25 Best Hikes in the World to Put on Your Bucket List

We are far from hardcore hikers. In fact, my friends used to call me “indoorsy” before I started training for our Inca Trail hike 5 years ago. We do, however, like to get out and explore knowing some places you can only access on foot.

We’ve compiled a list of the best hikes in the world, including the distances and best times of the year. So far we’ve completed two of these hikes plus sections of others. 

We hope to get our bodies in shape so we can hike them all in our lifetime. If an indoorsy person like me can do it, you can too!

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Last Updated: June 15, 2020

Location: Peru
Distance: 26 miles
Time: 4 days
Best Time to Go: May to September

One of the most popular hikes in the world, the Inca Trail takes you through 26 miles of grueling inclines and declines. You get a chance to explore ruins, jungle, and beautiful mountain scenery, and of course, end the hike at Machu Picchu.

BONUS: Inca Trail Alternates

Check out The Ancascocha Trail, Lares Valley Hike, or Salcantay Trek if you’re looking for less crowded alternatives. With each, you still get amazing views and you can easily add a day to explore Machu Picchu as well.

Location: Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile
Distance: 37-50 miles
Time: 4-6 days
Best Time to Go: Popular from October and April. We preferred July (their winter).

The popular route that follows the letter “W” takes you through the wondrous Torres del Paine National Park. You get a chance to see volcanic peaks, glaciers, and beautiful lakes.

You can also do the longer longer “O” circuit that encompasses the “W”.

If you want to beat the crowds, try the hike in their winter. It’s probably not as cushy as the summer trek, but during our hike we only saw one other person with a guide vs 800-1000 people who are on the trail every day during their summer. It’s unreal to have the park to yourself.

Here are some posts we wrote to help you plan your trip:

3. Appalachian Trail

Location: Georgia to Maine, United States
Distance: 2,180 miles
Time: 5-7 months
Best Time to Go: Year Round

This hike is one of the longest continuously marked footpath in the world and is not an easy feat. It takes you through 14 states and takes careful planning and execution if you want to do it one go.

Location: Tanzania, Africa
Distance: roughly 35 miles
Time: 7+ days
Best Time to Go: January, February, or September

Africa’s highest peak (19,340 feet) is widely popular and still on most people’s bucket list. With a wide range of climbing routes, most travel with a guided tour to reach the spectacular view above the clouds.

5. Kungsleden

Location: Sweden
Distance: 65 miles
Time: 3-5 days
Best Time to Go: August to Early September

Kungsleden, or “The King’s Trail,” is a 275-mile traverse, but get a glimpse of this amazing landscape with a shorter hike. See the amazing Arctic landscape, open tundra, big glaciers, and brush up against Sweden’s highest peak, Mount Kebnekaise.

Location: Nepal
Distance: 70 miles
Time: 16 days
Best Time to Go: March to May, September to November

This trek is becoming popular as you get the opportunity to experience the people and culture that makes their home at these elevations. You also get to be face-to-face with the highest point on Earth.

7. Snowman Trek

Location: Bhutan
Distance: 200+ miles
Time: 25+ days
Best Time to Go: April or October

Some say that this is the hardest trail on the planet and many are unable to finish because unpredictable weather in the high Himalaya. Traversing 11 passes, most of which are more than 16,000 feet, you can only do this hike with a guided tour and is at the top of most hikers’ bucket lists.

8. Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim Hike

Location: Arizona, United States
Distance: 44 miles
Time: 4-6 days
Best Time to Go: March to May, September to November

This hike gives you an in-depth look at on of Earth’s greatest features. Not only does it help you appreciate its vastness physically, the views and scenery that you get by being up close and personal with it will be more rewarding than any view point you’ll get by a quick stop.

9. Pacific Crest Trail

Location: California, Oregon, and Washington, United States
Distance: 2,650 miles
Time: 6-7 months
Best Time to Go: April to October

Trek through 7 national parks and numerous national forests, state parks, and wilderness areas on this hike. Along the way, you will experience the Mojave Desert and also reach heights of over 13,000 feet. After reading Wild, I kept thinking if she can do this, maybe we can too!

Location: California, United States
Distance: 60 miles
Time: 6-7 days
Best Time to Go: Mid-July to Mid-September

This trek takes you through some of the best of Yosemite National Park (our favorite NP!), part of the John Muir Trail, and the Cathedral Range. You hike through waterfalls, granite basins, sprawling meadows, and you even ascend Half Dome via the Cable Route.

Location: Alaska and Yukon Territory, United States and Canada
Distance: 33 miles
Time: 3-5 days
Best Time to Go: Late June to Early October

With routes like the Golden Stairs, the Stone Crib, and the Scales, this hike lives up to its name. Its rich gold miners history brings you through amazing views of Alaska and Yukon Territory and helps you experience the wild and vastness of this area.

12. Tonquin Valley

Location: Alberta, Canada
Distance: 27 miles
Time: 3-5 days
Best Time to Go: July to September

Ansel Adams made his way to this valley to take photos of the amazing scenery and landscape. And a quick google search will convince you that it’s well worth the experience and effort to get into the valley.

13. Bay of Fires

Location: Tasmania, Australia
Distance: 16 miles
Time: 4 days
Best Time to Go: October to May

This hike takes you to endless beaches of white sand, boulders covered in blood red lichen, and alongside turquoise water. You can do this hike on a guided trip or on your own, but the scenery makes it one of the best hikes in the world.

