50. Dhaulagiri Circuit
Located to the west of the Annapurnas in Nepal, this trek gives constant jawdropping views of the world’s seventh-highest mountain, Dhaulagiri, and its neighbouring peaks. Starting at Pohkara, highlights of the trek include a visit to Dhaulagiri Base Camp sited below the 8,167m peak’s north face and the hike to the French Col and the ‘Hidden Valley’.
49. Zanskar Ice Trek
An adventurous winter trek on the frozen Zanskar river, the Ice Trek or ‘Chadar’ follows a traditional trading route that gives access to remote areas that are cut off for most of the year. Taking at least three weeks, the trek visits the small towns of Pishu, Stongde, Pidmo and Zangla which contain gompas and forts.
48. Pennine Way
The famous National Trail is 429km long and runs from Edale in northern Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in Scotland, along the Pennine hills. Along the trail there are numerous points where the Pennine Way intersects with other public rights of way, roads, and passes villages and towns.
47. Kangchenjunga Base Camp
This remote trek in Sikkim will bring you to the base of Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, via some of the most stunning scenery in the Himalayas. With 20 or so peaks exceeding 7,000m and numerous 6,000m peaks surrounding the route, trekkers will also pass by traditional villages and Buddhist monasteries.
46. Mount Kenya
The most stunning of the ice-capped African peaks is home to a great diversity of wildlife, including leopard, elephant and buffalo. The Chogoria/Sirimon route is considered to offer the best combination of alpine scenery and acclimatisation as trekkers ascend via spectacular Lake Michaelson and Lake Ellis to the trekking peak at Point Lenana (4,979m).
45. Mount Meru
Often used as an acclimatisation ascent before Kilimanjaro, trekkers come away exhilarated by the experience of climbing the steep ridge line to a crater rim that rivals Kilimanjaro. With a large wildlife population including elephants and mountain reedbuck, Meru’s summit day climb to 4,566m should not be taken lightly.
44. Alta Via 2
The Dolomites’ AV2 route is tougher and consequently less busy than the Alta Via 1 which runs parallel to it. The trail almost immediately takes you to about 2,000m and remains high for the remainder of the trek, which includes several via ferrata sections.
43. Kota Kinabalu
The short trek to the top of Borneo’s highest mountain, Kinabalu, starts in rainforest and ascends through this ecologically diverse area to the rocky plateau where there are several summits. The two-day trek takes walkers to the high point of Low’s Peak (4,096m), however other peaks are for climber’s only.
42. Picos De Europa Traverse
Popular amongst mountaineers, climbers and walkers alike, the Picos de Europa are situated about 20km from the northern coast of Spain, and consist mainly of limestone. A traverse typically takes six days through this impressive landscape created by glacial action.
41. Mount Roraima
Said to have inspired Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Lost World’, Roraima is the highest of the Pakaraima chain of tepui plateaus sited on the borders of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana. Bounded on all sides by 400m cliffs, trekkers can stand on the 2,810m summit and visit the highest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls.
40. Offa’s Dyke Path
This 177-mile long-distance path closely follows the English-Welsh border and takes about 12 days to complete. The National Trail follows the 8th century Offa’s Dyke and crosses the Black Mountains, the Shropshire Hills, the Eglwyseg moors, and the Clwydian Range.
39. Camino De Santiago
A major pilgrimage route in the Middle Ages, the Camino de Santiago – or Way Of St James – ends at the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, northwestern Spain. There are many routes to choose from but the most popular is the the ‘Camino Francés’ – the French route.
38. Hadrian’s Wall Path
Hadrian’s Wall Path is a 135km long footpath in the north of England, which became a National Trail in 2003. The World Heritage Site runs from Wallsend on the east coast to Bowness-on- Solway in the west, during which hikers pass numerous Roman settlements and forts.
37. Langtand and Gosainkund Lakes
This trek to the stunning lakes of Gosainkund is in Nepal’s Helambu region, only a day’s drive from Kathmandu but relatively isolated and predominantly inhabited by the Tamangs and Helambu Sherpas. This region affords brilliant views of the mighty peaks of Langtang (7,234m) and Ganesh (7,446m), as well as a sprawl of endless 6000m+ summits.
