Deb thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and is a Search & Rescue volunteer and writer living in Flagstaff, AZ.
See The World On Foot
As a long-distance backpacker with an Appalachian Trail thru-hike under my feet and many other treks on my ever-growing bucket list, I love reading about the footpaths of the world, especially those that ramble on for hundreds, even thousands, of miles.
Seeing and experiencing life on foot is a passion of mine that percolated during my college years while hiking New Hampshire's White Mountains and bubbled to the surface with a vengeance about a decade later. To me, there's nothing better than wearing out the soles of my hiking boots on long and sometimes rugged paths.
Are you like that, too?
Given that I'm always interested in learning and daydreaming about long-distance walks (a.k.a hikes, backpacking trips, treks, tramps and journeys), I thought I'd put together a compilation of some of the world's premier footpaths, with a website or two for gathering additional information about each trail. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, so if you have a favorite walk not included here, be sure to add it to the list near the bottom of the page, as well as your comments in the guestbook.
These long-distance walking trails are grouped by continent.
GREAT WALKS OF NORTH AMERICA
American Discovery Trail
Coast to coast across the United States
The "ADT" spans more than 6,800 miles across 15 states from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific--from Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware to Point Reyes, California. The trail passes through 14 national parks and 16 national forests, making use of and connecting five National Scenic trails, ten National Historic trails, and twenty-three National Recreation trails. There are two parallel sections of trail from western Ohio to northern Colorado, so hikers and bikers travelling coast to coast can choose their route through the mid-section of the country.
The first hikers to complete the ADT in one continuous journey from February 27, 2005 to October 15, 2005, were Marcia and Ken Powers from Pleasanton, California. You can read their journal on TrailJournals.com.
- Visit the website of the American Discovery Trail Society for more information.
- The ADT also has a Facebook page
Eastern United States
Beginning (or ending) on Springer Mountain in Georgia and ending (or beginning) 2,175 miles later on Maine's Mt. Katahdin, the "A.T." was America's first National Scenic Trail, designated in 1968. It is also one of the most popular long-distance footpaths in the country, with more than 10,000 people reporting they've hiked the entire trail and millions more enjoying sections of the A.T. each year.
I'm one of those folks who hiked the whole trail in a single season. Those were THE best six months of my life, and this is, therefore, a footpath near and dear to my heart.
For more information on the A.T., visit the Appalachian Trail Conservancy website.
Other Appalachian Trail resources on the web include:
- National Park Service A.T. pages
- Trailplace.com, an Appalachian Trail resource website
A border-to-border trail through the Grand Canyon State
I've hiked bits and pieces of this 817-mile trail that stretches from the Mexican border to the Utah state line, including rim-to-rim in Grand Canyon. This primitive trail traverses deserts and mountain ranges as well as populated communities, showcasing the diversity of Arizona. The AZT received National Scenic Trail designation on March 30, 2009.
Visit the Arizona Trail Association's website for more information, trail updates, maps and guidebooks.
Other Arizona Trail reading on the web:
- Hiking The Arizona Trail by Dennis Lewton on GreatOutdoors.com
- Arizona Trail Done at Last from the Arizona Daily Sun
Benton MacKaye Trail
Southeastern United States
At a length of nearly 300 miles, the "BMT" passes through portions of Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. This trail intersects the Appalachian Trail at both ends and at its middle, creating three large loop hikes as well. The BMT was named after the man who originated the idea of the Appalachian Trail, which he presented in his 1921 article, An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning.
Visit the website of the Benton MacKaye Trail Association for more information.
Or see trail journals including Welch's.
At 885 kilometers (or 550 miles), the Bruce Trail is Canada's oldest and longest footpath, spanning the entire Niagra Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. There are many waterfalls along the route, which runs through some of the most populated areas in Ontario.
Visit the Bruce Trail Conservancy website for more information.
Additional reading on the Bruce Trail can be found at:
The "BT" is a 1,444-mile loop trail that shows the long-distance hiker every corner of the state, from Lake Erie near Cleveland to the Ohio River in Cincinnati. This is one of the longest trails in the U.S. to go in a circle. And it's a good one for those interested in history, as it passes near sites like the Erie Canal, covered bridges, and monuments commemorating both prehistoric Indian cultures and more recent settlements. The Buckeye Trail wanders through and past a number of waterfalls, huge caves, sandstone cliffs, hardwood oak and hickory forests, and cedar and pine groves, though it's never very far from populated areas.
Visit the Buckeye Trail Association's website to learn more.
The 162-mile, remote Cohos Trail is located in northernmost New Hampshire in a million acres of forests and mountains--a perfect footpath for those who really want a wilderness experience. In fact, it's possible to hike 120 miles straight without encountering a town. Those pockets of civilization that are near the trail have no more than 900 residents, so the small-town New England experience is what you'll find when you stop in for supplies and a hot shower perhaps.
The Cohos Trail Association maintains a website with lots of information about the trail.
