, and indulge in delicious local cuisine. The trail’s popularity lies in the stunning coastal scenery, the chance to experience New Zealand’s renowned hospitality, and the opportunity to combine hiking with water activities like kayaking and boating. With some of the best scenery this easily becomes one of the Best Hiking Trails
19. GR20 (France): Considered one of Europe’s most challenging long-distance trails, the GR20 crosses the rugged terrain of Corsica, showcasing dramatic mountain peaks, glacial lakes, and picturesque valleys. Hikers navigate steep ascents, rocky terrain, and thrilling ridge walks while being rewarded with stunning panoramic views. The trail’s popularity stems from its reputation as a true test of endurance and the opportunity to immerse oneself in the untamed beauty of the Corsican mountains.
20. The Great Wall (China): The Great Wall of China offers a unique and historic hiking experience, allowing hikers to traverse a portion of this ancient architectural marvel. The trail presents stunning views of the surrounding countryside, fortified watchtowers, and a tangible sense of history. Its popularity lies in the chance to walk in the footsteps of ancient civilizations, explore diverse sections of the wall, and appreciate the grandeur of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
21. Kungsleden (Sweden): Translating to “King’s Trail,” this 270-mile trail takes hikers through the pristine wilderness of Swedish Lapland. The trail offers stunning vistas of snow-capped mountains, vast expanses of Arctic tundra, and the opportunity to witness the enchanting Northern Lights. Its popularity arises from the untouched wilderness, unique Arctic flora and fauna, and the sense of tranquility and solitude found in this remote corner of Sweden.
22. Overland Track (Papua New Guinea): This challenging and remote trail leads intrepid hikers through the rugged landscapes of Papua New Guinea’s highlands, passing through traditional villages, dense rainforests, and towering peaks. The trail’s popularity stems from the opportunity to immerse oneself in indigenous cultures, encounter rare wildlife, and experience the raw beauty of Papua New Guinea’s unspoiled wilderness.
23. Rota Vicentina (Portugal): Spanning the stunning coastline of southwest Portugal, the Rota Vicentina offers a combination of coastal and inland trails, showcasing pristine beaches, dramatic cliffs, and traditional fishing villages. Hikers can explore diverse ecosystems, spot unique bird species, and indulge in the flavors of local cuisine. The trail’s popularity lies in the natural beauty, cultural immersion, and the chance to experience the tranquility of Portugal’s less-explored coastal region.
24. Huayhuash Circuit (Peru): This challenging trek circles the breathtaking Cordillera Huayhuash mountain range, offering panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, turquoise lakes, and alpine meadows. Hikers can witness the natural beauty of the Peruvian Andes, encounter traditional Quechua communities, and challenge themselves with high-altitude hiking. The trail’s popularity arises from the sheer beauty and remoteness of the landscape, making it a true paradise for mountaineers and outdoor enthusiasts.
25. Overland Track (South Africa): Located in the heart of the Drakensberg Mountains, this scenic trail takes hikers through dramatic landscapes, including rugged cliffs, deep valleys, and pristine waterfalls. Hikers can spot unique wildlife, admire ancient San rock art, and revel in the tranquility of the African wilderness. The trail’s popularity stems from the rich cultural heritage, diverse ecosystems, and the opportunity to experience South Africa’s majestic mountain scenery. Definitely one of the Best Hiking Trails there is.
26. Kumano Kodo (Japan): As a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Kumano Kodo is a network of pilgrimage trails that lead to sacred shrines in Japan’s Kii Peninsula. Hikers can explore ancient forests, serene valleys, and historic sites, immersing themselves in Japan’s spiritual traditions and cultural heritage. The trail’s popularity lies in its historical significance, natural beauty, and the chance to experience the profound sense of spirituality associated with this sacred pilgrimage.
27. Laugavegurinn/Fimmvörðuháls (Iceland): Combining two trails, Laugavegurinn and Fimmvörðuháls, this challenging route offers a diverse range of landscapes, including volcanic landscapes, geothermal areas, glaciers, and colorful mountains. Hikers can witness geysers, hot springs, and glacial rivers while experiencing the raw power of Iceland’s geological wonders. The trail’s popularity arises from its surreal beauty, otherworldly landscapes, and the opportunity to explore Iceland’s dramatic and untouched wilderness.
28. Overland Track (Scotland): Nestled in the Scottish Highlands, the Overland Track Scotland presents rugged mountains, tranquil lochs, and remote wilderness. Hikers can encounter ancient Caledonian forests, historic castles, and the chance to spot majestic red deer. The trail’s popularity stems from the mystical beauty of the Scottish Highlands, the rich cultural heritage, and the opportunity to immerse oneself in the untamed wilderness of Scotland.
29. Rim to Rim Trail (USA): Located in the Grand Canyon National Park, the Rim to Rim Trail offers a challenging and awe-inspiring journey from the North Rim to the South Rim. Hikers are treated to breathtaking views of the canyon’s multicolored walls, traverse towering plateaus, and descend into the depths of the geological wonder. The trail’s popularity lies in its sheer natural grandeur, the sense of accomplishment it provides, and the opportunity to witness the raw power of nature.
30. The Pennine Way (England, Scotland): The Pennine Way is the oldest long-distance trail in the United Kingdom, stretching 268 miles through the stunning landscapes of northern England and Scotland. Hikers can experience wild moorlands, rolling hills, and picturesque dales, immersing themselves in the rugged beauty of the British countryside. The trail’s popularity arises from its rich history, diverse scenery, and the chance to undertake a quintessential British hiking adventure.
These 30 hiking trails across the globe offer a diverse range of experiences, from iconic treks in remote wilderness to coastal walks, cultural immersions, and historical explorations. Each trail presents its own unique allure, captivating hikers with breathtaking landscapes, cultural heritage, and the opportunity to forge a deep connection with nature. Whether it’s the challenge of a long-distance trek or the tranquility of a coastal walk, these trails offer a chance to escape, rejuvenate, and experience the wonders of our planet.