Situated on the border of Nepal and Tibet, the Kingdom of Mustang preserves some of the last vestiges of traditional Tibetan Buddhist culture and is open to only a few select trekking groups each season. Treks follow established trails through villages that once served a thriving trade route between Nepal and Tibet.
35. Bhutan High Trails
This superb trek into the heartland of Bhutan follows forest trails with a wide variety of spring flowers as it ascends to a camp beneath the sacred peak of Chomolhari. While crossing a series of high passes and camping in alpine meadows, trekkers enjoy a constant backdrop of snow-capped peaks.
34. Pembrokeshire Coast Path
This National Trail in Pembrokeshire, southwest Wales, is 299km long and is just one part of the 1,400km Wales Coast Path. Walking mostly at cliff-top level with views to the west, there are points along the trail that have coastal views in ever y direction.
33. Concordia and K2
This trek in the Karakoram follows the Baltoro Glacier to Concordia, where the Baltoro Glacier meets the Godwin-Austen Glacier. Here there are 360 degree views of the surrounding 7,000m peaks including K2, the second highest mountain in the world. An optional day hike to K2 base camp completes this amazing trek.
32. Mount Kailash
Mount Kailash is revered in both Hindu and Buddhist legends, and its location, close to the sources of the four main rivers that flow across the Indian sub-continent, contributes to its mystique. Kailash is reached by trekking from Lhasa across the vast Tibetan plateau.
31. Appalachian Trail
Running well over 2,000 miles from Mount Springer in Georgia to Mount Katadyn in Maine, the ‘AT’ was first conceived by Benton MacKaye and now forms part of the Triple Crown of US long-distance trails along with the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. It runs through 14 states and thru-hikers typically take 5-6 months to complete it, though many more hike it in sections.
30. Coast to Coast Walk
Wainwright’s Coast To Coast Walk runs 309km from St Bees on the west coast to Robin Hood’s Bay on the east coast. This unofficial and mostly unsignposted trail passes through three National Parks – the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North Moors.
29. Chomolhari Base Camp
This relatively short (12 days) but rugged high altitude trek in Bhutan allows ample time for unique cultural insights. The most challenging day of the trek sees hikers crossing the 4,950m Yale Pass before descending to the Thimphu River and the Bhutanese capital of Thimphu.
Aconcagua (6,961m) in Argentina has been called the ‘highest trekking peak in the world’. The walk-in is via either the Horcones Valley or Vacas Valley and there are three camps between Base Camp and the summit on the Normal Route. A massive summit day and sometimes challenging weather can make this anything but a ‘gimme’ Seven Summits peak.
27. Ama Dablam Base Camp
This trek is a popular introduction to trekking in the Everest region, weaving through the famous Buddhist villages and monasteries of the Sherpa people while affording unparalleled views of some of the world’s highest peaks including Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse.
26. Pacific Crest Trail
Running for over 2,600 miles from Mexico to Canada, the PCT is one of America’s great long-distance trails. Following large parts of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges, the PCT passes through 25 national forests and seven national parks.
25. Singalila Ridge
From Darjeeling, the Singalila Ridge heads north along India’s border with Nepal towards the gigantic form of the world’s third largest mountain, Kangchenjunga (8,586m). The trek is notable for its incredible views of Kangchenjunga and, further way, Mt Everest.
24. Tian Shan Mountains
The Tian Shan Mountains of Central Asia dominate Kyrgyzstan with their snow-covered peaks and alpine meadows. Trekkers can enjoy the lonely but beautiful Son-Kul and Issyk-Kul Lakes, treeless mountain plateaus and ascents to the Telety pass (3,800m), Ala Kol Lake (3,532m) and Ala Kol pass (3,800m).
23. Milford Track
This well-known 53km ‘tramp’ is located in the Fiordland National Park in New Zealand. Hikers traverse rainforests, wetlands and an alpine pass on their way from the start at the head of Lake Te Anau to the finish point on Milford Sound at Sandfly Point.
22. Manaslu Circuit
Trekking around Manaslu, the seventh highest mountain in the world, offers awesome mountain views, remote Buddhist villages close to the Tibetan border and cultural and geographic diversity that rivals any other trek in the Himalaya. It crosses two high passes, visits the remote region of Nar and traverses the shores of Tilicho Lake.
21. SIMIEN MOUNTAINS
The Simien Mountains, located in northern Ethiopia, are part of the Ethiopian Highlands and offer a unique landscape of valleys and pinnacles. During the trek, you may see walia ibex, gelada, caracal or, if you’re lucky, the rare Ethiopian wolf.
