If you are one of those hikers who are looking for challenging and beautiful long-distance hiking adventure, well look no further. Here we have our top ten best long-distance hiking trails, some of which are considered to be the longest hiking trail in the world.
1. South West Coast Path
The South West Coast Path is the longest hiking trail in the United Kingdom, starting from Minehead and ending at Poole, but you can start from Poole going to Minehead if you prefer that route. The trail is well-marked in both directions anyway so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding your way even if you hike it the other way around.
The trail was created by the coastguards patrolling the southwest peninsula, walking along the top of the cliffs to check every inlet for signs of smuggling activities. You can still see some of the coastguard’s old stone steps and walls in many places along the trail, along with some of their cottages. One highlight of the trail is the Jurassic Coast in East Devon and Dorset. Designated as a World Heritage Site, it features almost 100 miles of geological wonders over 180 million years old. Now, this is something which you won’t easily find in another hiking trail around the world so be sure to snap a photo with your hiking camera once you get to the place.
Nature lovers will love this trail as it passes through many nature reserves and Site of Special Scientific Interest. There isn’t a lot of wildlife in the area, but the few ones that are there are well-worth the sight. Hikers will be treated to sights of the world’s fastest bird, the Peregrine Falcon, flying overhead. Offshore there are seals and dolphins, and during summer months basking sharks can often be seen.
Distance: 630 miles
Duration: 40-45 days
2. Continental Divide Trail
Many thru-hikers hail the Continental Divide Trail as the “King of Trails” for a variety of reasons. From inspiring natural landscapes to age-old historical and cultural treasures, hikers will have more than their fill of adventure while traversing this route. The trail goes passes through five states, and each offers a different experience and diverse landscapes.
In Colorado, for instance, hikers will enjoy the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, with views of the South San Juan and La Garita Wildernesses and the half-million-acre Weminuche Wilderness with views of glacial valleys and the Needle Mountains. And in Wyoming, hikers will enjoy hiking through the Wind River Range with thousands of lakes and some of the largest glaciers in the country, as well as meadows and open plains stretching for miles and miles. And there’s no need to mention all the scenic landscapes you’ll find in the states of Idaho and Montana, all of which are guaranteed to take your breath away. Down in New Mexico, a different terrain greets hikers, from striking natural wonders like canyons, mountains, and mesas. The Rio Puerco wildlands, the El Malpais National Monument badlands, and the Big Hatchet Mountains Wilderness Study Area are also a must-see.
Distance: 3,100 miles
Duration: 120-150 days
3. Jordan Trail
The Jordan Trail is a national hiking trail in, where else but Jordan. It crosses the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan from Um Qais in the north to Aqaba and the Red Sea in the south. With such a long route ahead, hikers will be treated with diverse landscapes and breathtaking sceneries, as well as be introduced to Jordan’s important historical and cultural heritage.
Hiking through the Jordan Trail takes hikers from the rolling hills of the northern regions and the rugged cliffs that overlook the Jordan Rift Valley. Walking further, be prepared to be mesmerized by the rose-red structures of Petra and the towering mountains of Wadi Rum. The walk also takes you through the salty waters of the Dead Sea and the colorful corals of the Red Sea. Certain sections of the trail also allow hikers to explore light forests, vineyards, and olive groves and cave springs. From natural wonders to man-made structures like the Roman ruins in Umm Qays, Jordan certainly has something to offer every hiker.
Distance: 373 miles
Duration: 36 days
4. Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail
Hikers who are looking for long-distance hiking trails that offer more than forests and rolling hills will surely enjoy the Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail. Here, hikers are enjoined to traverse routes crossing four prefectural capital cities of Tokushima city, Kochi city, Matsuyama city, and Takamatsu, all to visit 88 temples scattered along the route.
This is a pilgrim’s route, so expect to be joined by many pilgrims from all over the world while you hike. However, you don’t have to be religious or even join any of the religious activities. Many of the people in this hike are nothing more than tourists who wish to see the temples. Regardless, be sure to show some respect for the pilgrims and the religious practices being conducted in the temples.
Distance: 745 miles
Duration: 56 days
Those who are looking for a truly enchanting hiking experience will find it in the Kungsleden trail. Passing through the Lapland mountain world, hikers will be able to enjoy dramatic views of verdant forests, dramatic peaks, and raging rivers and gently flowing streams. First established in the early 20th century, Kungsleden has been frequented by hikers from all over the world.
