The best treks in the world are no walks in the park, but they’re sure to challenge you physically and mentally, stretching your limit and amplifying your view of a country. If you have a deep yearning to go deep into the backroads of a country, these treks make for an incredible journey beyond travel. Here are top places to trek in the world. Some of them are not as challenging as others, but all of them share the breathtaking view.
This ancient trade route has been open to foreign trekkers since 1977 and is one of the most beautiful hikes on the planet. The total length of the route varies between 100 and 145 miles, and takes anywhere from 15 to 25 days to complete depending on your speed. The highlights include reaching an altitude of almost 18,000 feet at Thorung La summit pass and watching the sun rise over towering peaks at Poon Hill. Leave your camping gear at home; there are cheap hotels all along the route.
Huayhuash Circuit, Peru
Most people head to Peru to tackle Machu Picchu, but there are so many other amazing routes to follow, without any of the crowds that flock to the famous Inca ruins. The Huayhuash Circuit has the dubious fame of featuring in Joe Simpson’s best-seller ‘Touching the Void’, one the the most astounding mountaineering tales of all time.
This challenging 100-mile circuit around the Cordillera Huayhuash is considered by many to offer some of the best trekking in South America. Explore Huaraz and the Cordillera Blanca, as you trek amongst towering 6,000m peaks, flanked by cascading glaciers, azure blue lakes, and alpine meadows. Take ample time for acclimatisation, overnight in wilderness locations and explore remote indigenous communities and the fragile ecosystem of the Peruvian Andes.
Bungles Picaninny Gorge Trek, Australia
Western Australia is famed for its remote and dramatic scenery and nowhere more so than the Kimberley region, right up in the north of the state. This fly-in/fly-out bush walking adventure delves deep into the natural wonder that is the Bungle Bungles, the strange rounded sandstone domes that rise up from the grassland.
Hike spectacular canyons and explore remote World Heritage wilderness following the winding Picaninny Gorge, flanked by red and black beehive peaks, punctuated by dramatic caves and refreshingly cool waterholes. There is plenty of opportunity for rock-hopping, sun-soaking, and star-gazing along the way.
Via Ferrata, Italy
Most tourists go to Italy for the food and wine. Some, however, go for the one-of-a-kind hiking (and mountain climbing) in the Dolomites, or Italian Alps. The most popular hiking trails in these mountains are the Via Ferrata. These “iron roads” comprise a system of mountain trails equipped with fixed cables, ladders and bridges.
The trails themselves date to World War I, when Italian forces built them as a way to move infantry from one section of the Alps to another. Today, with the war in the distant past, the routes provide the perfect venue for hikers looking for a day-long escape (inns are plentiful for those who wish to turn the trip into a weekend getaway).
Two of the Via Ferrata trails stick out as particularly challenging. The VF Ivano Dibona, which begins at the base of the Rio Gere lift system, traverses the Monte Cristallo ridge, a calf-burning route that takes about eight hours to complete. The trail is like a living history lesson, as it passes several World War I fortifications along the way. One thing the trail doesn’t offer is food, so be sure to bring your own.
The Snowman Trek, Bhutan
Considered one of the most difficult as well as best treks in the world. The Snowman Trek is therefore for experienced and determined trekkers only. This high-altitude ball-buster crosses 11 passes over 14,000 feet along the Tibet-Bhutan border. Along the way you’ll visit magical Buddhist monasteries clinging to the sides of cliffs and pass through secluded villages full of windblown smiles.
If you can walk up and down steep mountainsides for between six and eight hours a day, and adapt to the altitude, then you will love this unique journey. Bhutan is a special country with outstanding landscapes and rich, traditional heritage that few countries can rival. To journey through the country on foot will be an even more special experience.
Skeleton Gorge, South Africa
With a bird’s-eye view of Cape Town, South Africa, Table Mountain National Park provides the perfect setting for epic day hikes to see the sights. Of all the trails on the namesake Table Mountain, the path through Skeleton Gorge is by far the most beautiful. Just pray that your hamstrings can handle the nearly vertical ascent.
The trail begins just outside Kirstenbosch, one of eight National Botanical Gardens in the country. Starting at Cecilia Forest, the trail is flat for the first section, and then climbs steeply into the gorge. This second part of the hike is tricky, with two ladders and loose river stones to negotiate as the summit comes into view.
From the 3,500-foot summit, the trail offers panoramic vistas of Table Bay on the Pacific side of the cape, Camps Bay on the Atlantic side and, of course, the city of Cape Town. There’s also a chance to get up-close-and-personal with the Hely-Hutchinson Dam, which forms a reservoir that stores drinking water for the entire area.
Manaslu Circuit, Nepal
Getting ever more popular day by day, the Manaslu circuit is a superb tea house trek in the Himalayas, and has developed as an alternative to the previously famous Annapurna circuit trek. Opened up for trekking in 1991, Manaslu circuit trek is a fairly challenging trek and great for experienced trekkers looking for an excellent Himalayan adventure. You will be crossing the Larke Pass at an altitude of 5,163 m, having hiked 4,500 altitude metres, from the starting point in Arughat. Definitely recommended!
When it comes to selecting a great destination for your next trekking adventure, the world offers so many choices that people are often at a loss as to which trek to choose. So, to allay your doubts and put you on the right track (quite literally!). I hope this list of top places to trek in the world will inspire you to move in this year.