10 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, 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 raw and rugged beauty of the backcountry. So without further ado, here are the 10 best treks in the world (based on research):

1. 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. 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.

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 ~ 4 days

Best time to go: May to September

How to: Join Intrepid Travel’s 21-day Essential Peru tour which includes the Inca Trail

Best treks in the world - at last Macchu Picchu

2. 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. 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, you should 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 ~ 5-8 days

Best time to go: September to March

How to: Choose from G Adventures’ Kilimanjaro treks and add on a game drive or two.

best treks in the world - Mount Kilimanjaro Flickr photo by Matt Kieffer

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.

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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

How to: Join other like-minded people on G Adventures’ 10-Day Mont Blanc Trek.

best treks in the worldFlickr image by Simonsimages


4. 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 Everest Base Camp Trek. This classic trek is suitable for amateurs and beginners, although there’s a certain amount risk is still involved. Many trekkers suffer from altitude sickness and bronchitis.

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

How to: Book this 15-day Everest Base Camp trek to experience the adventure with other trekkers.

best treks in the world - everest base camp

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 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 that will bring you through the Ascencio, Frances Valleys and Grey Glacier. You can also opt for the longer O Trek that includes the “W” trail, with the addition of the backside of the mountain to make it a long loop.

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Distance: 100km ~ 4-6 days

Best time to go: December to March

How to: Travel with Intrepid on this 10-day Patagonia Trekking trip that includes the W Trek.

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. Undoubtedly, you’ll be seeing the best that New Zealand has to offer while enjoying peace and tranquility away from the crowd and technology. Prepare to get back to basics, camp and sleep under the starry skies every night.

Distance: 32km ~ 1-5 days

Best time to go: October to April

How to: Join G Adventures’ New Zealand South Island Multisport tour that includes part of the Routeburn Track.

 best treks in the world - Routeburn TrackFlickr 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 obtain one from the national park before you start your trek.

Distance: 340km ~ 3 weeks

Best time to go: July to September

How to: Plan your own trip here or join this 22-day trek with Grand American Adventures.

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. This is easily the most famous trek in Australia, and something that every trekker in Australia attempt at least once in their lifetime.

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Distance: 65km ~ 6 days

Best time to go: October to May

How to: Tas Walking Co offers a series of guides Overland Track adventures throughout the year.

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. This is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Distance: 9km ~ 15 days

Best time to go: June to August

How to: Adventure Peaks runs a 24-day K2 Base Camp Trek.

best treks in the world - K2Flickr image by Stefanos Nikologianis

10. 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 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. 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.

Distance: 328km ~ 24 days

Best time to go: October

How to: Book the 30-day Himalayan Expeditions Snowman Trek to challenge yourself and see Bhutan’s culture.

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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By | 2018-01-03T16:19:50+00:00 July 18th, 2016|25 Comments


  1. Ahimsa April 6, 2010 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    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 at 1:45 pm - Reply

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

  3. waitinginthedark April 6, 2010 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    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 at 11:32 pm - Reply

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

  4. Laurens April 6, 2010 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    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 at 7:37 pm - Reply

      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 at 5:54 am - Reply

    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 at 5:28 pm - Reply

      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 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    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. John November 3, 2010 at 5:36 pm - Reply

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

  8. Rabin February 4, 2011 at 9:15 am - Reply

    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!!!

  9. brittonia1 December 6, 2012 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    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!

  10. Nicole @ GGT May 10, 2013 at 11:30 am - Reply

    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 at 10:36 pm - Reply

      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.

  11. Hiking @Nomads May 21, 2013 at 12:43 pm - Reply

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

    • Nellie May 21, 2013 at 1:56 pm - Reply

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

  12. Maria Han July 25, 2016 at 3:45 am - Reply

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

  13. Karo August 18, 2016 at 1:36 pm - Reply

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

  14. Cihat March 12, 2017 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    Lycia path in Fethiye/Turkey you must check it out

    • Nellie Huang March 28, 2017 at 4:46 am - Reply

      Thanks for the suggestion! A friend of mine walked the Lycia trail and it looked fantastic!

    • Marshall Stoner September 18, 2017 at 10:21 pm - Reply

      I hope to check Lycia Way out next spring.

      Last July I did an excellent trek in the Kackar Mountains of northeast Turkey. Very few foreign tourists know of this area. The scenery is rugged and stunning, almost comparable to the Alps.

      You must be decently fit though as it is extremely strenuous. Several times you will climb 1000 meters over a 3000m pass and down the other side in a single day. Not many switchbacks either, the paths tend to go straight up. The scramble to the 4000m summit of Kackar is the most exhilarating part.

  15. Vlad M November 27, 2017 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    Great list, but what about the Narphu trek? Def my dream trek, I really like high altitudes and snowy mountain paths!

  16. Leo January 3, 2018 at 11:13 am - Reply

    Once started, can not stop. Have done 5 of the list and going to do the O trek in Patagonia this March. Would be great if can catch up with some of you there.

    From my experience, the photo of Mt Everest this page is taken from Tibet side. the view of Mt Everest may seem a bit remote on the EBC Naple side, but the trekking experience and scenery are …(no word to describe). You best to explore your own feelings.

  17. Mary February 10, 2018 at 11:51 am - Reply

    Trekking gets in your blood and just stays there …… once I started that was it. Have done some on your list – The Overland Trail in Tasmania, The Routeburn Track in New Zealand, a tiny section of the Inka Trail in Peru and EBC in Nepal. All are amazing … I wish I had starting trekking much much earlier. Am planning Annapurna Circuit next, but Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc and the whole Inka Trail are on my list. Gonna keep on trekking!

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