Hiking is one of the easiest ways to explore nature’s many wonders; adventuring into unknown landscapes to enjoy the rugged beauty of untouched nature has to be one of the most life-affirming, and exciting adventures that one can embark on. If you’re looking for inspiration to break out your waterproof hiking boots, then read on to explore some of the most drool-worthy hiking destinations from around the world.
I’ve done some epic treks in the past and have been lucky enough to hike in far-flung places like Bolivia, stunning Patagonia and the jungles of Colombia, but there are still plenty of hikes left I am hoping to do one day. Here are some incredible bucket list hikes that I am hoping to do:
Te Araroa Trail, New Zealand
New Zealand is home to a diverse assortment of landscapes, and the Te Araroa Trail perfectly mirrors this diversity with a variety of settings from cliff top views to lush jungles, vast stretches of farmland, and a shoreline that stretches for thousands of miles.
It is a real feast for the senses with a rich selection of wildlife and birdlife, villages that bustle with Maori culture, unreal forests, and the opportunity to meander through a live volcano. Best time to visit is around October, during New Zeland’s spring, keeping in mind that this is one of the longest hiking trails in the world, and can take months of trekking to finish but it is a real gem worth seeing. So you want to make sure the weather is suitable for camping – attempting this hike during the northern hemisphere summer months (June – August) wouldn’t be recommended, since it can get too cold to comfortably camp during what’s winter in the southern hemisphere.
Kungsleden is located right in the middle of the Arctic Circle, and is definitely not a hike for the faint of heart. However, those who do dare to take the leap rarely regret it. Depending on the season, the hike offers the best of the Arctic with craggy landscapes, wild flowers, and birch forests, superimposed on a backdrop of steep and undulating hills.
Although a day apart, the little hobbit-house like huts provide a rare refuge for wary visitors wanting to escape choppy weather conditions, while the barren landscape evokes a powerful sense of pensive, and desolate contemplation. Visit in early autumn for a truly immersive experience.
Grand Canyon Hike, Arizona
Hiking the Grand Canyon is like stepping into a new world adorned with carefully carved grandiose canyons to sweeping valleys of incomparable beauty. It’s a unique stretch of desert which offers no less than the most expansive hiking trails, and has an abundance of camping sites to back it up.
It’s a truly vast, and meditative place where you can explore ancient civilizations through the multi-layered Colorado Plateau, or simply take in the majestic peace of the never-ending desert horizon, and its balmy sunsets. The best time to visit the Grand Canyon is in Spring or early winter to experience why it is known as a true hiker’s dream.
Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal
Summiting Mount Everest is probably one of the most formidable odysseys known to man, and is a true test of the human spirit. For daring hikers, meandering through the Himalayas means a chance to get an awe-inspiring, and one-of-a-kind glimpse at some of the greatest natural peaks in the world, including Mount Everest.
However, the rich, and mystical culture of the Himalayas is an indelible part of the experience, and one of the reasons why seekers come back time and again to this magnificent slice of heaven on earth. Visit during the pre-monsoon season around March to experience this beautiful site at its best.
Franconia Ridge Loop/Traverse, New Hampshire
The Franconia Ridge Top trail offers a heady experience of panoramic views from some of the most elevated peaks from Mount Lafayette to Mount Lincoln. Along the trail, you’ll find vibrantly blooming delicate flowers, and foliage protected by quaint stone steps, and you may even get a sneak peek of the wildlife if you’re lucky.
It’s a nine-mile trek that’s best made during the fall season to enjoy the transformation of the forests into a kaleidoscope of fall foliage. The winters here can be rather punishing but they do also cast a magical snow blanket over the landscape, while the summer can see about 700 visitors to the trail on any given day to enjoy the phantasmagoria of life in all its vibrant color and variety.
These destinations are so epic that if you haven’t visited them yet, they should be in your bucket list of must-see hiking destinations already. From long winding valley paths to awe-inspiring views atop icy glaciers, there is no end to the marvelous glory of natural wonders that our earth has to offer
Also, hiking is probably the most intimate way in which you can enjoy the beauty of this planet. Even if you start small at your local estuary or beach trail, you’ll soon meet fellow wanderers, and discover new gems that take your love for hiking to new heights with every climb.
Which epic hikes are on your bucket list?