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best treks in the world

Best Treks in the World

The best treks in the world are no walks in the park. But they’re sure to challenge you physically and mentally, while amplifying your view of a country.

Without further ado, here are the 10 best treks in the world (based on research and my own opinions).

They have been ranked on difficulty level – from #20 coming in as the easiest all the way to the hardest trek at #1.

best treks of the world - hikers paradise

20. The Fitzroy Trek – Patagonia, Argentina

Avid hikers should definitely add the Fitzroy Trek to your Argentina itinerary if you are planning to explore Patagonia. The route leads you from El Chaltén to Laguna Eléctrica, through some of the most beautiful landscapes in South America.

Though the Torres del Paine in Chile is the most popular route in Patagonia, the Fitzroy trek is a worthy contender for being the most beautiful. With jagged peaks and unique rock formations, it is easy to fall in love with the scenery here.

The Fitzroy Trek is suitable for less experienced hikers and is a nice alternative if you are intimidated by the Torres del Paine in Chile. The trails are clearly marked and the terrain is flat and constant. 

READ NOW
Two Weeks in Argentina: My Itinerary & Guide
  • Distance: 26km
  • Duration: 1 Day
  • Level of Difficulty: 2/10
  • Best Time to Go: Year round
  • How to: Join this 9-day Patagonia trekking trip to experience the Fitzoy Trek in Patagonia.

best treks in the world - fitzroy trail

best treks in the world - fitzroy trail


19. Pays Dogon – Mali

A site whose beauty has awarded it a UNESCO world heritage title, the Dogon region of Mali is one of the most beautiful regions across the entire African continent.

Trekking here leads you through lush green fields and across the arid plains of the Sahel. You’ll get to see African villages where locals live in mud huts and perform masked dances as part of their traditions.

The Bandiagara escarpment is no doubt one of the highlights of trekking in Pays Dogon. Entire towns and mosques have been carved into cliff faces and survived until today.

Treks can take anywhere between 1 and 3 days depending on your personal level of physical fitness. With numerous villages scattered around the region, there are many appealing detours that let you combine a cultural experience with the great outdoors.

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From Slavery to Voodoo: My Journey into the Heart of West Africa
  • Distance: 20km
  • Duration: 1 -3 days
  • Level of Difficulty: 3/10
  • Best Time to Go: November – January
  • How to: Few companies offer this trek. Dogon Vison is a local company that comes high recommended.

best treks of the world - pays dogon mali

best treks of the world - pays dogon mali

best treks of the world - pays dogon mali

18. The Camino de Santiago – Spain

The Camino de Santiago has been an important pilgrimage route for Christian followers ever since the Middle Ages. It traces the route where the remains of St James were carried from Jerusalem to his final resting place – Santiago de Compostela.  

You do not have to be a devout Christian to enjoy this route. The Camino de Santiago  has eight different starting points, meaning that you can select a preferred route depending on your interests.

The 750km trail leads you through Spanish countryside, beautiful vineyards and hundred year old towns. Accommodation options along the trail are plentiful and varied so whether you are a backpacker on a budget or you prefer a little more luxury. 

Upon completion, you will receive a ‘Compostela’ for your efforts – a certificate from the pilgrim’s office in Santiago de Compostela.

READ NOW
My Camino de Santiago Guide
  • Distance: 750km
  • Duration: 30 Days
  • Level of Difficulty: 3/10
  • Best Time to Go: Year round
  • How to: Most people do the Camino de Santiago trek on their own, but operators like Follow the Camino can organise it for you. 

best treks of the world - camino de santiago

best treks in the world - camino de santiago

best treks of the world - camino de santiago


17. Routeburn Track – New Zealand

The Southern Alps is an easy hop away from New Zealand’s adventure hub, Queenstown. Known as the best trek in New Zealand, the Routeburn Track traverses wild and scenic mountain country.

It runs between the Hollyford and Dart Valleys at the base of the Southern Alps. Passing through two national parks – Fiordland and Mount Aspiring on the South Island of New Zealand – the trail leads you through a variety of landscapes.

