Walking trails to discover wonderful lands
Wandering along wooded trails, fording rivers and stumbling onto untouched natural wonders, that’s what travel means to the millions who lace up their hiking boots and put their feet to work on vacation every year. Relaxing walks to admire the uncontaminated nature, where you may discover the most hidden parts of these wonderful lands. Here are 7 walking trails to enjoy solo or in group.
Pennine Way, England
Often called the most physically challenging trek in the United Kingdom, the 431-km Pennine Way walking trail follows the mountainous backbone of England through the moors and marshes of Bronte Country, over limestone cliffs and glacial valleys, past Hadrian’s Wall, and across the wildest stretch of land in the country before concluding at the Scottish border. It takes about 18 days to complete, but many walkers prefer to break it up into smaller sections. Some forgo the southern and northern extremities altogether and focus on the more accessible middle section of the trail, the highlight of which is a breathtaking glacial valley called High Cup Nick.
West Highland Way, Scotland
At a distance of about 154 km, Scotland’s West Highland Way is long enough to cover a variety of terrain, think moors and mountains, rolling hills and thick woods and lonely lochs but short enough to be manageable in about a week. Some of it is walked at altitude and some at sea level. It’s typically done between April and October, when the fickle Scottish weather is most likely to cooperate. The scenery is spectacular year-round.
Tour du Mont Blanc, France, Italy and Switzerland
More than 10.000 people hike the 168-km Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) route each year, making it the most popular long-distance walk in all of Europe. Typically completed in about 10 days, the traditional TMB circuit is hiked counter-clockwise—beginning and ending in France while passing through the Swiss and Italian Alps along the way. The complete route includes 11 high mountain passes and about 9.753 mt of elevation gain and loss. It’s not for the weak of heart. But for anyone who wants to experience authentic European alpine culture, there’s nothing better.
Laugavegur Route, Iceland
At 54 km long, Iceland’s famed Laugavegur Route only takes a few days to complete. But it’s still one of the best backcountry trails in the world. A walk through these volcanic highlands takes in raw scenery like nowhere else on Earth: obsidian lava fields, steaming hot springs, gurgling pools, raging waterfalls, moss-covered foothills, snow-speckled mountain ridges, and massive valleys without a single tree in sight. And don’t forget the sunlight: At the height of summer, the sun never sets.
White Mountain Traverse, New Hampshire (USA)
The only thing that beats hiking New Hampshire’s White Mountains is hiking them in the fall during peak foliage season. While small by some standards, they’re more than tall enough to offer some of the best wilderness views in North America. And they’re rugged, too: The 85-km White Mountain Traverse hike is arguably the most scenic section of the 3.379-km Appalachian Trail, and it takes about six days to complete. The highlight is an epic ridge walk along the spine of the Presidential peaks, punctuated by jagged rocks, tumbled boulders, and hardy alpine scrub, with views that seem to stretch on forever.
Great Wall of China, China
Nobody hikes the Great Wall of China by accident. It’s so worth it for the thrill of experiencing one of the world’s great wonders in a way that most tourists never do. The most accessible sections of the wall are outside of Beijing, and there they cling to the mountainous borderlands at vertigo-inducing angles. Sections of the wall are well restored and easy to envision as they were hundreds or thousands of years ago, serving as a last line of defense against invading armies. Others are gloriously ruined, speckled with trees and punctuated by crumbling watchtowers and loose rubble, with no one and nothing to see but wilderness for miles and miles.
Inca Trail, Peru
Is there any long-distance hike in the world with a more spectacular payoff than the Inca Trail? Although it’s not easy to do, the altitude alone makes it a challenge, and the days of hiking up and down (and up again) among Peru’s highest peaks is not for the unfit, this is the one trail that any serious walking enthusiast must do. And when you finally reach Machu Picchu, sweaty and sore on your fourth day of hiking, you’ll have the satisfaction of passing through the Sun Gate and arriving at the Lost City of the Incas the authentic way: on foot.