According to the International Federation of Hiking and Mountaineering, there are an estimated 900 million hikers across the globe. And whether you're a seasoned explorer or just a beginner, finding the best hikes in the world can seem like a monumental task. Luckily, however, you have us to guide you—because we have picked out 5 of the best hikes in the entire world. Pick the one that best appeals to your skill level or the kind of sites you want to see—or decide to do them all—then get to packing so you can go outside and celebrate the resplendent beauty of the world around you.
Inca Trail, Peru
There's a reason most people—even non-hikers—have heard of the Inca Trail in Peru. That's because it's one of the world's most stunning and difficult hiking trails, and it attracts people from all over the world who want to walk it. The Inca Trail leads hikers into Machu Pichu—but if you do the whole hike, the journey is 26 miles (or 42 km) that has huge changes in elevation. In fact, the trail takes you over two passes that are greater than 13,000 feet high. You'll also walk by many beautiful waterfalls.
The Inca Trail is stunning, but it's also historical: the ancient Incans used the trail close to 700 years ago. The majority of its original structure and stonework remains. So do two tunnels built by the Incan people. It can take four whole days to do the entire hike, so make sure you pack for camping and also for every single type of weather. This hike takes you through different elevations, micro-climates, and environments.
Appalachian Trail, United States
Ready for a very, very, very long hike? But also one that is incredibly beautiful? Check out the Appalachian Trail that cuts through the Eastern United States from North to South—it's 2200 miles long and will take you months to finish.
The Appalachian Trail is legendary thanks to books (and movies) like a Walk in the Woods. It runs north from Springer Mountain, in the state of Georiga, to Mount Katahdin, at the top of Maine. The walk will take you through some of the most remote wilderness in the United States, and if you want to do it all, you'll need to take nearly a year. If you want to do just a chunk of the trail, hone in on the part you're most excited about and pick two on-off points to enter and exit your journey. The trail is the longest designated hiking trail in the entire country, so you'll have plenty of options for parts to explore.
Dragon's Back, Hong Kong
In Hong Kong is one of the most stunning, scenic hiking trails on the planet: Dragon's Back. This legendary path just outside of one of the busiest, most hectic cities in the entire world, overlooks stunning white beaches. Hikers walk over lush, green hills to look out onto tropical islands that dot the water, Big Wave Bay, below. The hike is long, but it can be completed in a day, and one of the best parts is that the end of the trail descends and leads you into Big Wave Bay, which is warm nearly year-round and will allow you to take a dip and cool down after your long walk.
The Cinque Terre, Italy
The Cinque Terre are five fishing villages that dot the hills of the Ligurian Coast, above the Mediterranean Sea. These hills have several hiking paths that go through them, and hikers flock to the towns annually to take in the stunning sights and explore the colorful fishing villages, which all have unique characters.
Consider starting the hike at the Monterosso—then walk to Riomaggiore. This is one of the most hopping towns in terms of culture and dining. Once you get there, you can refuel with some gelato or cappuccino before you hike back. If you stay in La Spezia, a stop on the trail, you can hike the entire length and take a train back to your hotel or lodging. This is often considered the most beautiful part of Italy to wander through.
The Dingle Way, Ireland
If you picture the most stereotypically Irish countryside hike ever, you've basically imagined the Dingle Way—a trail you can't miss if you are a passionate hiker. 111 miles long, the Dingle Way goes in a loop, and anyone who hikes it will go through the most beautiful parts of County Kerry—starting at Tralee and through the town of Dingle, all the way to the highest peak on the Dingle Peninsula. This is not a short hike—it takes most people about 10 days. But to really be stepped the dark green, lush countryside of Ireland, the sheep that wander its hills, and the natural beauty of the landscape there, there is really no better way.
Enjoy the Best Hikes With Pike Trail Gear
If you want to experience any of the hikes above, you need to make sure you have the right hiking gear that keeps you comfortable and safe. For hiking gear that will protect you while simultaneously not breaking the bank, check out the selection at Pike Trail. Pike Trail specializes in research-backed, well-tested hiking equipment that is certain to keep you safe when you are on the go. Luckily, Pike Trail offers you hiking gear at prices you can afford, as well, so you don't have to let the need for shoes, supplies, or equipment interfere with your ability to explore.