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12 Of The World’s Top Trekking Destinations

12 of the World’s Top Trekking Destinations

Any serious trekker or backpacker is going to have their own version of the world’s top trekking destinations. My choices are based on experience, reading, chatting with fellow hikers and what’s still on my wish list. In my mind the treks have to offer great beauty and at least three days worth of walking. Here’s my version of 12 of the world’s top trekking destinations

North America Trekking Destinations

West Coast Trail in British Columbia

The West Coast Trail is a physically demanding 75 kilometre hike stretching from Port Renfrew in the south to Bamfield in the north along the west coast of Vancouver Island.

If you’re lucky enough to have sun for the entire hike then this is a glorious introduction to temperate rain forests and the stunning beaches of Canada’s west coast. In rain it’s a tough slog through mud. Ideally allow six – eight days.

"One of the beautiful beaches along the West Coast Trail"

One of the beautiful beaches along the West Coast Trail

"One of the many ladders on the West Coast Trail"

One of the many ladders on the West Coast Trail

Chilkoot Trail in Alaska and British Columbia

The Chilkoot Trail begins on tidewater in Alaska and climbs up and over mountains in British Columbia. It presents a unique backpacking opportunity, as this is a trail rich with history. It was the main trail used in the famous Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1800’s.

An international crowd of literally tens of thousands, fueled by dreams of riches, used the Chilkoot Trail to chase the gold in the Yukon. Most suffered incredible hardship, many never even made it and only a few got rich.

Today on the trail you’ll find plenty of reminders of their epic journey. You’ll also enjoy fantastic scenery, picturesque campsites and an international border at the top of the pass. Allow four – five days.

"The Canadian side of the pass on the Chilkoot Trail"

The Canadian side of the pass on the Chilkoot Trail

South America trekking destinations

Cordillera Blanca (Alpamayo Circuit) in Peru

The trek through Peru’s Cordillera Blanca takes you within walking distance of Alpamayo, a spectacular mountain called by some the most beautiful on earth. It’s a remote trek and all food must be taken with you.

Donkeys and a donkey driver can be engaged for nominal fee at the trailhead. You reach altitudes of over 15,000 feet and cross many passes so acclimatization is important. Hike in June, July and August when it’s consistently sunny but be prepared for bone chilling nights. Allow 8-10 days.

"The beginning of the trek - with Perferio our donkey driver/guide and 2 donkeys"

The beginning of the trek – with Perferio our donkey driver/guide and 2 donkeys

Paine Circuit in Chile

Torres del Paine down in southern Chile offers a 5-10 day hike (depending on which version you do) through an area of soaring granite peaks, lakes, glaciers and forests. UNESCO world heritage status has been conferred upon the park because of its unique landscape and ecosystem.

The area is known for its fierce winds (in excess of 100 mph) and uncertain weather. Hike between the months of October to April for long hours of daylight.

Read: Everything You Need to Know to do the Torres del Paine Trek

The view of the Grey Glacier from the John Gardner Pass

The view of the Grey Glacier from the John Gardner Pass

Europe Trekking Destinations

Tour of Mont Blanc in France, Italy and Switzerland

The hiker’s Tour of Mont Blanc is a 168 kilometre loop tour around the base of Mount Blanc which is the highest peak in western Europe at 4,810 m or 15,782 feet tall.

Hikers usually begin just outside of Chamonix, France if they’re hiking the traditional counter clockwise direction or they start in Champex, Switzerland if it’s the clockwise direction they’re doing.

No matter what, you hike through three countries – France, Italy and Switzerland over a 9-11 day period.

12 of the World's Top Trekking Destinations

Hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc

Alta Via 2 in Italy

The Alta Via 2 takes you through the stunning scenery of the Italian Dolomites and begins just south of the Austrian border. It’s a 75 kilometre trek that usually takes 6-8 days.

If you’re challenged by exposure then this hike might not be for you especially on the sections known as the Via Ferrata -the road with irons. You have the option of staying in mountain huts rather than camping and much of the food can be purchased along the way.

West Highland Way in Scotland

The West Highland Way is Scotland’s first official and now famous long distance walk. It stretches 95 miles (152 kilometres) from Milngavie in the south to Fort William in the north. You can enjoy some of Scotland’s most spectacular scenery on this walk – including the views from Conic Hill and Devil’s Staircase, desolate walking across Rannoch Moor and plenty of Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond views.

It’s a five to eight day trek and best done between May and early October.

"Views of Loch Tulla and the wooded islands"

Views of Loch Tulla and the wooded islands

Africa Trekking Destinations

Toubkal Circuit in Morocco

The Toubkal Circuit is primarily a summer trek through the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Spectacular scenery is the order of the day – from the Tichka Plateau through to gorges, forest and remote Berber villages. Allow about two weeks, and a day or two more if you plan to climb Mount Toubkal.