14. Queen Charlotte Track

Location: New Zealand
Distance: 44 miles
Time: 3-5 days
Best Time to Go: Year Round

Located on the north end of the South Island, this trek takes you through sunny hills, next to beautiful blue waters, and gives you plenty of options on how to take this journey.

15. Mountains of the Moon

Location: Ruwenzori Range, Uganda
Distance: 38 miles
Time: 6-7 days
Best Time to Go: December to March

These peaks make up the highest range in Africa at over 16,000 feet. Besides the views, this enchanting place also brings you face-to-face with high altitude glaciers and elephants in the same place.

16. Kalalau Trail

Location: Kauai, Hawaii, United States
Distance: 22 miles
Time: 3-5 days
Best Time to Go: May to September

This amazing coastal hike takes you on steep trails and tropical heat as you trek through amazing jungle, beautiful waterfalls, and explore the mile-long arc of Kalalau Beach.

Location: France, Italy, Switzerland
Distance: 105 miles
Time: Around 10 days
Best Time to Go: Anytime from July to mid-September

Experiencing a Mont Blanc holiday not only gives you the chance to hike through 3 countries, but also trek through mountain passes, alpine meadows, and glacial valleys, and the base of the highest mountain in Western Europe.

18. The Long Range Traverse

Location: Newfoundland, Canada
Distance: 25 miles
Time: 3-6 days
Best Time to Go: July to September

Less of a trail and more of a frolic through the Gros Morne National Park. This hike takes you to a land that seems untouched. You will trek over tundra and explore hidden lakes, and you may even share campsites with moose, caribou, or black bears.

19. Laugavegurinn / Fimmvörðuháls Pass

Location: Iceland
Distance: 50 miles
Time: 4 days
Best Time to Go: June to September

Taking you through volcanic landscapes, lichen-covered rocks, and amazing views of rhyolite peaks, this hike packs in more variety in its 50 miles than most hikes do. You also have the option of a 15-mile add-on to start or end at the 200-foot-high Skogafoss waterfall.

20. Sierra High Route

Location: California, United States
Distance: 195 miles
Time: Around 13 days
Best Time to Go: Summer or Early Fall

Keeping you between 9,000 and 11,500 feet, most of this hike runs parallel to the Join Muir Trail but gives you more scenery and solitude.

Steve Dunleavy / cc

21. Routeburn Track

Location: South Island, New Zealand
Distance: 20 miles
Time: 2-4 days
Best Time to Go: November to April

Fiordland National Park has amazing hiking options. Although Milford Track is the most popular hike in the park, the Routeburn Track gives you a chance to see equally spectacular views with fewer people on the trail.

22. Scottish National Trail

Location: United Kingdom
Distance: 470 miles
Time: 5-6 weeks
Best Time to Go: April and May

Opened in 2012, this trail is Scotland’s first end-to-end walking route. Giving you views of the most amazing landscapes in the country, this hike becomes more difficult as you go. If time is an issue, you can also break this journey into four sections.

23. Fitz Roy Trek

Location: Patagonia, Argentina
Distance: 36 miles
Time: 4-7 days
Best Time to Go: February to March

This takes you through Los Glaciares National Park, which by the way is the size of Delaware, and gives you views of beech forests, open plains, glaciers, waterfalls, and the iconic Fitz Roy Massif.

24. Trek to Petra

Location: Jordan
Distance: roughly 50 miles
Time: 5-9 Days
Best Time to Go: October to April

This is considered one of the best hikes in the Middle East and takes you through gorges, ridges, and rocky terrain. You end this epic hike exploring the temples and tombs of this fascinating city.

Location: Italy
Distance: Varies
Time: Varies
Best Time to Go: Mid-March to Mid-October

Much less crowded than the Amalfi Coast, the Ligurian coast in Cinque Terre National Park offers spectacular views of the rocky coastline. Two of the most popular hikes are Alta Via or “High Path,” which is 22 miles and Sentiero Azzurro or “Blue Path,” which is 7.5 miles. 

We explored each of the 5 towns and the Blue Path a couple of years ago, but was only able to hike parts of the trail because a lot of it was destroyed by the flood. We hope to go back now that the trail has fully reopened.

  • Abel Tasman Coast Track, New Zealand
  • Boiling Lake, Dominica
  • Cordillera Huayhuash Trek, Peru
  • Fish River Canyon, Namibia
  • Great Himalaya Trail, Nepal
  • Larapinta Trail, Northern Territory, Australia
  • Whale Trail, South Africa

We’re hoping to do the Rim-to-Rim Grand Canyon hike before we move next month, and then Kilimanjaro, we’re coming for you next!

Essential Tips for the Best Hikes in the World

Don'T Forget These Hiking Essentials

Do you keep a hiking bucket list? Which of these have you done? Are there any other best hikes in the world that we’re missing?

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Best Hikes in the World by Region

“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust

Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

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This Post Has 53 Comments

  1. Have you done any of the Dolomites “Alta Via Uno”?? Super great hiking on the 65-70 miles of trails in the Italian Alps. Highly recommended!

  2. Hi,

    One more quick question. Which alternative trek would you choose? Ancascocha or Lares Valley Hike?

    1. We personally haven’t done either, but we know people who have done Ancascocha who have loved it.

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