Hit the Trail: 10 Best Treks in the World

Posted on July 18, 2016 by

BEST TREKS IN THE WORLD

Best Treks in the World – A Spectacular Top 10

The best treks in the world are no walks in the park, but they’re sure to challenge you physically and mentally, stretching your limit and amplifying your view of a country. If you have a deep yearning to go deep into the backroads of a country, these treks make for an incredible journey beyond travel.

I’m no expert at trekking but from my past experiences traveling in South America, Asia and Africa, I’ve learned that trekking not only pushes you beyond your boundaries but also shows you the beauty of our planet. So without further ado, here are the 10 best treks in the world (based on research):

1. Kilimanjaro – Tanzania

At 5,895m (19,340 ft), Africa’s highest mountain can be a beast to conquer. Climbing Kilimanjaro will bring you through virtually every ecosystem possible — glacier, snowfields, deserts, alpine moorland, savannah, and tropical jungle — so make sure you’re prepared for the variety of climate and terrain. There are several routes: with Machame and Marangu routes being the most popular. Kilimanjaro is no picnic, but even first-time climbers can conquer it as long as you’re reasonably fit. The Kilimanjaro trek is often the highlight for many travelers in East Africa.

Distance: 34km ~ 8 days

Best time to go: September to March

Best treks in the world - kilimanjaroFlickr photo by Matt Kieffer

2. Inca Trail – Peru

To get to Macchu Picchu – the world famous archaeological site in Peru – many people opt for the 3 or 4-day trek that brings them 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.

The trek usually starts from Cuzco and costs around US$350, including all meals, porters and camping facilities. Exodus Travels has a great Inca trail tour so that you can enjoy the trek and leave all the planning details up to the experts. Views of white-tipped mountains and high cloud forest combine with the magic of walking from one cliff-hugging ruin to the next – understandably making this the most famous trek in South America.

Distance: 43km ~ 4 days

Best time to go: May to September

Best treks in the world - at last Macchu Picchu

3. 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 a climactic ascent to the beautiful Lac Blanc. The trek, affectionately known as TMB, is 170km long with 10,000m of ascent (that’s 1km more than climbing Everest from sea level) and is usually trekked in 11 daily stages.

This challenging circuit 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. Most are great and some are stupendous. What they lack in space and comfort, they make up for with food, booze, company, locations and sunsets.

Distance: 170km ~ 8 days

Best time to go: June to September

Best treks in the world - mont blancFlickr image by Simonsimages

 

4. Everest Base Camp Trek – Nepal

Home to the highest peak in the world, Nepal is the playground for trekkers. There are numerous trekking routes to explore the Himalayas – the most popular being Everest Base Camp Trek. This classic trek is suitable for amateurs and beginners, although risk is still involved (because of snow conditions). 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. EBC is named as one of the best treks in the world, and 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.

Distance: 62km ~ 13 days

 

Best time to go: August to November

 

Best treks in the world - everest base campFlickr Photo by valcker

5. W Circuit – 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 3 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 93 mile, 10-day trek that will bring you through the Ascencio, Frances Valleys and Grey Glacier. You can also opt for the shorter 3-day W Trek that covers a section of the circuit.

Distance: 133km ~ 10 days

Best time to go: December to March

Best treks in the world - torres del paineFlickr photo by Christopher

6. 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, away from any form of civilization (and WiFi) and the best way to explore New Zealand.

Distance: 32km ~ 3 days

Best time to go: October to April

 Best treks in the world - Routeburn Track finallyFlickr photo by David Grant

 

7. John Muir Trail – California, USA

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 you should obtain one from the national park.

Distance: 340km ~ 3 weeks

 

Best time to go: July to September

Best treks in the world

8. Overland Track – Tasmania, Australia

The prehistoric-looking wilderness in Tasmania is most accessible on the 80km (50mi, five- to six-day) Overland Track. Snaking its way between Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair (Australia’s deepest natural freshwater lake), the well-defined path (boardwalked in parts) passes craggy mountains, beautiful lakes and tarns, extensive forests and moorlands all in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Those who want more can take numerous side walks leading to waterfalls, valleys and still more summits including Mt Ossa (1,617m, 5,305ft) – the tallest mountain in Tasmania.

Distance: 65km ~ 6 days

 

Best time to go: October to May

Best treks in the world - Tasmania

9. K2 – Pakistan

This 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.

Distance: 9km ~ 15 days

 

Best time to go: June to August

 

Porters in front of GasherbrumsFlickr image by Stefanos Nikologianis

10. The Snowman Trek – Bhutan

Considered one of the most difficult as well as best treks in the world. The Snowman Trek is therefore for experienced and determined 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 full of windblown smiles.

If you can walk up and down steep mountainsides for between six and eight hours a day, and adapt to the altitude, then you will love this unique journey. 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.

Distance: 328km ~ 24 days

Best time to go: October

Best treks in the world - finally 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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About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

39 Responses to “Hit the Trail: 10 Best Treks in the World”

  1. Ahimsa April 6, 2010 12:39 pm #

    This is an awesome list. In the US, the Wonderland Trail (Washington) and the Timberline Trail (Oregon) that are a bit smaller than the John Muir Trail. Plus I reckon Tasmania's Cradle Mountain is as nice as the Fiordland hikes In NZ. Less scenic, perhaps, but vastly more wallabies.

  2. Shannon OD April 6, 2010 1:45 pm #

    These look so amazing – and I dont have a single one under my belt – guess I better get trekking!

  3. waitinginthedark April 6, 2010 2:12 pm #

    Will I live long enough to do at least half of them? I love the mountains and I love trekking… All 8 places are in my dream list…

    • admin April 6, 2010 11:32 pm #

      Definitely! Have faith, start saving up and you’ll be on your way!

  4. Laurens April 6, 2010 6:11 pm #

    Great list again Nellie! I only did a bit of the Routeburn, but was there in winter and I couldn't go further without crampons. For those who are in Europe and like mountain walks, there is awesome stuff around Chamonix in the Alps, with a great social scene in town during the summer. Heading out there again this year and am very excited about it!

    • admin April 7, 2010 7:37 pm #

      Now that you’ve mentioned, I’ve never done much trekking here in Europe, we do venture out to the Spanish countryside on weekends but hikes are usually short and easy. I’ll definitely keep a lookout on Chamonix, the next time we get there. Thnx!

  5. Leigh April 8, 2010 5:54 am #

    I have a book called 'Top Treks of the World', edited by Steve Razzetti. I get inspired with the pictures just the way I do with the ones on your blog. Several of the treks you listed are in the book but there are a few interesting ones that I think most would enjoy – a trek through the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco, a hike on the Alta Via 2 in the Dolomites of Italy and one called the Lycian Way in Turkey. You can't beat the Alpamayo Circuit in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru either.

    • admin April 8, 2010 5:28 pm #

      Hi Leigh, great suggestions there! I would like to read the book, sounds interesting. Yes, the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco – it’s pretty popular with travellers, haven’t done it though. Thanks for your insights.

  6. Dave and Deb April 10, 2010 12:27 pm #

    We've done 3 of the Seven. Now you have given me a new goal. Complete the 7 on your list! The Torres del Paine trek looks absolutely stunning. That and Patagonia are high on our list in the near future.

  7. Sonya April 16, 2010 6:49 am #

    Beautiful collection of trekking holidays, thanks Nellie!

  8. John November 3, 2010 5:36 pm #

    I think Nepal is the best trekking destination. Not only annapurna base camp there are a lot of nice trekking routes.

  9. Kedar Neupane November 17, 2010 2:56 pm #

    Nepal is good Trekking destination of the world. Namaste!
    Nepal TrekkingHearty welcome to one of the most beautiful country in the world, Nepal. Nepal is a small country sandwiched between the two giant Asian countries India and China. We invite you to savor the natural beauty of Nepal and enjoy an adventurous trip with us.

    We have been operating trekking, peak climbing, sightseeing tour, cultural tours and home stay tour in remote village. We also organize rafting, mountain flight and honey hunting tours . We also arrange hotel reservation and air tickets.

    So come and enjoy an exciting and unforgettable holiday in the Himalayas!

  10. Rabin February 4, 2011 9:15 am #

    Awesome list Nellie! Do not mean to be a stickler, but the photo under Annapurna Base Camp trekking is actually from Everest region. It is surprising how these travelbots, presumed trekking companies, who commented on your blog did not catch that!!!

  11. Harsha April 18, 2011 7:21 pm #

    Loves Trek…Loves Sikkim . One of the best K2 here

  12. @undefined October 29, 2012 3:50 am #

    Nepal is always best trekking destination in the world. http://www.dreamhimalayan.com/

  13. brittonia1 December 6, 2012 7:10 pm #

    Great list! Wow Patagonia looks amazing! John Muir Trail is next on my list…I did some hiking in Yosemite a couple of years ago & it made me put JMT on my bucket list!

  14. Abdul March 23, 2013 10:13 pm #

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    still new at it.

  15. Nicole @ GGT May 10, 2013 11:30 am #

    I have only walked one of these trail so far, John Muir, but Inca and Patagonia are high on the list! The rest look amazing too!

    • Nellie May 15, 2013 10:36 pm #

      We also hope to go trekking in Patagonia soon! I recently got the chance to go to Ushuaia and did a day trek in Tierra del Fuego but wished I had more time to explore Patagonia.

  16. Hiking @Nomads May 21, 2013 12:43 pm #

    I did the Annapurna Circuit and I can't wait to go back! Amazing

    • Nellie May 21, 2013 1:56 pm #

      We really want to hike Annapurna, how was it? Did you spend two weeks on the trail?

  17. Dream Heaven May 23, 2013 11:48 pm #

    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.

  18. sabina July 4, 2013 11:48 pm #

    Nepal One Of Top 10 Travel Destination… Lonley Planet
    KATHMANDU: Nepal has found its way into the list of top ten travel destinations in the world.
    The Lonely Planet "Best in Travel 2010" has listed Nepal along with El Salvador, Germany, Greece, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Portugal, Suriname and the United States as one of the top ten travel destinations, states according to Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).
    The lists, released yesterday is the travel company's fifth in its annual collection of the best places to go and things to do in the year ahead.
    "This is a collection of destinations and experiences that we rate as the stuff people really should consider for next year. Whatever your own style dictates, you should be able to find inspiration in these destinations," said Asia-Pacific communications manager Adam Bennett. They "ll take you from the familiar to the far away, both geographically and culturally, and more than likely have you reaching for your travel bag."
    The top regions are Alsace, France; Bali, Indonesia; Fernando de Noronha, Brazil; Goa, India; Koh Kong Conservation Corridor, Cambodia; Lake Baikal, Russia; Oaxaca, Mexico; Southern Africa; Lake District, England; Southwest Western Australia and the top cities are Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and others like places in the USA in the west and in Singapore in the Asian region. http://www.excitingnepal.com
    By Exciting Nepal Treks and expedition

  19. abdou July 5, 2013 5:20 am #

    Our clients' safety, security, comfort and satisfaction are of paramount importance. We strive to ensure that each experience with us is fulfilling and memorable. We provide the utmost care for every client, including ensuring adequate altitude acclimatization and the provision of hygienically prepared food in camps. Our cheerful muleteers, porters,expert trekking guides ensure that your every need is catered for.

    Trekking Morocco Mountains is one of the best specializes in touring and discovering, the most unusual and least visited places of interest in Morocco. A very reliable team made up of mountains, desert, and original-holiday professionals brings together competent and creative organizers whose knowledge of the terrain, flora and fauna is excellent. A team, most attentive to the wishes of the travellers and explorers. For several years our idea of the voyage continued to grow stronger. Our aims are to offer a wide range of journeys throughout the year, to allow life in the open air with a maximum of pleasure and safety – to take time to discover and encounter, on one of the most beautiful trip of your life.

    Come and experience the splendor of Morocco for yourself. We will take you to the greatest & most beautiful areas in Morocco. You can contact us by email or phone to reserve your trip. http://www.trekkingmoroccomountains.com

  20. Namy December 20, 2013 1:42 am #

    Great list. All of those places look awesome. How about trekking in Vietnam? I think that Sapa trekking is nice, too.

  21. Juliet Mountaineer March 9, 2016 6:14 am #

    Interesting list. I think mountain peaks in the Philippines are also great and challenging perfect for those who are into extreme sports such as mountaineering and trekking.

  22. Maria Han July 25, 2016 3:45 am #

    Lovely list! We explored Swiss Alps and will be there in September for France, Italy and Switzerland trail.

  23. Karo August 18, 2016 1:36 pm #

    So many of them should end up on my bucket list.. Thanks for the great list!

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