Exploring The World’s Most Epic Hiking Trails

Hiking has a magical way of connecting us to the natural world, allowing us to explore stunning landscapes, and uncover hidden treasures. From towering mountain ranges to pristine coastal paths, the world offers an array of hiking trails that cater to every adventurer’s dream. So dust off your walking boots and let’s delve into some of the most stunning hiking trails around the globe!

Pacific Crest Trail, USA

Images by @erinexploring_

Picture this: a trail that stretches from the sun-soaked deserts of Southern California to the snow-capped peaks of the North Cascades in Washington. That’s the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) for you. Over 2,600 miles of pure wilderness magic stretching from the Mexican border to Canada. You’ll journey through a tapestry of ecosystems, from arid deserts to lush forests, all while experiencing a hiker’s dream of diverse terrain.

Length: 2,650 miles

States Covered: California, Oregon, Washington

The Camino de Santiago, Spain

Images by @hellochristie

The Camino de Santiago is not just a trail; it’s a spiritual and cultural pilgrimage. The Camino Frances, in particular, takes you on a 500-mile journey through the Spanish countryside, unraveling a rich tapestry of history and heritage. From the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela, this trail unveils charming villages and leads you to the grand Cathedral of Santiago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Length: Various routes, with the Camino Frances being the most popular (500 miles)

The Milford Track, New Zealand

Images by @stacey._.walker & @lorcanohara

Step into a world of pristine rainforests, thundering waterfalls, and sparkling lakes. The Milford Track in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park is often dubbed the “finest walk in the world,” and for good reason. This 33.5-mile gem showcases the very best of New Zealand’s natural beauty. Meander through the awe-inspiring Fiordland National Park, hike through ancient rainforests, cross suspension bridges, and marvel at the iconic Mackinnon Pass. This hike is definitely not for the faint-hearted but the views are worth it!

Length: 33.5 miles

 The West Highland Way, Scotland 

Images by @happy_moreau

The West Highland Way in Scotland offers an immersive experience in the rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands. This 96-mile trail winds through dramatic landscapes, taking you along the stunning shores of Loch Lomond and offering views of Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis. Along the way, you’ll encounter charming Highland villages, providing a glimpse into Scotland’s rich culture.

Length: 96 miles

The Great Ocean Walk, Australia

Images by @chloesymons__ & @taswalkingco

The Great Ocean Walk in Australia is a coastal masterpiece, winding along Victoria’s iconic Shipwreck Coast. This 66-mile trail offers a front-row seat to the drama of the Southern Ocean. Witness the towering limestone cliffs, walk through lush coastal forests, and savour moments of solitude on pristine beaches.

Length: 66 miles

The Annapurna Circuit, Nepal 

Images by @mountain.trekking

Prepare to be mesmerised by the Himalayan beauty on the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. This 130-mile trek takes you through a variety of landscapes, from terraced fields to lush rhododendron forests. Explore traditional villages and immerse yourself in the rich culture of the Annapurna region. With some sections at high altitude, this journey offers a mix of adventure and cultural immersion.

Length: Approximately 130 miles

The Kalalau Trail, Hawaii

Images by @nicole_st3v3ns & @raya_is_raya_v_rayu

The Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast of Hawaii offers a rugged coastal adventure like no other. This 11-mile trek is not for the faint-hearted, as it leads hikers through steep ascents and challenging terrain. But the reward is worth it – towering sea cliffs, lush valleys, and access to the remote Kalalau Beach, where you can bask in the serenity of the Pacific.

Length: 11 miles (one-way)

The Inca Trail, Peru 

Images by @walkerlust

When you think of the Inca Trail, envision an epic trek that not only transports you through some of Peru’s most stunning landscapes but also allows you to step back in time to a civilization that remains shrouded in mystery. This 26-mile journey is the gateway to one of the world’s most incredible archaeological wonders – Machu Picchu. As you embark on the Inca Trail, you’ll find yourself navigating lush cloud forests, their misty tendrils draping over the ancient stone path. The pièce de résistance, of course, is the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu! Trekking the Inca Trail is a physically demanding endeavor, but the rewards are immeasurable. 

Length: Approximately 26 miles

Whether you crave the allure of ancient history on the Inca Trail, the rugged coastal beauty of the Kalalau Trail, or the spiritual journey of the Camino de Santiago, the world is your oyster. So, pack your backpack, lace up your boots, and embark on an unforgettable journey to explore these incredible hiking trails.

Written by Lucy Kaufmann