13 Awe-Inspiring Hiking Destinations Around the World

by Christina Garofalo

13 Awe-Inspiring Hiking Destinations Around the World

by Christina Garofalo

One of the best ways to enjoy a new place is to get outside and go for a hike. From jungles to deserts, alpine treks to seaside cliffs — all of these hikes have something spectacular to offer, and all can be done in a single day.

One of the best ways to enjoy a new place is to get outside and go for a hike. From jungles to deserts, alpine treks to seaside cliffs — all of these hikes have something spectacular to offer, and all can be done in a single day.

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Fitz Roy, Argentina / Fyletto/iStock
Snowdania National Park
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Snowdon, North Wales

Wales’ tallest mountain offers spellbinding views of the Scottish Highlands. Expect to trek for a little more than six hours, eight miles roundtrip, and pass through verdant mountains and lakes, rich with flora and fauna. 

Wales’ tallest mountain offers spellbinding views of the Scottish Highlands. Expect to trek for a little more than six hours, eight miles roundtrip, and pass through verdant mountains and lakes, rich with flora and fauna. 

The Narrows, Utah
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The Narrows, Utah

The narrowest stretch of Zion Canyon is popular for good reason: The 1,000-foot-tall sandstone walls have been sculpted over millennia by the Virgin River, forming undulating curves that take on Crayola-like hues. The full hike is eight miles round trip. Alternatively, take the shorter, two-mile version. Note that both require you to hike through water, so pack accordingly. 

The narrowest stretch of Zion Canyon is popular for good reason: The 1,000-foot-tall sandstone walls have been sculpted over millennia by the Virgin River, forming undulating curves that take on Crayola-like hues. The full hike is eight miles round trip. Alternatively, take the shorter, two-mile version. Note that both require you to hike through water, so pack accordingly. 

Cinque Terre, Italy
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Cinque Terre, Italy

For those who like the idea of hiking (but also like the idea of vino and pesto) will love this seven-mile trek. The trail links five cliffside villages — each marked by colorful houses, vineyards, and trattorias — with sweeping sea views and no shortage of great food. The trip takes about five hours without stopping, so allot extra time to explore. You can always take the train back.

For those who like the idea of hiking (but also like the idea of vino and pesto) will love this seven-mile trek. The trail links five cliffside villages — each marked by colorful houses, vineyards, and trattorias — with sweeping sea views and no shortage of great food. The trip takes about five hours without stopping, so allot extra time to explore. You can always take the train back.

Mount Sinai, Egypt
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Mount Sinai, Egypt

No matter your beliefs, it’s easy to see why Mount Sinai — where Moses was said to have received the 10 Commandments — inspired sacred text. Hikers should leave before dawn to ascend with the sun over the desert. The awe-inspiring trip down is marked by 3,750 Steps of Penitence, carved by a repentant monk.

No matter your beliefs, it’s easy to see why Mount Sinai — where Moses was said to have received the 10 Commandments — inspired sacred text. Hikers should leave before dawn to ascend with the sun over the desert. The awe-inspiring trip down is marked by 3,750 Steps of Penitence, carved by a repentant monk.

Kalalau Trail, Hawaii
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Kalalau Trail, Hawaii

This scenic trail is the only over-land link between the NaPali Coast and the rest of Kauai. Opt for the easy two-mile trek along the Pacific to Hanakapiai Beach and back, or, alternatively, add another two miles inland toward the Hanakapiai Valley and ending at a 120-foot waterfall (eight miles total).

This scenic trail is the only over-land link between the NaPali Coast and the rest of Kauai. Opt for the easy two-mile trek along the Pacific to Hanakapiai Beach and back, or, alternatively, add another two miles inland toward the Hanakapiai Valley and ending at a 120-foot waterfall (eight miles total).

Fitz Roy, Argentina
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Fitz Roy, Argentina

Fitz Roy stands among a dozen otherworldly glaciers formed by the South Patagonian Ice Field, and you may recognize its jagged outline as the trademark for Patagonia activewear. The climb is fairly easy until the final hour, when you’ll ascend a steep, slippery path to the summit. However, it's worth it: the view over Los Glaciares National Park and the cobalt lagoon at the base is breathtaking. 

Fitz Roy stands among a dozen otherworldly glaciers formed by the South Patagonian Ice Field, and you may recognize its jagged outline as the trademark for Patagonia activewear. The climb is fairly easy until the final hour, when you’ll ascend a steep, slippery path to the summit. However, it's worth it: the view over Los Glaciares National Park and the cobalt lagoon at the base is breathtaking. 

Yakushima, Japan
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Yakushima, Japan

This tiny island off Kyushu is home to a UNESCO-protected forest of thousand-year-old cedars. The most famous among them is Jomon Sugi, which is estimated to be between 2,000 and 7,200 years old. To see the tree up close and personal, embark on the 13-mile (roundtrip) Arakawa trek, which climbs more than 3,280 feet and takes about 10 hours to complete.