From mountainous peaks to pristine lakes and cascading waterfalls, it’s an inspiring way to get deep into the back country. Undoubtedly, you’ll be seeing the best that New Zealand has to offer while enjoying peace and tranquility away from the crowd and technology.

best treks in the world - routeburn track in new zealand

best treks in the world - routeburn track in new zealand

best treks in the world - routeburn track in new zealand

Book here:

 

16. The Long Range Traverse – Canada

The long range traverse is arguably Canada’s best trek. It leads you on an unmarked, backcountry trail from Western Brook Pond, through the Long Range mountains before ending in Ferry Gulch.

The trail is relatively undisturbed with moose, caribou and black bears likely to be the only other beings you encounter along your journey.

Although the length of this hike may not seem like anything out of the ordinary, the challenge of navigating your way along is nothing to be sniffed at. 

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Best Things to Do in Alberta, Canada for Outdoor Lovers
  • Distance: 35km
  • Duration: 3-4 days
  • Level of Difficulty: 9/10
  • Best Time to Go: May – September
  • How to: Book with Gros Morne Outdoor Company for a guided trek.

best treks in the world - long range traverse in Canada

best treks in the world - long range traverse in Canada

best treks in the world - long range traverse in Canada


15. The Lost City of Teyuna – Colombia

Peru’s Inca trail is often at the top of most bucket lists, however Colombia’s Ciudad Perdida trek leads adventurers to a lesser known, yet equally majestic ancient city. 

Nestled deep within the jungle, atop the northern slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, is the lost city of Teyuna. The city was built by the Tairona civilization approximately 650 years before Machu Picchu was constructed and was home to over 10,000 people. 

The Lost City Trek gives a strong sense of mystery and remoteness. Though Teyuna is only several hours away from the romantic beach resort town of Palomino, it feels like venturing into a different country altogether.

The trail leads you through lush emerald jungles occupied by tribes who watch on inquisitively as you pass by their thatched houses. It’s also a relatively short trek that you can easily add to your Colombia itinerary.

READ NOW
Colombia Itinerary: A Detailed Guide for 10 Days in Colombia
  • Distance: 44km
  • Duration: 5 Days
  • Level of Difficulty: 4/10
  • Best Time to Go: December – March
  • How to: Book this Colombia trip with G Adventures to combine the Lost City trek with a trip to the Caribbean coast.

best treks in the world - lost city trek

Book here:

 

14. Inca Trail – Peru

To get to Macchu Picchu – the world famous archaeological site in Peru – the best way is on this 3 or 4-day trek. The Inca Trail brings you through sacred ancient sites, rocky paths, and imposing mountain passes.

Lauded as the best trek in the world, this was said to be the same route that the royal Incas used to take to weave through the Andean mountains. It certainly is the best way to visit Machu Picchu.

The trek usually starts from Cuzco and costs around US$350, including all meals, porters and camping facilities. Feast on views of white-tipped mountains and experience the magic of walking from one cliff-hugging ruin to the next.

There are high chances of getting altitude sickness as you’ll be trekking above 3,000m most of the time, so pack some Diamox and go slow. Some say chewing coca leaves help too.

  • Distance: 43km
  • Duration: 4 days
  • Level of difficulty: 5/10
  • Best time to go: May to September
  • How to: Join G Adventures’ 7-day Inca Trail

best treks in the world - inca trail

best treks in the world - inca trail


13. W Trek– Torres del Paine, Chile

The Torres del Paine National Park is located in Chile’s Patagonia region, between the Andes Mountain Range and the Patagonian steppes.

It’s best known for its soaring mountains, electric-blue icebergs that cleave from glaciers and golden pampas (lowlands) that shelter rare wildlife such as llama-like guanacos.

The three granite towers from which the park takes its name and the horn-shaped peaks called Cuernos del Paine are some of its most iconic sites.

The best way to explore this region is on the W Circuit, a 100km, 5-day trek. This can be easily added to your two-week Chile itinerary. But if you have more time, check out the longer O Trek, a loop that brings you to the backside of the mountain. Read my detailed guide to Torres del Paine Chile.