Berber village in the Atlas Mountains

Berber village in the Atlas Mountains

Australia and New Zealand Trekking Destinations

Overland Track in Tasmania

I did this trek well before it was discovered by the mainstream backpacking crowd (30 years ago) and what a stunning trek it was complete with wallabies at nighttime at the huts. Go prepared for inclement weather and lots of hiking in mud.

You’ll pass by spectacular Cradle Mountain, numerous lakes and interesting vegetation. Allow 5-7 days to complete the 73 kilometres. Our Hiking Blog, an Australian blog offers an ebook on how to hike the Overland Track. I guess it’s a lot more complicated now.

The Milford Track in New Zealand

I don’t think flying over the Milford Track counts but because I did do that I know that there is superlative mountain and fjord scenery on offer. It’s one of New Zealand’s most popular treks, taking on average four days to trek 53 kilometres.

Hike through temperate rain forests and through groves of beech trees. Book well in advance as the walk is highly regulated and the huts fill quickly.

Asia Trekking Destinations

Everest Base Camp in Nepal

Although the trek sees throngs of hikers you can’t help but be wowed at some of the highest mountains on the planet. Drop dead gorgeous mountain scenery and the Sherpa culture conspire to make this a winning two week trek.

It’s been cleaned up considerably in the last few years too. You’ll also get the chance to visit a Buddhist Monastery in the middle of the Himalayas.

Read: Mt. Everest Base Camp: 8 Reasons to Make the Trek

Snowman Trek in Bhutan

You’re going to need a month to do the Snowman Trek and to allow a few days for rests. Plus you’ll have to hike with a tour company. What you get in return is a hike through a pristine landscape of rhododendron forests and big mountain scenery plus the chance to pass through small villages and Buddhist monasteries.

Further reading on world-class hikes

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 57,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 47 Comments
  1. Wow, some amazing looking treks here.

    We aren’t hardcore hikers so loved the 5 day hike we did in the Annapurna region of Nepal. You stay at little guesthouses on the way so don’t have to carry camping equipment and food, and you can go at your own pace. The scenery is spectacular.

  2. I agree, seems like there are enough tips for the rest of my trekking career.
    I was happy to find West Highland Way in Scotland on the list, since I am about to go there this summer. I wanted to do the trip earlier during the spring, but friends of mine persuaded me to postpone it as the weather in the mountains may get unpleasant around this time of the year.

  3. Hey Leigh,
    This is a great list. Thanks for including the Overland Track in Tasmania (and our guide)
    It has not really become a lot more complicated to do now. We initially wrote the guide to help time poor people organise the trip from outside Tasmania.
    It is a bit tricky to organise flights, transfers, passes etc so we packaged it into a step by step guide to help people get organised with the least amount of hassle.

    The other thing we really tried to emphasise (trying not to do a sales job here) is the best gear, food and tips we could give people. The Overland Track is often many peoples first long, unsupported multiday walk. Many do it totally unprepared and get into trouble with blisters, heavy packs, hypothermia etc……

    P.s. MUST get over to BC, the walking looks great!

    Frank

  4. Lots of great hiking trails, hopefully I can do the West Coast trail this year. I would also add the Kungsleden in Sweden to the list 🙂

    1. The Haute Route looks like a fantastic hiking experience. The only reason it wasn’t included was because I was trying to bring more geographic breadth to the list – and I didn’t want to be too Euro centric.

  5. Really decent selection and rather disappointed that I’ve only done one of these! Would definitely recommend the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan – IO went there with wildfrontiers last year and while it is expensive, it really is as unique as they come. For mountain scenery, the trek up to K2 Base Camp in Pakistan is seriously special too – rivals anything I’ve done in Nepal.

    1. @Alan There’s a never ending supply of great hikes to do isn’t there. That’s an out there kind of trek you did last year. Did you feel safe? I bet the scenery was outstanding and rarely seen by a westerner.

  6. title: “a perfect trip…….not to be missed “

    “This year at the end of february i went in Nepal for 18 days for the second time and i did a small trekking in the Annapurna region, I went to visit Pokhara, Kathmandu, Bakthapur and Nagarkot and I saw the National Park of Chitwan and in this trip I had the pleasure to meet Sanjib Adhikari.

    He is an independent trekking guide and tour operator in Nepal and he has already obtained trekking guide license from the ministry of tourism, government of Nepal.

