From lush verdant landscapes to perched and challenging steep terrains, nature lovers will love it all. Here is a unique list of some of the amazing hiking and trekking destinations you need to consider.
Cape Breton Highlands National Park –Canada
Cape Breton Highlands National Park is an absolute backpacker’s paradise located on Northern Cape Breton Island in the Nova Scotia province. The 948 km2 park is adorned with virgin luxuriant landscapes, enthralling waterfalls, seacoasts, steep rust-colored cliffs, and deep river canyons. The beautiful fauna is equally captivating and blends perfectly in this beguiling wilderness-moose, bald eagles, pilot whale, you name it! There are several hiking trails ideal for short family walks, amateur to professional hikers. You surely do not want to miss the ‘Hike the Highlands festival’ which is organized in September.
Cascade El Limón -Dominican Republic
If the Dominican Republic is famous among party animals and beachgoers, then it is no less among backpackers. Just some 2 hours away from Miami, and 8 hours from most of the European countries, this tropical island boasts some of the incredible waterfalls, lush green jungle, sublime beaches with lambent coral reefs, and not to mention some amazing hiking trails! One of the most sought-after hiking trails is the Cascade El Limón– an enthralling waterfall of 52 meters tumbling down a turquoise waterhole. Located in the Samana peninsula, the hiking trail involves some muddy, and sludgy terrains with rivers flowing alongside. You can opt for a horse ride to reach the waterfalls, but if you’re into the adventurous spirit then hiking with a guide will be advisable. Once you reach your destination, you will be rewarded with the stupendous view of the El Limón waterfall and the refreshing feeling when you plunge into the water basin.
Tiger’s Nest Monastery- Bhutan
Ready to enter in the realm of Buddhist mysticism? The Tiger’s Nest Monastery also known as Paro Taktsang is a sacred Himalayan Buddhist site with an impressive Buddhist monastery perched on a cliff of 900 meters of the upper Paro valley in Bhutan. Tiger Nest’s Monastery is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after attractions for travelers and tourists alike. You can opt to ride a horse or simply hike straight to the temple accompanied by a local guide. The trail can be challenging especially with the muddy, steep and rocky track. Along your way, you will find a café which serves local snacks, and a waterfall until you reach the entrance to the monastery.
Mount Fuji- Japan
Besides, its gorgeous cherry blossoms, mythological beasts, hot spring, sushi, and shiny samurai, Japan is also known for its towering mountains and snow-capped summits such as the majestic Mount Fuji. This sacred snow-capped peak is a hiking hotspot which last erupted in 1707-1708. It is the highest and iconic mountain in Japan measuring 3776 meters bestowed with wondrous views. Interestingly, Japanese mountains have cultural significance to the locals. It is believed that if you see the red Mount Fuji you will live a long and wealthy life! So if you wish to get lucky, then get some breath-taking glimpses of the mountain in the morning before it retreats back behind the clouds. For hikers, the ideal period to climb the mountain is in early July to mid-September when the trails and facilities are open. There are notably ten stations and various hiking trails such as the Yoshida, Subashiri, Gotemba, and Fujinomiya.
The Lycian Way-Turkey
If you are seeking for a wild trail bestowed with some bewildering ancient ruins, pristine beaches, and virgin pine forests in Turkey, then you need to choose the Lycian Trail in southern part of Turkey. The trail stretches about 509 km from Fethiye to Antalya (Turkey’s first long-distance walking trail). As you walk you will find the ancient ruins of Olympos and ancient footpaths which can sometimes be challenging. The trek starts at Oludeniz, which is 2 hours from Dalaman airport, and it ends near the Antalya international airport. While it can get pretty intense and hot while trekking in this area, there are many perks which await patient trekkers. Think turquoise refreshing waters of the Mediterranean Sea, where you can swim, and kayak. You can also find wild camping areas, hostels, and restaurants over here.
Note: It is advisable to trek in spring or autumn (February-May, or September-November).
Bavarian Alps- Germany
Germany is popularly known for its chilled beers, trendy cars, magnificent castles, and its capital Berlin, but it is also home to luscious forests, mountains, and impressive landscapes! Avid German hikers have a soft corner for the Bavarian Alps with its eclectic range of hiking trails-over 800! Among these thrilling trails, the Hell Valley Gorge commonly known as the Höhentalklamm is quite popular. It is a 1000-meter long gorge blessed with cascading waterfalls, raging streams, and scenic cliffs. There are electrically lit tunnels to make your hiking trip easier. This hiking trail is open from May to October only.
Loire Valley Trail-France
France is an alluring tourist destination for lovers of music, art, literature, French gastronomy, and shopping, but it is equally a favorite destination for nature lovers. Backpacking in France will lead you to discover its well-kept treasures from its epic hiking trails, astounding castles, to its splendid mountain peaks and luxurious landscapes. Consider hiking the ‘Garden of France’-Loire Valley which boasts elegant historical town of Amboise, laid-back villages, verdant vineyards, forests and enchanting gardens. No wonder this little piece of paradise has attracted great artists like Leonardo da Vinci. You can opt to explore the vivid landscapes by riding a bicycle, but hiking will allow you to get immersed in its totality.
Mount Teide-Canary Islands
Tenerife is one of the seven main islands of the Canary archipelago which provides backpackers with a diverse choice of hiking trails. The most recommended one is its highest mountain peak- the towering Mount Teide with 3, 718 meters situated in the center of the island. There are many legends regarding this much-revered crater. You can access the Teide National Park via several paths, including one starting at Montaña Blanca, which is highly challenging due to its progressive change in altitude. It can take up to 6 hours to reach Altavista shelter, ideal for hikers. You can stay for the night until the next morning to reach the Teide crater.
Table Mountain- Cape Town
Cape Town is an ideal spot for adrenaline junkies and high spirited travelers. With its diverse population, interesting history, bustling towns and vast captivating landscapes, the Mother city offers hikers its iconic Table Mountain. This flat-topped mountain has numerous awe-inspiring hiking trails, including the beautiful Table Mountain National Park inhabiting some endemic flora and fauna of the region. One of the most recommended hiking trails is the Platteklip Gorge which can last for two to three hours. This beautiful trail begins at the Tafelberg road and goes up to the Plattekip signboard. From there, you will find the meandering paths leading to a ravine and eventually to the summit of the Table Mountain.
Mount Kilimanjaro- Tanzania
As fascinating and challenging as it may seem, Mount Kilimanjaro reserves an experience of extremity-think low-based lush cultivated lands and high deserted terrains. You will trek in the hot to cold temperature, and climb some occasional uneven and steep paths with the high altitude making it difficult to breathe. Yet, the trek is a once in a lifetime experience. You won’t get disappointed with its intimidating geological features, and stunning vistas. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, and measure about 4,900 meters. It has three volcanic cones namely: Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. The trekking trip can take up 5 to 9 days with 6 main routes up to the mountain peak.
Note: You will have to climb with a registered tour operator.