The New Year brings anticipation for adventure and change, and an inspired zest for life, so it’s the perfect time to plan a hike. Hiking challenges your body with workout that’s a mix of balance and strength; it refreshes your mind and limok out one (or more!) in 2015.
1. Mount Kilimanjaro
This is the highest peak on the African continent with breathtaking views of montane forest and animals such as elephants, leopards, and antelope. It’s located in Northern Tanzania near a town called Moshi. There are six trekking routes to the summit as well as more intense mountaineering-style routes. If you just want to hike for a day or night, you can take advantage of the ones offered on the Shira plateau. It’s best to go between December and February when it’s warm.
2. Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is a nestled within the Andes Mountains in Peru. The structures in the mountain range were built by the Incas and were called “Lost Cities” until it was found in 1911. While you hike the Inca Trail, you’ll see a mixture of temples, baths, fields, and hillsides. The full hike takes you from Cusco to Machu Picchu and you can make it a day hike or camp overnight to break it up.
3. Pike’s Peak
Pike’s Peak, dubbed America’s Mountain, is nestled in Colorado Springs. It offers a wide range of hiking from the more challenging mountaineering to more leisurely strolls. The Barr Trail is ideal for a more experienced hiker, while the Crystal Reservoir is the best place for a self-guided stroll. Other routes for a more relaxed pace take place in the North Slope Recreation area. If you like alpine scenery, this is the hike for you.
4. Blue Mountains
Is Australia on your bucket list? Visit Sydney in 2015 and hike in the Blue Mountains. You can choose from a full day or half day hike and enjoy views of the Valley of the Waterfalls below the rainforest canopy, the Ruined Castle rock formation, and a view of Grose Valley among many other sights.
5. Vermont’s Long Trail
This is the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the United States. As the name suggests, the trail runs along the length of Vermont, which is about 272 miles. The best time to hike is between mid-June and October. It traverses summits such as Killington Peak and Glastenbury Mountain and coincides with the Appalachian Trail for 100 miles.
6. The Appalachian Trail
If you’re looking for a diverse trail hiking experience, look no further. The Appalachian Trail winds through 14 states, six national parks, and eight national forests. You’ll get to take in views of Mount Washington, Stratton Mountain, Mount Greylock, Killington Ski Resort, and the Taconic Highlands among lots of other natural beauty. Peak season is during the fall and the 2,180-mile trail offers all ranges of hiking terrain.
7. Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls in New York offers many beautiful trails including the Niagara River. Check out the Niagara Gorge Trailhead Center for information on all the routes. Some of the best hiking is based out of Whirlpool State Park, which has an entrance north of Niagara Falls. The hikes range from one-hour easy routes at the Great Gorge Scenic Overlook to three-hour routes with boulder hopping at Whirlpool State Park.
8. Tok Tokkie Trails
Located in a desert in Namibia, Africa, the Tok Tokkie Trails offer an unusual terrain with sand dunes. The trails include seven to eight hours of walking with expert guidance. In addition to the hiking, you can enjoy wildlife such as Tok Tokkie Beetles, the NamibRand Nature Reserve, and camel thorn trees.
9. Pacific Northwest Trail
The Pacific Northwest Trail runs about 1,200 miles and offers views of the Rocky Mountains, Selkirk Mountains, North Cascades, and Olympic Mountains among others. In addition, it crosses through three national parks and seven national forests. It runs from the Continental Divide in Montana to the Pacific coast of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. The trail runs through small communities in addition to the peaks and valleys along the way.
10. Superior Trail
Located in Minnesota, the 277-mile trail offers a mix of bluffs, streams, cliffs, beaver dams and forests. The Superior Trail offers up to 30 trailheads, so you have many options for types of hikes to embark on. The routes range from weekend trips to month-long excursions. Expect to see moose, beavers and views of the Apostle Islands.
11. Long Range Traverse
Located in Newfoundland, Canada, this trek encompasses 23 miles, which takes three to five days. The hike offers five campsites that are each a day’s hike apart. Along the way, you’ll encounter views of the Ten Mile Pond, Baker Brook Pond and the summit at Gros Morne Mountain.
12. Queen Charlotte Track
The Queen Charlotte Track takes a route through the hills of Marlborough Sounds. If you’re looking for a hike with views of bays, coves and shorelines, this is the hike for you. The track goes from Ship Cove to Anakiwa and can be walked in three to five days. Plan your trip during the peak season from November to May.
13. Kalalau Trail
You can’t go wrong with Hawaiian hiking. The Kalalau Trail runs from Ke’e Beach to Kalalau Valley and 22 miles round-trip in three to five days. The coastal hike boasts views of Na Pali Coast, Kalalau Beach and the Pacific Ocean. The trail includes a healthy mix of muddy slopes and steep trails to challenge your hiking skills.
14. Yosemite Grand Traverse
The Yosemite Grand Traverse, located in California, ranges from Post Peak Pass to Tuolumne Meadows. It’s only open for hiking between mid-July and mid-September, so plan to visit in one of those timeframes. The entire hike includes 60 miles round-trip, which takes an estimated six to seven days. Views include Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sierra Nevada peaks, Merced River, and of course, Yosemite National Park.
15. Lavaux Vineyard Terraces: The Swiss Wine Route
Wine lovers, take note. Lavaux Vineyard Terraces offer a hilly route through the Vines of Lutry. It’s best to plan this hike between March and November. Lavaux is one of the largest vineyards in Switzerland, and the trek winds through the views of St. Saphorin, wine cellars, pubs and the beautiful Swiss hillside.
16. South Kaibab Trail
Arizona’s South Kaibab Trail starts at the top of the Grand Canyon and winds its way down into it. After you hike to Skeleton Point, you can take in panoramic views. The dirt trail is defined and offers little shade, so plenty of water and sun protection.
17. Fernando de Noronha
Fernando de Noronha in Brazil offers five main trails and about 12 hours of hiking. The island trails offer a variety of lengths with swim spots, panoramic views, and spinner dolphins along the way.
18. Snowman Trek
The Snowman Trek in Bhutan boasts over 200 miles of trails and is best to visit between April and October. The trek takes about 25 days total and takes you through jungles, mountain passes and meadows. This hike in the Himalaya is considered to be one of the most difficult treks in the world and reaches an altitude of about 18,480 feet.
Located in Chile and Argentina, Patagonia offers hikes with glaciers, marshlands, meadows, cliffs, and glacial lakes. Hiking is offered in many spots such as the Torres del Paine and Los Glaciares national parks. Expect to see steppes and pioneered routes as you make your way through the various hikes offered in Patagonia.
20. MacLehose Trail
This 62-mile trail in Hong Kong is divided into ten sections. It includes beaches, tropical mountains and Tai Mo Shan. It takes about five to six days to complete the trail, and it best hiked from November to March. The trail runs through New Territories and is complete with Hong Kong countryside views.