Yosemite Grand Traverse — Yosemite National Park, United States

Just a couple of hours from San Francisco – and it’s very large, very accessible international airport – lies Yosemite National Park.

California’s crown jewel – and arguably the crown jewel of the US Park Service – Yosemite is an amazing amalgamation of water, rock, grasslands and forest. It features climbing, fishing, bird watching, swimming, camping, sweeping sights and – you guested it – hikes.

Of particular interest in the Yosemite Grand Traverse, a nearly 100 kilometer hike that takes most people between 4 and 6 days to complete.

During the venture, hikers are treated to spectacular sights (including a trip to the top of the legendary Half Dome), breath-taking (literally) heights of more than 3,500 meters, crystal clear lakes and refreshing alpine vegetation.

The trek concludes amidst the jaggedly jaw-dropping granite spires of the Sierra Mountains.

Milford Track – Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

Possibly New Zealand’s most famous hike, the Milford Track takes hikers from the shores of Lake Te Anau to the cliffs of the memorable Milford Sound, one of the most spectacular bodies of water human eyes have had the privilege of laying eyes on.

Though most of the trail is fabulously manicured and reasonably graded, the weather in Fiordland National Park is notoriously nasty—the area can see over 9 meters of rain per year!

With that in mind, try to schedule your visit to Milford between November and April. Not only will precipitation levels will be at their lowest during this time, but the southern wind that carries the icy Antarctic cold will be less apparent.

Don’t forget to bring your camera for this one—the waterfalls, wild life and generally mountainous scenery are truly worth capturing.

And more word to the wise—bring bug spray. Sandflies are, quite literally, the worst creatures on Earth. 

Tongariro Crossing – Tongaririo National Park, New Zealand

If the Milford Track isn’t New Zealands most famous hike, then surely the honor belongs to the world-famous Tongariro Crossing.

This in an incredible and highly recommended venture for serious hikers, photographers and outdoor lovers – BUT – it is an absolute MUST for fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie series—You can hike to the very peak of Mount Doom boys and girls!

The LOTR experience aside, this is simply an epic, epic adventure.

Jagged peaks, sun-swept views, emerald lakes, barren moonscapes, lush forest…we can go on and on.

The whole hike will take 6-8 hours depending on your preferred pace and challenge even the most veteran hikers so pack plenty of water (and a lunch if you’d like).

Bring a flashlight and start your adventure before the sun starts to rise, that way you can reach some amazing viewpoints right when the sun starts to rise. Prepare yourself for some amazing blend of reds, oranges, yellows and purples as night turns to day.

Final piece of advice?—start at the eastern trailhead rather than the western trailhead.

Coumshingaun – County Waterford, Ireland

Of the hikes on our list, this is by far the least known – in fact, it’s not even the most popular hike in Ireland – but it’s under-the-radar standing is very much a part of Coumshingaun’s appeal.

Short and sweet, this is a modest, eight kilometer hike that takes adventurers into a natural stone amphitheater that envelops the crystal clear Corrie Lake.

Formed by massive glaciers during the last ice age, Corrie Lake is as pristine as it is cold, which is to say—very. If you plan on sneaking your way down to the water make sure you have a good towel and dry clothes close by…you’re going to need them.

Bask in awe as stone cliffs rise 350 meters straight up from the water’s edge—if it wasn’t a death sentence, this would surely be Ireland’s greatest diving board.

The King’s Trail – Sweden

For lack of a more eloquent way to say it, the King’s Trail in Sweden is an absolute BEAST of a hike.

450 kilometers in total, the King’s Trail takes planning, perseverance, and (no surprise here) time.

Laden with meadows, rivers, bridges, glaciers, forests and everything else you could probably imagine the King’s Trail is well known for being one of the most beautiful in the world.

It’s also one few great hikes on the planet where trekkers can safely venture into the Arctic Circle and camp under the midnight sun!

Grand Canyon Hike – Grand Canyon National Park

It took millions of years for the Colorado River to carve the Grand Canyon out of the scorched Arizona earth, but it will only take you a matter of days to complete the spectacular Grand Canyon Hike.

Why?—because the Grand Canyon Hike takes place whenever and wherever you want it to.

Whether you have a single day or a full week, the Grand Canyon is chalk-full of spectacular hikes for all timetables and fitness levels.

This is one of the most breath-taking creations of nature on the planet—don’t miss it.

Fitz Roy Trek, Patagonia – Parque Nacional Los Glaciers, Argentina

Enjoy a wildly diverse landscape featuring Alpine forests, deep glacial ravines, snowcapped peaks and pristine bodies of water as you make your way up, down and back up across some of Argentina’s most beautiful glaciers.

Similar to the King’s Trail, this is a hike you’ll want to plan in detail before setting out. There are a number of different paths and parts to the Fitz Roy Trek and you may not want to do them all form start to finish.  

Bonus Treks!

A couple of bonus vetures for the brave!

Croagh Patrick – County Mayo, Ireland

A gruelingly steep hike up one of Ireland’s most famous peaks, Croagh Patrick is not for the faint of heart though people of all ages and abilities make the pilgrimage to its peak every year.

Rising nearly 800 meters in the sky, this trek isn’t challenging for its vertical climb or distance – people can complete the hike in a single day – it’s challenging for its poor footing, steep angles and crowded paths.  

Queen Charlotte Track – Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand

A Kiwi-legend and gem of the norther tip of the famous South Island, the Queen Charlotte Track takes hikers up, down and all around the emerald and sapphire waters of the Queen Charlotte Sound, one of New Zealand’s oceanic gems.

Hikers can fish, camp and otherwise enjoy all the QCT has to offer virtually unmolested by other hikers.

Even though the weather in Marlborough (the region in which the QCT) resides in traditionally mild, make sure you pack quality gear as the weather can rapidly deteriorate at any point during the 4-6 days the trek requires. 

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