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Top 10: world’s most epic trekking routes

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (June 29, 2015): Top 10 world’s greatest (multi-day) treks.

The most rewarding travel experiences are often done on foot. Our planet has a vast array of hiking trails to explore, some of them crisscrossing breathtaking scenery, awe-inspiring culture, or protected wildlife habitats. I hereby present you my selection of the top 10 best treks in the world. But beware, as the listed treks are for serious walkers only as all of them are long-distance, multiday adventures that require a sturdy pair of walking boots, a fit condition and a good amount of preparation.

There is more information below the slide show. Think I missed one? Share your favorite hike in the comments section, or take my poll below!

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10. BUNGLE BUNGLES PICANINNY GORGE TREK, AUSTRALIA 

The Bungle Bungles – surreal looking, red and black beehive domes that rise up from the grassland – are the most unusual natural feature of Western Australia, a region famed for its dramatic and remote scenery.  This fly-in/fly-out bushwalking adventure in the heart of World Heritage wilderness follows the winding Picaninny Gorge, with plenty of opportunity for rock-hopping, swimming in refreshingly cool waterholes and star-gazing along the way.

BUNGLE BUNGLES PICANINNY GORGE TREK, AUSTRALIA

BUNGLE BUNGLES PICANINNY GORGE TREK, AUSTRALIA


9. WEST COAST TRAIL, CANADA

The 46 mi (75 km) West Coast Trail is Canada’s most famous backpacking route, that takes around 5 to 7 days and winds through lush rain forest and deserted beaches. The trekking route is part of the ancient paths and paddling routes used for trade and travel by First Nations, and is only open from May 1 until September 30. The trail is still extremely rugged and requires a high level of fitness, knowledge and skill to complete.

WEST COAST TRAIL, CANADA

WEST COAST TRAIL, CANADA


8. NORTHERN DRAKENSBERG TREK, SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa’s most renowned trek is an amazing 40 mi (65 km) hike along the high edge of the Kwazulu Natal escarpment, a World Heritage site because to the diversity of plants and collection of San rock paintings they harbour. The hike offers incredible vistas all along the way and includes the Drakensberg’ most notable landmark: the spectacular Amphitheatre (which is accessed via chain ladders).

NORTHERN DRAKENSBERG TREK, SOUTH AFRICA

NORTHERN DRAKENSBERG TREK, SOUTH AFRICA


7. KALALAU TRAIL, HAWAII, USA

The incredibly scenic Kalalau trail runs for 11 mi (18 km) along our planet’s most spectacular stretch of coastline: the Na Pali Coast on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. It provides the only land access to the legendary Kalalau Valley. Expert hikers can complete the roundtrip trek in a day, but the average hiker prefers to camp along the trail and complete it in 2 days. But take care as some eroded areas are very narrow over cliffs that are hundreds of feet high.

KALALAU TRAIL, HAWAII, USA

KALALAU TRAIL, HAWAII, USA


6. THE PAINE CIRCUIT, CHILE

The W Trek in Chile’s Torres Del Paine National Park is Patagonia’s most famous hiking route. The 46 mi (75 km) trekking route passes through one of the world’s most scenic regions, famous for its jagged mountain peaks, massive glaciers, wind-swept plains and native beech forests. The hike takes around 4 to 5 days, and you sleep in huts (so-called refugios), so no need to carry tents or food, just your personal clothing.

THE PAINE CIRCUIT, CHILE

THE PAINE CIRCUIT, CHILE


5. GR20 CORSICA, FRANCE

The mythic GR 20 is a 112 mi (180 km) trail that traverses Corsica diagonally from north to south. Considered to be Europe’s hardest long-distance trek, the GR20 in Corsica is just one of many Grande Randonnees (big tours) that crisscross Europe. The northern part, from Calenzana to Vizzavona, is the most difficult part, because of the steep and rocky paths, but it is also considered more beautiful.

GR20 CORSICA, FRANCE

GR20 CORSICA, FRANCE


4. EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK, NEPAL

The 38 mi (62 km), 11 to 14 days Everest Base Camp Trek is Nepal’s most famous trek. The trail takes you through some of the most  spectacular mountain scenery on earth, while you also have a chance to experience the friendliness of the region’s (Khumbu) inhabitants, the Sherpas. Highlight is of course to stand face-to-face with the world’s highest mountain, the 29,000 ft (8850 m) Mountain Everest.

EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK, NEPAL

EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK, NEPAL


3. CLIMBING MOUNT KILIMANJARO, TANZANIA

Mount Kilimanjaro, with 19,331 ft (5,892 m) Africa’s highest peak, awaits you in Tanzania for the trip of a lifetime. The trek up the world’s tallest freestanding mountain takes you through five different ecosystems, from mossy jungles to arctic tundra. But while you do not have to be an expert climber to conquer the mountain (just regularly fit), do not take the exhausting climb – which takes as least 5 days – lightly.

CLIMBING MOUNT KILIMANJARO, TANZANIA

CLIMBING MOUNT KILIMANJARO, TANZANIA


2. INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU, PERU

No matter how many times you have seen a photograph of the iconic, mist-shrouded Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, nothing prepares you for sense of awe that this magical place elicits in its Andes mountain setting, clinging as it does to rock and jungle. And there’s nothing like the satisfaction of approaching Machu Picchu on one’s own two feet, which is why the incredibly scenic, 5-day Inca Trail should be on every one’s bucket list.

INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU, PERU

INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU, PERU


1. MILFORD TRACK, NEW ZEALAND

The 31 mi (50 km) Milford Track is an awe-inspiring hike  in the heart of Fiordland National Park. The trail takes you in 5 days to the majestic Milford Sound through a landscape that gives hobbits wet dreams, with lush rainforests, pristine rivers, crystal clear lakes, mighty cliffs, snow-capped summits, and silent fiords. Even on the frequent rainy days, the scenery is spectacular, with entire valley walls turning into thundering waterfalls.

MILFORD TRACK, NEW ZEALAND

MILFORD TRACK, NEW ZEALAND


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