The planning; the anticipation; the challenge; the thrill; the exhilaration; the satisfaction and … the exhaustion. Hikers are no strangers to all of the above! They all contribute to why we do it, right? Hiking is an ace for your physical health and your emotional well-being and is the only true way to see some of the wonders of the world. Sure, it can be a challenging and time-consuming passion, but the overwhelming feelings of achievement and well-being are worth everything.
What better way to escape the worries of the world and the minutiae of life for just a little while. BUCKiTDREAMER, if you’re seriously into your hiking, here are our suggestions for five of the top trails.
Queen Charlotte Track (New Zealand) Where better to start than in the beautiful country of New Zealand, the most awe-inspiring place which everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. This particular trek is to be found in the north of the south island. It’s 70 kilometers long and can be undertaken pretty much any time of the year. The trail runs from Ship Cove down to Anakiwa. You will be walking between Queen Charlotte Sound and Kenepuru Sound, part of the well-known Marlborough Sounds.
The word ‘sound’ generally refers to a large area of sea or ocean, or it can be a narrow channel between two pieces of land. Allow 3 -5 days for this awesome walk. You will not be disappointed by the stunning views along the route, and you will almost certainly encounter some wonderful native birds on your travels.
Inca Trail (Peru) is of course known to many and is one of the most popular hiking trails in the world. At just over 41 kilometers, it’s relatively short for a serious hike, but it’s tough going in places. The trail is located in the Andes Mountains and will take you through impressive mountain passes and tunnels and past many an old settlement and ruin. It’s worth noting that the route takes you to 4,200 meters above sea level, a height at which you risk suffering from altitude sickness.
One of the best things about this magnificent trail has to be that it ends at Machu Picchu – a UNESCO World Heritage site voted as one of the seven new wonders of the world via an internet survey in 2007. The ideal months for doing the route are May – September, and you must pre-book your place, as numbers per day are restricted.
Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) From one legend to another! Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, is on every serious hiker’s bucket list. It’s 5,895 meters high and will take you roughly 7 or 8 days to do. You can choose your way up from many different routes, and it’s really advisable to employ the services of a guide so that you get the best out of your hike and, more importantly, you don’t get lost!
It’s actually a dormant volcano (don’t worry, it was the last active more than 150,000 years ago) and comprises three volcanic cones. Once at the top, the views from the ‘Roof of Africa’ are simply breathtaking. Recommended best months for climbing this beast are January, February, and September.
Mount Snowdon (Wales) The highest mountain in Wales, boasting a height of 1085 meters. It’s located in the beautiful Snowdonia National Park, a designated nature reserve due to its unusual plants and wildlife. There is a number of well-traveled paths to the summit and it’s worth knowing that this is the most popular, and therefore busiest, the mountain in the UK! Volcanoes and glaciation are responsible for the formation of Snowdon as it is today, with its varied cliff faces.
Edmund Hillary, no less, made use of this very mountain when preparing for his climb up Mount Everest in 1953. Another interesting fact about this little gem is that there is a café at the top! It’s only open when the railway track – which also goes to the summit – is open, so be sure to check this beforehand if you’re looking forward to a fresh cup of coffee after all your efforts.
Tour du Mont Blanc (France, Italy & Switzerland) Another must -do trail for any serious hiker. It’s pretty long – roughly 105 kilometers – so you’ll need to allow around 10 days to complete it. The hike takes you through seven valleys around the Mont Blanc Massif and along some of the highest peaks in the Alps. Here’s the really cool thing; you’ll pass through three different countries – France, Italy & Switzerland! What’s not to like!
There are many routes to choose from, depending on your level of fitness and time available. The more demanding treks will give you the greater rewards in terms of stunning views, but really there are no losers here on this beautiful tour. Plenty of different types of accommodation can found along the route, together with a most welcome hot, cooked meal on arrival. The best time for undertaking this hike is from July to September.
These five fabulous trails are a mere fraction of the many remarkable hikes available around this incredible world of ours. You can only undertake so many in a lifetime so we recommend you research these and other options carefully to determine which trails the best suit your level of fitness, your available time and your bank balance! They’re all there for the taking, so go get ‘em. And while you’re at it, check out these other hiking suggestions: Top 5 Hikes in Madeira and Trekking in Bhutan’s Paro Valley.