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A Two-Week Chile and Easter Island Itinerary
  • Distance: 100km
  • Duration: 4-6 days
  • Level of difficulty: 5/10
  • Best time to go: December to March
  • How to: Join Intrepid’s 10-day Patagonia Trekking trip that includes the W Trek.

best treks in the world - w trek in patagonia chile

best treks in the world - w trek in patagonia chile

best treks in the world - w trek in patagonia chile


12.  Mount Kailash Pilgramage, Tibet

A sacred site in many religions, Mount Kailash is such a popular pilgrimage site that the sacred site is often crowded with pilgrims. Buddhists, Hindus, Bons and Jains are seen clutching their prayer beads and murmuring prayer chants as they pay their respects.

According to Hindu beliefs, the top of the 22,000 foot peak is where Shiva meditates. Though ascending to the peak of Mount Kailash is strictly forbidden, walking the 32 mile trail that encircles it is an important pilgrimage.

But trekking in Tibet isn’t a walk in the park. The trek brings you on some steep paths, difficult passes, and high altitudes as you quickly ascend to 5,600m. Even the most experienced trekkers are prone to altitude sickness.

READ NOW
How to Travel Tibet — A Complete Guide

best treks in the world - mount kailash tibet

best treks in the world - mount kailash tibet

best treks in the world - mount kailash tibet


11. Toukbal Circuit – Morocco

Located just a few hours away from the red city of Marrakech, the Atlas Mountains is a popular day trip from Marrakech.

The region is home to Mount Toukbal – the highest peak in North Africa which stands proud at 4,167m. Ascending to the top of Toukbal’s peak is relatively straightforward as it is a gradual ascent.

The Toukbal circuit leads you around the circumference of Jebel Toukbal – past valleys, through Berber villages and along the foothills of the snowcapped mountains. The journey is pleasantly broken up by the opportunity to sip mint tea with locals or to camp beneath the stars .

For a more rewarding experience, combine the trail with a Sahara desert tour.

  • Distance: 44km
  • Duration: 5 Days
  • Level of Difficulty: 5/10
  • Best Time to Go: April – May, September – October
  • How to: Join G Adventures’ 7-day Mount Toukbal Trek.

best treks in the world - atlas mountains morocco

best treks in the world - atlas mountains morocco

best treks in the world - atlas mountains morocco

Book here:

 

10. John Muir Trail – California, USA

Easily the best hiking trail in California, this long-distance trail – named after the famous naturalist John Muir – runs 340km in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California.

Between the northern end of Yosemite Valley and the southern summit of Mount Whitney, it passes through Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park.

The vast majority of the John Muir Trail is situated within designated wilderness and lies almost entirely at or above 8,000 feet (2,400 m) in elevation. The trail has been described as America’s most famous trail and one of the best treks in the world by numerous publications.

A permit is required to hike the trail, so obtain one from the national park before you start your trek. Excellent way to combine some hiking with a California road trip!

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  • Distance: 340km
  • Duration: 3 weeks
  • Level of difficulty: 5/10
  • Best time to go: July to September
  • How to: Join this 22-day trek with Grand American Adventures.

best treks in the world - JOHN MUIR TRAIL

best treks in the world - JOHN MUIR TRAIL

best treks in the world - JOHN MUIR TRAIL


9. Overland Track – Tasmania, Australia

The rugged wilderness of Tasmania is most accessible on the 80km Overland Track. The well-defined path passes craggy mountains, extensive forests and moorlands in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Those who want more can take numerous detours that lead to waterfalls, valleys and more summits including Mt Ossa (1,617m, 5,305ft) – the tallest mountain in Tasmania.

This is easily the most famous trek in Australia, and something that every trekker in Australia attempt at least once in their lifetime. Avid hikers should definitely try to include the Overland Track in their Australia itinerary.

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Hiking Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain
  • Distance: 65km
  • Duration: 5-6 days
  • Level of difficulty: 5/10
  • Best time to go: October to May
  • How to: Tas Walking Co offers guided Overland Track adventures.

best treks in the world - overland track tasmania

best treks in the world - overland track tasmania


8. Tour du Mont Blanc – France, Italy and Switzerland

The imposing Tour du Mont Blanc is a high-altitude trail that goes anti-clockwise from France to Italy to Switzerland, then back into France for an ascent to the beautiful Lac Blanc.

