Ok, Ok, so we haven’t done every hike in the World, and probably aren’t extreme hike specialists or anything like that, but what we are is a travel team of everyday folk, who like going to obscure places and getting among nature.
We’ve hiked some pretty cool places too, and have filtered out the best hikes in (our) World so you can enjoy them too!
Ella Gap, Sri Lanka
It’s not an overly long hike; in fact it’s only 8km each way. But the hike is beautiful and the terrain diverse.
Starting out walking along a railway line with the scenic Ella to Kandy express whizzing past from time to time, Elle Gap hike then takes hikers past enormous ant hills in wide plains before heading up a steep incline under pine trees. This is where the real challenge sets in as the terrain can be slippery and the incline steep. Once at the top, the clearing makes the hike even more enjoyable.
With large boulders to perch upon, hikers will be treated to panoramic views all the way across the Sri Lanka’s famous hill country and over tea plantations. It’s a view that captures sun set beautifully and that can leave you never wanting to leave from.
Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand
In a country known for landscapes, the Tongariro Crossing is one of New Zealand’s best day hikes. Located in the North Island’s (cleverly named) National park (another clever name by the Kiwis), Tongariro covers multiple terrain and landscapes in the one day. Starting with rocky scrag and dry tussock, the walk takes hikers along alpine passes through a mountainous valley, before descending via bushland.
On the way, there is no shortage of epic views. Most infamous of views are the Emerald Lakes and Blue Lakes which are sacred to Maori culture (therefore not available for swimming) but simply stunning in colour against the backdrop of volcanic rock, sprinkled in snow. A sight Made even more enjoyable by the fact they are tucked high in the Alpines, and rewarding to view after descending the “devils staircase” part of the hike. On a clear day, at the hikes highest point, hikers can be treated to views of Mt Taranaki in the distance too.
Taking anywhere from 6 to 9 hours to complete the hike, this New Zealand Great Walk puts into perspective the sheer magnitude of the alps and diversity of new Zealand’s landscape and terrain, over short distances. Not to be missed on a New Zealand visit!
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru
It feels like stating the obvious by placing this hike here because it seems every man and his dog is aware of how great a hike of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is, but we have good reason for adding this hike to the list.
For travellers heading along the standard, well worn, Inca trail there could be a sense of disappointment. That’s because with so many incredible hikes in the region, the all too familiar Inca Trail to Machu Picchu itself isn’t the attraction. The reason this hike makes the list though, is due to what hikers reach at the top.
After a long, hard ascend in high altitude, along uneven terrain reaching the Sun Gate is highly rewarding. Like peering out of a rugged trail into the World’s best view, the average looking hike will seem a thing of the past. Suddenly hikers are 2,400 metres above sea level, peering down to an ancient civilisation. As if the fact that there is literally an old kingdom staring back, the entire area is surrounded by magnificent mountains of deep green foliage. The natural surroundings, noise of the birds and wildlife, perched high above the ground make this one of the best hikes in the World.
Mt Snowdon, Wales
If you’re new to the U.K you’ll probably find it humorous, as I did, that the English hold their countryside is such high steed (Spoiler alert; it’s underwhelming), but crossing into Snowdonia National Park, Wales is a different story altogether.
In Northern Wales there is great pride in the countryside which has quaint, cobblestones villages scattered through, traditional arch bridges above clean rocky streams. Snowdonia National Park is home to 9 mountain ranges and more than 90 peaks, but fewer more trodden than Mt Snowdon.
What makes this one of our favourite day hikes is the duration, terrain, view and the surroundings. Reaching a mere 1,085m elevation, Mt Snowdon isn’t a record breaking ascend but it is a steady and enjoyable climb for all fitness levels. At the top, hikers will be rewarded with a sudden glimpse all the way across the National Park, including green paddocks, rocky peaks, and some of the small villages near by. A stark contrast from the otherwise average landscape found over this part of the globe, and a welcome retreat to feel far away from bustling cities and excess.
Mt Toubkal, Morocco
The tallest peak in the Atlas Mountains, Mt Toubkal stands at a little less than 4,200 metros above sea level. It’s not so much the climb itself which is interesting but more the unusual combination of scree, dry landscape close to sandy desert and patches of snow which make this climb an interesting one.
Coming from the closest city of Marrakech, a 2 or 3 day hike of Mt Toubkal can really put into perspective just how far removed from Western norms that Morocco is. The climate is hot and dry, the scenery seems to go on forever without seeing much more than rock or remnants of rocky villages, yet Marrakech can seem like nothing short of a day at the circus at times.