By: Heather Keys
Every vacation I take, I try to build in some type of hiking activity, even if it’s just a short jaunt around a lake for a bit of geocaching.
But there are much larger hikes I’d love to take on one day—the Appalachian Trail being at the top of my list!
If you love the outdoors and truly enjoy hiking, here are 11 world-famous trails to add to your must-see list.
1. The Inca Trail, Peru
This iconic trail takes you through stunning landscapes, culminating at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu. You’ll hike past Incan ruins, cross suspension bridges over rushing rivers, and catch stunning views of the Andes Mountains.
Read our packing guide to hiking the Inca Trail
Read our guide to avoiding the crowds in Machu Picchu
2. The Haute Route, Switzerland
This 137-mile route offers challenging terrain and breathtaking Alpine views, with snow-capped peaks and glaciers to admire along the way.
3. The West Highland Way, Scotland
This scenic trail takes you 96 miles through Scotland’s wild landscapes, from the rolling hills of the Lowlands to the rugged mountains of the Highlands.
4. The Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
This trek circles the Annapurna mountain range and is known for its diverse landscapes and unforgettable cultural experiences. You’ll hike through lush forests, past traditional villages, and along high-altitude passes with views of some of the world’s tallest peaks.
5. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand
This day hike takes you past active volcanoes, crystal-clear lakes, and unique geological features, all surrounded by towering peaks and otherworldly landscapes.
6. The Fish River Canyon Hike, Namibia
This remote trail takes you along the rim of one of the largest canyons in the world, offering scenic views of the vast and arid landscape below.
7. The Kalalau Trail, Hawaii
This challenging trail along the Napali Coast offers a scenic journey through lush jungles, past cascading waterfalls, and along sheer cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
8. The GR20, Corsica
This challenging trail takes you through the rugged interior of the French island of Corsica, offering panoramic views of the coastline and the Mediterranean Sea.
9. The Pacific Crest Trail, USA
This long-distance trail runs from Mexico to Canada, taking you through the High Sierras and the Cascade Range. You’ll experience a variety of landscapes, from desert to forest to mountain, and be rewarded with stunning vistas along the way.
10. The Camino de Santiago, Spain
This historic pilgrimage trail takes you through picturesque rural landscapes and charming villages, with the possibility of experiencing traditional Spanish culture and cuisine along the way.
Read more about hiking El Camino here!
11. The Overland Track, Tasmania
This scenic trail takes you through the heart of Tasmania’s wilderness, from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair. You’ll experience a variety of landscapes, from moss-covered forests to alpine meadows, and encounter diverse wildlife along the way.
12. The GR5, France
This long-distance trail takes you through the stunning landscapes of the French Alps, from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea. You’ll experience a variety of terrains, from rolling hills to towering peaks, and see panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Have you had the opportunity to hike any of these adventurous, scenic trails? What’s your favorite, and what are your recommendations for fellow travelers? Share your experience and advice with the Frayed Passport community!
About the Author
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Heather is a writer who loves her two kitty cats, collecting books faster than she can read them, and of course—travel!
Featured image by Ben Guernsey on Unsplash