What are the best 10 destinations for Hiking? Some hiking freaks shared their experience with us and here it goes.
1.Kungsleden Hike, Sweden
Round-Trip: 65 miles, 3 to 5 days
When to Go: The Europeans do it in August, when they get holiday time, so be bold and go in early September for authentic solitude and no bugs.
A hundred miles inside the Arctic Circle, Sweden’s legendary 275-mile Kungsleden (the “The King’s Trail”) begins its traverse of the last great wilderness in western Europe. This mind-blowing northernmost section penetrates the vast Arctic landscape of Sweden through birch forests, open tundra, and big glaciers before crossing the shoulder of Sweden’s highest peak, 6,926-foot Mount Kebnekaise. Using the comfortable huts placed about a day apart assures you have refuge in bad weather. Sturdy suspension bridges take the danger out of the big rivers. The vibe here is “far north,” with palpable emptiness and low-angled light that stirs the soul.
Insider Tip: The route can be done in either direction, but do it north to south, as that keeps the sun on your face—no small consideration in the Arctic.
2.Grand Canyon Hike, Arizona
Round-Trip: 44 miles, 4 to 6 days
When to Go: Everybody does this hike in September to October or April to May, so go in March or November for a more contemplative experience.
Any walk in the Grand Canyon is going to rate pretty high on the Richter scale of hikes, but this route shows you both rims and the river, offers different trails in and out, and gives you enough time within one of the greatest features on Earth to actually savor the majesty of the natural architecture. Time travel through the multicolored layer cake of the Colorado Plateau for two billion years’ worth of geology, from the Kaibab limestone at the rim to the Vishnu complex at the river, all on good “corridor” trails with known water sources and pleasant camps.
Insider Tip: Bomb down from the South Rim via the uber-direct South Kaibab Trail to cross the Colorado River on the Black Bridge and camp at Bright Angel camp. Then ascend through the Box, the inner heart of the canyon, up to Cottonwood Camp and the remote North Rim. On the return trek, cross the Colorado on the Silver Bridge and ascend to the South Rim through Indian Garden via the Bright Angel Trail, better suited for uphill travel.
3.Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal
Round-Trip: 70 miles, 16 days
When to Go: Pre-monsoon (March or April) gives you the rhododendrons in bloom and lots of climber action, but post-monsoon (November) gives you drier weather. Go with guide services that use local Sherpa guides, cooks, and porters—it’s part of the experience.
Arguably the greatest of all high-mountain journeys, this stroll through Nepal’s Khumbu district lets you see three of the highest peaks on Earth (Everest, Lhotse, and Lhotse Sar) in one glance—and dozens more Himalayan giants along the way. A favorite is the view from Thyangboche, called by renowned mountain explorer W.H. Tillman the “greatest view in the world.” But it’s the deep immersion in the Sherpas’ Buddhist culture that will bring you back for the friendly villages, the monasteries, and the polyglot scene of world travelers who come for the high-octane pilgrimage to Everest.
Insider Tip: Go slow on the way up. Healthy hikers could cover 35 miles in two days, but the need to acclimatize means you’ll take ten days on the trek in to Everest, but only three on the trek out. The enforced downtime allows you to savor the experience—and the culture of people who live there.
4.Fitz Roy Trek, Patagonia, Argentina
Round-Trip: 36 miles, 4 to 7 days
When to Go: February to March to avoid the crowds of midsummer and enjoy stable fall weather when the infamous Patagonian winds abate
Hike among Argentina’s fabled Fitz Roy Massif, the iconic ridge where the peaks of Poincenot, St. Exupery, and 11,073-foot Fitz Roy itself rise out of the steppes of Patagonia like a vision. This grand tour gives you three views of Fitz at sunrise, with Cerro Torre and Marconi Pass thrown in for good measure. This ramble through Delaware-size Los Glaciares National Park takes you from gnarled, spooky beech forests and open plains to glaciers, roaring waterfalls, and granite monoliths afire with orange dawn light.
Insider Tip: From Camp Poincenot, hike up in the predawn hours to Laguna de los Tres by headlamp for the full impact of sunrise on the Fitz Roy Massif.
5.Petra Through the Back Door Hike, Jordan
Round-Trip: 50 miles, 7 days
When to Go: October through April, when desert temperatures relent—a little. Go with Adventure Jordan, the local company that discovered this 50-mile route through the deserts, mountains, and peaks of Jordan.
At the top of an ancient stairway carved into the red rock, the narrow defile leads around a sharp bend, and suddenly you are stopped cold. There stands the exquisite carved façade of Al Deir, better known as the Monastery, perhaps Petra’s grandest monument. And you have it to yourself. To enter the Nabataean city of Petra in a small party at the conclusion of almost a week in the rugged wilds of the Kingdom of Jordan is a far more satisfying arrival than pulling into the parking lot with its idling tour buses ten miles away. That’s what makes the weeklong trek unique.
Insider Tip: Do your research before you arrive. Time in the canyon system of Petra is precious, so it’s best to know what you want to see before you arrive. Besides the iconic sites of the Siq, the Treasury and the Monastery are mystical venues, as are the Place of High Sacrifice and the Great Temple.
6.Grindelwald Hike, Switzerland
Round-Trip: 10 miles if you ride up and walk down, 2 to 3 days
When to Go: High summer is the season here, but hikable weather often extends into September, when the Europeans are back at work. The Faulhorn closes in October.
