If you enjoy being out in nature, are hungry for some great scenery and love a challenging form of exercise, you might want to consider one of these top treks in the world. The first five I have listed are extremely strenuous, and not for the faint of heart, whereas the last two are less grueling on the body. Of course you can walk as much of these top treks in the world as you like, and tailor them, according to your schedule.
1 Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA
This has got to be one of the top treks in the world! There are no easy trails but there are options, depending on your ability-level. Both the South and North Rim offer day hikes that have some spectacular views of the inner canyon and they are on paved trails. Hikers making their first trip should stick to the inner canyon or one of the Corridor’s trails (which include campgrounds and water facilities). The best time to trek in the Grand Canyon is springtime or early fall.
2 Pacific Crest Trail, USA
Staying stateside, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), has to be one of the most demanding treks out there. Apparently more people have made it up Mt. Everest than have hiked the PCT! This is because the route traverses 7 National Parks and an array of eco-zones throughout its 2,663-mile trail. Deserts, mountains, forests, fault lines are all traversed in California, Oregon, Washington, before finishing up in British Columbia, Canada. The best time to trek the PCT is between April – September, and the full route takes approximately 140 days!
3 Haute Route, France and Switzerland
Heading to Europe, the ‘high route’ is the name given to the trek between Chamonix, France and Zermatt, Switzerland. You can either hike this or ski it (it’s quicker if you ski it), and there are some really well signposted trails, that all remain below 10,000 feet. The charm of this trek is getting to see Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn as well as some of the beautiful villages en route. Spring, summer and fall are the best times to go, unless you are skiing, in which case winter is more favorable (but beware of the avalanches).
4 Shackleton’s Route, South Georgia Island
This is an epic trek, where you’ll be up close and personal with penguins on black sandy beaches and hiking over crevasse-covered glaciers, all in a couple of days. It’s 22 miles in length and you can cut out the glacier hiking, if you like, making it just a half-day hike (3.5 miles). The best time to trek this is during the Southern Hemisphere's summer months (December – March), but you will need a tour company to get you there and it is expensive, if not impossible, to stay on the island.
5 The Snowman Trek, Bhutan
Possibly the hardest trek in the world, the Snowman spans 200 miles, and crosses 11 passes that are over 16,000 feet high in the Himalayas. Weather patterns are unpredictable and you will more than likely experience altitude sickness. By law, you have to travel with a guided tour company too. All these difficulties aside, however, you will take in some stunning vistas. The best time to trek is limited; October and April being the two best months.
6 Croagh Patrick, Ireland
St. Patrick apparently climbed this religious site in 441AD. Today, it attracts pilgrims and trekkers alike, and is Ireland’s most climbed mountain! There are three sections – an initial rocky trail, followed by a fairly level mid-section, topped off by a steep climb to the top. It is relatively easy compared to the other treks listed here and shouldn’t pose any difficulties to the reasonably fit, inexperienced hikers. The views at the top are breathtaking, with bog land to the south and Clew Bay and its drumlin islands to the north. The best time to trek this is in the summer.
7 Petra, Jordan
Milder treks, compared to the others listed here, can be found in beautiful Petra. You can truly get off the beaten path in this ‘Rose-Red City!’ The Monastery is possibly one of the best places to see, aside from the famed Treasury and Roman Theater. It’s a nice hike to get up to the Monastery and viewpoints overlook the vast valley below. Donkeys can be rented for the day, alternatively, Bedouins can help with directions or provide you with refreshing mint tea; all part of the experience!
Seven top treks in the world awaiting your footsteps! With so many amazing treks out there in the world, I hope these will pique your interest and have you enjoying this adventurous form of exercise. What are some challenging treks you have been on and where do you recommend trekking to?