Hiking is great exercise and a good excuse to spend plenty of time outdoors. Exploring some of the world’s most epic hiking trails creates opportunities to encounter breathtaking scenery and visit famous landmarks, while increasing overall fitness levels.
Different people will look for different experiences from their hiking adventures. Some will want to tackle more challenging routes, while others may prefer a gentler terrain with spectacular views.
Richard Mallett is a sports coach with a passion for trekking in some of the most far-flung corners of the world, including Japan, Nepal, Tanzania and Peru. While each hiker will have their favourite trails, there are a few that crop up time and again when favourites are listed.
The Inca Trail, Peru
The ancient Inca trail in Peru is one of the most famous hiking trails in the world, and also one of the most challenging. While it is relatively short, taking approximately four days to traverse, the majority of the hike is along steep mountain paths at high altitude.
However, for those that are prepared to put in the effort, this trail has a lot to offer. Lush verdant cloud forest, unique ancient ruins and a plethora of exotic birds are just some of the sights that Inca trail hikers can experience, finishing with one of the new seven wonders of the world, the iconic Sun Gate and its views of Machu Picchu at sunrise.
A permit is required to hike the Inca trail; they can only be acquired through approved tour guides and are limited to 200 hikers per day year-round.
The PDF attachment provides advice on how to ensure the correct fit for hiking boots.
Everest Base Camp, Nepal
The trek to Everest base camp attracts many hikers who want to gaze upon the world’s highest mountain. It is a long but not overly challenging trek – the most popular route takes around two weeks to complete, but the majority of the trail has a gentle gradient and there are no sections where any climbing equipment is required.
With an organised trek, guides tend to encourage walking in the mornings, saving the afternoons for the group to take time to enjoy the spectacular scenery and adjust slowly and carefully to the increased altitude each day.
Acclimatising slowly to altitude is essential, which means the trek is more relaxed than it might otherwise be. Treks to Everest base camp run year-round, but the most popular times to go are between March and May or between October and November for the most favourable weather conditions. In the embedded short video, you can find some advice on choosing the right clothes for hiking.
The Overland Track, Australia
Located in the Tasmania region of Australia, the Overland Track is a famous hiking route that offers lots of possibilities for hikers of all ages and abilities. Scenery includes lakes and tarns, mountains, moorlands and forests. There are also numerous side routes that take in more sights such as valleys, waterfalls and summits.
Booking is required and there is a limit to the number of trekkers allowed on the Overland Track each day, so booking several months in advance is essential to secure a place. Peak season is in the Tasmanian summer between the beginning of October and the end of May and hikers must trek in a southbound direction.
Fees depend on how much time you want to spend on the trail. Day passes can be bought fairly cheaply, but those that want to truly experience the delights of the Overland Track over the course of several days or weeks will need to purchase a pass that covers them for up to eight weeks for around AUS$230.
The infographic attachment provides a quick hiking equipment checklist.