We are far from hardcore hikers. In fact, my friends used to call me “indoorsy” before I started training for our Inca Trail hike 5 years ago. We do, however, like to get out and explore knowing some places you can only access on foot.
We’ve compiled a list of the best hikes in the world, including the distances and best times of the year. So far we’ve completed two of these hikes plus sections of others.
We hope to get our bodies in shape so we can hike them all in our lifetime. If an indoorsy person like me can do it, you can too!
Distance: 26 miles
Time: 4 days
Best Time to Go: May to September
One of the most popular hikes in the world, the Inca Trail takes you through 26 miles of grueling inclines and declines. You get a chance to explore ruins, jungle, and beautiful mountain scenery, and of course, end the hike at Machu Picchu.
BONUS: INCA TRAIL ALTERNATES
Check out The Ancascocha Trail, Lares Valley Hike, or Salcantay Trek if you’re looking for less crowded alternatives. With each, you still get amazing views and you can easily add a day to explore Machu Picchu as well.
Location: Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile
Distance: 37-50 miles
Time: 4-6 days
Best Time to Go: Popular from October and April. We preferred July (their winter).
The popular route that follows the letter “W” takes you through the wondrous Torres del Paine National Park. You get a chance to see volcanic peaks, glaciers, and beautiful lakes.
You can also do the longer longer “O” circuit that encompasses the “W”.
If you want to beat the crowds, try the hike in their winter. It’s probably not as cushy as the summer trek, but during our hike we only saw one other person with a guide vs 800-1000 people who are on the trail every day during their summer. It’s unreal to have the park to yourself.
3. APPALACHIAN TRAIL
Location: Georgia to Maine, United States
Distance: 2,180 miles
Time: 5-7 months
Best Time to Go: Year Round
This hike is one of the longest continuously marked footpath in the world and is not an easy feat. It takes you through 14 states and takes careful planning and execution if you want to do it one go.
Location: Tanzania, Africa
Distance: roughly 35 miles
Time: 7+ days
Best Time to Go: January, February, or September
Africa’s highest peak (19,340 feet) is widely popular and still on most people’s bucket list. With a wide range of climbing routes, most travel with a guided tour to reach the spectacular view above the clouds. This is the next major hike we want to do.
Distance: 65 miles
Time: 3-5 days
Best Time to Go: August to Early September
Kungsleden, or “The King’s Trail,” is a 275-mile traverse, but get a glimpse of this amazing landscape with a shorter hike. See the amazing Arctic landscape, open tundra, big glaciers, and brush up against Sweden’s highest peak, Mount Kebnekaise.