Filed under:Features, Features Spotlight, Top Lists, Walking / Trekking, Top 100 treks, World's Best Treks
We reveal the results of our poll to find the world’s greatest treks…
Everest Base Camp. Kilimanjaro. Appalachian Trail. Tour du Mont Blanc. What is the best trek in the world? That’s the million-dollar question we set out to answer with the launch of our first ever Top 100 Treks poll, where we asked you to decide what are the very best trekking routes on the planet. Now, literally thousands of votes later, we have got closer to answering that question, and below you can find out the treks that you judged to be the best.
What is ‘best’?
How can you say what is ‘the best’ trek, we hear you say. Well, of course this all depends on any number of factors, but what we are looking for are treks that give all the essential ingredients of a great adventure experience, such as the wild and rough terrain, the wildlife and fauna, the culture and friendliness of the local people and of course the spectacular mountain scenery! And then of course everything also depends on your own personal experiences on a trek – was the weather okay, did you get ill, did you strike up great friendships with the crew and teammembers, and so on. So what is ‘the best’ is purely a personal point of view, though there are certain regions and countries that are more likely to give you that sense of awe and amazement just by dint of their spectacular natural beauty.
Whatever else the Top 100 Treks poll has proved, is that there’s literally a whole world of amazing walking experiences out there, and in all parts of the planet near and far, there’s no excuse for not getting out and enjoying it. If nothing else, this serves as the ultimate ticklist for trekkers and walkers everywhere, and a subject for endless banter down the pub. Enjoy!
100. Lycian Way
Taking you around the coast of Lycia in Turkey, the Lycian Way is a long-distance footpath that is approximately 540km in length. The waymarked trail is Turkey’s first long-distance hiking trail and was built in order to identify and protect some of Turkey’s old roads.
99. Bibbulmun Track
The Bibbulmun Track is a long distance walking trail in Western Australia which is about 1,000km long which runs from Kalamunda in the Perth Hills, to Albany on the south coast. The marked trail consists of 58 sections.
98. Chilkoot Trail
The Chilkoot Trail is a 53 km trail that leads from Dyea, Alaska, in the United States, to Bennett, British Columbia, in Canada and takes along the same route as the old prospectors during the gold rush. You will pass through coastal rainforest, high alpine areas, and boreal forest.
97. Durmitor National Park
Durmitor is a 39,000 acre national park in Montenegro, formed by glaciers and streams that have carved away the limestone rock. There are 48 peaks that reach 2,000m, Bobotov Kuk the highest at 2,523m, and 17 glacier Lakes within the park.
96. Ausangate Circuit
A mountain with great significance in Incan mythology, Apu Ausangate is part of the Cordillera Vilcanota range in the Peruvian Andes. The ‘Camino Del Apu Ausangate’ has become a renowned trek for its remoteness, its views of the great sacred mountain combined with interactions with the local Quechua peoples.
95. Blue Mountains Grand Traverse
The Blue Mountains Grand Traverse will take you through the Blue Mountains National Park in Australia, and takes you through rainforests and past many beautiful cascading waterfalls. The park is home to many native plants and animals, including many rare and threatened species.
94. Cape Wrath Trail
The 200 miles long Cape Wrath Trail takes you through the Scottish Highlands and along the west coast of Scotland and has been called ‘Britain’s toughest trail’. Starting in Fort William and finishing in Cape Wrath, the route is unmarked and has no official line.
93. Colorado Trail
The Colorado Trail is a 486-mile trail in the United States which takes you from the mouth of Waterton Canyon near Denver to Durango in Colorado. The trail is divided into 28 segments and most of your time will be spent above 3,000 metres.
92. Mt Fitzroy
Retrace the Stampeders’ route over the Chilkoot Pass. 100 years ago, thousands struggled over this pass and down the Yukon River to the Klondike Goldfields. The Northwest Mounted Police required all people to carry their grubstake, one year’s provisions, with them.
