23 mins

37 of the world's best walks

Whether you prefer teetering on mountain ridges or or a jaunt along the beach, we’ve found the best walks the Earth has to offer. Discover the world's greatest walking routes, from Asia to the Americas...

Mount Assiniboine (Shutterstock)

Whether you prefer a casual stroll, a day-long hike or a week-long trek, there's a walk on planet Earth for you. But how do you choose where to walk, when there are so many incredible walking routes around the globe?

There are the classics: Peru's Inca Trail, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and the famous Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. Then there are walks slightly more off-the-beaten-track: Mount Sinai in Egypt, the USA's breathtaking Virgin Narrows, and Hong Kong's refreshing Lantau Trail.

Discover the world's top walking routes by region/continent using the links below, or keep scrolling to see the full list:

The best walks in Latin America and the Caribbean
The best walks in North America
The best walks in the Middle East

The best walks in Africa
The best walks in Australasia
The best walks in Asia
The best walks in Europe

Here are 37 of the world's best walks...

The best walks and walking routes in Latin America and the Caribbean

1. The Inca Trail, Peru

The iconic Machu Picchu, along the Inca Trail, Peru (Dreamstime)

The iconic Machu Picchu, along the Inca Trail, Peru (Dreamstime)

Where? KM82 to Machu Picchu, southern Peru

Length: 45km

Days: Four

Difficulty: Moderate to tough, with some high passes. Camping only.

Independent? No – a guide is mandatory.

The walk: This iconic tramp through the Andes is not all about arriving – though reaching the stone gate of Intipunku to see a misty sunrise over mountain-perched Machu Picchu is a fine finale.

The journey there is testing but manageable, weaving via old Inca pathways, orchid-filled cloud-forest and some lung-busting passes, including 4,200m ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’. There are also fascinating ruins en route, such as the clifftop guard-post at Sayacmarca and the sweeping terraces of Huinay Huayna.

Numbers on the trail are limited to 500 a day, including guides and porters, but camp stops (and their insalubrious loos) still get busy.

Learn more: Here are 7 ways to reach Machu Picchu and our top tips for tackling the Inca Trail.

If you like that, try... Choquequirao. It's a tough eight-day hike from Cachora to these lesser-known ruins. You can then continue on to Machu Picchu via a different path. It's the ultimate off-beat Inca option.
If you like that, try... Choquequirao. It's a tough eight-day hike from Cachora to these lesser-known ruins. You can then continue on to Machu Picchu via a different path. It's the ultimate off-beat Inca option.

2. El Circuito, Chile

Pehoe Lake in Patagonia National Park, southern Chile (Shutterstock)

Pehoe Lake in Patagonia National Park, southern Chile (Shutterstock)

Where? Torres del Paine, Chile

Length: 130km

Days: Seven to 10

Difficulty: Moderate to tough, with wilderness conditions. You'll stay in refugios or camping, where there are pricey supplies available.

Independent? Possible

The walk: It can be icy cold. It can be dripping wet. Winds can blast at over 100km an hour. But a circuit of Torres del Paine – taking in the Patagonian park’s gorgeous granite spires, creaking glaciers, mirror lakes and, possibly, pumas – is worth a bit of weather. The hiking isn’t too tough, and never exceeds 1,200m.

The challenge is being out in this wilderness for so long – if you’re trekking independently, that’s a lot of stuff to carry, though supported options ease the burden, leaving you freer to look out for llama-like guanaco, calving ice and those classic Cuernos del Paine views. Or try the W (60km; five to seven days), a shorter, only marginally less impressive version.

Learn more: Discover Chile or read our destination guide.

If you like that, try.... Mount Fitz Roy, Los Glaciares, Argentina. Hop over the border for a four-day, 40km loop amid more dramatic Patagonian landscapes.
If you like that, try.... Mount Fitz Roy, Los Glaciares, Argentina. Hop over the border for a four-day, 40km loop amid more dramatic Patagonian landscapes.

3. Inca Trail to Ingapirca, Ecaudor

Ingapirca, Ecuador (Shutterstock)

Ingapirca, Ecuador (Shutterstock)

Where? Achupallas to Ingapirca, Ecuador

Length: 40km

Days: Three

Difficulty: Moderate, walking up to 4,800m and involving wild camping.

Independent? Possible

The walk: Peru doesn’t have a monopoly on Inca trails – this trek follows part of the Latin civilisation’s Royal Road, which once linked Cusco and Quito; it ends at Ecuador’s own version of Machu Picchu: the castle-complex of Ingapirca.

The trail leads over the Andean páramo, with high-altitude views across glaciated mountains and shimmering lagoons. There are a few Inca ruins en route, but little else – just you, your muleteer (a recommended extra) and the history-soaked highlands.

Learn more: Take a look at our Peru travel guide, Ecuador travel guide or Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail guide for more advice, trip ideas and inspiration.

If you like this, try... walking around Cotopaxi. Spend five days walking in the shadow of this perfectly conical, 5,897m-tall volcano.
If you like this, try... walking around Cotopaxi. Spend five days walking in the shadow of this perfectly conical, 5,897m-tall volcano.

4. Patí Valley, Brazil

Chapada Diamantina, Brazil (Shutterstock)

Chapada Diamantina, Brazil (Shutterstock)

Where? Capão to Guiné, Chapada Diamantina, Brazil

Length: 15km

Days: One

Difficulty: Easy, with some steep sections. Keep in mind there are no facilities en route.

