10 BEST Hiking Routes on Earth 2018

May 21, 2018

If you’re an avid trekker wanting to add to your ‘must visit’ list, or anyone wanting to experience hiking in some of the World’s most famous trails,  check out our list of the 10 best hiking destinations to explore in 2018!

  1. Acatenango, Guatemala

Highlights: Best night-time hiking & volcanic fireworks

Rising at a little less than 4,000 metres up in the sky, Guatemala’s Acatenango dominates the region.

Having two equally impressive peaks, Acatenango offers the best night-time hiking in the world, with the proper equipment. As soon as you make it to the top, just sit back, relax and watch the sun rising slowly, savouring the landscape.

Volcan de Fuego, the adjacent volcano and the most regularly erupting one in the world may honour you with a fiery display of lava explosions…if you’re lucky!

Do heed the warning signs from local authorities to make sure you remain at a safe distance though!

  1. Machu Picchu, Peru

Highlights: Hike finishes at one of the Wonders of the World

Probably the most well-known south American hiking trail, the Peruvian Inca Trail zips the beauty of this wonderful country in a 30-kilometre route snaking through foothills, mountains, misty jungles and taking you up to one of humanity’s most famous monuments, Machu Picchu.

After hiking the famous ancient paved pathway of the Incas, arriving at the Sun Gate above Machu Picchu is one of the outstanding highlights of any visit to Peru.

Machu Picchu, the 15th-century citadel built by the Incas, dominates the almost 2,500-metre mountain ridge and reminds visitors of the once mighty civilisation that ruled the area before the European conquest.

It ranks among the New Seven Wonders of the World and a hike all the way up to the top is a truly worthwhile achievement.

The strict rules governing the issue of Inca Trail permits mean that availability is limited and allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit Machu Picchu with KE adventure holidays to secure your place.

  1. Kalalau, Hawaii

Strong point: Marvellous panorama

Stretching for more than 10 miles through the main island of Hawaii, the Kalalau trail slithers by the Na Pali coastline before getting you to the dense forests of the Kalalau Valley.

Obviously, the view is what most hikers that have visited this place mention in their comments and descriptions of their hike. Almost in every step, you will be surrounded 360o views of the cobalt waters around the island and the rocky mountains lining its core. Aside from the track and warm weather, the landscapes more than reward your efforts.

So, to wrap it up – impressive ridges and rare natural beauty put the exotic Kalalau Trail among the top picks on our list.

  1. Abel Tasman Coast Track, New Zealand

Highlights: A long but easy hike

Most people, upon hearing the word ‘exotic’ form a mental picture of sand beaches and tropical plantation leaning above crystal-clear waters.

If that’s the case with you, New Zealand’s Abel Tasman Coast seems to have just leapt out of your mind…

The best way to explore the region is to hike the coastal track. The route itself is quite long but relatively easy, and no less rewarding than any of the rest in our list. Experienced hikers finish it in two days, while novices may need around five.

The route takes you through verdant ferns, manuka groves and remote sandy shores, teaming with marine life and surfers. Note that crossing the tidal inlets requires timing carefully your passage with low-tide.

  1. Overland, Australia

Highlights: Multi-day hiking challenge

Hiding deep in the realm of the Cradle Mountains, in Tasmania, the Overland trail unfolds for more than 55 kilometres – which obviously means you can’t hike it in one day.

Located in the heart of Tasmania’s World Heritage wilderness, the route offers a diverse range of landscapes from lakes to mountains to waterfalls.

However, do heed the warning from the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service…

WARNING: The Overland Track is a serious undertaking, for well–prepared walkers, with a good level of fitness and who understand the risks of walking in a remote alpine area

Do make sure you have with you the proper provisions, aside from your hiking gear. If you haven’t tried a multi-day hiking venture before, take someone with you who has.

Learn more about the overland track

  1. Zhangjiajie, China

Highlights: Fantastic natural setting

Zhangjiajie has been a source of inspiration for painters, poets, filmmakers and musicians from every corner of the planet. Boasting an unmatched physical beauty, the region is known for its wildlife, nestling in caves, rivers, waterfalls and thick plantation.

Zhangjiajie is famous for its 3,000 vertical pillars, each hundreds of meters tall and covered in dense green foliage.

It is also rumoured that the Heavenly Pillar in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park was the inspiration for the Hallelujah Mountains in James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar.

Despite infrastructure improvement, Zhangjiajie is still a small town surrounded by mountains, with a small airport and no high-speed railway.

  1. Petra Desert, Jordan

Highlights: finishes at Petra, Numerous Routes

Crossing the legendary Jordanian wasteland is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Still, it is the finishing point that makes the trail so inspiring.

Probably the greatest thing about hiking in this area is the variety of possible trails one can follow – of varying length, difficulty and natural attractions, including canyons, gorges and valleys.

After trekking through the desert following one of the numerous routes used by the ancient Nabataean caravans, the trail will take you to the fabled Petra, the ancient trade-hub of the area, with its magnificent façade carved out of the sandstone.

The sight is a pure marvel.

Learn more about how a 400-mile hiking route is rebooting Middle-East tourism

  1. Hardangervidda Transverse, Norway

Highlights: Only for Seasoned Hikers

Hiking the Hardangervidda Plateau is a challenge few hikers can accomplish.

The route takes you on the exciting journey between the east and west of Norway, and is the perfect gateway to the fjords.

Resting on tough terrain, this trail requires excellent physical condition, rich hiking experience and quality hiking footwear. Should you feel you are not up for it, you may pick a shorter and easier track.

Note that this hiking monster is a multi-day venture. It usually requires 7 to 12 days to reach the finish, depending on the route you will choose to make the crossing.

If you love arctic landscapes, then this epic journey will not let you down!

Learn more about the Hardangervidda National Park Route

  1. Pays Dogon, Mali

Highlights: Diverse landscape

Moving to Africa, we simply can’t resist the call of the Pays Dogon track, in modern day Mali.

Breathing magnificent beauty, the whole area surrounding the trail is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Having gain fame for the picturesque settlements scattered all around the region, and isolated villages located on cliffs rising to a height of almost 500m; intermediate and experienced hikers will not find it hard to follow through the end the trail, crawling through (and over) high cliffs and deep canyons.

  1. Danakil Depression, Ethiopia

Highlights: Wild Territory

The Danakil Depression is described as one of the most unwelcoming corners of the earth. Well, if it is so, then hostility rarely raises to such charm.

This remote region is not easy to find, so do ask the help of a local guide. You will need all the strength and mental focus to make it all the way to the impressive Erta Ale Volcano, whose caldera is notorious for its active lava lakes.

If you dare to hike the trail after the nightfall, you will have the chance to see lava bursting out of the deeps.

Again, make your preparations carefully. This is not the kind of hiking route that forgives negligence.

Learn more about one of the most extreme climates found on Earth at Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression with the BBC