With a well-worn path beneath your feet and the blue sky up above, there is nothing as enjoyable for a nature lover as a beautiful hike. Hiking allows us to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and see the world as it exists beyond the realm of human influence. Our senses become heightened on the trails, with the chirping of the birds and the smell of the earth filling us up with joy. We all have a trail somewhere in our backyards, either a car ride or bus trip away. But what about the most adventurous hikers, those who want to travel the world seeing the very best trails our planet has to offer? If you’re someone willing to hit the road in search of natural wonders, then you’ll be happy to check out this list of the best six hiking trails in the world.
Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park, USA
For a breathtaking hike stateside, check out this rocky stretch in the southwestern desert. The entire hike is only 5.4 miles, making it doable in a single afternoon. The terrain will make you feel like you are on another planet, with the stone precipices and craggly hills punctured by bristly pines. The views are astounding, with miles of desert and light red stone spreading out around you. The rock climbing sections will give you a sense of exhilaration, while the chains affixed to the stone will keep you feeling secure.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand
If you’ve ever seen the Lord of the Rings, then you’ve appreciated the wondrous beauty of New Zealand’s varied landscapes. This hike is rated the best of countless breathtaking trails on the islands. The hike takes you past smoking volcanoes and lakes with water so blue you would swear they had been painted. The entire trek is about twelve miles long, so be prepared to make an entire day of it. Also, dress warmly, as the altitude can make it chilly.
The Grand Canyon, USA
Another stateside destination, the Grand Canyon is world famous for a reason. It’s a natural phenomenon of such massive scale that you will feel puny by comparison. The famous rim-to-rim hike is a grueling but rewarding experience that will give you a profound appreciation for the size of the canyon. As you would expect, the rim-to-rim hike entails descending into the depths of the canyon, crossing the Colorado River, and climbing the other side. The trail is twenty-three miles long and includes serious changes in elevation, meaning it is best completed over the course of a few days (with a backpack and a tent) unless you are extremely fit and get an early, early start.
The Inca Trail, Perú
The internationally famous Inca trail leads to the ruins of Machu Picchu, an ancient Inca citadel and one of the most stunning archaeological sites in the world. Visitors can take a guided four-day trek or join the trail closer to the destination for a one-day hike. Both options offer tremendous views of the lush Andean heights, sprinkled all about with ruins. The citadel itself is, of course, the crown jewel of the experience, but many trekkers enjoy the hike itself just as much. There are few trails around the world that offer such an awesome mix of natural beauty and human history. You’ll truly feel like you’ve entered a different era.
Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan
This Asian wonder is another trek that combines natural beauty with human culture. The hike takes almost seven hours in total, and requires grueling effort as you scale a steep mountainside. Once you get to the top, however, you’ll be stunned by the majesty of the Buddhist temple awaiting you. The temple is perched atop a stone outcropping, seeming to dangle off the side of the mountain. Amid the smells of the burning incense, you appreciate one of the most spectacular views you’ve ever seen.
Puez-Odle Altopiano, Italy
Located in the Dolomite Mountains in northeastern Italy, this hike offers looks at idyllic beauty so pristine it is sometimes impossible to believe it’s real. The grassy valley, dotted with darkened pines, gives way to glorious snow-capped mountains. This hike requires a fair bit of climbing and includes towering peaks that offer incredible views of the surrounding mountain range.
Traveling and hiking are two joyous activities that go incredibly well together. The only thing more exciting than getting on a plane to some far-off destination is the feeling of arriving at a trail-head with an overpowering sense of anticipation for all the natural beauty your day has in store. These are just some of the many trails around the world that are bound to make for a trip you’ll never forget.