Independent? Possible.

The walk: A contender for world’s best day walk? The route from Vale do Capão – a hip hangout for alternativos – to the village of Guiné packs in the best of the lush Chapada Diamantina.

Here, Jurassic-style tabletop mountains loom like those in a Conan Doyle novel. The vegetation is rampant, the waterfalls plentiful, the high-plateau views sweeping and other people scarce. There are some tests – Bumbreaker Hill is a bit of a slog – but there are also cold beers waiting at the end.

Learn more: Wanderlust's editor-in-chief Lyn Hughes argues her case for Chapada Diamantina being the best day walk in the world.

If you like this, try... Roraima, Venezuela. For more Lost World-esque landscapes, a five-day trip up Venezuela’s iconic tepui is the ultimate challenge.
If you like this, try... Roraima, Venezuela. For more Lost World-esque landscapes, a five-day trip up Venezuela’s iconic tepui is the ultimate challenge.

5. Waitukubuli National Trail, Dominica

Scotts Head fishing village, Dominica (Shutterstock)

Scotts Head fishing village, Dominica (Shutterstock)

Where? Scotts Head to Cabrits National Park, Dominica

Length: 184km

Days: Nine to 14

Difficulty: Moderate, with a few easy sections, along with guesthouses and homestays en route. 

Independent? Possible

The walk: The native Carib-Kalinago called Dominica ‘Waitukubuli’ (‘tall is her body’) after the island’s mountainous spine. Apt, then, that this coast-to-coast hike – the Caribbean’s first long-distance trail – bears that name, as it snakes across Dominica’s profusely green and volcanically craggy land.

Split into 14 accessible sections, ranging from seven km to 15km, you can thru-walk or pick stages: maybe the hike up Morne Crabier (section one), jaunts around high peaks and sulphurous pools (section four), or the beach traverse to Fort Shirley (section 14).

Expect sea breezes, mango trees and encounters with local Carib communities.

Learn more: Discover Dominica's highlights - and why Dominica is a hiking paradise.

If you like this, try... Pico Duarte, Dominican Republic. Mount a three-day expedition up the highest peak in the Caribbean (3,087m).
If you like this, try... Pico Duarte, Dominican Republic. Mount a three-day expedition up the highest peak in the Caribbean (3,087m).

6. Nebaj to Todos Santos, Guatemala

Nebaj, Guatemala (Shutterstock)

Nebaj, Guatemala (Shutterstock)

Where? Cuchamatanes Mountains, north-west Guatemala

Length: 55km

Days: Four

Difficulty: Moderate, with some tough climbs. It's remote, but you will find a few homestays en route,

Independent? We wouldn't recommend going without a guide.

The walk: Guatemala has many volcanoes to climb and lakes to amble around, but this hike across the remote Cuchamatanes is the top off-beat choice. Only four days long, it crosses three Mayan-language zones and reaches nearly 4,000m.

You’ll traverse flower-covered plains, pine forest and barren plateaus, while viewpoints might afford glimpses of peaks erupting in the distance. Staying in homestays offers insight into local culture, too.

Learn more: Hiking through remote Guatemala? Here's our experience

If you like this, try... El Mirador, Guatemala. A two-day hike into the jungle to find hidden Mayan ruins, without other tourists? Sign us up.
If you like this, try... El Mirador, Guatemala. A two-day hike into the jungle to find hidden Mayan ruins, without other tourists? Sign us up.

7. The Silver Trail, Mexico

Copper Canyon, Mexico (Shutterstock)

Copper Canyon, Mexico (Shutterstock)

Where? Carachic to Batopilas, Copper Canyon, Mexico

Length: 160km

Days: Nine 

Difficulty: Moderate-to-tough, with some scree sections. Expect it to be hot, and you'll need to camp throughout. 

Independent? Not recommended

The walk: In the 18th century, the Spanish forged a trail to access their silver mines, located deep in the Batopilas Canyon. Today that remote path is used only by local Tarahumara Indians (famed for their long-distance running prowess), a few plucky trekkers and their load-bearing burros.

This is frontier territory, hiking via scree slopes, forested passes, cool pools and caves; there’s also the possibility of meeting Tarahumara farmers en route.

Learn more: If you'd prefer to relax than work up a sweat, take a train across Copper Canyon.

If you like this, try... Pueblos Mancomunados, Oaxaca. Explore the 100km of dramatic trails that weave between a clutch of Zapotec villages.
If you like this, try... Pueblos Mancomunados, Oaxaca. Explore the 100km of dramatic trails that weave between a clutch of Zapotec villages.

The best walks and walking routes in Africa

8. Tsitsikamma Trail, South Africa

Bridges in Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa

Bridges in Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa

Where? Eastern Cape, South Africa

Length: 60km

Days: Six

Difficulty: Moderate, with some tough bits. Accommodation includes huts with flush loos and showers.

Independent? Yes, though huts must be pre-booked.

The walk: South Africa’s first official hiking trail is a treat. The route, through gorges, fynbos and the Tsitsikamma Mountains, is testing, but each night ends in an equipped hut, while a porterage service can lighten your load.

Highlights include ocean views from Nature’s Valley, gazing into Bloukrans River Gorge and wildlife from bulbuls and goshawks to even leopards.