Perhaps the biggest payoff for effort applied in the Alps, this ridiculously beautiful walk takes in the scenic highlights of the Bernese Oberland—including the notorious Eiger and its more impressive sister peak, the fearsome Shreckhorn—looming across Grindelwald’s fairy tale valley.
All this, and a night or two at the comfortable Faulhorn hut or berghotel, impossibly perched at 8,800 feet on its namesake peak, for just a day’s worth of hiking.
Insider Tip: Even if you ride the lift on the way up, be sure to walk down, and have lunch at Waldspitz, a classic Swiss mountain chalet where you’ll enjoy a tasty rösti watching snow plumes blow off the summit of the Shreckhorn so close it’s scary.
7.Yosemite Grand Traverse, California
When to Go: Reaching as high as 12,000 feet, this trans-Sierra route is open only from mid-July to mid-September.
It’s hard to say “Sierra in summer” without thinking of granite towers rising above sparkling high-country lakes into deep blue skies. This traverse is a cheat sheet of Yosemite backcountry, touching more than a few of the real high points of the Sierra in just a week, including an ascent of Half Dome via the Cable Route.
Starting on obscure trails in the Ansel Adams Wilderness with unexpected views of the Minarets and other landmark Sierra Nevada peaks, this hike soon enters Yosemite National Park to follow the unique drainage of the Merced River. The traverse then joins the iconic John Muir Trail for a spectacular finish among the spires of the Cathedral Range. An unexpected highlight is the jaunt through the extensive drainage of the Merced River, the lifeblood of Yosemite Valley, where the route traces the headwaters through waterfalls, granite basins, and channels, interspersed with sprawling, sublime sub-alpine meadows.
Insider Tip: The trailhead logistics for this trip can be challenging, so make things easy by doing this trip with Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides, who pioneered the route and have mastered the journey from start to finish.
8.Chilkoot Trail, Alaska and Yukon Territory, U.S. and Canada
Round-Trip: 33 miles, 3 to 5 days
When to Go: The Coast Range opens up a bit earlier than the Rockies, so you can push the season a bit. Late June to early October works most years, but August has the best weather—and sees the heaviest traffic.
The very names on this epic route—the Golden Stairs, the Scales, the Stone Crib—are redolent with the suffering of 1898 gold miners, and there’s no mistaking the history here. Both sides of the trail are littered with rusting remains of equipment the miners jettisoned out of exhaustion. More than a century later, the backcountry journey those miners blazed, driven by greed, has become one of the iconic wilderness routes in North America. It’s a natural. The route rises quickly from tidewater to crest Chilkoot Pass at 3,300 feet. But instead of dropping back down, it meanders more than 20 miles through an alpine wonderland, while losing only a thousand feet before returning to its terminus at Bennett Lake.
Insider Tip: Spanning two national parks, two countries, a state, a province and a territory, Chilkoot Trail makes staging a challenge. Solve that by starting and ending in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and use the robust infrastructure for trailhead transport. Take the White Pass and Yukon Railway over the mountains to Skagway, a stupendous ride, and have Alpine Aviation pick you up in a floatplane at Bennett Lake for the outrageous 45-minute flight back to Whitehorse, in plenty of time for a beer on the deck before dinner.
9.Tonquin Valley, Canadian Rockies, Canada
Round-Trip: 27 miles, 3 to 5 days
When to Go: July to September; it can snow any day of the year.
Watching the sunrise light up the enormous broadside of the Ramparts, throwing golden reflections into the waters of Amethyst Lake, is an experience worthy of any effort expended to get into this wild valley. First photographed in 1915, the unrelenting beauty of the Tonquin Valley, nestled deep in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, has drawn pilgrims ever since—including Ansel Adams, whose very first trip as a Sierra Club photographer was right here. This big hiking loop takes you in over high, scenic McCarib Pass and out via the lovely Astoria River, laying the whole mind-blowing landscape before you in a backcountry journey to rival any.
Insider Tip: If all those grizzly bears wandering around make you uneasy, consider booking accommodations at two wilderness lodges hidden at the edges of the valley. Founded as horsepacking operations, both the Amethyst Lake Lodge and Tonquin Valley Lodge increasingly cater to hikers looking for a bit of comfort and home-cooked meals in this wild place.
10.Bay of Fires, Tasmania, Australia
Round-Trip: 16 miles, 4 days
When to Go: October to May is the season for this beach route along the northeastern shore. Go with the Bay of Fires Walk; it’s the only way in or out.
From the start in Mount William National Park to the finish at the impressive Bay of Fires Lodge, the route never deviates from seemingly endless beaches of blinding white sand and surreal rock formations lapped by a turquoise Tasman Sea. Only the occasional headland of granite boulders, turned blood red by lichen or forested points of shoreline, pushes you up and out of the coves. The Bay of Fires walk is a four-day guided trip; you can’t do it solo, as there is no water on the route so no place to overnight. The first day takes you out to a permanent camp at Forester Beach. The second, longer day finishes at the architecturally striking Bay of Fires Lodge. It’s as green as they come—in fact, you’ll pump your own water up to rooftop tanks for a shower. Day three is the ultimate reward: free time on the stunning Bay of Fires coast with the comforts and fine wine of the lodge at your beck and call.
Insider Tip: Don’t bother learning to discriminate between the species of snakes on Tasmania—they all have fatal bites. Strikes are rare, however, so just keep your eyes peeled for the slithering black creatures when you’re crossing the headlands.
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