Need a vacation? Experience nature and leave your everyday stress behind with an epic hiking trail. Whether you’re a skilled backpacker or an average Joe who wants to really see what Mother Nature has to offer, there’s a gorgeous trail out there just waiting to offer you the experience of a lifetime. These 30 hiking trails are among the most beautiful in the world and certain to get your blood pumping!
Colorado Trail – United States: Spanning 486 miles, the Colorado Trail runs from the mouth of Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver, to Durango, through historic mining towns and along ancient Indian trails. For the “short version,” stick to the most beautiful 68 miles between San Luis Pass and Molas Pass, and expect to see a lot of wildlife and plenty of gorgeous wildflowers.
Buckskin Gulch – United States: Prepare yourself for some absolutely incredible rock formations. The Bucksin Gulch is one of the most popular destinations for slot canyon hikers, clocking in at 13 miles. In some places — like the 2-foot-wide Wire Pass — you’ll need to remove your backpack just to squeeze through. Plan about three to four days for this one.
Kungsleden – Sweden: Also known as “The King’s Trail,” this 275-mile trek will give you a tour of some of Sweden’s most beautiful landscapes, running through four national parks and a nature reserve. Unless you want to spend a month hiking, stick to the northernmost 65 miles.
The Snowman Trek – Bhutan: A challenging but rewarding high-altitude hike, the Snowman Trek passes beneath six mountains and crosses nine passes. Highlights include Buddhist monasteries, small villages like Laya, and unique wildlife like the Himalayan blue sheep.
Mount Kilimanjaro – Tanzania: Reaching 19,340 feet into the sky, Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak. Believe it or not, this trek is possible for even the most inexperienced of climbers and requires no special equipment, (which is one of the reasons why 35,000 people climb it every year). Backpacker magazine describes it as a “volcanic hulk [that’s] so massive that it supports five distinct eco-zones, from the banana trees growing at its base to the glaciers draping its upper slopes. … After 27 miles of climbing, you’ll watch Kili’s pyramidal shadow disappear as dawn spreads across an auburn sea of savanna that’s home to lions, elephants and more.”
Paine Circuit Trek – Chile: If you want the view of a lifetime, look no further than Chile’s Torres del Paine Circuit. One of the most popular ways to experience Patagonia, the 75-mile hike offers surreal panoramas of icy lakes, blue glaciers, mountains and forests. Most people opt for the three or four day “W” route rather than the full five to eight day circuit.
Roan Highlands – United States: Ranked No. 23 in National Geographic’s “50 Best American Adventures,” Roan Highlands consists of a 48-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail between the Nolichucky River and U.S. Highway 19E. This area is known for its breathtaking views and rhododendrons, and contains the largest expanse of “bales” (openings in the forest along ridges and mountaintops), in the Appalachian range.
Superior Hiking Trail – United States: Named one of the five best hikes in America by Readers Digest in May 2005, the 275-mile Superior Hiking Trail overlooks Lake Superior and passes through forests of birch, aspen, pine, fir and cedar. Highlights include rushing waterfalls and a plethora of wildlife.
Everest Base Camp Trek – Nepal: Face the world’s highest mountain without actually climbing the whole thing. The Everest Base Camp Trek takes hikers to the easily reached high point of 18,513-foot Kala Pattar, through terraced villages, by rushing rivers, over suspension bridges and to the famous Khumba icefall.
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