The 10 Best Hikes In The World!
Date Posted: 11-15-11
Tags: GR20, Hiking, Inca Trail, The best, Top 10, Zion Narrows
Comments (0): Read Comments Post Comment
This was a tough blog post to write, simply because there is so much choice and so much potential for disagreement. With only room for 10, we had no choice but to exclude many of the great trails and hikes of the world. The ones that we did select are for serious walkers only. All of them demand a hiker in top physical condition and a great deal of preparation. So, without further ado and in NO PARTICULAR ORDER, here are the Guideloop top 10 best hikes in the world:
Many people think of South America’s most famous trail as somewhat of a cliché, but the truth is that thousands continue to traverse this ancient 20-mile trail for a reason. Peru has some of the most beautiful mountainous scenery in South America (maybe even the world) and this 3-night, 4-day hike to Machu Picchu does anything but disappoint. Along the way to one of the most celebrated man made destinations in the world, a trekker will experience high alpine terrain, rich jungle vegetation as well as the ruins of Patallacta and the Incan Tambo of Runkuraqay.
9- Everest Base Camp, Nepal
Taking three weeks and reaching a height of 18,193 feet, this infamous trek is very popular with those hikers who want to be associated with this iconic mountain. The heights of this trek can be very dizzying until you acclimatize to the altitude, but the scenery along this trek transports you to another world entirely.
8-Zion Narrows, Utah
Ranked at #5 in the National Geographic’s list of America’s Best Adventures, the Zion Narrows are like nothing you will have experienced before. The route of this hike is the river and 60% of it will be spent wading and even swimming. Hikers will make their way between colorful sandstone walls that rise up to just under 1km in height. 2 miles of this astounding trek is known as “Wall Street” where the walls on either side can close to as little as 22 feet apart.
It is possible to complete this 16-mile hike within one day, but many prefer to divide the hike into two days and spend the night at one of the 12 campgrounds in the Zion National Park. For all its wonders, the Zion Narrows is extremely dangerous and should only be attempted if no rain is forecasted whatsoever. Flash floods can hit Zion Narrows instantly and rainstorms from up to 50 miles away can storm into the canyon. This is one trail that needs critical and in-depth planning.
7- GR20, France
This is true adventure. This 104-mile trek through Corsica, taking 15 days, is infamous for the amazing variety of landscapes it spans. The G20 links Calenzana, in the Balagne, with Conca, north of Porto Vecchio. The trek between these two spots is not an easy one; the terrain is often steep and rocky and there are rickety bridges and slippery rock faces to add to the adventure. But by taking on this gargantuan task, you will be rewarded with granite moonscapes, rich forests, glacial lakes, snow-capped peaks and luscious plains.
6- Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii
This 11-mile trail has some of the most dramatic and beautiful scenery in the world and an obvious entry into our 10 best hikes in the world list. Sheer cliffs plummet into bright blue Pacific waters and tropical valleys are peppered with perfect waterfalls. Along the Kalalau Trail, you can view humpback whales, dolphins and sea turtles all clearly visible in the deep blue ocean.
Many serious hikers can complete this trail in one day, although because of the treacherous terrain many prefer to complete it in two days. Experiencing the Kalalau trail will take you 4,000 feet above the ocean and will span 5 major valleys.
5- Routeburn Track, New Zealand
It is no secret that New Zealand is home to some magnificent and dramatic scenery. The Routeburn Track begins at the base of New Zealand’s Southern Alps and passes through two national parks: Mt Aspiring and Flordland. This 32km, three-day trek includes such highlights as the spectacular views from atop Harris Saddle and Conical Hill. There are limited numbers of hikers allowed to trek this track at any one time, so securing a spot can prove complicated.
4- Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Standing at almost 20,000 feet, Mount Kilimanjaro is known as the world’s tallest walkable mountain. This is because no technical skill or equipment is required to conquer this infamous mountain. But this does not mean that reaching the summit is an easy task; hikers die every year from altitude sickness attempting to conquer Kilimanjaro.
This is one of the most varied and diverse hikes on the globe and it is clear to see why we nominated it into our top 10 best hikes in the world list. Staring at the equator, a hiker will experience every climatic zone on the earth, from hot grasslands, to mild forests, to glacial valleys and finally to the freezing summit. Experience this astounding diversity over a 6-day, 5-night hiking adventure.
3- Tour de Mount Blanc, France
This 170km hike regularly makes the top hike lists and it is easy to see why. Circumambulating Mont Blanc, the Tour gives amazing views of blue alpine lakes, huge glaciers, lush green valleys and of course Mont Blanc and the surrounding Alp peaks.
This trail is well maintained, marked and also offers the option to take warm refuge in hiking huts along the way. You may feel this compromises the hike, but not having to carry the weight of a tent or food makes this hike much less grueling. There is also the option to take a chair lift or cable car along the way, you do not have to use them, but it can shorten your hike on certain days and provides a safety net that few other hikes can offer.
2- West Coast Trail, British Columbia
Rugged coastlines, lush forests and astounding mountain peeks can all be encountered along the West Coast Trail in British Columbia. This unique, 75km trail was built back in 1907 to help assist in the rescue of survivors from shipwrecks along the coast of what is known as the Graveyard of the Pacific. Today it is used by hikers looking to hike waterfalls, scramble up creeks and traverse rivers using logs and boulders.
The West Coast Trail was damaged back in 2007 when intense storms downed 3,000 trees, destroyed a bridge and forced a serious landslide on mile 7. The trail now has rebuilt walkways, ladders and bridges thanks to $500,000 funding from the federal government. Taking on the West Coast Trail requires a permit that cost C$200 per person and limited permits are available. But if you can acquire a permit, you will experience a truly unique hike.
1-Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
To Nepal one last time for the final entry into this top 10 list, the Annapurna Circuit. This trek can take 17-21 days and passes through four regions: Lamjung, Myagdi, Manang and Mustang. Lamjung and Myagdi are lower elevations, predominately Hindu and are populated with lush subtropical valleys. Manang and Mustang are the higher elevations, predominately Buddhist and colder climates. During this massive trail, you will pass the world’s deepest gorge and also have the opportunity to visit both Hindu and Buddhist holy sites. The Annapurna Circuit, although considered one of the best treks in the world, is currently under threat due to road construction and expansion, potentially damaging it’s reputation as one of the world’s classic treks.