These epic hikes will take you to some of the world’s most beautiful places.
I would really like to know where people find the time to do even one of these. Who are the bosses that give three months off at a time? How are the benefits? Are they accepting applications?
If you have the time, though, and truly love the outdoors—let’s be honest, a lot of people just tolerate it for the hunting and the fishing—then one of these long distance hikes will take you to some of the most breathtaking spots on earth. We’ve listed one for each continent, in case you want something a little different. You could also try for the grand slam, if you happen to be Richard Branson.
The Triple Crown, USA
The continental U.S. is home to three great distance trails: the Pacific Crest, the Continental Divide, and the legendary Appalachian. It’s tough to say which deserves a spot on this list, but it also doesn’t have to be a choice. Fewer than a hundred hikers have claimed this triple crown, but distance treks are about sustained dedication anyway. So why not do all three?
The Great Himalaya Trail
This incomplete trail is a “greatest hits” of several known and unknown trails winding through the Himalayas. Much of the Great Himalaya Trail is already charted, but research is ongoing to find the lesser known routes that will piece them together. That is to say, the trail already exists: the Western world just hasn’t mapped it yet.
Bibbulmun Track, Australia
This is another relatively new long distance trail. It was first proposed in 1972, and wasn’t completed until 1998. Since then it has rapidly become the preeminent Australian trek. Hikers are probably attracted to its remoteness. The Bibbulman Track hugs the southwest edge of barely populated western Australia, traversing dry forests, river valleys, grasslands, and coasts. A prohibition against wheeled vehicles ensures that the trail stays as close to pristine as possible.
More from Wide Open Spaces:
The Way of St. James, Spain & France
This one is a little different from the others, in that it carries you through some beautiful—but thoroughly settled—country. It doesn’t even have to involve camping, since an efficient hiker can make it from one hostel to the next in a single day. There are some challenging stretches as you cross the Pyrenees, but The Way of St. James is all about seeing the history of France and Spain as you make your way from Le Puy en Velay in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
Sendero de Chile, Chile
The Sendero de Chile was conceived as a 100th birthday gift for the nation of Chile in 2010. The trail is still under construction, though much of it is composed of existing trails. When it’s completed, it will be the definitive distance trek in South America. Out of all of these trails, the Sendero de Chile may be the most diverse once it’s complete, taking you through Patagonian prairie, Valdivian cloud forest, and the heart of the Andes.
Drakensberg Grand Traverse, South Africa
As long distance hikes go, this is a pretty short one at just 220 to 240 km. There’s no “official” Drakensberg trail, but there are waypoints you need to check in at in order to have completed the hike. The climb will take you to the highest peaks of the Drakensberg range, above 10,000 feet.
So whether or not a trip be specifically to hunt or fish you can still go explore the outdoors on these amazing trails across the globe.