20. Alta Via 1
The 150km AV1 is the easiest of the Dolomites high routes, yet gives walkers an outstanding introduction to the region. With numerous highlights, including the 2,750m Monte Lagazuoi, there are optional via ferrata sections along the route for adventurous hikers and a good network of rifugios to stay and eat in.
19. Overland Track
Running 65km from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair in Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, the Overland Track is completed in 6-7 days and takes in a variety of scenery including mountains, rainforest, rivers and alpine plains. There are huts along the route but hikers are controlled in summer so it’s essential to get an Overland Pass.
18. Mera Peak
One of Nepal’s most famous trekking peaks, Mera Peak at 6,476m blurs the line between trekking and mountaineering (requiring the use of fixed ropes as well as ice axe and crampons) yet for successful summiters it offers one of the most spectacular viewpoints in all the Himalaya.
17. John Muir Trail
The John Muir Trail begins with a multi-day hike to Mt Whitney, from where it winds its way over two hundred miles to Yosemite Valley. Along the way the trail climbs over 3,000- 4,000m passes, wanders beneath high alpine peaks and traverses beautiful meadows and forested river valleys.
16. Routeburn Track
Linking the Mount Aspiring National Park and Fjordland National Park on New Zealand’s South Island, the Routeburn Track is only a short trek (typically taking three days) yet packs in the scenery with spectacular peaks, waterfalls and lakes. The trek can be walked either way and there are several huts and campsites along the way.
15. Haute Route
The classic long-distance route from Chamonix to Zermatt is steeped in mountaineering legend, having first been walked by British climbers at the end of the 19th century. The highlight of the trek is the approach to Zermatt where you take in the instantly recognisable Matterhorn and marvel at the scale of the mountain and its tumbling glaciers.
The famous Laugavegur trek in southwest Iceland runs 55km south from the hot springs area of Landmannalaugar to the glacial valley of Thórsmörk. Hot springs, lava fields and glaciers punctuate the route, while the craters of Fimmvörduháls Volcano provide the perfect finale.
13. West Highland Way
Scotland’s first, and most popular long-distance trail stretches 151km from Glasgow to Fort William, taking in the Campsie Fells, Loch Lomond, Rannoch Moor, Loch Leven and Glen Nevis before arriving in Fort William after (typically) 6-7 days.
12. Huayguash Circuit
The Cordillera Huayhuash is one of the most scenic ranges in the Peruvian Andes. It was a region that attracted worldwide attention following Joe Simpson’s graphic account of his ascent of Siula Grande in his book ‘Touching the Void’.
11. Toubkal Massif
The Toubkal massif is a popular trekking destination, with most treks climaxing with an ascent of North Africa’s highest peak, Jebel Toubkal (4,167m). On a clear day the panoramic views from the top of Mt Toubkal are truly spectacular and it is possible to look out over the Sahara to the south.
Sweden’s own super-trail runs 440km from Abisko in the north to Hemavan in the south, through one of Europe’s largest remaining wilderness areas. The trail is well-marked and maintained, with huts situated at convenient points along the route and plank walkways placed in marshy areas. In winter the Kungsleden is used as a ski trail.
9. Annapurna Sanctuary and Base Camp
Annapurna is the only region to feature twice in our top 10 treks, and Annapurna 1 is coincidentally the 10th highest peak in the world at 8,091m. This classic trek ascends through villages and terraced farmland to the alpine environments found at the higher elevations around base camp. Access to the Annapurna Sanctuary is via a narrow pass between the peaks of Hiunchuli and Machapuchare and once trekkers reach the oval-shaped plateau sitting at an altitude of over 4,000m, they are surrounded by the peaks of the Annapurna range, many of them over 7,000m.
Corsica has not only some of the best beaches in Europe, but some of its most beautiful mountains too. Although often described as ‘Europe’s toughest trek’, the GR20 is a well-marked trail with regular refuges to stay in or camp outside, and is a great testing ground for backpackers who want to ‘go it alone’. While undoubtedly containing harder sections where scrambling is required (Cirque de la Solitude), there are plenty of easier hiking days too. Typically hikers take about two weeks to trek the GR20 (usually north to south) but a popular option is to split the route and do the north and south sections over two trips. There are many possible side trips along the way, including the climb to the summit of Monte Cinto (2,706m), Corsica’s highest peak.