- Blue Eye's Cohos Trail Journal
From Denver to Durango, Colorado
I've hiked one section of the "CT" from Durango to Silverton, a 75-mile portion of this 483-mile trail. The Colorado Trail travels through the Rocky Mountains, six wilderness areas and eight mountain ranges with elevations up to 13,334 feet. I could say so much about this trail, but "gorgeous" and "breathtaking" are two words that keep coming to mind.
Visit the Colorado Trail Foundation's website for more information, maps and guidebooks.
More Colorado Trail information on the web:
Continental Divide Trail
Hiking border to border where the waters divide
The most rugged and remote of America's "Triple Crown," north/south trails, the CDT passes through five big states on its way from the Mexican border to Canada, a route spanning roughly 3,100 miles. I say "roughly" because parts of this trek are open to interpretation and choice. Highlights of the trail include New Mexico's Zuni Mountains, the San Juan Mountains and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, the Wind River Range and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Idaho's Bitterroot Range, and the Bob Marshall Wilderness and Glacier National Park in Montana.
Learn more about the CDT on the website of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition.
Other online resources include:
A north-south trail through the Sunshine State
This is another of America's National Scenic Trails, spanning 1,300 miles across the Sunshine State, including 360 miles of road-walking. The trail runs from Big Cypress National Park to the Panhandle and Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Visit the Florida Trail Association website for more information.
More about the Florida Trail can be found at:
Grand Enchantment Trail
A rugged route in Arizona and New Mexico
The Grand Enchantment Trail is a 730-mile route across the Southwest, beginning in the Sonoran desert near Phoenix, Arizona and continuing eastward, crossing the Sky Island mountain ranges, desert canyons, the Continental Divide, and toward the southernmost Rocky Mountains, terminating on the outskirts of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The route is occasionally marked by flagging tape and cairns but, for the most part, is described by map and guidebook, linking existing trails, dirt roads and drainages, and sometimes running cross-country. The "GET" shares a route with the Arizona Trail across the Sonoran desert for about 70 miles, and is one and the same with the CDT for 45 miles in New Mexico's remote Black Range.
Find out more about this route at GrandEnchantmentTrail.org.
Read more about the GET on the web:
- David Kiel's (Glider's) Grand Enchantment Trail journal
- The GET on BikePacking.net (a cyclist's site ... but that's okay too)
Southern Utah and Northern Arizona
The challenging, rugged and remote Hayduke Trail covers more than 800 miles, linking six of National Parks on the Colorado Plateau in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. Included along the route are Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks as well as Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and many National Forests, BLM Districts,Primitive Areas, Wilderness Areas and Wilderness Study Areas.
For more information on the Hayduke Trail, visit the Hayduke Trail Home Page.
Ice Age Trail
The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a 1000-mile footpath entirely within the state of Wisconsin, passing through 30 counties and showcasing some of the best examples of continental glaciation anywhere in the world.
See the Ice Age Park & Trail Foundation's website for more information.
Other Ice Age Trail information can be found at:
International Appalachian Trail
United States and Canada
If the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail isn't enough walking for you, you can keep going north.
The International Appalachian Trail (or IAT) picks up where the A.T. leaves off at Baxter State Park's Mt. Katahdin in Maine (pictured here). From there, the IAT heads northeast to Mars Hill and then to the international border at Fort Fairfield, a distance of about 100 miles. After crossing into Canada, the trail continues another 420 miles to Quebec's Cape Gaspe, for a total of 530 miles.
Visit the official website of the International Appalachian Trail at InternationalATMaine.org.
- The IAT on Wikipedia
John Muir Trail
The JMT is considered to be the premier hiking trail in the United States.The trail begins in Yosemite National Park and continues 215 miles through the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sequoia National Park, and King's Canyon National Park, ending at Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the continental United States at 14,496 feet.
I've hiked a portion of the John Muir in Yosemite, where it follows alongside stunning waterfalls. This is one fairly easily accessible section if you want to get a taste of it for a dayhike.
Find lots of information about this trail at JohnMuirTrail.org.
- The John Muir Trail by photographer Greg Cope
Lone Star Hiking Trail
The 128-mile Lone Star Trail is the only long-distance National Recreation Trail in the state of Texas. It's also the state's longest continuously marked and maintained footpath. The western end of the Lone Star Hiking Trail is located just east of the town of Richards.
Visit the Lone Star Hiking Trail Club website.
See photos from the trail and read log entries on TexasHiking.com.
New York and New Jersey
The Long Path begins in Fort Lee, New Jersey near the George Washington Bridge, continuing twelve miles to the New York State line and following along the Palisades. After crossing into New York, the Long Path turns away from the Hudson River but continues to follow the Palisades Escarpment to its end in Mt. Ivy. Total trail length is 347 miles.
Visit the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference website for more information.
