The modern day world is both a blessing and a curse. Sure, it’s great to be able to have games, movies, food and transport on demand. But this comes at a cost. We are out of touch with nature. And it’s nature that brings us happiness. No wonder so many of us are dealing with feelings of depression and a sense of not having a strong purpose.
Too many of us live sedentary lives. We sit at our desk at our office jobs all day long. Then we come home and we sit some more, because we’re tired. But it’s the wrong kind of tired. Tiredness from going to slow is detrimental to your health. It’s going too slow that burns you out. So collectively, we need to pick up the pace a little. And I mean that in the literal sense. Because there’s no better remedy against mental and physical atrophy, than the great outdoors.
For that reason, we’re looking at some of the best hiking trails in the world. Don’t feel overwhelmed. If you’d visit only a single one in your entire life, you’d already feel a lot better about yourself!
This list was inspired by a list of long distance hiking trails found on Boot Bomb. Kudos to Brian Bradshaw of Boot Bomb to get this writer’s creative juices flowing, along with rekindling my lust for outdoor adventure!
With further ado, let’s get on with the list of hiking trails you have to have seen at some point in your life!
The Appalachian is one of the very longest trails that will take you all the way from Mount Springer, Georgia, to Mount Katahdin, Maine. It spans a total of 2200 miles. This trail’s construction started in 1921 and was completed in 1937.
Few trails are quite as long as the Appalachian. It will come as no surprise that this trail takes you through no less than 14 states. Needless to say, you’re not thruhiking his one in a day, that’s for sure. There are very few people who hike this trail all the way through. At any given year, it’s only a few hundred hikers that will take it from start to finish.
The great thing about the Appalachian Trail is that you do not need to carry around a tent with you. The trail is situated next to major towns, which will give you the opportunity to get a place to sleep. And if your budget does not permit this, then you can make use of one of the 250 sleeping shelters, which charge nothing.
The Pacific Crest Trail will take you all the way from Mexico to Canada, passing through the states of California, Oregon and Washington. This trail will give you great vistas of volcanic peaks. It’s suitable for both beginners as well as experts. You’ve still got to pay attention to some of the wildlife that you are likely to encouter here, such as coyotes, cougars, snakes and lizards. Some of them like to hide in between the many oaks and desert scrubs you are going to find on this trail.
In California, the trail takes you through the Lassen Volcanic National Park. Later on, you’ll find greener lands as you are on your way to Sacramento River. When you get to Oregon, the trail reaches its easiest and shortest bit. You’ll come by Mount Hood, which is the largest volcano in Oregon, which also happens to be active. Then you get to Washington, which takes you to the Canadian border. This bit is harder, as it will provide you with a number of challenges.
The trail is unique in that it offers you so many different kinds of scenery along the way.
3. Sierra High Route
The Sierra High Route is also known as the Roper Route. This trail is around 200 miles and passes through the Sierra Nevada. It’s easy to see where the name comes from. This trail will pass through the John Muir Trail, the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sequoia-Kings Canyon and Yosemite Park.
Being close to the John Muir Trail, it’s similar. But with its boulder fields, you can also expect it to be a bit more rough and therefore a bit more of a challenge. This trail is generally most suitable for experienced hikers. It would be even better if you’re a mountaineer. Beginning hikers should probably stay away from about November up until May.
If you are visiting this trail early in the season, you are going to have to battle snow, which can potentially give you wet feet if you aren’t wearing waterproof hiking boots. In June and July, you’re going to have dry conditions, but you will also encounter some mosquitoes.
If you want to experience the wild lands in all their glory bad enough, then pick your favorite time and head on down there.
4. John Muir Trail
The John Muir Trail, which lies close to the Sierra High Route, is about just as long at 211 miles. This trail will provide you with some of the best scenery that the USA has to offer. You will see lots of canyons and granite cliffs here. It will take you from Mount Whitney, south, to the Yosemite Valley, north.
This trail overlaps with another trail on this list, the Pacific Crest Trail, for no less than 160 miles. The best time to hike this one would be in the summer, because that’s when all the snow is gone and your chance of getting your feet wet have dropped to zero.
Should you choose to hike this trail during the winter, then it would serve you well to bring an ice axe, so that you can plow your way through streams filled with snowmelt.
A lot of hikers prefer to hike this trail from north to south. First of all because that way they will acclimatize gradually. Also, the norther section of the trail is rife with resupply points. This way, you can start out lightweight and simply resupply while still up north.
5. Kings Peak Trail
Kings Peak is the tallest mountain that the fair state of Utah has to offer. For Utah’s hiking aficionados, this is the most popular trail there is. You start out north and go south, where the elevation gradually increases. You’ll pass the Alligator Lake Trail and later on you’ll encounter Elkhorn Stream.
A few miles further down the road, you’ll find Dollar Lake. This is a place where you can set up your tent and rest for a bit. Once regained some of your energy, you can move on to the North Ridge Route, which is going to take you to Kings Peak himself.
This trail stands out because of the many ways in which you can approach it. You can choose the Yellowstone Creek Trail, the Uinta River Trail, the King-Emmons Ridge Trail or the standard route.
Like most trails, this trail is best visited in summer, when the snow is melted and you don’t require warm, waterproof hiking gear. But if snow hiking is your thing, then you might opt to visit in the winter.