Hiking isn’t about getting from one destination to the next. It’s exploring and the thrilling adventure of what you’ll find along the way. It offers opportunities to disconnect from technology, work and our stressors leading to a happier, healthier life and a deeper understanding of the world and ourselves. With so many awe-inspiring trails, it can be difficult to choose what is best for you. Here are four top hiking trails that can appeal to explorers of all demographics.
Tour du Mont Blanc
Location: France, Italy, and Switzerland
Mont Blanc is the highest peak in Western Europe (reaching 15,770 ft.) stretching throughout France, Italy, and Switzerland. While the mountain itself, titled “Monarch of the Alps,” is often referred to as one of the deadliest in Europe and serves as a feat for the near 20,000 ambitious climbers annually. Mont Blanc is not for the faint of heart. However, the routes surrounding it offer stimulating adventures for all walks of life to explore. Discover the dramatic mountain passes, hanging glaciers and snowfields. Hike alongside pristine meadows and forests, stopping along the way to take in the majestic mountain views. Whether you’re preparing for your first solo hike or just immersion in nature, the Tour du Mont Blanc has something for you.
Pacific Northwest Trail
Location: Continental Divide at Glacier National Park to the Pacific Coat at Washington’s Olympic Peninsula
Beginning at the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park, the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail travels over 1,200 miles through Montana, Idaho, and Washington before reaching the Pacific Ocean. Throughout the 1,200 miles, the trail crosses three national parks, seven national forests, and two other national scenic trails. This trail travels through some of the most spectacular and scenic terrains in the U.S. connecting communities in the Pacific Northwest to diverse landscapes, and all the beauty nature has to offer. In 2009, the Pacific Northwest Trail was designated as the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail by Congress.
Location: Cusco, Peru
Inca Ruins. Magnificent mountains. Unforgettable views. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is stunning. Over 250 species of orchids have been counted along this trail, as well as numerous rare birds, animals, and reptiles, as well as several species considered to be in danger of extinction. Due to the high altitude, it is suggested to spend two days visiting the city of Cusco, the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman and the Sacred Valley of the Incas before attempting the hike. Age shouldn’t be a barrier, although hikers are expected to possess a reasonable level of fitness.
Location: Kauai, Hawaii
Providing the only land access to this part of the coast, the 11-mile Kalalau Trail spans across five valleys, towering sea cliffs, and lush valleys before ending at Kalalau Beach. The trail drops to sea level at the beaches of Hanakāpīʻai and Kalalau. For most visitors, the path will take about a full day of hiking. Keep an eye out for rare native plants across inaccessible cliffs and wild goats around the trail route.