91. Giants Cup Hiking Trail
The 60km Giant’s Cup Hiking Trail in South Africa is usually hiked over five days, with daily distances ranging between 9km and 13km. It takes you along the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains and crosses the Cobham and Garden Castle Nature Reserves.
90. Hispar-Biafo Traverse
The Biafo and Hispar glaciers form a 114km long continuous stretch of glacier in the Karakoram. The Hispar-Biafo Traverse takes you from Baltistan across the Hispar La into the valley of the Hunza River and will take you on or along the glaciers.
89. Kakoda Trail, Papua New Guinea
During this trek you╒ll cross the geographical heart of Papua New Guinea, following trails through tropical rainforests and varied mountain environments. At night you stay in secluded jungle camps and share experiences with the traditional villagers in some of the most remote regions of PNG. 88 Panpatia Col and Glacier Said to be one of the toughest treks in the Garhwal Himalayan region of India, this trek will take you across three high altitude mountain passes (one being the Panpatia Col which is located at 4,200m), narrow cliffs, and several moraines and streams.
87. Via Dinerica
The Via Dinerica is a new long-distance hiking trail running through the Dinaric Alps in the Balkans. The trail runs through Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia and you can consists of three main trails: The ‘white’ high trail, The ‘blue’ coastal trail or the ‘green’ trail which leads through the lower mountains.
86. Everest Kangshung Face
A rapidly modernising region of Tibet, you follow trails through conifer and rhododendron forest, past sacred lakes and across the verdant yak grazing pastures set beneath a backdrop of Lhotse, Makalu and the huge Kangshung Face (east face) of Everest.
The GR 11 is approximately 840km and takes you through the Spanish Pyrenees. The trail can be travelled in either direction starting at Cape Higuer or at Cap de Creus, and is divided into 45 sections which can usually be completed in about 44 days.
84. GR221 Dry Stone Route
This 135km trek starts from Port d’Andratx in the south west of Mallorca, and runs to Pollenca in the north west and usually takes about eight days to complete. It takes you along ancient cobbled paths through the Tramuntana mountain range.
83. GR5 French Alps
While this hiking trail is famous for its section which runs through the French Alps from Lake Geneva to Nice, the GR 5 actually starts in the Netherlands, crosses Belgium and Luxembourg before crossing France from the north to the south.
82. Jamtland Triangle
The Jämtland Triangle, located in the northern part of Sweden, takes you between three mountain lodges: Storulvån, Sylarna and Blåhammaren. You won’t need to carry much in your backpack as food can be purchased at the mountain stations, and Blåhammaren and Storulvån have restaurants as well.
81. Kepler Track
This 60km circular trek in New Zealand travels through some amazing scenery, including the many landscapes of the Fiordland National Park and can be completed over three or four days, during which time you will pass through rocky mountain ridges, tall mossy forests, deep gorges, wetlands and rivers.
The GR3 trail follows the natural course of the Loire river for nearly 1,250km, from its source at Mont Gerbier-de-Jonc to its mouth at La Baule. Located in the central area of France, just south and west of Paris, it has served as an inspiration for painters such as Turner and Leonardo da Vinci, and has been designated a UNESCO Cultural Landscape World Heritage Site
79. Milam Glacier
A popular destination among trekkers, the 16km long Milam Glacier is part of the Kumaon Himalaya in India. From mid-March to May, trekkers starting from Munsiyari head towards the glacier to beat the monsoon season which starts in June.
78. Mongolia Twin Peaks
For those looking for wide open spaces, a trek to the seldom visited region in Mongolia between two peaks – Mount Turgen and Mount Kharkhiraa – is an enticing prospect. Along the way you’ll come across local families along with their large herds of horse and cattle while travelling through empty but beautiful countr yside.
77. Te Araroa
With about 300 sections, this 3,000km trail is New Zealand’s newest long distance hiking trail and runs from Cape Reinga to Bluff. The sections range from 1–2 hours long, right through to a 9-day section where you must carry a full pack.