You can read more about the Long Path on:
Not to be confused with the Long Path above, the Long Trail is Vermont's long-distance footpath, extending 270 miles from its border with Massachusetts to Canada. The LT is the oldest long-distance trail in the United States, built by the Green Mountain Club from 1910 to 1930. There are more than 70 primitive shelters--or lean-tos--evenly spaced along this wilderness trail.
For more information on the LT, visit the Green Mountain Club's website.
Other Long Trail reading on the web:
Mountains To Sea Trail
The Mountains-to-Sea Trail stretches 935 miles from Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains to Jockey's Ridge on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Along the way, the trail passes through three national parks--Great Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Visit the Friends of the Mountains To Sea Trail website for more information.
See more at the HikeWNC website.
North Country Trail
New York to North Dakota
The North Country Trail stretches 4,600 miles across seven states from New York to North Dakota's Lake Sakakawea State Park, where it joins the route of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.
See the North Country Trail Association's website for additional information.
Also read about the NCT at NPS.gov.
Arkansas and Oklahoma
The Ouachita Trail runs 223 miles through the Ouachita (wash-uh-taw) Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma, primarily within the Ouachita National Forest. It traverses the Flatside Wilderness, the Upper Kiamichi Wilderness and several wildlife management areas, with shelters located along the trail. Backpacker.com says this trail ranks third among the U.S. long trails for solitude.
For information and guides on the Ouachita Trail, visit the Friends of the Ouachita Trail website.
Read Lucky Dog's Ouachita Trail Journal from TrailJournals.com.
Pacific Crest Trail
Western United States, border to border
Winding its way 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington, the PCT has the greatest elevation changes of any of America's National Scenic Trails, passing through high and low desert, old-growth forest and arctic-alpine country. Each year, an average of 300 hikers attempt to cover the full length of the PCT, roughly about one-tenth of the number of those attempting AT thru-hikes.
Visit the Pacific Crest Trail Association's website for more information on the trail.
More PCT reading can be found at:
Pacific Northwest Trail
The Divide to the Pacific
The 1200-mile Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT), runs from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean and includes the Rocky Mountains, Selkirk Mountains, Pasayten Wilderness, North Cascades, Olympic Mountains, and Wilderness Coast. The trail crosses 3 National Parks and 7 National Forests.
For trail information and maps, visit the Pacific Northwest Trail Association website.
Read more about the PNT on:
Considered one of the best hiking trails in the country, the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) is a 205-mile footpath that follows the ridgeline above Lake Superior from Two Harbors, Minnesota to the Canadian border. There are an additional 39 miles of trail through the City of Duluth. In 2003, I hiked a portion of this fairly easy to moderate trail and, other than the voracious mosquitoes I reluctantly shared the trail with in mid-June, I can vouch for its appeal.
Visit the Superior Hiking Trail Association website for more information, guidebooks and maps.
Also see: Superior Hiking Trail maps.
The Trans Canada Trail is a 21,500-kilometer (10,000-mile) trail, winding its way through every province and territory from the Atlantic to Pacific to Arctic Oceans. When completed, it will be the world's longest recreational trail. Today, almost 70 percent (14,500 kilometers) has been completed.
Most of the Trans Canada Trail is intended for walking and cycling, but cross-country skiing, horseback riding and snowmobiling will also be permitted on certain sections. Much of the trail will be on abandoned railway lines that have been resurfaced with fine gravel.
Find more information at TCTrail.com.
Additional resources can be found at:
Mid-Atlantic, United States
The Tuscarora Trail is the northern portion of an extensive Appalachian Trail bypass in Pennsylvania, Maryland, W. Virginia and Virginia. This route is 220 miles long and connects with the A.T. at both ends. The Tuscarora Trail parts with the Appalachian Trail at the top of Blue Mountain about 13 miles west of the Susquehanna River and reconnects in Shenandoah National Park.
Read more about the Tuscarora Trail on Wikipedia.
More information (and maps) can be found at:
West Coast Trail
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Forty-seven miles (75 kilometers) may not seem like much to some long-distance walkers, but this is a challenging sea-side hike that leads you along the shore and through thick, old-growth forest, with up to 50 huge ladders along the way and often slippery footing. Still, it's considered by many to be one of the best hikes in the world.
Some hikers take six or seven days to complete the route, though others do it faster. The trail is entirely within the Pacific Rim National Park, and an overnight permit is required for those wishing to thru-hike.
Other reading about the West Coast Trail can be found at:
- BestHikes.com where the WTC is #1 on their list
- SeeHerTravel.com -- West Coast Trail Blog: Hiking One of the Best Hikes in Vancouver Island
A Very Cool, Very Long Walk in the Wilderness
Some very long journeys are not on specific designated trails. A married couple, Bretwood Higman and Erin McKittrick, attempt to walk, paddle and ski under their own power fore more than 4,000 miles from Seattle, Washington, to the Aleutians along the wild and remote northwest coast of North America. This documentary was filmed with a tiny hand-held video camera as the pair traveled through northern Washington, British Columbia and Alaska. Experience this modern adventure through their eyes as they encounter breathtaking scenery, harsh weather, amazing wildlife, starvation and danger. This modern adventure demonstrates that the most significant aspect of a journey is not reaching the final destination but how the journey changes the trajectory of the rest of a person's life.
Learn more about Bretwood and Erin at GroundTruthTrekking.org.
GREAT WALKS OF CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA
The Ausangate Circuit is a challenging, 70-kilometer (44-mile), high-altitude trek with optional side-trips. The entire trip is above treeline as it circles 20,905-foot Ausangate massif, making for sweeping views of the glaciers. I've read that, on this hike, you may have contact with the indigenous Quechua people, still dressed in bright, traditional costume. To these herders, Ausangate is a sacred mountain where llamas & alpacas are believed to have originated.
I found some good information on BestHike.com.
At just 26 miles in length, the Inca Trail doesn't actually qualify as a long-distance trek, but it's such a famous walk (and a challenging one), I've included it here.
The Inca Trail is a route that leads through the Andes mountains above the Urubamba river, roughly following the course of an old Inca roadway leading to the city of Machu Picchu. Most hikers take up to four days to do this mountainous jungle walk to take in all the sights. There's also a longer, seven-day option that includes more miles and breathtaking views of the Andes. (Nowadays, you must go with a guide and porters to do the Inca Trail. In June, 2012, I did this trip and highly recommend it.)
Find more information as well as guided trips at IncaTrailPeru.com.
Additional trail resources and tours at:
Chile's 60-mile Paine circuit is said to be the finest trek on earth in terms of visual impact (though I've read much the same about other trails mentioned here). Thirty-five miles of recommended side-hikes make for a 100-mile adventure in the Torres del Paine National Park.
Information and guided hikes can be found at:
- Patagonia's Paine Circuit: A 100-Mile Trek of Chile's Breathtaking Massif
GREAT WALKS OF EUROPE
Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago de Compostela, also known as The Way of St. James, is a collection of old pilgrimage routes throughout Europe, all with Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain as their final destination. For more than 1000 years, pilgrims have been walking along the Camino de Santiago. Traditionally, pilgrims and other travellers set out each year from their doorsteps or various starting points across Europe to make their way to Santiago de Compostela, but certain routes have become popular, especially the French Way (or Camino FrancÃ©s). Most routes take approximately 4 weeks to complete.
Additional information can be found on the following sites:
- Walking Spain's Camino de Santiago
- Rocky & Swamp Fox's 2008 Camino de Santiago Journal from TrailJournals.com
Coast To Coast Path
The Coast to Coast Walk is a 220-mile long-distance footpath in Northern England, which passes through three national parks--the Lake District National Park, the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and the North York Moors National Park.
For more information, read:
The Cotswold Way is 102-mile trail that runs between the market town of Chipping Campden and the city of Bath, with most of its length on the Cotswold Escarpment. The trail passes through picturesque villages and close to a number of historic sites. This is one of the UK's National Trails.
For more information, visit NationalTrail.co.uk.
Read more about the Cotswold Way at:
Countrywide Blue Tour
The Countrywide Blue Tour starts on Irottk Mountain on the Austrian-Hungarian border then cuts across Hungary, eventually ending 1,128 kilometers (700 miles) later at the village of HollÃ³hÃ¡za by the Hungarian-Slovakian border. The name "Blue Tour" comes from the horizontal blue stripe between two white stripes that mark the route.
Information can be found on:
The Dales Way is a footpath extending about 80 miles (129 kilometers) from Ilkley to Bowness-on-Windermere, passing through the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Lake District National Park. Situated mostly along river vallyes, this walk is shorter and less strenuous than the more well-known routes, the Pennine Way and Coast to Coast Walk.
Visit the Dales Way Association website for information and the handbook.
More about the Dales Way can be found on these websites:
E1 - E11 Routes
European Long-Distance Paths
The European long-distance paths designated E-1 through E-11 are a network of routes that pass through many different countries, but mostly lie in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain. See a map and overview of these routes on the European Rambler's Association website.
These routes are traditionally marked with white and red painted "blazes".
See a larger version of this map of European long-distance paths.
The Lycian Way
The Lycian way is a 509-kilometer footpath around the coast of Lycia in southern Turkey, from Fethiye to Antalya. The route is has many ascents and descents as it approaches and turns away from the sea, said to be easier at the start near Fethiye and becoming more difficult as it progresses. The recommended seasons for hiking the Lycian Way are spring or autumn -- from February through May or September through November. The route, marked by red and white blazes as pictured here, is mainly over established footpaths and mule trails, with the trail mostly over limestone and often hard and stony.
For more information on the Lycian Way (and other long-distance treks in the country), visit Trekking in Turkey.
This is a 270-mile walk from the Peak District National Park along the Pennine ridge through the Yorkshire Dales, up into Northumberland, across the Cheviots, and ending in the Scottish Borders. There are a number of youth hostels along the route and many private lodging accommodations.
For more information, visit Pennine Way National Trail website.
More reading on the Pennine Way can be found at:
South West Coastal Path
The 630-mile South West Coast Path National Trail runs from Minehead on the edge of the Exmoor National Park to the shores of Poole Harbour in Dorset and is the longest trail in England.
For more information, visit:
Southern Upland Way
This is Scotland's coast to coast route, covering 212 miles with most long-distance hikers completing the distance in 10 to 14 days. There's lots of hill-walking along the way, with no summits above 3000 feet, but more than 80 above 2000 feet, making for plenty of ups and downs.
Visit the Official Website of the Southern Upland Way for detailed information.
Tour de Mont Blanc
The TMB is one of the most popular long-distance hikes in Europe, circling the Mont Blanc Massif in about 170 kilometers (106 miles) and passing through parts of Switzerland, Italy and France. Most hikers finish the entire route in 7 to 10 days.
For more information and help planning a trip, see:
GREAT WALKS OF ASIA
88 Temple Pilgrimage
This is Japan's most famous pilgrimage route, a 1200-kilometer (746-mile) loop around the island of Shikoku. While the majority of travelers (or pilgrims) who do this route travel by bus, a very small minority do this journey on foot, an adventure that takes about six weeks to complete.
Travelers often begin by visiting Mount Koya, but the route itself officially begins -- and ends -- at a place called Ryzenji. It's not necessary, though, to start at the first temple as long as you visit them all, but this is the most popular starting point because it's closest to Mt. Koya.
The signs along the route are oriented for pilgrims going clockwise, so that's the easiest way to do this trek.
For more information on the 88 Temple Pilgrimage, see:
The Annapurna Circuit is a 300-kilometer (186-mile) trek in Nepal around the Annapurna mountain range of the Himalayas. The circuit reaches its highest point at 17,769 feet. This is called a "teahouse trek," because there are villages with lodges and restaurants along the entire route.
There's some good information on WikiTravel.com.
Other online resources include:
Great Wall Of China
A long walk that can be seen from space
Crossing hundreds of mountain passes, the Great Wall of China stretches to over 6,700 kilometers (4,160 miles) in total but is no longer a connected structure. There are, however, well-defined sections that can be walked on to create adventures, long and short.
You'll find more information about walking the Great Wall at:
- The View From The Top: Walking The Great Wall Of China at TravelWithAChallenge.com
- Trekking the Great Wall documentary video
Israel National Trail
A north-south trail through the whole country
The Israel National Trail, or INT, is a footpath extending from the Red Sea in the south to the Syrian/Lebanese border in the north, crossing the Negev Desert, past three seas, and running alongside ancient ruins and through modern cities. At a distance of about 580 miles, a hiker in excellent condition might be able to finish this trail in about 30 days. Having spent a couple of months travelling around Israel as a teenager, this trail definitely appeals to me; I'd love to go back and see the country on foot.
For more information and to watch a video on the trail, visit the Israel National Trail website.
- Israel National Trail blog by Shay Rabineau
- Travel Israel
- Maoz's Israel National Trail Journal
GREAT WALKS OF AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
Alps Walking Track
New South Wales
The Australian Alps Walking Track (aka the Alps Track) is a 650-kilometer trail that winds through the high country of Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT. The entire route can be completed in about 10 weeks.
For information, visit the website of the Australian Alps National Parks.
See also Australian Alps Walking Track by John Chapman.
Stretching 963 kilometers from Kalamunda in the Perth Hills to Albany, the Bibbulmun Track passes through some of the most beautiful national parks of Southwestern Australia. The trail is named after an Aboriginal language group, known as the Bibbulmun.
Visit the website of the Bibbulmun Track Foundation for information, maps and guides.
- The Oyster's 2007 Bibbulmun Track Journal from TrailJournals.com
Bicentennial National Trail
The Australian Bicentennial National Trail (BNT) is a 5,330-kilometer (3,311-mile) multi-use route through bush, wilderness and mountainous areas, from Cooktown in North Queensland to Healesville in Victoria. The trail connects 18 National Parks and accesses some of the most remote country in the world.
Visit NationalTrail.com.au for details.
Great North Walk
The Great North Walk runs from Sydney to Newcastle in New South Wales, with the main track spanning 250 kilometers (160 miles) between the Obelisk in Macquarie Place to Queens Wharf Tower in Bicentennial Park.
More information and photos can be found at:
- The Great North Walk by John Chapman
The Milford Track is one of New Zealand's most popular walks, and it's also sometimes referred to as the "finest walk in the world." (Where have I heard that before?) The trail passes through the mountains and temperate rain forest of Fiordland National Park on South Island, with a total distance of 53 kilometers, starting at Lake Te Anau and finishing at Milford Sound at Sandfly Point.
See MilfordTrack.net for further information as well as the history of this route.
Other reading on the Milford Track:
- Department of Conservation website
This is New Zealand's newest long-distance path, from Cape Reinga to Bluff, with completion scheduled for sometime in 2010 with a finished distance of 3030 kilometers or 1882 miles. It's expected that an end-to-end walk will take about four months. Some sections of the trail are already open.
For more information, visit TeAraroa.org.nz.
Some information can also be found at:
Tasmania Overland Track
Australia's most famous walking track, the Tasmania Overland Track, spans 73 kilometers, or 45 miles, across the Cradle Mountain Lake St. Clair National Park. Along the way, this track passes through dolerite mountains, near beautiful waterfalls, and close to Tasmania's highest mountain before finishing at Australia's deepest lake. The entire route takes about six days.
Visit the Parks & Wildlife Service website for more information on this walk.
GREAT WALKS OF AFRICA
This a guided walk I found, covering 110 miles in 11 days across Tsavo, Africa's largest national park. This route follows game trails along the Tsavo River past World War I forts to the place where the infamous "Man-eaters of Tsavo" halted the British Empire in 1895. You then hike the length of the Galana River, home to large elephant populations and unique maneless male lions, ending at the Indian Ocean. This trek was awarded the 2006 Outside Magazine's trip of the year.
Visit Tropical Ice to see their itinerary for The Great Walk of Africa itinerary and pricing.
EcoAfrica is another company that guides this trek, with a 14-day itinerary.
Located in the Tsitsikamma National Park, this 42-kilometer (26-mile) trail is considered one of the finest walks in the world (yes, I know, I've said that before) and apparently takes five days to complete with nights spent in huts. The trail never strays far from the shore, but there are steep climbs and descents to and from the beach and river crossings. This trail is named for the Cape Clawless Otter found in the area.
For information, visit the South African National Parks website.
Rim of Africa
Africa's First Long-Distance Hiking Initiave
This long-distance trail is an amazing work in progress, patterned after famous footpaths like the Appalachian Trail in the eastern United States and Spain's Camino de Santiago trek.
The Rim of Africa follows along the mountain ridges of the Western Cape, stretching from the greater Cederberg wilderness area on the Cape's West Coast to the Outeniqua Mountains in the Garden Route, covering more than 650 kilometers. There is even potential to link the Rim of Africa to the Outeniqua Trail and then the Eden to Addo Hike for Biodiversity, which would create an extended trail of 1200km ending at Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape.
For more information on Rim of Africa, visit RimofAfrica.co.za.
© 2009 Deb Kingsbury
Questions or Comments About Great Walks of the World? Have you done all or part of any of these long-distance journeys?
Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on April 06, 2015:
Thank you! I'd love to hike them all myself, but I'd need to live to at least 200 to accomplish that. I'll be hiking the John Muir Trail this summer, though, so I'm excited about that 220-mile adventure. One trail, one step at a time.
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on April 06, 2015:
Wow! What a coverage of all the great trails of the world. I have hiked throughout my life on various sections of Appalachian Trail and Ontario's Bruce Trail, but my dream trail is Continental Divide and then Milford in NZL. Alas! The life is short and the water rises.
RaintreeAnnie from UK on October 16, 2014:
Wow you have really covered such useful and interesting information on so many amazing walks. We love walking and have done part of the Pennine way but no really long hikes. It would be amazing to walk some of these routes though!
Rhonda Albom from New Zealand on August 11, 2014:
What a wonderfully comprehensive list, and I can't think of anyone better to put it together than you. It sure lights up the travel bug in me. (I featured it on my new contributor FB page)
David Stone from New York City on April 15, 2014:
This page just sent my imagination reeling. We've taken a lot of short hikes. Camping in not in our DNA, but the excitement of some of these might change my mind.
Angela F from Seattle, WA on April 15, 2014:
What an inspiring lens. I've hiked portions of a few of these in AZ, CA and OR but now I have to put a few more on the bucket list!
David Edward Lynch from Port Elizabeth, South Africa on April 15, 2014:
I haven't done any of these hikes you've written about, but I have done theTsitsikama and the Amatola trails in South Africa. Great lens!
TerriCarr on February 05, 2014:
I would like to do a chunk of the A.T. or maybe the John Muir trail.
MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose from Washington State on January 25, 2014:
So many wonderful places to walk, wow, I best get going.
lobsricky on December 16, 2013:
It is not always arranged the party bus in Perth, it famous in the rest of the world too. whether it will be America and Europe.
AmyBlakeney on December 11, 2013:
This is flippin' amazing!
visit2goa on October 29, 2013:
wow..... wonderful post loved it so much ..
kepezzo on October 29, 2013:
I am speechless. Wish I had more time to do that at least 5 % of all tracks above..
Great lens !
Joebeducci on October 28, 2013:
What an info!! It looks so cool, I definitely want to do some once.
CampingmanNW on October 02, 2013:
Nice job, very inclusive information
UncleBubba on September 25, 2013:
Wow. You pretty much covered it here! I section hiked the GA portion of the AT and just wish i had the time and resources to thru hike. Cheers
ashleydpenn on September 23, 2013:
Some great walks here! I've done some of the British ones. Pennines Way and South West Coast are two great ones through quickly changing scenery. I also love the South Downs Way where I used to live. Great lens!
writerkath on September 17, 2013:
This is an AWESOME lens! I can't wait to share this with one of my friends who is an AT thru-hiker (at least once, with annual 6-week long sections), Long Trail hiker (he's done it numerous times), and parts of other trails too numerous to mention. I live within view of the Gulfside Trail on the AT (northern flank of Mounts Adams and Madison) - in fact I can see it even as I type. So, I've been on numerous parts of the AT. I hiked 70 miles of the Long Trail before my tendons gave in. In New Zealand I've hike Milford, Heaphy,Routeburn, The Rees-Dart, and Kepler Tracks. That was quite a long time ago... Loved them all!
ghoststorylover on September 15, 2013:
I've taken a 12 day trek on the John Muir Trail! It was very beautiful and amazing. Just a little too long for me even though I love hiking. I think in the middle of the trip I was ready for "real" food and a "real" bed!
DtKnight on July 29, 2013:
Once I can afford to do it I'm going to pick five different walks on your list to go and walk. If I become ridiculously wealthy at some point in the future I'll do all of the walks, and enjoy every second of it. Thank you so much for putting up all this information, it is truly inspiring!
socialcx1 on July 22, 2013:
Hi I did the Otter trail years ago when it was first opened. Absolutely beautiful. I believe the overnight cabins are a little better the then when we slept packed like sardines on the wooden floors of the small huts. I believe there is a long waiting list as well.
Tom Christen from Switzerland/Ecuador on July 10, 2013:
WOW what a great lens, thank you very much for sharing. I love hiking, but never did such a long one. But I think soon soon I will :)...
Barbara Walton from France on June 07, 2013:
What a fantastic collection of walks! I used to live on the Pennine Way, and now run a B&B on the route of the Camino de Santiago, near Limoges in France. About twenty minutes from us there's a church visited by pilgrims and each chair has a scallop shell design on it - the symbol of Saint James.
junkcat on June 04, 2013:
I need to get out on a hike again, just don't seem to have the time anymore.
Namsak on June 02, 2013:
Unbelievably scenic hiking - must get round to doing some one day. Excellent lens!
hmommers on May 19, 2013:
If I did part of any of these long-distance paths it was by accident. I love to hike, but I haven't done any of these yet.
dmcbane on May 17, 2013:
I trekked the Annapurna Circuit a year and a half ago and it was incredible. I hope to do more long distance treks in the future.
Peter Messerschmidt from Port Townsend, WA, USA on May 13, 2013:
This is a really interesting and super-thorough presentation! It has been a long time since I last did a "distance" hike... the last one was Mt. Hood (Timberline Lodge) in Oregon to the Oregon coast... more than a decade ago.
anonymous on May 13, 2013:
you definately have put a lot of miles behind you...
mariacarbonara on May 03, 2013:
Such an interesting lens. Got me interested. Thank you
TechieGeekyGal on April 11, 2013:
I would love to do the Inca Trail. Visiting Machu Picchu is on my bucket list!
cameron-johnson-750983 on April 07, 2013:
Great ideas. Thanks for the post...
NibsyNell on March 31, 2013:
Oh gosh! Looking at all this here makes me feel like I should start this very moment! :) Really want to do the Appalachian Trail and the Arizona Trail.
Rowan Chisholm from Washington state on March 27, 2013:
I've been on several sections of the Pacific Crest Trail. I'd always wanted to see all of it...but I don't think I'm going to squeeze that in with all of the other things I want to do!
Aibrean82 on March 18, 2013:
Wow, so many great long-distance walks, and so little time! I have done the Camino de Santiago, and my sister has done the Mont Blanc trail. For this summer, my partner and I are possibly going on one of the walks in England, but it is all just on the planning stage for now, and we're not even sure if we will have the time... But I sure hope so!
Aibrean82 on March 18, 2013:
Wow, so many great long-distance walks, and so little time! I have done the Camino de Santiago, and my sister has done the Mont Blanc trail. For this summer, my partner and I are possibly going on one of the walks in England, but it is all just on the planning stage for now, and we're not even sure if we will have the time... But I sure hope so!
worldwidesouven on March 16, 2013:
It's a great list, thank you. I took one from the mentioned trails - Inka Trail. We made it with my wife in april 2010. Unforgettable experience, and it is really worth to visit.
TedWritesStuff on March 07, 2013:
If I had 2 lifetimes I would do them all. I love long distance walking in new environments. Great list.
June Campbell from North Vancouver, BC, Canada on March 06, 2013:
It would be amazing to do some of these walks. I am dreaming of doing the Camino de Santiago trail in Spain some day.
