The world out there is huge, and everyone wishes to explore it as much as possible. The adventure, freedom, and visual gratification that come with traveling are unparalleled. Some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, such as mountains, canyons, forests, prairies, and deserts, can only be reached by foot.
The thrill of putting on your hiking pants and heading outdoors for a hiking adventure is something everyone should experience. Be it for splendid views and insta-worthy photos or fresh air and solitude, you deserve to have a break, and it should be in one of the best hiking areas in 2022.
What Qualifies as the Best Area for Hiking
For an area to qualify as the best for a hike, it should have spectacular views and epic landscapes and be practical. The terrain should be walkable, without any thick foliage or swamps, and must be in an expansive space covering enough ground to explore without getting bored quickly.
Historical significance or being a state park while also being secluded are bonuses. Additionally, the area should have well-maintained trails as well.
Whether your ideal hike is a leisurely walk along a marine coast or treading challenging trails that run for miles, this list is a diverse collection of areas from all continents, ranging from national parks and mountain ranges to lakes and islands.
For each one, we have also recommended the most popular trails and linked a trusted guide that should be great to start with. Checking off any of these bucket-list items will make for an experience of a lifetime.
It’s also important to note that the trail is wheelchair accessible.
Before you embark on a steep trail at high altitude, we suggest looking into the 9 Best ABC Altimeter Watches for Hikers in 2022.
Top 21 of the World’s Best Hiking Areas in 2022
One of the most popular hiking trails, the Inca Trail in Lares, Peru, follows the path taken by the ancient Incas 650 years ago. From climbing ancient stone steps to hiking through a rainforest, this 4-day and 26 miles long trail spans old narrow paths into the gorgeous Peruvian countryside, Andean mountains, pristine valleys, waterfalls, and numerous Inca ruins that make for an unforgettable experience.
This trail is popularized for its iconic endpoint up north, Machu Pichu. Watching the sunrise or sunset there is a must, but a permit is required. Only 200 tourists are admitted a day, and bookings must be made four months before your trip. While this South American phenomenon is closed in February, the best times to enjoy this cultural history, scenic views, and solitude are May to September.
Mount Everest Base Camp, Nepal
A 75-mile loop around the Everest Base Camp (17,600 feet) via the Cho La Pass is one of the best treks in the world, offering a breathtaking view of the world’s highest summit. Besides unmatched scenery full of glaciers, renowned highlights include the Everest View Hotel (the highest hotel globally), a glimpse of the 22,349-foot Ama Dablam, the bustling Sherpa city of Namche Bazaar, and the six stunning Gokyo Lakes.
Although walking 80 miles in this thin air is challenging and takes over 12 days, the hike on these trails is worth it. Nepal also houses rich mountain cultures and Buddhist monasteries, such as the ancient Tengboche Monastery. Hence, most hikers stay in one of these monasteries while getting to know the Sherpa people.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA
Attracting around five million visitors each year, the Grand Canyon National Park is home to two billion years of geologic history and eleven layers of spectacular rock formations. The Bright Angel Trail is a popular hiking trail easily viewed over the Grand Canyon rim as it moves across a comprehensive plan before dropping 4380 feet into the Colorado River. However, if this 15.6 miles trip is an easy hike for you, the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim trail is a challenging experience attempted by less than 1% of the hikers. This trail covers a 14.6-mile, 5750-foot North Kaibab Trail to the bottom of the canyon, followed by a 9.6-mile trail and then a 4460 feet ascent onto the Bright Angel Trail.
Reservations to this national park must be made well in advance, and if you wish to lodge at the most coveted 1920s-era rustic cabins on the bank of the Bright Angel Creek, you need to enter the lottery at least 15 months before the trip.
Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Many pilgrimage routes, collectively known as the Camino or the Way of St. James, all lead to Santiago de Compostela, where the apostle James is believed to be buried. Embarking on any of these trails would give you excellent views of the Picos de Europa peaks and let you explore the heritage site of Lugo (the only city surrounded by an intact roman wall) and the lively market town of Melide. However, what sets Camino Primitivo (230 miles one way) apart from other trails is the ninth-century route taken by the original pilgrim, Alfonso II of Asturias.