The trek, affectionately known as TMB, covers 10,000m of ascent (that’s 1km more than climbing Everest from sea level)!

It’s no easy feat, but it will reward you with jawdropping views of glaciers, tumbling valleys and, of course, Mont Blanc itself.

Refuge life is also one of the fun elements of this trek and most trekkers spend the night in refuges that dot the route. What they lack in space and comfort, they make up for with food, company, and sunsets.

  • Distance: 170km
  • Duration: 8 days
  • Level of difficulty: 6/10
  • Best time to go: June to September
  • How to: Join other like-minded people on G Adventures’ 10-Day Mont Blanc Trek.
best treks of the world - tour du mont blanc

best treks of the world - tour du mont blanc

best treks of the world - tour du mont blanc


7. Laugavegur Trek – Iceland

The 55km Icelandic trail that extends from Landmannalaugar to Skóga demonstrates the very best of Iceland’s natural beauty. It traverses along scenic valleys, isolated hot springs, black sand beaches and the colorful mountains.

The landscapes here were said to have been created when Thor – the Norse God of thunder, struck down his hammer. Indeed, the scenery is so breathtaking that even non-believers will see it as a gift from the gods.

The Laugavegur trek lets you experience some of the most remote places in Iceland, such as Emstrur, Hrafntinnusker and Alftavatn. You’ll also get up close and personal with Eyjafjallajokull – the infamous Icelandic volcano that caused chaos across Europe in 2010.

Should the volcanoes along this route erupt again, the trail could be closed or altered forever and so it’s best to cross it off your hiking bucket list soon! I would recommend combining the trek with a road trip on Iceland Ring Road.

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  • Distance: 55km
  • Duration: 5 days
  • Level of Difficulty: 6/10
  • Best Time to Go: April – September
  • How to: Book a 4-day Laugavegur Trek with Guide to Iceland.

best treks of the world - laugavegur trail iceland

best treks of the world - laugavegur trail iceland

best treks of the world - laugavegur trail iceland


6. Mount Roraima Venezuela

Rising high above the fog and the clouds, Mount Roraima looks almost ethereal and other worldly. Described as a “floating plateau”, it is without a doubt one of the most beautiful mountains in the world.

The Mount Roraima trek offers a plethora of options based on your experience. The 400m cliff walls are scale-able only by experienced mountaineers.

The good news for hikers is that there is also a ramp-like trail which leads to the top. It leads you past stunning natural waterfalls, through the lush greenery of Canaima national park and along the Guyana mountain range.

For centuries, indigenous tribes have occupied the area and the region has held significance in their stories. Tales of spirits and supernatural beings echo through history.

best treks of the world - mount roraima

best treks of the world - mount roraima

5. Kilimanjaro – Tanzania

At 19,340 ft (5,895m), Africa’s highest mountain is a beast to conquer. Climbing Kilimanjaro brings you through virtually every ecosystem possible — glacier, snowfields, deserts, savannah, and tropical jungle — so make sure you’re prepared for the change in climate and terrain.

The diversity in the landscapes is what makes this one of the best treks in the world. There are six routes in total: with Machame and Marangu routes being the most popular.

Although Mount Kilimanjaro is known as a “walk-up” mountain, do not underestimate its risks. The overall statistics show that less than half of all climbers reach the summit.

For those who conquer it, the Kilimanjaro trek is often the highlight for many travelers in East Africa. For more details, refer to this excellent post on everything you need to know before a Kilimanjaro trek.

  • Distance: range from 51-72km
  • Duration: 5-8 days
  • Level of difficulty: 7/10
  • Best time to go: September to March
  • How to: Choose from G Adventures’ Kilimanjaro treks.

best treks of the world - mount kilimanjaro

best treks of the world - mount kilimanjaro

best treks of the world - mount kilimanjaro

Book here:

 

4. The Appalachian Trail – United States

The Appalachian trail is one of the longest, continuous hiking trails in the world. Completing it is no mean feat and for every four hikers that attempt it, only one will see it through to completion.