76. Western Way
This 179km long-distance trail in Ireland is usually completed in seven days. The Western Way begins in Oughterard, County Galway and ends in Ballycastle, County Mayo and is designated as a National Waymarked Trail.
75. Alpamayo Circuit
One of the most scenically spectacular walking routes in the Peruvian Andes, this route gives endless panoramic views of the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Blanca, and in particular the stunning Alpamayo, often described as one of the most beautiful peaks in the world.
Until 1996, Dolpo in western Nepal was a forbidden land with an authentic Tibetan culture largely unchanged for the last 1,200 years. High, arid plateaus scarred by deep canyons form Upper Dolpo, which is in contrast to the fertile lower valley to the south of the Kanjiroba and Dhaulagiri ranges.
73. Drakensberg Grand Traverse
The Drakensberg range is the highest in southern Africa, and has distinctive basalt buttresses gracing its skyline. Hikers on this remote trek can see Tugela Falls, the second highest waterfall in the world, swim in refreshing mountain streams and climb Cathedral Peak – a free-standing buttress that gives sweeping views across the range.
The GR54, or Tour de l’Oisans, is a 123-mile trek that encircles the Ecrins massif in the French Alps. Beginning and ending in the town of Bourg d’Oisans, the trek is said to be one of the toughest in Europe, typically taking 10 days to complete and passing through spectacular yet at times challenging terrain.
71. Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China stretches from Dandong in the east, to Lop Lake in the west, zigzagging its way across China for over 20,000km. The sections of the wall near Beijing are the most popular, though hikers looking to avoid the crows can visit some of the lessor known unrestored areas.
70. Island Peak
The popular trekking peak in Nepal is 6,189m high and gets its name from its island-like appearance amongst a sea of ice. The trek-in through the Khumbu Valley is a great way to acclimatise, while summit day will either begin from the Pareshaya Gyab base camp or a high camp at 5,600m with fixed ropes often used for the 100m ascent to the summit ridge.
69. Mt Elgon
Although Mt Elgon is situated on the border of Uganda and Kenya, the mountain’s high point at 4,321m is located entirely within Uganda. Mt Elgon is East Africa’s oldest extinct volcano and is estimated to be at least 24 million years old – trekkers typically take four days to explore the area and walk to the summit of Wagagai.
68. Haute Route Pyrénéenne
The Haute Route Pyrénéenne (or just ‘HRP’) stretches 800km from coast to coast, but unlike the GR10 and GR11 trails it frequently crosses the French-Spanish border as it follows the highest walkable route through the Pyrenees.
67. Santa Cruz Trail
Peru’s Santa Cruz trail runs approximately 50km through the Cordillera Blanca and is considered a good alternative to the more popular Inca Trail. The four-day trek starts from Huaraz and reachest its highest point of 4,760m at the Punta Union pass.
66. Continental Divide Trail
The CDT runs for 3,100 miles from Mexico to Canada, following the Rocky Mountains through five states along the Continental Divide of the Americas. Taking around six months to complete, the trail’s highpoint is Gray’s Peak in Colorado at 4,350m.
65. Snowman Trek
Undertaken by only a handful of trekkers each season, this challenging trek crosses 11 high passes over 4,500m before accessing Lunana the most remote region of Bhutan. With a constant backdrop of 7,000m peaks, trekkers will discover a region of tiny Buddhist monasteries and secluded villages.
64. Tour du Monte Rosa
This 160km-long trek starts in Zermatt and takes trekkers around the Monte Rosa massif, offering great views into the valleys of Switzerland and Italy, while also giving stunning views of the Matterhorn.
63. La Ciudad Pedida
The five-day trek to Colombia’s La Ciudad Perdida (or ‘Lost City’), located in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range, is a challenging forest hike that rewards those who make it with its impressive ruins. The city was built over 1,000 years ago by the Tayrona people (who called it ‘Teyuna’), and was only rediscovered as recently as the early ’70s.