Learn more: Wanderlust's editor-in-chief Lyn Hughes explores the twisting woodland paths, mountains, wildlife reserves and wild coastline of South Africa's Eastern Cape.

If you like this, try... The Otter Trail, which traces the coast. Better yet, only 12 people are allowed on each section of this tough 42km hike each day.
If you like this, try... The Otter Trail, which traces the coast. Better yet, only 12 people are allowed on each section of this tough 42km hike each day.

9. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

The highest peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (Shutterstock)

The highest peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (Shutterstock)

Where? Northern Tanzania

Length: from 45km

Days: Six to nine

Difficulty: Tough, due to high altitude. You'll need to camp throughout the trek, with huts available on one of the routes. 

Independent? No – a guide is compulsory.

The walk: Stand on the roof of Africa! As the continent’s highest peak (5,895m), and the world’s highest trekking summit, it’s a magnet for challenge-seekers.

There are six routes: Machame (49km) is tough but dramatic; quieter Rongai (65km) allows for more acclimatisation and has a high success rate. Whichever you pick, altitude is the biggest concern, and sweat, tears, carbs and camaraderie are guaranteed..

Learn more: Don't miss Wanderlust's Mount Kilimanjaro guide.

If you like this, try... Mount Kenya, Kenya. Mount Kenya is Africa’s second highest mountain at 5,199m. It's an easier, less-crowded climb, filled with wildlife.
If you like this, try... Mount Kenya, Kenya. Mount Kenya is Africa’s second highest mountain at 5,199m. It's an easier, less-crowded climb, filled with wildlife.

10. The Toubkal Circuit, Morocco

The Atlas Mountains and Berber villages in Toubkal National Park, Morocco (Shutterstock)

The Atlas Mountains and Berber villages in Toubkal National Park, Morocco (Shutterstock)

Where? Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Length: 72km

Days: Four to six

Difficulty: Moderate, with some tough sections. Camping available, and gîtes available in nearby villages.

Independent? Possible, though we highly recommend a guide. 

The walk: The summit of North Africa’s highest peak is a relatively simple hike up from the Neltner Refuge. But much better to spend several days circuiting 4,167m Jebel Toubkal than to rush it.

The surrounding High Atlas terrain is a mix of verdant valleys, Berber villages and stark mountainsides; some days include testing passes, but frequent stops to sip mint tea in the shade relieves the strain.

Learn more: Dan Linstead huffed-and-puffed his way to the top of Toubkal in 2011. Check out his experience on the Moroccan mountain here.

If you like this, try... M’goun Massif. Enjoy a five-day expedition around Morocco’s lesser-hiked but still lofty mountain. It's a truly off-beat alternative.
If you like this, try... M’goun Massif. Enjoy a five-day expedition around Morocco’s lesser-hiked but still lofty mountain. It's a truly off-beat alternative.

11. Simien Mountains Traverse, Ethiopia

Baboons sitting high in the Simien Mountains, Ethiopia (Shutterstock)

Baboons sitting high in the Simien Mountains, Ethiopia (Shutterstock)

Where? Ethiopia

Length: Varies

Days: Six to nine

Difficulty: Moderate to tough. You'll have to camp during the trek.

Independent? No. Trails are not clearly marked, so go with a guide.

The walk: Trekking in Ethiopia’s World Heritage-listed highlands might yield sightings of gelada baboons, walia ibex, possibly even a rare Simien fox – but few other trekkers.

This is African hiking, across rugged volcanic escarpments seemingly untouched by time. Routes vary, but often include a summit attempt on Ras Dashen (4,620m), the country’s highest peak, and stops at village mud-huts to drink coffee like a local.

If you like this, try... the Mountains of the Moon, Uganda. A challenging hut-to-hut hike in the oft-overlooked Rwenzoris.
If you like this, try... the Mountains of the Moon, Uganda. A challenging hut-to-hut hike in the oft-overlooked Rwenzoris.

The best walks and walking routes in Europe

12. Sentiero degli Dei, Italy

Where? Bomerano-Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Length: Eight km

Days: One

Difficulty: Mostly easy, and it's a short walk.

Independent? Yes, this one's great for independent travellers.

The walk: The Path of the Gods traces one of the Amalfi Coast’s most handsome sections. Following old mule trails, it skirts vineyards and rolls over valleysides cloaked in holm oak and heather, offering views down the cliffs to the Med beyond.

The ‘alto’ route has most drama; a lower route can be shortened at tiny Nocelle (perched 440m-up) by catching the bus to pretty Positano below.

If you like this, try... Sentiero Azzurro in the Cinque Terre, Italy. The Blue Trail between Liguria’s five coastal villages is a compact Italian classic.
If you like this, try... Sentiero Azzurro in the Cinque Terre, Italy. The Blue Trail between Liguria’s five coastal villages is a compact Italian classic.

13. Tour du Mont Blanc, France, Switzerland & Italy

Where? France, Switzerland & Italy

Length: 170km

Days: Nine to 12

Difficulty: Moderate to tough, with plentiful refuges and villages accessible from several points.

Independent? Yes, but there are many excellent guided trips available.

The walk: No need to haul yourself up 4,810m Mont Blanc – arguably, the best way to experience Western Europe’s highest peak is to walk in its shadow on this classic trail that nips into three nations and brims with Alpine charm and history.