The trail leads you through 14 US states – starting in Georgia and ending in Maine (or vice versa). It is a route only recommended for the most experienced trekkers. Not only is research and physical preparation imperative, so is mental preparation.

Some parts of the trail will see you scaling cliff faces in a treacherous vertical scramble. At some parts, you will be far from civilization for days at a time. Black bears, poisonous snakes and ticks carrying disease are found almost the entire length of the trail. 

  • Distance: 3508 km
  • Duration: 5-7 months
  • Level of Difficulty: 8/10
  • Best Time to Go: March – September
  • How to: You can do it independently or book with the Appalachian Trail Adventures.

best treks in the world - appalachian trail

best treks in the world - appalachian trail

best treks in the world - appalachian trail


3. Everest Base Camp Trek – Nepal

Home to the highest peak in the world, Nepal is the best place to go for trekking enthusiasts.

There are numerous trekking routes to explore the Himalayas – the most popular being the trek to Everest Base Camp. This classic trek is suitable for hikers who have done multi-day hikes. There’s a certain amount risk involved as many hikers suffer from bronchitis and altitude sickness.

Dubbed by some as “the steps to heaven,” every bend in the trek provides a photo opportunity. Expect beautiful forests, Sherpa villages, glacial moraines and snow-covered glaciers.

Everest Base Camp Trek is named as one of the best treks in the world, for good reason. It will bring you literally to the top of the world. After setting eyes on Everest, you won’t look at our planet the same way again.

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How to Get to Everest Base Camp
  • Distance: 62km
  • Duration: 13 days
  • Level of difficulty: 9/10
  • Best time to go: August to November
  • How to: Book this 15-day Everest Base Camp trek with G Adventures.

best treks in the world - everest base camp

best treks in the world - everest base camp

best treks in the world - everest base camp

Book here:

 

2. K2 – Pakistan

A corridor of ice leads to the colossal peak of K2 (8,611m, 28,251ft), the world’s second-highest peak after Everest. K2 is known as the Savage Mountain due to the extreme difficulty of ascent.

It has the second-highest fatality rate among the world’s highest peaks, so don’t even think of attempting this if you don’t have the experience or fitness level required.

The trek begins by traversing along icy rivers then boldly continues to the guts of the glacier before leading to the granite pyramidal mountains including Paiju (6,610m, 21,686ft), Uli Biaho (6,417m, 21,053ft), Great Trango Tower (6,286m, 20,623ft) and ultimately K2.

This is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

  • Distance: 90 km
  • Duration: 15 days
  • Level of difficulty: 9/10
  • Best time to go: June to August
  • How to: Adventure Peaks runs a 24-day K2 Base Camp Trek.

best treks in the world - k2 pakistan

best treks in the world - k2 pakistan

best treks in the world - k2 pakistan

1. The Snowman Trek – Bhutan

The Snowman Trek is considered one of the best treks in the world, and also the most difficult. It’s therefore suitable for experienced and fit trekkers only.

This high-altitude ball-buster crosses 11 passes over 14,000 feet along the Tibet-Bhutan border. Along the way you’ll visit magical Buddhist monasteries clinging to the sides of cliffs and pass through secluded villages.

Bhutan is a special country with outstanding landscapes and rich, traditional heritage that few countries can rival. To journey through the country on foot will be an even more special experience.

Bhutan is an expensive country to visit, as the government has stipulated a mandatory minimum tourist tariff of US$200/day, so be prepared to fork out quite a bit for the Snowman Trek.

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Photo Essay: The Back Roads of Bhutan
  • Distance: 328km
  • Duration: 24 days
  • Level of difficulty: 10/10
  • Best time to go: October
  • How to: Book the 30-day Himalayan Expeditions Snowman Trek.

best treks in the world - snowman trek bhutan

Best treks in the world - finally snowman trek bhutan

best treks in the world - snowman trek bhutan

Did we miss out on any spectacular trek? Which do you think are the best treks in the world?


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best treks in the world