7. Torres Del Paine
Rightly considered to be one of the great trekking regions of the world, the Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia is a majestic world full of granite peaks, hanging glaciers and glacial lakes. The park is named after the three granite towers that form the centrepiece of the area and stretch up to 2,500m above sea level. The two main trekking routes are the ‘W’, which takes in the highlights of the park and can be done in 4-5 days, and the circular ‘O’ route that takes around 8-9 days.
6. Gokyo Lakes and Cho La
The Gokyo Lakes region at the head of the Dudh Kosi Valley provides a great alternative to the popular Everest Base Camp trek – a more tranquil trek through the Sherpa heartland that affords ample time for acclimatisation and the optional ascent of Gokyo Ri (5,357m), where you gain superb views of Everest as well as the 8,000m peaks of Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu in Tibet. The lakes themselves form the world’s highest freshwater lake system, the largest of the six lakes being Thonak Cho. Gokyo village (4,790m) lies on the eastern shore of Dudh Pokhari in what must be one of the world’s most picturesque settings.
The highest mountain in Africa, and one of the Seven Summits, is a dormant volcano that has three volcanic cones – Kibo, Shira and Mawenzi – the highest point being Uhuru Peak on Kibo’s crater rim at 5,895m. There are seven official ascent and descent routes on Kilimanjaro – Machame, Lemosho, Marangu, Mweka, Rongai, Shira, and Umbwe – and succes via any of these routes requires good fitness and an itinerary that allows enough days to acclimatise. The mountain is a popular choice for charity challenges and is many people’s first taste of overseas trekking, however because of this and the problems caused by altitude it has a lower success rate than perhaps it should.
4. Inca Trail
The classic trek is considered by many to be one of the great short treks of the world, and is a superb introduction to trekking in the Andes. Ascending the jungle trails and cloud forest, trekkers can appreciate how the panorama of Andean peaks would have inspired the Inca people as they make their way to the ‘lost city’ of Machu Picchu. Because of the popularity of the main trail, alternative trails to Choquequirao (another fantastic ancient citadel) and the sacred glaciated mountain of Salkantay have increased in popularity in recent times.
3. Tour du Mont Blanc
The TMB is proof that you don’t have to travel to the Greater Ranges to find trekking of the highest order. Circling Mont Blanc and giving views of the great mountain from many angles, the Tour du Mont Blanc provides walkers with the opportunity to sample the culture and flavour of three different countries: France, Italy and Switzerland. Starting and ending in Chamonix, the route takes in high passes, alpine villages and glaciers, with nights spent either in huts or under canvas.
2. Annapurna Circuit
The classic Himalayan trek in central Nepal is still popular today, despite a roadbuilding programme in the region that has impinged on the trail in places. Starting in the lush green foothills of the Annapurna range, there is a dramatic change as you cross the Thorong La, at 5,400m the highest pass of the trek. Once on the Tibetan Plateau, a stark and rugged landscape, the culture is predominantly Buddhist. The trek gives views of Manaslu, Dhaulagiri and Machhapuchhre, as well as the Annapurnas, and usually takes 15-20 days with accommodation being teahouses and lodges.
1. Everest Base Camp
It just had to be, didn’t it? The world’s highest mountain is not just a dream destination for mountaineers, but for trekkers too who want to get up close and personal with the 8,848m peak. Forget all the negative press about Everest and rejoice in the region in which it resides and the people that inhabit it. After flying into the airstrip at Lukla (or avoid the notorious flight by trekking for five days through the foothills from Jiri), the trail leads through the famous villages of Namche Bazaar and Khumjung which are steeped in the renowned Sherpa culture. The trek continues to Dingboche via the Thyangboche monastery, where a rest is usually taken before continuing the trek to the Khumbu Glacier. The three-week trek can include an ascent of Kala Pattar (5,545m) if you choose, which gives breathtaking views of Everest, before going to Base Camp itself – the site of so much climbing history and, in recent times, tragedy too. The trek to Everest Base Camp is popular for a reason, and those who make the pilgrimage to Sagarmatha will have an experience that will stay with them for the rest of their life. For some, it will prove to be the start of a lifelong love affair with Nepal and its people.