    In his work Sanjib Adhikari is a person very responsible and serious, very helpful and attentive to his customers, he knows very well the mountain because he has many years of experience and is also an excellent guide for visiting the cities, the best thing for me is that he loves his country very much and loves his work and always manages to convey all his enthusiasm with simple ways and always with the smile.
    Sanjib is also a very funny person and after this experience we became a very good friend

    For these reasons I am very glad to report the site of Mr. Sanjib Adhikari

    email-:sanjib-adhikari@hotmail.com
    Mobile No+9779841613822
    Silvana”

  7. Thank you for mentioning Cordillera Blanca (Alpamayo Circuit) in Peru. We invite you to experience the contact with the highest chain of tropical mountains in the world. Huascarán National Park and the Cordilleras Blanca and Huayhuash with the most beautiful and impressive peaks of South America will welcome you..
    There are recognized routes with categories of severity, according to geography, altitude and duration: Alpamayo circuit, Vaqueria Santa Cruz, Taullipampa Huaripampa Llanganuco Santa Cruz, etc. The most appropriate season is between April and October, if you’ll encourage for one of these treks there are shorter walks that last one day or less that will help you to acclimatize the high altitudes (over 12139feets above sea level)
    Vaquería is a small village and crossing point for hikers of the routes above mentioned, at the entrance of Vaquería you will find Illariy, the first lodge opened there, this 2012, it is a nice refuge in a place surrounded by mountains, among them the snowcapped Chopicalqui Yanaraju. It is a good idea to stay there while you acclimate or finish your walk, apart from the comfort and warmth of the accommodation you can taste traditional food and breakfasts, plus you can find souvenirs or appreciate an artistic event . Any additional info:
    email: illariy.vaqueria@gmail.com

    Magaly Rojas

  8. Love this. I was trekking in Nepal last year. Surprised that the Annapurna trail in Nepal wasn’t on there. There are so many wonderful treks in Nepal. I can’t wait to go back. Some of those treks in South America and Europe look fantastic too.

  9. Thank you very much for hike Bike Travel for informative information. Yes Nepal is also one of the best and top Adventure for any type of adventure holiday.Nepal offers diverse programs and packages including all travel related services such as Trekking in Nepal, Peak Climbing, Mountain Expedition, Hiking, Nepal tour packages and sightseeing, transportation service, Hotel and Ticket Booking and many others.It will best best travel destination in the world.

  10. Nepal, mentioned as the trekker’s paradise, offers once in a lifetime opportunity to visit remote parts of the country and get acquainted with lifestyle of its people.

  11. The info in the site is very good.Still is better to book some accommodation during the treks in PAine, Chile. I offer the trek of two valleys all included starting in Puerto Natales, all meals, and refugios from 800 u$ based in 4 people. 4 night .
    Cheers,Ma

  12. Glad to see Mt. Everest on the list, but I thought it would be on top 🙂 Enjoyed reading the list though.

    How about creating another list of like 20’s best trail for mountain bike ride. I am sure Nepal have few best trails for extreme hardcore mountain bikers.

    Thanks
    Raj

  13. Wow! Some serious and awesome hikes here! Janice’s mother hiked Nepal to Everest base camp and beyond with her ladies hiking group from Calgary a few years ago – and absolutely loved the whole experience (though it was physically challenging).

    1. @Sand In My Suitcase My daughter also did the Everest base camp hike and found it hard but she also said it was the best thing she’s ever done. I still have a long list of hikes I’d like to do around the world – and it never gets shorter. This year I’ll be doing the Long Range Traverse in Newfoundland.

  14. Glad to see Everest base camp trekking in the list. But there are many other Popular Trekking Regions in Nepal. Like Annapurna Circuit and base camp, Langtang Region, Mustang and Kanchanjunga Trek.

  15. Morocco, mainly. The Atlas mountains stretch for 1,200 miles from the Atlantic port of Agadir to the Tunisian capital, Tunis. But Morocco is, arguably, where the Atlas range is at its most interesting. Within Morocco, the Atlas is divided into several parallel ranges – the Anti, Middle and High Atlas. Of these, the High Atlas attracts most visitors, many of whom come to climb Jbel Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa at 4,167m.

    All the usual mountain activities are on offer in the Atlas but be prepared for them to be Moroccan-style. Don’t expect to find the sort of tourist infrastructure you find in the Alps, or even the Pyrenees.

    Trekking is the main draw, with thousands of French, Spanish and British walkers visiting each year. Weird geology, warm weather and a colourful local population make the Atlas one of the world’s great trekking environments. Guides and pack mules can be hired cheaply and easily at all major trail- heads. Finding maps and accommodation, however, can be a little more difficult.The four main trekking areas are Toubkal, M’goun, Sirwa and Sahro. Each is very different. Mount Toubkal is the highest and most easily reached from Marrakesh. M’goun is lush and densely populated. Sirwa and Saghro are lower, hotter and more isolated.
    more info please check our website – trekking-toubkal.com

  16. What a very interesting list. I think the most exciting and thrill part of the list is the Everest Base Camp. It is one of the hardest mountains to traverse and I am very proud there are already a lot of Filipinos who had successfully climbed on Mt. Everest.

  17. Hi, Leigh, thank you for the lists of the world’s top trekking destinations and Everest Base Camp Trekking is the top trekking trip. Similar to other treks, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Annapurna Base Camp Trek and Manaslu Trekking are also top treks.

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