Life-changing hiking trails to add to your bucket list

By Stef Zisovska
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Life-changing hiking trails to add to your bucket list

Stef Zisovska
 
Small tarn in a hidden valley in the Itkillik Preserve, sometimes called the Yosemite of the Arctic. Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
Small tarn in a hidden valley in the Itkillik Preserve, sometimes called the Yosemite of the Arctic. Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
 
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No matter where in the world you live, there is a hiking trail incredible enough to change your life forever. Or, maybe you like to travel the world and visit all of the trails we’re about to suggest. The following list has something for any hiking type. Mountains, canyons, rivers, fields around the world that are just waiting for you to explore them. Once you start hiking, you can never stop because our planet has endless beauties to offer. Let’s get started!

Laugavegur Trail, Iceland

Landscape from Laugavegur hiking trail – Author: Chmee2/Valtameri – CC-BY 3.0
Landscape from Laugavegur hiking trail – Author: Chmee2/Valtameri – CC-BY 3.0

The best time to visit this trail is in summer and early fall. It’s 34 miles long, and you would need 3-4 days to finish it. The terrain is perfect for intermediate hikers that like to spend some time in the magical environment of Iceland. Along the trail you’ll get to see glaciers, valleys, and stunning rock formations. The area has been an inspiration for many adventure movies.

Kalalau Trail, Hawaii, USA

Along the Kalalau Trail – Author: Matt Wright – CC-BY 2.0
Along the Kalalau Trail – Author: Matt Wright – CC-BY 2.0

Kalalau Trail is a hiking trail on the Kauai Island in the state of Hawaii. If you prefer warm weather and mesmerizing views, this is the trail for you. It’s one of the most precious, but also one of the most dangerous trails in the world. It’s 22-miles long, and experienced hikers do it in a day. An average person would need two days to finish the trail, but that’s cool because there are camping possibilities in the area.

The view of Hanakoa Falls is the best part of the trail. If you need even more than two days, don’t worry. Follow your rhythm and have fun along the way. After all, you’re not in a competition.

Queen Charlotte Track, New Zealand

Te Mahia Bay – photo taken from Queen Charlotte Track
Te Mahia Bay – photo taken from Queen Charlotte Track

The trail is 43 miles long, cutting through hills and along the breathtaking sounds. It is very well maintained by the New Zealand Department of Conservation and it’s easy to follow. It’s open for hiking all year and the elevation of the terrain varies from sea level to 1541 feet, which is perfect for people that usually suffer from altitude sickness. You can explore forests and enjoy the views of the water. If you prefer biking, there is also a biking trail that you can follow and finish the trail quicker. You need 3-5 days to do it on foot and about 13 hours by bike.

Jomolhari Trek, Bhutan

Mt. Jomolhari from Jangothang, Bhutan – Author: Christopher J. Fynn – CC BY-SA 3.0
Mt. Jomolhari from Jangothang, Bhutan – Author: Christopher J. Fynn – CC BY-SA 3.0

Bhutan is a good place to visit during fall and early spring. The scenery you’ll get to see here is incomparable to anything else in the world. Jomolhari Mountain is a sacred mountain and home to the goddess Jomo, the protector of Tibet and Bhutan. If you are into Buddhism, you need to visit this area to realize why it is so important for Tibetan Buddhists.

You will need a few days to acclimatize to the altitude, but don’t let it stop you. If you want to learn more about a unique culture and lend a spiritual touch to your hike, go to Bhutan.

Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska, U.S.

Thunder Valley. Gates of the Arctic National Park, Brooks Range, Alaska – Author: Paxson Woelber – CC BY-SA 3.0
Thunder Valley. Gates of the Arctic National Park, Brooks Range, Alaska – Author: Paxson Woelber – CC BY-SA 3.0

Seeing that this is the most northern national park in the U.S., you won’t see too many tourists here. Enjoying the solitude of the mountains and the valleys is a feeling that you can’t experience in many other places in the world. The variety of wildlife is astonishing. It’s the least visited park in the country, so you’ll feel like you have it to yourself. Camping is allowed throughout the year, but the best time to visit is summer, though even then the nights are chilly. Many people don’t even know about it, even though the park offers fantastic hiking opportunities.

Don’t be lazy, get out and explore the world! Good luck!

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