62. Rwenzori Mountains
Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains, the ‘Mountains Of The Moon’, are isolated and rarely visited; they contain much of Africa’s permanent ice and display incredibly varied mountain scenery as trekkers climb from tropical rainforest, through alpine valleys to the glaciers. A trek in the Rwenzori can also include the challenging ascent of Margherita (5,109m), Africa’s third highest mountain.
61. Ladakh and Stok Kangri
The Ladakh region in northern India offers superb trekking with the added bonus of a chance to ascend the non-technical 6,153m peak Stok Kangri, the highest mountain in the Stok range. The peak is located in Hemis National Park, 12km from the trailhead in Stok village and around 15km from Leh, and is an ideal objective as a first Himalayan peak.
60. South West Coast Trail
Stretching 1,014 km from Minehead in Somerset, along the coasts of Devon and Cornwall, and eventually reaching Poole Harbour in Dorset, this National Trail is England’s longest waymarked long-distance footpath. It was originally used by the Coastguard to walk from lighthouse to lighthouse while patrolling for smugglers.
59. Grand Canyon
A multi-day trek through the backcountry ‘below the rim’ is a great way of exploring the the 277-mile long and 18-mile wide (at its widest point) Grand Canyon. There are campsites on both rims (which need to be booked in advance), but a special permit is required to camp overnight in the backcountry and these are vastly over-subscribed.
58. Queen Charlotte Track
The 70km-long Queen Charlotte Track in New Zealand is popular amongst both walkers and mountain bikers, and mostly leads through native bush along the ridgeline of hills, offering spectacular views on either side. While long, the trail is easy to follow and has bridges at all major stream crossings.
The GR70, also known as the ‘Robert Louis Stephenson Trail’, takes walkers through some of France’s least least-populated regions: the Velay, Gevaudan and Cevennes. The trail starts in Le Monastier and finishes at Ste Jean, though you can add an extra 45km to take you to the medieval town of Le Puy-en-Velay and Ales.
56. Skye Trail
This challenging, unofficial 128km long- distance route on the Isle of Skye rewards hikers with some of the most stunning mountain and coastal scenery in Scotland. It follows much of the Trotternish Ridge and passes under the famous Cuillin range of mountains. Good navigations skills are a must, as some sections do not follow a trail and none of the route is waymarked.
55. Pamirs’ Fann Mountains
The Pamirs’ Fann Mountains are part of the great mountain ranges that run along the southern edges of the Central Asian republics. Trekkers to the region enjoy the rugged and remote wilderness of jagged ridges, alpine lakes and snow-capped peaks that stretch and fold towards the Hindu Kush and the Karakoram.
54. Makalu Base Camp
This trek, which is undertaken by only a few trekking groups each year, travels through the beautiful Makalu Barun National Park to the base camp of Makalu (8,481m), the world’s fifth highest mountain. This remote area of Nepal is ideal for those who want to get off the beaten track, and a crossing of the Shipton La (4,220m) will be rewarded with views of Everest’s hidden Kangshung Face.
53. Tour of the Matterhorn
The 145km-long circuit around the world’s most recognisable mountain takes you through alpine villages on both sides of the Swiss-Italian border and reveals the different faces of the famous peak. Starting at Randa, there are nine stages to this challenging trek during which you will complete nearly 10,000m of ascent and the same amount of descent.
52. Wadi Rum and Petra
A Dubbed the ‘Inca Trail of the Middle East’, trek through the desert in Wadi Rum and visit to the ancient city of Petra is one of the most dramatic in the Middle East. Following in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia, highlights include an ascent of Jordan’s highest peak, Jebel Um Adaami (1,832m), scrambling up the famous rock arch at Burdah Bridge and hiking through the rugged Rakebak Canyon.
51. Alpine Pass Route
Part of the Via Alpina route, this 325km trek through the Swiss Alps takes trekkers over 16 mountain passes. You’ll need at least 15 days to complete the route which is well signposted. The Alpine Pass Route starts in Sargans in eastern Switzerland, and finishes in Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva.