OUTDOORS TRAVEL TRIP PLANNING

My Favorite Hikes in the World

snowdon1

I haven’t been to the whole world. But I’ve been to some of it, and what I have seen is wildly gorgeous and inspiring.

Here are some of the most memorable hikes I’ve ever done.

TONGARIRO CROSSING, NZ

I’m still not really sure how this place exists. It’s SO gorgeous– the terrain is simply stunning and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Golden volcanic landscape and turquoise lakes = ALL OF THE YES. Wait for a clear day… you’re gonna want to see this. The part you really don’t want to miss is in the middle of the hike, about 6.5 miles in, so whether you choose to do the Crossing one way or as an out-and-back, plan for lunch at Emerald Lakes. Expect 3000ft of elevation gain, losing about that much on the way back (more if you go one way).

Length: 12 miles, out-and-back to Emerald Lakes possible. Allow 6-8 hours.
Difficulty: Challenging
When to go: Best December-February. Check conditions before you go.

YANGDI TO XINGPING, LI RIVER, CHINA

Huge limestone karst rising on either side of a peaceful river. DREAMY. As with most things I have observed by traveling in China, you just kinda figure this one out. You have to cross the river a few times (this means pay a bamboo raft dude). Go with zero expectations and a ton of flexibility and you’ll be stoked. Once you get to Xingping, there’s a trail to Lao Zhai Shan, a karst peak with a stunning view. It’s a lot of stairs, so allow an extra hour, but it’s worth it. If you can’t find it, just ask locals and point up.

Length: 6.2 miles. Allow 5-6 hours.
Difficulty: Easy peasy. Lao Zhai Shan is challenging, but you’ve gone up stairs before.
When to go: Best April-October. Check conditions before you go.
Here’s some helpful info.

K’ESUGI RIDGE TRAIL, DENALI STATE PARK, ALASKA, USA

What I have seen of Alaska is incredible, and this hike is no exception. This trail runs across from Mt. McKinley, giving you the best eye candy ever on a clear day. The ridge itself is pretty, but it’s the view of the Denali range that gets this hike on my list. You could do a short section of this trail as a day hike, but I recommend spending 2-3 days here to maximize your chances of seeing McKinley. If you only have one car, you’ll need to organize a ride back to where you started (or hitchhike). Make sure you are well informed about camping in bear country!

Length: 9-22 miles, depending on which trailheads you use. Could be a solid day-hike or a multi-day trip.
Difficulty: Goin’ up is challenging. Moderate once you’re on the ridge.
When to go: Summer. Check conditions before you go.

WALK OF THE GODS (SENTIERO DEGLI DEI), ITALY

In my opinion, this is THE way to see the Amalfi coast. This walk is extremely scenic and gives you spectacular cliff-side views and a sense of Mediterranean landscape. Simply put, it’s gorgeous. Pack a picnic and take the bus to Bomerano in the morning. From there, follow the white and red signs all the way to Nocelle in Positano. This is more of a walk and less of a hike, as you’ll have great views of cliffside towns. Expect jello legs from the MANY stairs you’ll encounter as you get closer to Positano.

Length: 5 miles. Allow 4 hours.
Difficulty: Mozey status.
When to go: Best May-June or September-October.
Here’s some helpful info.

MT. SNOWDON, WALES, UK

This hike is GREEN, rocky and gorgeous. It’s in Wales, so it’s cloudy. A lot. However, if and when the clouds do break, the landscape is spectacular. There are lots of trail options, and even a train you can ride up or down, so don’t expect to be doing this hike alone. If you’re looking for a challenge, I recommend Crib Goch on your way up and one of the more gradual trails on the way down. Crib Goch is very challenging with sheer drops on either side of you, so only go if you know what you’re in for.

Length: 7-9 miles round trip. Lots of options for trails and difficulty. Allow 6-8 hours.
Difficulty: Anywhere from literally sitting to a very difficult rock scramble.
When to go: Best in summer. Check conditions before you go.
Here’s some helpful info.

On any hike, always be prepared for the conditions and always Idiot Check yourself. What does that mean? It means you should make sure you have all the gear, water, food and skills you need for any adventure in the outdoors. Being prepared means you can spend your time having a ton of fun instead of being worried.

What trails are on your list?

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Peter from Fairfield
    November 22, 2015 at 9:51 am

    I went to Snowdon when I lived in Wales. Great place! Keep up the good work.

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