The backcountry trails cross the 8000+ foot-high Cantabrian mountains while offering hikers the liberty to enjoy the actual pilgrim experience. Instead of the private Cantabrico Sonsagrada, we recommend staying in private or municipal hostels, or albergues especially meant for pilgrims.
Mount Kenya, Kenya
If you are not ready for the highest peak in Africa, the second highest (17,057 feet) one, i.e., Mount Kenya, offers a more personal and less-crowded experience than Mount Kilimanjaro. The best trail to its Point Lenana peak (16,354 feet) is the Chogoria Route (32 miles) which takes hikers through the magnificent Gorges valley. This valley offers some of the most spectacular views, waterfalls over cliffs, impressive terrain, marvelous rock sculptures, and diverse wildlife like Cape Buffalo and elephants. Additionally, the bamboo rainforests here are as stunning as Scottish moors.
The driest months, i.e., January, February, and September, are optimal for the hiking trails in Mount Kenya. Besides the Chogoria route to Point Lenana peak, experienced hikers may be more interested in viewing the sunrise from the mountain’s twin summits: the 17,057-foot Batian and 17,021-foot Nelion.
Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
You may have seen the incredible landscapes of New Zealand in the Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit trilogies, but its lush rainforests, creeks of glacial water, and stunning ridgelines all look better in real life. New Zealand contains thirteen national parks, of which the renowned Kepler Track passes through the Fiordland National Park.
Suppose you are looking for moderate hikes in Oceania. In that case, this 37.3-mile-long trail beginning at Lake Te Anau has you climb through tussock grasslands to 4600 feet high Luxmore Saddle and offers you awe-inspiring views of the Murchison Mountains (1400 meters above sea level). This latter view is life-changing, hence the nickname ‘adventure above the clouds’ given to this hiking trail.
While you may stay at the luxurious Luxmore Hut at the top of the park for your 3 to 4-day hike, you need to book a permit for the October to April trekking season well in advance.
Yosemite National Park, USA
Known for its glorious sights of the Yosemite valley, panoramic views of the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountain range, and giant sequoia trees, Yosemite National Park is the most popular national park in the US. While that may lead to overcrowding, securing one of the 225 allotted day-hike permits through the lottery system in March is the best course of action.
One of the most dangerous hikes in the 14 miles Half long Dome here, a perfect challenge for experienced hikers. Beginning at the Merced River, it passes the Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls until the trees disappear at 8000 feet, replaced by a vertical walking path to the peak lined by steel handrails. This vertical grunt across bald granite often utilizes cables, wooden slots, and other safety tips to ensure protection.
You might even get the chance to set sight upon the majestic elk!
Although training for Yosemite’s trails is a challenge, the glacial-sculpted granite domes, meadows, thundering waterfalls, green mountain tops, and delightful rocks make it easy.
Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile
Located in the southernmost region of Chile, the W Circuit in Torres Del Paine National Park is the best way to experience the diverse landscapes and striking granite pillars of this park. It is thus one of the most popular trails to exist. This 37+ miles long path is shaped like a ‘W,’ easily identifiable by the glacial lakes and rugged towers of rock, and includes a twelve and a half miles long foot hike to the base of the towers, a 360-degree view of the Paine Massif from the French Valley, and a gorgeous sighting of the Gray Glacier.
Given the skyrocketing visitation numbers and unpredictable weather in Patagonia, Chile, we recommend making reservations for April-May or September-October well in advance, especially if you wish to stay at the luxurious hotel, Tierra Patagonia.
Panoramic views of the magnificent mountains of Dolomites, equipped with sky-high peaks, alpine meadows, lush woods, and pristine lakes, are sights to behold. The well-known Puez-Odle Altopiano trail begins at the top of the Dantercepies cable car and spans 9 miles as it passes the Sassolungo massif (coral reef) and the iconic Sella Towers.
Besides the fantastic vistas of the Dolomites mountains, the delicacies served at the Refugios Puez must be tried at least once. This trail system is wide, well-marked, and easy to follow, taking an average person 6 to 9 hours to finish this.
Walking along the edge of a continent with nothing between you and Antarctica except a blue sea (Tasman) is exactly what the Three Capes track across Tasmania in Australia is. Carving through the wilderness of the Tasman National Park, this hike begins with a boat ride to the trailhead from Port Arthur, which housed the worst criminals in the British Empire in the 1830s.