It’s also high on creature comforts, dotted with refuges (providing hot, home-cooked meals) so you don’t have to carry camping kit. There are stiff climbs, some steep ladders and snow is always possible, but plentiful accommodation choices mean you can tackle it at your own pace.

Learn more: Wanderlust's Sarah Baxter attempted the ascent of Mont Blanc. See how she got on here.

If you like this, try... the Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route. A tough two-week, 180km adventure that showcases the best of the high Alps.
If you like this, try... the Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route. A tough two-week, 180km adventure that showcases the best of the high Alps.

14. Camino de Santiago, France & Spain

Sign for the Camino de Santiago (Shutterstock)

Sign for the Camino de Santiago (Shutterstock)

Where? St Jean Pied de Port- to Santiago de Compostela, France/Spain

Length: About 800km

Days: 30

Difficulty: Long but moderate if paced, with albergues and villages to stop over in.

Independent? Yes

The walk: The Camino isn’t a walk, it’s a state of mind. Some see it as a spiritual undertaking, others as a physical test; for some it’s all about the camaraderie at the albergues (pilgrim hostels).

Whether you’re there for the highlights of northern Spain – León’s cathedral, delicious grilled octopus – or some higher goal, there’s nothing else quite like it.

Learn more: Murray Stewart shares his tale of walking the classic path and a quieter alternative. 

If you like this, try... the Portuguese Road. There are many ways to Santiago, so why not give the 230km camino from Porto a go?
If you like this, try... the Portuguese Road. There are many ways to Santiago, so why not give the 230km camino from Porto a go?

15. Laugavegur, Iceland

Multi-coloured Landmannalaugar in summer (Shutterstock)

Multi-coloured Landmannalaugar in summer (Shutterstock)

Where? Landmannalaugar to Thórsmörk, Iceland

Length: 55km

Days: Four

Difficulty: Moderate, though very weather dependent. There are six huts en route, with dorms, tent pitches, toilets, showers but no food.

Independent? It is possible, but we'd recommend you hire a guide.

The walk: Iceland’s most iconic walk is a rainbow-coloured romp through some of the country’s best bits. Peaks come in reds, yellows, greens and purples; blinding-white glaciers creak, hot springs burble, lakes and rivers glitter.

The trekking season is short (mid-June to early September), so the trail can get busy, but the wonderful weirdness of Iceland’s geothermal geography is more than compensation.

Learn more: Clare Wilson explains where else to hike in East Iceland.

If you like this, try... Borgarfjörður Eystri, an inlet in eastern Iceland that is riddled with walking trails and elvish legends.
If you like this, try... Borgarfjörður Eystri, an inlet in eastern Iceland that is riddled with walking trails and elvish legends.

16. Lycian Way, Turkey

The Lycian Way, Turkey (Shutterstock)

The Lycian Way, Turkey (Shutterstock)

Where? Fethiye to Antalya, Turkey

Length: 509km

Days: 25

Difficulty: Moderate to tough. There are a few easy sections, with camping and village houses en route. 

Independent? Yes. There are plenty of guided trips available, too.

The walk: The Lycian Way, Turkey’s first long-distance trail, flanks the hilly coast of the Tekke Peninsula. It’s rich in history – dotted with Byzantine monasteries, Greek temples and Roman ruins.

It’s riddled with coves, caves and brilliant beaches; and it’s infused with the scent of wild strawberries, juniper and pine. Camping is possible, but best is to stay in guesthouses, to meet the locals who call this handsome coastline home.

Learn more: If you don't want to tramp you way around, you can swim the Lycian Way

If you like this, try... the St Paul Trail. Follow in the saint’s footsteps for 500km, from Perge, near Antalya, to Yalvac, close to Lake Egirdir.
If you like this, try... the St Paul Trail. Follow in the saint’s footsteps for 500km, from Perge, near Antalya, to Yalvac, close to Lake Egirdir.

17. Faulhornweg, Switzerland

Schynige Platte, Switzerland (Shutterstock)

Schynige Platte, Switzerland (Shutterstock)

Where? Schynige Platte to First, Switzerland

Length: 16km

Days: One

Difficulty: Moderate but short, with huts en route and trains/cable cars at each end.

Independent? Yes

The walk: This well-marked route is potted Swiss perfection. Accessed by 19th-century cog railway from Wilderswil, it offers views over blue-turquoise lakes Thun and Brienz to one side, the amassed peaks of the Bernese Oberland on the other.

Green, curving valleys, dramatic ridge walking, a 2,680m-high mountain lodge (a good refreshment  stop) and mirror lakes are added extras. A scenic cablecar from First to Grindelwald even saves the walk back down to the valley floor.

If you like this, try... the Matterhorn Circuit. For a longer Swiss stroll, try the tough but magnificent 145km route around this iconic mountain.
If you like this, try... the Matterhorn Circuit. For a longer Swiss stroll, try the tough but magnificent 145km route around this iconic mountain.

18. West Highland Way, Scotland

Stunning views from the West Highland Way, Scotland (Shutterstock)

Stunning views from the West Highland Way, Scotland (Shutterstock)

Where? Milngavie to Fort William, Scotland

Length: 154km

Days: Six to seven

Difficulty: Moderate, though it’s weather dependent. Camping, bothies, hostels and B&Bs available en route.

Independent? Yes, but there are many excellent guided trips on offer. 

The walk: From just outside Glasgow to the UK’s highest peak, the West Highland Way is the perfect Scottish primer.

