Adventure Sports

Visited Ranks Best Hiking Destinations in the World

The best hiking trails highlight the beauty of nature while offering stunning views. Whether you’re new to hiking or seeking advanced peaks to conquer, you can find the best outdoor adventures using the Visited app. The popular travel app allows you to check off where you’ve been and get a personalized map of your travels. Find new bucket list destinations and plan your dream getaway with the Visited app. 

These are the top 20 hiking trails worldwide, according to Visited:

1. Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is the number one hiking destination worldwide. The stunning canyon is a natural wonder, including rugged cliffs, millions of years of rock formations, and breathtaking hiking trails. The Grand Canyon is located in Arizona, in the U.S., alongside the Colorado River. The river and its tributaries cut through the ancient rock formations to expose incredible rock layers. The canyon has picturesque hiking trails to suit all levels, with the South Kaibab Trail offering an unforgettable day hike with stunning views.

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2. Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is the second most visited hiking destination for travelers worldwide. The wall was opened in 220 BC as a system of fortifications to protect China from outside invaders. Hiking the Great Wall of China offers beautiful views of rugged mountains, lush green forests, rolling fields, and historic sites. The main section of the historic wall extends over 5,000 kilometers (3,106.9 miles), offering incredible hiking opportunities. Beginners can take a scenic hike from Jinshanling to Simatai West for iconic views and moderately challenging terrain. Huanghuacheng is also excellent for beginners and families. For advanced thrill seekers, Jiankou to Mutianyu offers unforgettable views and challenging terrain that is not for the faint of heart. 

3. Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre, meaning “Five Lands” in Italian, is a series of five villages lining the cliffs in the Italian Riviera. Hiking between the villages offers remarkable coastal views of the Mediterranean Sea, hillside vineyards, and colorful villages. Manarola to Riomaggiore is a beginner-friendly hike with a 1-kilometer (.62 miles) paved path along the cliffs. Riomaggiore is the southernmost village on the route, including a beach and pastel-colored houses. Advanced hikers can hit Corniglia to Vernazza via Volastra, which is 8 kilometers (5 miles). Vernazza is a popular destination village on the route with a natural harbor, colorful houses, and Doria Castle, a 15th-century fortress.

4. Inca Trail

The Inca Trail is a legendary hiking destination that leads to the iconic Machu Picchu, an ancient citadel high in the Andes Mountains of Peru. The trail starts in the Sacred Valley, near Cusco, Peru. The main trail offers a moderate but extended hike, with a four-day trek covering about 43 kilometers (26 miles). Along the route, hikers can see lush tropical forests, snow-capped mountains, local villages, and ancient historic sites. 

5. Trek to Petra

Trek to Petra is a historic hike through southern Jordan that leads to the ancient city of Petra. Petra’s remarkable buildings carved into rose-tinged sandstone cliffs and its cultural and historical roots make it an iconic ending to any hike. Most hikers embark on the trek to Petra beginning from the Dana Nature Reserve. The trek offers moderate to challenging terrain and a hot desert climate. The terrain is rocky and uneven and includes climbs and descents. Beginners may use Jeep transportation for some of the routes. The most popular hike to Petra involves five to seven days of walking, covering between 11 and 18 kilometers (7 to 11 miles) daily.

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6. Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is the longest, continually marked hiking trail globally. The famous trail extends across the eastern U.S. from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine for over 3524.5 kilometers (2,190 miles). The trail winds through the Appalachian Mountains and includes scenery ranging from mountain peaks to dense forests, cascading waterfalls, and sprawling meadows. Hiking the entire trail takes most hikers five to seven months. Hikers can also pick a section of trail to hike for shorter adventures. 

7. Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park is a forest reserve in central Croatia with pristine lakes, tumbling waterfalls, and lush forests. The park includes eight marked trails, ranging in difficulty from beginner-friendly to advanced, 8-hour hikes. Trail A (Lower Lakes) and Trail E (Upper Lakes) are well-suited to families and new hikers, as they are easy to navigate and short. Challenging routes, such as Trail K, have significant elevation changes and cover lots of ground.

8. Camino De Santiago

Camino De Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James, is a network of pilgrimage routes leading to the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Hikers of all levels have explored different routes leading to the sacred site. The most famous route is Camino Francés, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) connecting Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to Santiago, Spain. The trail includes rolling hills and well-maintained paths for a moderately challenging and picturesque hike. 

9. The Narrows

The Narrows offers a beautiful, unique hike through the narrowest section of Zion Canyon in Zion National Park, Utah, U.S. The majestic hiking trail follows the Virgin River as it winds through a slot canyon, with towering sandstone cliffs rising on both sides. Travelers can choose from different hike lengths, with a day hike from the Temple of Sinawava the most popular option. This section of trail is 7.72 kilometers (4.8 miles) roundtrip. 

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10. Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro offers legendary hiking adventures in Tanzania, East Africa. The dormant volcano at Mount Kilimanjaro offers unparalleled hiking and climbing experiences that attract thrill seekers from all over the world. The mountain is the highest freestanding mountain in the world, with a peak elevation of 5,895 meters (19,341 feet). There are seven main routes up Mount Kilimanjaro. Machame Route is a popular trail that offers stunning vistas and a moderately challenging hike that takes six to seven days. 

11. Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park has towering ancient sequoia trees, mountain views, and waterfalls in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. The U.S. park is a prime hiking spot with trails for all levels. The Lower Yosemite Fall Trail is a beginner-friendly 2.74-kilometer (1.7-mile) route that leads to the base of Lower Yosemite Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in North America. Yosemite Falls Upper Loop is a challenging 11.6-kilometer (7.2-mile) hike with an elevation gain of over 7,31.5 meters (2,400 feet) that offers incredible views from the top of Yosemite Falls.

12. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve offers a hiker’s paradise in Costa Rica’s Cordillera de Tilarán mountain range. The diverse rainforest ecosystem includes unique wildlife like quetzals, howler monkeys, and thousands of plant species, including orchids, ferns, and bromeliads. The misty atmosphere gives an otherworldly charm to hiking in the reserve. The Cloud Forest Trail offers an easy 1.9-kilometer (1.2-mile) hike that highlights the cloud forest’s remarkable views and diversity of species. Sendero Chomogo is a moderate 1.8-kilometer (1.1-mile) hike with stunning views above the forest, reaching an elevation of 1,680 meters (5,510 feet).

13. Torres Del Paine Circuit

The Torres Del Paine Circuit, also known as the O Circuit or the Paine Massif Circuit, offers challenging hiking in Chile’s Patagonia region. The Paine mountain range offers a dramatic backdrop with unmatched views of glaciers, sparkling lakes, and granite peaks. The hiking trail is about 110 kilometers (68 miles) and includes steep sections and uneven footing, making it best suited to experienced hikers. The route usually takes six to ten days to complete. Related Post: Top 10 Most Popular Ski Slope Destinations

14. Tour Du Mont Blanc

The Tour du Mont Blanc, or TMB, showcases the Alps and is one of the most popular hikes in Europe. The multi-day trek circles the majestic Mont Blanc massif, traversing France, Italy, and Switzerland. TMB winds along scenic valleys, serene meadows, majestic glaciers, and peaceful villages. The popular TMB route is about 170 kilometers (105 miles) long, with an elevation gain of over 10,000 meters (33,000 feet).

15. Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is an iconic volcano and the highest mountain in Japan. The mountain offers unforgettable hiking and climbing experiences. Fujinomiya Trail is the shortest but steepest route to the top of the mountain. Yoshida Trail is the most popular route and is 6.8 kilometers (4.2 miles) roundtrip. The sunrise views along the trail and at the summit are unmatched. The lower slopes include lush forests and colorful wildflowers, and the upper slopes include volcanic rock formations. 

16. Scottish National Trail 

The Scottish National Trail offers unparalleled views of the Scottish countryside’s rolling hills, majestic mountains, and laid-back villages. The iconic 864-kilometer (535 miles) trail starts at Kirk Yetholm, a village on the Scottish border with England, and finishes at Cape Wrath on the northwest coast of Scotland. The terrain varies greatly, with relatively easy sections and more challenging sections, with some steep climbs and remote wilderness areas.

17. Snowdon

Mount Snowdon, or Yr Wyddfa in Welsh, is the highest peak in Wales, at 1,085 meters (3,560 feet). There are six different scenic hikes to the top of the mountain. Hiking the mountain offers stunning panoramic views of the Snowdonia National Park, with mountains, valleys, rolling hills, and sparkling lakes. Llanberis Path is the easiest and longest route (around 7.6 kilometers or 4.7 miles) with a beginner-friendly gradual ascent. Watkin Path is the most challenging route (around 12.9 kilometers or 8 miles), with a steep ascent that offers a thrilling climb for adrenaline-seekers.

18. Everest Base Camp

Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world, attracting climbers and hikers seeking a challenge. The China–Nepal border runs along the summit of the Himalayan mountain. Hiking to Everest Base Camp (EBC) is a dream adventure for many trekkers, offering a chance to witness the beauty of the Himalayas and get close to Mount Everest. The hiking route traverses the Khumbu Valley, passing through traditional Sherpa villages, picturesque glaciers, and stunning landscapes. The classic EBC trek is a roundtrip journey of approximately 60 to 80 kilometers (37 to 50 miles) and usually takes 12 to 14 days.

19. West Coast Trail 

The West Coast Trail, originally called the Dominion Lifesaving Trail, is an idyllic hiking trail along the coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. The 75-kilometer (47-mile) trail stretches from Pachena Bay to Gordon River. It includes incredible views of the Pacific Coast, with temperate rainforests and sandy beaches. Most hikers can complete the full trail in six to eight days.

20. Laugavegurinn

Iceland’s Laugavegur trail stretches from the Landmannalaugar hot springs to the Þórsmörk nature reserve. The 54-kilometer (34-mile) trail showcases the stunning natural beauty of Iceland, with volcanic rock formations, hot springs, glaciers, black sand deserts, and meadows. The rhyolite mountains range from reds, yellows, and oranges to purple, creating a spectacular kaleidoscope of colors. The trail is well-suited for intermediate to advanced hikers, with varied terrain and a total elevation gain of around 1,700 meters (5,577 feet).

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Take the Stress Out of Traveling

Planning a dream vacation can be overwhelming, but Visited can help. The popular travel app gives you a map of where you’ve been and where you want to go. You can browse and save bucketlist destinations using Visited. Set a travel goal and see how you stack up against other international travelers with the Visited app. 

Ditch the tourist traps with the help of Lonely Planet Travel guides. With insider tips, beautiful photography, and cultural insights, Lonely Planet Travel books can help you navigate hidden gems and experience the best places to make the most of your trips.

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