The trail passes through four national parks, so hikers will be crossing varied terrains and landscapes like deep valleys and high mountains. If you visit during the autumn months, you will be surrounded by vibrant colors which will make your trip much more delightful. The wide valleys and rolling hills also offer perfect spots to pitch your backpacking sleeping bag and tent, with high peaks and glacier-filled mountains for your backdrop.
Distance: 270 miles
Duration: 25 days
6. Annapurna Circuit
The Annapurna Circuit takes hikers through some of the remote mountains of Nepal. Here hikers will be passing through vastly changing mountain landscapes, barren lands and lush paddies and terraces carved out of the side of mountains. Sneak peeks of the high Himalayan Mountains can also be seen along the way, with the Thorung La being the highest point of the circuit.
But aside from the views, one more thing that most hikers remember about long-distance hiking trail is the locals. Their hospitality and friendliness will make the walk much more enjoyable. There are also charming teahouses along the way, offering not only beverages but room and meals as well so you can wash your hiking boots and hiking socks and other hiking apparel.
Distance: 187 miles
Duration: 17-24 days
7. Kokoda Track
The Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea is one of the most frequented hiking trails in the country. Historically, the trail was once the battlegrounds between Australian and Japanese troops which makes it even more interesting for hikers. But don’t worry, there are no bones and skeletons in the area. Instead, hikers will enjoy scenic jungle views with diverse flora and fauna, with scores of beautiful birds flying overhead or perched on trees.
Take note that the trail is not for the faint-hearted, because this is also one of the most challenging terrains in the world. Even experienced hikers will have their strength and stamina tested in this hike as they are met with extreme humidity during daytime and chilly nights with occasional torrential rains. Still, completing the hike is rewarding and one that you won’t easily forget.
Distance: 59 miles
Days: 6-12 days
8. Larapinta Trail
The Larapinta Trail in the Land Down Under is perhaps one of the most challenging long-distance hiking treks any hiker will ever do in his or her lifetime. The hike will take you through some very demanding terrains, from riverbeds to shrublands and outcrops and mountain ranges and other desert-like landscapes Central Australia is known for. If you’re planning to take on the Larapinta Trail, be sure that your body and mind are prepared for it.
Despite the seemingly rugged terrains, there are plenty of nice views and landscapes to offer. Scattered along the trail are rock formations, termite mounds, and other natural structures that make one think of Mars. There are also various flora and fauna along the way like Sturt’s Desert Rose, sand monitors, and dingoes. But perhaps the best one is that panoramic views which hikers will enjoy when reaching the top of Mount Sonder.
Distance: 138 miles
Days: 12-16 days
9. Grand Italian Trail
The Grand Italian Trail, being one of the longest hiking trails in the world, takes you through the different landscapes in one of the most picturesque countries in the world. Extending from Trieste into the Alps and to the Opening Spine of the Italian Peninsula before island hopping to Sicily and Sardinia, hikers will have their fill of Instagram-worthy sceneries.
The trail traverse varied landscapes and views, from spectacular jagged peaks to glacial tarns and enchanting valleys and more. Hikers will also be passing through ancient ruins and vineyards, as well as beautiful coasts and majestic snow-capped mountains.
Remember that the trail passes through numerous mountains and passes with varied terrains and temperature fluctuations, so planning is crucial when intending to hike the complete trail from start to finish. However, the trail is divided into several sections (some of which still require several days to complete) for those who don’t have the experience, stamina or time to walk the entire route.
Distance: 3,832 miles
Duration: 243 days
10. Te Araroa
Another one of the world’s longest hiking trail, the Te Araroa Trail showcases the diverse natural and cultural wonders of New Zealand’s landscapes, making it one hiking adventure worth adding to your hiking bucket list. Here you’ll be walking through coastal regions, forested ranges, farmlands, volcanoes, and various other types of terrains. However, one thing that captured the hearts of many hikers (aside from the wonderful sceneries) are the interactions that they have with the locals along the way.
The hiking trail goes through the northern and southern regions, both of which offer different amenities for hikers. For instance, in the northern regions, there are several campgrounds for hiking backpackers, while in the south there are backcountry huts where you can rest at the end of a long day of walking.
Distance: 1,864 miles
Duration: 120 days
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The world is filled with plenty of long-distance hiking trails for every adventurer to explore and share. Just remember that whenever you decide to tackle one or two of the longest hiking trail mentioned above, be sure that you have planned your trip properly to ensure that it is as safe as it is enjoyable.
longest hiking trail
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