Utilising many old pathways – from drovers’ roads to  disused railway lines – it crosses pastoral lowlands, skirts Loch Lomond and negotiates bleakly beautiful Rannoch Moor before delving into great glens and finishing beneath 1,344m Ben Nevis – a summit of which provides the ultimate finale.

Learn more: Keen to walk Scotland? Discover its 13 best hikes here

If you like this, try... the East Highland Way. Extend your Scottish soiree by picking up this 132km trail, which links Fort William to Aviemore.
If you like this, try... the East Highland Way. Extend your Scottish soiree by picking up this 132km trail, which links Fort William to Aviemore.

The best walks and walking routes in North America

19. West Coast Trail, Canada

A view of Vancouver Island, Canada (Shutterstock)

A view of Vancouver Island, Canada (Shutterstock)

Where? Pachena Bay to Gordon River, Vancouver Island, Canada

Length: 75km

Days: Five to seven

Difficulty: Tough, with tidal/river crossings. You'll be wild camping, with no shelters or facilities.

Independent? Yes – but permits and proper bookings are essential.

The walk: Don’t underestimate the WCT: it might be in lovely, well-developed Canada, but it’s a wild prospect. Along its glorious Pacific-battered route, there are no settlements, ferry ports, shelters or shops – you must be entirely self-sufficient.

There are also rivers to ford, gullies to cross, ladders to climb, bears to avoid and inclement weather to contend with. But the rewards are many: this is North America at its most pristine, where the trail runs via old-growth forest, untouched beaches, caves, coves, cliffs and incredible sunsets. Watch out for whales, sea lions and wolves, too.

If you like this, try... the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, Vancouver Island – a 47km WCT alternative that is still spectacular, but easier, more accessible and permit-free.
If you like this, try... the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, Vancouver Island – a 47km WCT alternative that is still spectacular, but easier, more accessible and permit-free.

20. The Appalachian Trail, USA

A sign marking the Appalachian Trail, USA (Shutterstock)

A sign marking the Appalachian Trail, USA (Shutterstock)

Where? Springer Mountain, GA to Mount Katahdin, ME, USA

Length: 3,500km

Days: 180

Difficulty: It varies - there's a challenging thru-hike, but some easy sections. It's a long trek, with camping and basic shelters en route. You will have intermittent access to hotels, too.

Independent? Yes

The walk: First, some stats: the Appalachian Trail passes through 14 states; its total elevation gain equals 16 Mount Everests; around 2,000 people try to thru-hike the whole lot each year – one in four succeeds.

Luckily, it’s easy to simply sample this back-country behemoth – Appalachian Trail offers suggestions, from easy two-milers to multi-day trips. In general, Maryland and West Virginia offer the gentlest hikes; New Hampshire and Maine the toughest.

If you like this, try... the Florida Trail. Trace sections of this 2,250km path span the state from Gulf Islands National Seashore to Big Cypress National Park.
If you like this, try... the Florida Trail. Trace sections of this 2,250km path span the state from Gulf Islands National Seashore to Big Cypress National Park.

21. John Muir Trail, USA

A stunning lake in Yosemite National Park, USA (Shutterstock)

A stunning lake in Yosemite National Park, USA (Shutterstock)

Where? Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney, California, USA

Length: 340km

Days: 20 to 30

Difficulty: Moderate to tough; camping. It's long, and self-sufficiency is required.

Independent? Possible, but advance booking and permits are required

The walk: It’s fitting that the man who spearheaded the national parks movement should have such a world-class wilderness-traversing trail named after him.

Muir loved Yosemite, where this backcountry adventure starts; the route then wends further into the Sierra Nevada, where highlights include meadows strewn with wildflowers, remote Evolution Lake and the pretty pools at Rae.

En route there are a few re-supply stops (including the hot springs at Red’s Meadows Resort), but mostly it’s just you, the mountains and the bears.

If you like this, try... the Pacific Crest Trail, USA – the John Muir forms just part of this massive 4,240km journey from the Mexican to the Canadian border.
If you like this, try... the Pacific Crest Trail, USA – the John Muir forms just part of this massive 4,240km journey from the Mexican to the Canadian border.

22. Virgin Narrows, USA

The ultimate wet-n-wild trek through the Virgin Narrows, USA (Shutterstock)

The ultimate wet-n-wild trek through the Virgin Narrows, USA (Shutterstock)

Where? Chamberlain’s Ranch to the Temple of Sinawava, Zion NP, Utah, USA

Length: 26km

Days: One to two

Difficulty: Moderate but short, and involves camping. All waste must be packed out.

Independent? Possible, but guide recommended and permits required

The walk: Breathe in for this squeeze down one of southwest USA’s most dramatic slot canyons. This is Indiana Jones-style stuff: sheer, twisting sandstone walls tufted by hanging gardens soar up from the boulder-strewn riverbed – which forms your wet-n-wild walking trail through Zion’s canyons.

Good water-shoes and neoprene socks are essential; you may need to swim short sections. But keep an eye on the weather before you start as flash floods are lethal here. Go with a guide for the safest trip.

If you like this, try... Paria Canyon to Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness (Utah to Arizona). Set off from Wire Pass trailhead to check out the weird and wonderful rock formations such as The Wave.
If you like this, try... Paria Canyon to Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness (Utah to Arizona). Set off from Wire Pass trailhead to check out the weird and wonderful rock formations such as The Wave.

23. Berg Lake Trail, Canada

The entrance to Mount Robson Park, Canada (Shutterstock)

The entrance to Mount Robson Park, Canada (Shutterstock)

Where? Mount Robson, British Columbia, Canada

Length: 23km

Days: One to two

Difficulty: Moderate but short, though there are campsites with bear lockers and pit toilets.

Independent? Yes

The walk: This out-and-back hike towards the Canadian Rockies’ highest peak (3,954m Mount Robson) is a stunner: gaining nearly 800m in 23km, it traverses the Valley of a Thousand Falls – via reflective pools, suspension bridges and squeaking marmots – to Berg Lake, where ice-chunks from massive Berg Glacier calve into the aquamarine water.

Doable as a long day-hike, there are campgrounds en route for those who want to linger; for even better hiking, use the camp at the lake as a base for forays into the surrounding wilds.

If you like this, try... Mount Assiniboine, British Columbia/Alberta. Spend six days hiking around ‘Canada’s Matterhorn’.
If you like this, try... Mount Assiniboine, British Columbia/Alberta. Spend six days hiking around ‘Canada’s Matterhorn’.

The best walks and walking routes in the Middle East

24. Dana to Petra, Jordan

Petra, Jordan (Shutterstock)

Petra, Jordan (Shutterstock)

Where? Southern Jordan

Length: 45km

Days: Three to five days

Difficulty: Moderate to tough. You'll have to camp, and its a wild terrain.

Independent? No – a guide is compulsory.

The walk: The ‘Inca Trail of the Middle East’ wends from the wildlife-filled forests of Dana Nature Reserve to the rock-hewn ‘lost’ city of Petra, with some truly intoxicating desert in between.

It’s not waymarked – this is a directional route along a range of old mule tracks, rather than a set path, hence the need for a guide. But it’s full of atmosphere and drama: rolling hills, scorching wadis, rich sandstone mountains, Bedouin-style camping and access to Petra via its little-known back door.

Want more? Check out our top Petra highlights.

If you like this, try... Wadi Rum. Follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia with spectral overnight hikes in the Jordanian desert.
If you like this, try... Wadi Rum. Follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia with spectral overnight hikes in the Jordanian desert.

25. Mount Sinai, Egypt

Mount Sinai, Egypt (Shutterstock)

Mount Sinai, Egypt (Shutterstock)

Where? Egypt

Length: Varies

Days: One to four

Difficulty: Moderate, with camps and guesthouses en route.

Independent? No – many trails are not clearly marked.

The walk: Many a traveller hauls themselves up 2,285m Mount Sinai for sunrise, a two-to-three-hour hike in the dark from St Catherine’s Monastery. However, the entire peninsula is scored with old pilgrim paths and mule tracks that could occupy several days.

You can summit Mount Saint Catherine (2,641m), Sinai’s highest peak; hike into El Shegg Gorge to bathe in nearby pools; or climb to the ruined Ottoman castle on Mount Abbas Pasha. Throughout, the desert terrain is wild, and rich in biblical and Bedouin intrigue.

If you like this, try... the White Desert. Camp and hike out amid the weird chalk formations of Egypt’s Western Desert, on the fringes of the Sahara.
If you like this, try... the White Desert. Camp and hike out amid the weird chalk formations of Egypt’s Western Desert, on the fringes of the Sahara.

Like this? Enjoy more of the best hikes in the Middle East 

The best walks and walking routes in Australasia

26. Milford Track, New Zealand

Milford Sound, New Zealand (Shutterstock)

Milford Sound, New Zealand (Shutterstock)

Where? Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand

Length: 53.5km

Days: Four

Difficulty: Moderate. There are huts with bunks, cookers and flush loos along the route.

Independent? Yes, but reservations are still required.

The walk: Awesome and oh-so popular – the toughest thing about this four-day Fiordland tramp (aside from scaling 1,154m Mackinnon Pass) is booking a place on it.

Only 40 independent walkers a day are permitted to hit the trail, which passes mossy rainforest, tumbling falls and high peaks en route to marvellous Milford Sound. Book ahead, pack all your supplies and prepare to be rained on and blown away.

Learn more: Find out everything you need to know about New Zealand's Milford Sound.

If you like this, try... Kepler Track. This easy, accessible and less-crowded 60km loop takes a different route from Te Anau.
If you like this, try... Kepler Track. This easy, accessible and less-crowded 60km loop takes a different route from Te Anau.

27. Overland Track, Australia

Lake St Clair, Australia (Shutterstock)

Lake St Clair, Australia (Shutterstock)

Where? Ronny Creek to Lake St Clair, Tasmania, Australia

Length: 65km

Days: Six

Difficulty: Moderate. Expect basic huts and tent platforms

Independent? Yes. Guided options are available (including a ‘posh’ version using private huts)

The walk: Starting from Cradle Mountain and passing wizened rainforest, glacier-gouged valleys, towering eucalyptus and golden moorland, this classic sums up the Tassie wilderness.

As well as the standard 65km, there are side-trips to waterfalls and lookouts. At Lake Sinclair, finish with a ferry ride, or extend your trip by walking an extra 17.5km around its shore.

Learn more: Jasper Winn treks the Overland track and makes the most of the spectacular scenery and unusual wildlife. 

If you like this, try... Maria Island. Saunter in style on a luxurious four-day guided hike across Tassie’s pristine east-coast isle.
If you like this, try... Maria Island. Saunter in style on a luxurious four-day guided hike across Tassie’s pristine east-coast isle.

28. Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand

Hikers explore Tongariro National Park, New Zealand (Shutterstock)

Hikers explore Tongariro National Park, New Zealand (Shutterstock)

Where? Tongariro National Park, North Island, New Zealand

Length: 19km

Days: One

Difficulty: Easy to medium, with steep sections. It's a short walk, but there are no facilities.

Independent? Yes

The walk: Often touted as the world’s best day walk, this yomp across eerie Tongariro is a magical mix of sulphurous pools, red craters, totara trees, Maori legend and – since the Lord of the Rings movies – Mount Doom.

There are some significant ups, but it’s a straightforward undertaking (unless the weather comes in). To add extra interest – and lose the crowds – spend three days completing the 34km hut-to-hut Northern Circuit: the Crossing, supersized.

If you like this, try... Lake Waikaremoana Track. This 46km Great Walk explores North Island’s lesser-visited Te Urewera National Park, rich in Maori history.
If you like this, try... Lake Waikaremoana Track. This 46km Great Walk explores North Island’s lesser-visited Te Urewera National Park, rich in Maori history.

29. Larapinta Trail, Australia

Outback landscape along the Larapinta Trail, Australia (Shutterstock)

Outback landscape along the Larapinta Trail, Australia (Shutterstock)

Where? Alice Springs to Mount Sonder, NT, Australia

Length: 223km

Days: 11 to 16

Difficulty: Tough, though some stages are easier. Camping involved, self-sufficiency required.

Independent? Yes, but guided options are available (including a ‘posh’ version using semi-permanent camps).

The walk: Australia has many trails but this is perhaps the most quintessentially ‘Oz’: starting from the Red Centre capital of Alice, it goes bush along the spine of the West MacDonnell Ranges, incorporating red rocks and desert, deep gorges, cooling creeks, termite mounds and star-filled skies.

The climax is Alamy a climb of 1,380m Mount Sonder for a panoramic overview. It’s broken into 12 sections, and each trailhead is vehicle-accessible making short forays easy to arrange. Only the fit and well-prepared should attempt the lot alone.

If you like this, try... Bibbulmun Track, WA. Nearly 1,000km of brilliant bushwalking, from Kalamunda to Albany.
If you like this, try... Bibbulmun Track, WA. Nearly 1,000km of brilliant bushwalking, from Kalamunda to Albany.

30. Kokoda Track, Papua New Guinea

The Kokoda Track, Papua New Guinea (Shutterstock)

The Kokoda Track, Papua New Guinea (Shutterstock)

Where? Owers Corner to Kokoda, Papua New Guinea

Length: 96km

Days: Six to 10

Difficulty: Tough, but humid with jungle camps, homestays, and villages en route.

Independent? No – guide and permit required

The walk: In 1942, this jungle trail was the site of fierce fighting between Japanese and Australian troops; today it’s filled with hikers battling humidity, bugs and torrential rain.

This isn’t a comfortable undertaking, involving steep, slippery ascents, raging rivers and sticky conditions, but pay-offs include fascinating Second World War history, tribal encounters and Technicolor birds of paradise.

If you like this, try... Black Cat Track, Morobe Province. Launched in 2003 as the ‘new’ Kokoda, this five-day trail from Wau is said to be even tougher!
If you like this, try... Black Cat Track, Morobe Province. Launched in 2003 as the ‘new’ Kokoda, this five-day trail from Wau is said to be even tougher!

The best walks and walking routes in Asia

31. Great Himalaya Trail, Nepal

Kanchenjunga Base Camp, Nepal (Shutterstock)

Kanchenjunga Base Camp, Nepal (Shutterstock)

Where? Near Kanchenjunga Base Camp to Hilsa on the Tibetan border, Nepal

Length: 1,700km

Days: 150

Difficulty: Challenging, and long. You'll be camping for a while, too.

Independent? No, you'll definitely need to hire a guide.

The walk: First thing first: don’t panic! This mammoth hike across the Nepalese Himalaya is formed of 10 connecting sections (two to three weeks each), so the less gung-ho can still have a go at a bit of it.

Also, there’s a ‘cultural’ version (1,500km), which uses gentler, lower altitude trails, and where small guesthouses offer a warm namaste each night. For planning info, see The Great Himalaya Trail.

Learn more: Don't miss our list of the greatest Himalayan adventures, and our guides for the Annapurna Circuit and Everest Base Camp.

If you like this, try... Mustang. With access restricted to only a handful of groups each season, treks here are truly special.
If you like this, try... Mustang. With access restricted to only a handful of groups each season, treks here are truly special.

32. The Great Wall, China

The Great Wall of China (Shutterstock)

The Great Wall of China (Shutterstock)

Where? North of Beijing, China

Length: 5,000km in total; various short sections possible

Days: One to 12 (a section)

Difficulty: Easy to moderate with steep, uneven sections. Homestays available.

Independent? Yes, many guided options available

The walk: It’s tough to walk the entire Great Wall – not just because it’s a really long way but, in places, its route is ill-defined.

However, stringing together a series of day-hikes in the Beijing region – around the less touristy areas of Jiankou, Mutianyu, Gubeikou and Jinshanling – is a good alternative, combining watchtowers, vertiginous steps and mountain views.

Learn more: Don't miss Wanderlust's Great Wall of China guide and our top tips for hiking the wall.

If you like this, try... Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan. From Lijiang, spend three-four days hiking this dramatic canyon.
If you like this, try... Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan. From Lijiang, spend three-four days hiking this dramatic canyon.

33. Chomolhari Trek, Bhutan

Taktsang Monastery in the Paro Valley, Bhutan (Shutterstock)

Taktsang Monastery in the Paro Valley, Bhutan (Shutterstock)

Where? Paro to Dodena, Bhutan

Length: 133km

Days: 10 to 13

Difficulty: Fairly tough, involving high altitudes, and camping with no facilities en route.

Independent? No – you'll definitely need a guide.

The walk: This exclusive yet manageable Himalayan adventure is a Bhutanese classic. Join yak herders – but few hikers – walking in the shadow of 7,326m Chomolhari (Jomolhari).

The trail leads past colourful dzongs (monasteries) and thick forest, over lofty passes (topping out at 4,900m Nyile La) and maybe even past the footprints of rare snow leopards.

If you like this, try... Merak Sakteng. Spend five or six days looping around the culturally distinct villages of eastern Bhutan.
If you like this, try... Merak Sakteng. Spend five or six days looping around the culturally distinct villages of eastern Bhutan.

34. Mount Kailash Circuit, Tibet

Mount Kailash, Tibet (Shutterstock)

Mount Kailash, Tibet (Shutterstock)

Where? Tibet

Length: 52km

Days: Three to five

Difficulty: Moderate to tough. It's remote, with monasteries and camping. 

Independent? No – permits/guides are necessary.

The walk: A circumambulation of Kailash won’t just test your legs, it will sort your karma: Buddhists, Böns, Hindus and Jains all believe that a lifetime’s sins can be expunged by completing a circuit (kora) of the unmistakable 6,714m mountain.

Kailash is in a remote spot – just getting there (via sacred Lake Manasarovar) is an adventure. On trek, you’ll crest a 5,600m pass, visit monasteries and meet the Tibetan pilgrims who are walking for their souls.

If you like this, try... Everest’s Kangshung Face – a tough trek to view the mightiest Himalaya peak’s little-visited Tibetan side.
If you like this, try... Everest’s Kangshung Face – a tough trek to view the mightiest Himalaya peak’s little-visited Tibetan side.

35. Lantau Trail, Hong Kong

The Wisdom Trail on Lantau Island, Hong Kong (Shutterstock)

The Wisdom Trail on Lantau Island, Hong Kong (Shutterstock)

Where? Hong Kong

Length: 70km

Days: Three to 12

Difficulty: Mostly easy, with a few tougher sections. Facilities are great.

Independent? Yes

The walk: Only a short train or ferry hop from the hubbub of Hong Kong Island, this  circular trail on nearby Lantau is a breath of bucolic air.

Starting or finishing at Mui Wo, the route feels far from the metropolis, taking in temples, beaches, fishing villages and gardens. Divided into 12 sections, it’s easy to pick and chose a suitable section.

If you like this, try... MacLehose Trail. This 100km trek traverses Hong Kong’s New Territories for more alternative city views.
If you like this, try... MacLehose Trail. This 100km trek traverses Hong Kong’s New Territories for more alternative city views.

36. Singalila Ridge, India

A campsite in Singalila National Park, India (Shutterstock)

A campsite in Singalila National Park, India (Shutterstock)

Where? Manebhanjan to Rimbik, Sikkim, India

Length: 85km

Days: Six to seven

Difficulty: Moderate. Teahouses en route.

Independent? Possible, but guide definitely recommended.

The walk: From Sandakphu, the 3,636m zenith of this route near the tea terraces of Darjeeling, you can look out over the world’s highest peaks: Kangchenjunga, Lhotse, Everest.

As you trek between teahouses, you’ll stop en route to admire Hindu temples, prayer wheels and red pandas. Each night, curries, Sikkimese beers and warm welcomes await.

If you like this, try... Markha Valley, Ladakh. Take a seven-day hike in ‘little Tibet’, for epic views of the Karakoram and Himalaya.
If you like this, try... Markha Valley, Ladakh. Take a seven-day hike in ‘little Tibet’, for epic views of the Karakoram and Himalaya.

37. Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

Annapurna Circuit, Nepal (Shutterstock)

Annapurna Circuit, Nepal (Shutterstock)

Where? Besisahar to Naya Pul, Nepal

Length: 300km

Days: 17 to 24

Difficulty: Moderate to tough. Teahouses en route.

Independent? Possible, but local guides/sherpas recommended

The walk: Although it weaves amid remote, spectacular mountains, this is no wilderness adventure. Dubbed the ‘teahouse trek’, you’ll interact and stay with the varied ethnic groups that live here.

As well as high passes (peaking at 5,416m Thorong La), lonely stupas, lush paddies and barren moonscapes, there are yak herders, reviving hot springs and guesthouses serving curry and cake. Options abound too: cut the trek in half by flying into/out of midway Jomsom. Or take alternative side trails to avoid walking by the new road.

If you like this, try... Everest Base Camp. Nepal’s other classic, a 14-day out-and-back from Lukla.
If you like this, try... Everest Base Camp. Nepal’s other classic, a 14-day out-and-back from Lukla.

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