Besides sheer cliffs that plunge into the sea, the thousand-foot high dolerite column of Capes Pillar, and luxurious amenities of the National Park, exciting wildlife such as wombats, wallabies, echidnas, fur seals, and migratory whales welcome you into this 30 miles long trail. You stay in comfortable, eco-friendly cabins for four days and three nights and hike through dense forests and wild bays to recharge yourself.
Zion National Park, Utah, USA
Nestled in Utah’s southwest corner, Zion National Park is visited by more than four million visitors annually. They have overwhelmingly positive things to say about its dizzying heights, narrow ledges, beautiful rock formations in the apricot-colored Zion Canyon, and other stunning views. Since it is hectic in the summer, spring or fall is the best time to visit.
The most popular trail at this park is the Angels Landing which is not for the faint of heart. Although it is only five miles long, a 1500-feet elevation gain, coupled with the iconic ‘Step of Faith’ (a narrow portion of the trail with a significant step and long drop-offs on both sides), makes this hike a mental battle worth remembering.
Mount Toubkal and the Atlas Mountains, Morocco
Found in Morocco’s gorgeous High Atlas Mountains, Mount Toubkal is North Africa’s highest peak at 13,671 feet, and the spectacular climb to its summit begins from the lively village of Imlil or the city of Marrakech before crossing a dry river bed and then climbing up towards the shrine at Sidi Chamharouch. Thanks to a parking area at the Mount for base camps at the Mount and modest accommodations in the village, the hiking trails here are accessible to everyone regardless of skill level.
Although this 1 to the 3-day trail is quite challenging, the Moroccan cuisine, the hammam treatment rooms, the mountainside yoga classes, and the stunning views of the mountains and rock formations will have you dying for your next visit.
Paro and Thimphu, Bhutan
Passing through splendid rhododendron and old-growth pine forests, ancient villages, and some jaw-droppingly beautiful dzongs (fortresses), the Druk Path trek between the two towns of Paro and Thimphu in Bhutan is a trail you must embark on in Asia. Best done from March to June or September to November can be customized between four and six days.
It has something to offer everyone. If you’re a history lover, the Bhutanese dzongs have been important places of worship, the residence of important people, and defense structures. For scenery lovers, a glimpse of the highest unclimbed peak in the world, the Gangkhar Puensum (24,840 feet), is worth capturing. However, this steep slope of 4000 meters is best known for the mesmerizing lakes nearby, such as Jimiling Lake, with large trout swimming in its clear waters.
Cerro Fitz Roy, Patagonia, Argentina
A noteworthy rival to Chile’s Torres del Paine, the Monte Fitz Roy in Patagonia, Argentina is one of the most sparkling mountains in the world and the tallest in this region, looking over the turquoise-colored lake, Laguna de Los Tres. The 13.3 miles long Fitz Roy hike, with an elevation gain of 2835 feet, begins at the El-Chalten trailhead, at the end of St. Martin street, and passes several snow summits, gorgeous lakes, wide-ranging river valley views, forests, and other alluring sights.
This moderate hike takes between 8 to 10 hours to finish. For accommodation, there are several local hotels and campsites with a designated parking area if you want to set up a tent.
Mont Blanc, Switzerland, France & Italy
If you wish to experience mountain living, the ascent and descent around the 15,781 foot Mont Blanc (highest peak in Western Europe) lets you explore mountain towns like the Chamonix and Courmayeur while spotting fauna such as wild alpine goats and marmots. The best thing about this luxurious hike is that it passes through three different countries.
Not only do you get to taste the French, Italian, and Swiss cuisine, you get the beautiful views of a wide variety of valleys, meadows, rhododendron forests, and high Alpine peaks. Taking 11 to 12 days, this 106-mile long Tour du Mont Blanc is an easy trail because of various starting points, route options, public transportation, cable cars, mountain huts, and five-star hotels. All levels of hikers can customize their experience.
Vancouver Island, Canada
Vancouver Island offers many wilderness and maritime experiences, one of which is the 46 miles long West Coast Trail that takes six to eight days to complete. Flanked by dense rainforests on one side and deep blue ocean on the other, this trail includes jaw-dropping waterfalls, beach treks, and bogs that trace the footsteps of the First Nation ancestors.
From wading through fast-flowing rivers and extremely muddy stretches to scaling moss-covered ladders, this trail is an immersive experience in nature. A shorter 3-5 day alternative begins at the Nitinaht Village trailhead if that is too much for you. However, reservations to avail of the limited spots for either must be made at the start of the year, preferably from May to September.
Known as the ‘Roof of Africa,’ this 5895m high dormant volcano is Africa’s tallest peak and one of the best mountain hikes in the world. With unique flora, beautiful landscapes, and an unforgettable view that is enhanced at sunrise, this mountain is at the top of any hiker’s bucket list.
Taking between 5 to 9 days to hike to the summit depending on fitness level and acclimatization rate; the distance depends upon the route taken. However, the popular Machame Route known as the Whiskey Route, is a beautiful but challenging 37 miles long trail.
Fethiye to Antalya, Turkey
If history fascinates you, the Lycian way (356 miles one way) explores Greek, Roman, and Christian history for 29 days as it moves around Southern Turkey’s Tekke Peninsula coast from Fethiye to Antalya. Besides the stone roads in the ancient town of Sidyma and mule roads in the ghost town of Kaya, this Asian trail also contains the rock tombs of Myra, the seaside amphitheater of Antiphellos, and the eternally burning flames of Chimera.
This former kingdom of Lycia has the best hikes in spring and fall, made easy by numerous affordable accommodations available in the cities and villages along its trails. If the historical remnants, rock tombs, and centuries-old ruins are not reasons enough, cool dips into the Mediterranean are rejuvenating at the end of the day.
Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA
Like any other national park in the US, the Grand Teton National Park in the West is also crowded with visitors from mid-July to September. With exciting wildlife such as grizzlies, moose, bison, and black bears, and views such as the Autumn golden aspens, wildflower meadows with western coneflower, paintbrush, and lupine in July, this national park is a popular hub for anyone.
The Teton Crest Trail is a 40-mile trail that passes this national park and two forests: the Bridger-Teton national forest and the Caribou-Targhee national forest. Additionally, it traverses the Jedediah Smith Wilderness and historic districts like Menor’s Ferry and Mormon Ferry, attracting history enthusiasts. This three-to-five day hike seldom drops below 8000-feet and provides stunning views of the Tetons throughout. This phenomenal park has everything from water activities in the Snake River to hidden waterfalls and majestic rock formations.
Robberg Peninsula, South Africa
The sublime Robberg Peninsula near Plettenberg Bay in South Africa is an excellent trail for moderate hikes along the coast. The Garden Route, a stretch of the south-eastern coast, is one of the best hikes in Africa with various culinary, cultural, and adventurous activities. Examples include golf, walking with elephants, whale watching, and wine tasting.
This circular path along the peninsula is available as three trails. While the longest trail is 5.6 miles long (4-5 hours), the 3.7 miles medium trail covers all the essential experiences in 3 hours. From rocky coastlines to enormous seal colonies and dunes, this sublime hiking experience is unlike any other.
Skogafoss to Thorsmork, Iceland
This list is incomplete without any trails in the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’ i.e., Iceland, full of active volcanoes, stunning glaciers, rock formations, black sand beaches, waterfalls, and much more natural beauty. Among the countless trails in this hiking area, the 15.5 miles long Fimmvörðuháls trail between Skogafoss and Thorsmork combines the best of Iceland and is, therefore, our top recommendation.
Ascending past 26 waterfalls, collectively making the ‘Waterfall Way,’ and between the doorsteps of two giant volcanoes (Eyjafjallajökull and Katla), besides two glaciers and three other unique landscapes, this trail is a magical combination of lush and green land and ice caps. After hiking for 8 to 10 hours on these trails, you can rest in the remote, rustic, and warm communal huts instead of the expensive hotels.
Why Should You Go On A Hike?
Life is too short to be nestled inside your home. Outdoor recreation changes your outlook on life, and once you hike on any of these hiking trails, you will no longer be the same person. While all these trails look mesmerizing in pictures, getting to explore one first-hand is a different experience altogether.
We hope this list helps you find trails that you look forward to going on. If you are new to this, start off with an easy hike but if you have done this a lot, feel free to try something like the rim to rim trail in the Grand Canyons. Happy traveling.