This tiny island off Kyushu is home to a UNESCO-protected forest of thousand-year-old cedars. The most famous among them is Jomon Sugi, which is estimated to be between 2,000 and 7,200 years old. To see the tree up close and personal, embark on the 13-mile (roundtrip) Arakawa trek, which climbs more than 3,280 feet and takes about 10 hours to complete.

Sentinel Peak, South Africa
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Sentinel Peak, South Africa

Thrill-seekers will relish the 7.5-mile trip to Sentinel Peak, in which a series of chain ladders take hikers up a near-vertical rock face. From the flattop peak, you’ll have views of Africa's highest waterfall, Tugela Falls, which stands at 3,110 feet. (If you’re faint of heart, take the tamer Beacon Buttress route.)

Thrill-seekers will relish the 7.5-mile trip to Sentinel Peak, in which a series of chain ladders take hikers up a near-vertical rock face. From the flattop peak, you’ll have views of Africa's highest waterfall, Tugela Falls, which stands at 3,110 feet. (If you’re faint of heart, take the tamer Beacon Buttress route.)

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
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Crater Lake Rim, Oregon

This striking crater, home to the second-deepest lake in the U.S., is a highlight of the Pacific Crest Trail, which spans a whopping 2,650 miles. We recommend the six-mile Crater Lake Rim Alternate trail, which starts at Rim Village and traces the edge of caldera, can be done in an afternoon and affords the same sweeping views of the lake.

This striking crater, home to the second-deepest lake in the U.S., is a highlight of the Pacific Crest Trail, which spans a whopping 2,650 miles. We recommend the six-mile Crater Lake Rim Alternate trail, which starts at Rim Village and traces the edge of caldera, can be done in an afternoon and affords the same sweeping views of the lake.

Trolltunga, Norway
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Trolltunga, Norway

Trolltunga, or "troll's tongue," looks exactly like it sounds. This oblong cliff hangs over a dizzying 3,600-foot drop, and hikers come from far and wide to pose for the ‘gram. The entire seven-mile journey is scenic and features a dazzling display of lakes, fjords, and glaciers. The trail is strenuous and can take 10-12 hours. Tip: Arrive early to score a spot in the new car park, and you’ll save some time.

Trolltunga, or "troll's tongue," looks exactly like it sounds. This oblong cliff hangs over a dizzying 3,600-foot drop, and hikers come from far and wide to pose for the ‘gram. The entire seven-mile journey is scenic and features a dazzling display of lakes, fjords, and glaciers. The trail is strenuous and can take 10-12 hours. Tip: Arrive early to score a spot in the new car park, and you’ll save some time.

Machu Picchu
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The Inca Trail, Peru

Though most people think of the popular four-day trek, those with limited time, desire, or ability can opt for a single-day hike that covers the final (and most scenic section) of the route to Machu Picchu. Get started early so you end at the Sun Gate in the afternoon right before golden hour. 

Though most people think of the popular four-day trek, those with limited time, desire, or ability can opt for a single-day hike that covers the final (and most scenic section) of the route to Machu Picchu. Get started early so you end at the Sun Gate in the afternoon right before golden hour. 

Tigers Nest, Bhutan
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Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan

There’s nothing quite so humbling than a bird’s-eye view of nature. Perhaps that’s what the monks were thinking when they built Tiger’s Nest (also known as Paro Taktsang) — a Buddhist monastery wedged into the side of a cliff 3,000 feet off the ground. The climb is mostly easy (just the final stretch is difficult). Along the way, you'll encounter prayer flags, burning incense, and Buddhist chanting, all of which heighten the sacred vibe.

There’s nothing quite so humbling than a bird’s-eye view of nature. Perhaps that’s what the monks were thinking when they built Tiger’s Nest (also known as Paro Taktsang) — a Buddhist monastery wedged into the side of a cliff 3,000 feet off the ground. The climb is mostly easy (just the final stretch is difficult). Along the way, you'll encounter prayer flags, burning incense, and Buddhist chanting, all of which heighten the sacred vibe.

Oberrothorn, Switzerland
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Oberrothorn, Switzerland

At 11,200 feet, Oberrothorn is among the highest trails in the Swiss Alps. The view from the top spans 13,000 feet over the Zermatt Valley, including 38 mountains and glaciers and the iconic Matterhorn. The strenuous hike clocks in at just over eight miles (roundtrip); fortunately, ski lifts allow hikers to ride up to Blauherd (8,435 feet) or to Rothorn (10,180 feet). 

At 11,200 feet, Oberrothorn is among the highest trails in the Swiss Alps. The view from the top spans 13,000 feet over the Zermatt Valley, including 38 mountains and glaciers and the iconic Matterhorn. The strenuous hike clocks in at just over eight miles (roundtrip); fortunately, ski lifts allow hikers to ride up to Blauherd (8,435 feet) or to Rothorn (10,180 feet). 

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