Peter Badham from England on February 21, 2013:
Wow, what a huge and great resource. Camino de Santiago is on my 'to do' list. Well done on a great and helpful page. Blessed
Jawill on February 10, 2013:
I have done parts of the trails in Ohio as I live here but never knew you could cover a 1444 mile trail in this state, Wow! I Would love to do some of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado trails. We drove down a mountain in Denver along side of the Colorado river when I was a kid. It was beath-taking!
proudmom24 on February 06, 2013:
Someday I want to accomplish such long walk like what you did! Its the true meaning of being here more on exploring! Reading your lens inspired me to plan the first long walk of my life!
Raimause on January 31, 2013:
I haven't done any of these. I am in Minnesota, and didn't realize the Superior hiking trail was so acclaimed when compared with popular ones like the AT. Never been on it before, will have to check out a portion of it some time. Great, detailed lens. Thanks.
Traveller579 on January 30, 2013:
Superb!!! your lens are more aromatics about great walks.
anonymous on January 20, 2013:
Speaking of the American Discovery Trail. I didn't even know there was a walking trail across the US...Learn something new everyday.
ZaksSquidoo on January 20, 2013:
WOW! This is a great resource for walking routes! I've done parts of the British ones you mention here, and parts of the Lake District in Cumbria, but I'd love to have a go at the Appalachian Trail before it's too late!
Gardener Don on January 17, 2013:
Wow - what a great page. I go salmon fishing at Pt Alberni, in BC each year, & as it's the starting/ending point for the West Coast Trail I get to see the groups on the beaches & cliffs every day. Now that's one tough trail in a very WET environment! Hardy people do that one!
Lee from Derbyshire, UK on January 09, 2013:
Fantastic lens! I'll be lucky to go on 3 of these in my life! Can only dream I guess... some of them sound incredible!
top101 on January 08, 2013:
I'm so slad you included the Israel national trail!! Me and my father are currently walking the 1000 kilometer trail. We don't walk it all at once (we dont have the time) but instead take it piece by piece--weekend hikes of about 15-20 kilometers. It's a beautiful trail, a wonderful way to see Israel.
RoadMonkey on January 08, 2013:
You culd add the "Ulster Way" in Northern Ireland, if you liked. It's 625 miles long.
CampingmanNW on January 08, 2013:
What an impressive list. Glad you quit your real job to do what you really love. Good luck with the new internet biz and thanks for a great lens.
Bill from Gold Coast, Australia on January 01, 2013:
Wow! That is quite a list! My bucket list is now full, I had better start walking. :-)
momideas on December 31, 2012:
Thank you for all this information. Will try to do some of the trails in Australia
Stephanie from Canada on December 29, 2012:
This is an incredible lens! Tons of great info.
anonymous on December 27, 2012:
www.lebanontrail.org : The (LMT) is the first long-distance hiking trail in Lebanon. It extends from Al-Qbaiyat in the north of Lebanon to Marjaayoun in the south, a 440-km (275 miles) path that transects more than 75 towns and villages at altitude ranging from 600 meters to 2,000 meters (about 1,800-6,000 feet) above sea level.
anonymous on December 27, 2012:
Hello, great site and great Hiking destinations, thanks for sharing, we would like to add the Lebanon Mountain Trail a 440km long distance trail in the middle east, thank you in advance.
skhdesigns lm on December 24, 2012:
I would love to do either the Pacific Crest Trail or ADT. Wish I had the money!
GrowthSpark on December 24, 2012:
I've just bookmarked this lens to remind me of all the great hikes I've yet to do. It just makes me want to get straight out the door with my hiking boots on...
SheSue LM on December 10, 2012:
Have done part of the Pacific Crest Trail. This lens has me dreaming of doing others.
CraftyandClever from everywhere but mostly Cali on November 28, 2012:
I would love to do the temples pilgrimage in Japan I had a professor that did it while teaching in Japan. The pictures we amazing!
Judith Nazarewicz from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on November 28, 2012:
Loved this lens, thanks so much! Since starting on my own journey through all the lens in squidoo, your lens marks my 900th visit and what a great read it was. Thanks again
anonymous on November 22, 2012:
Please add the Lebanon Mountain Trail (LMT) world class hiking destination, 440km, please check the website.
JoshK47 on November 14, 2012:
Popping back in to bless these fantastic journeys!
PearlieD on November 11, 2012:
Just awesome what a Fantastic Lens. I should go out on walks a lot more that's for sure
CyclistLiam on November 08, 2012:
I would recommend the Pennine Way. Although I would recommend that you take the original route up Grinds Brook instead of via Upper Booth and Jacobs Ladder for sheer scenery. I did the section after heavy rain and it was like ascending a waterfall
Freestuffer LM on November 06, 2012:
anonymous on November 04, 2012:
Fantastic list of walks. Thanks.
Golfman7 on November 03, 2012:
There are some really interesting walks here. Thanks for bringing them to our attention.
tomoxby on October 31, 2012:
Great list of hiking trails. Glad to see you included the Bruce Trail which I love and is located near where I live but is generally not recognized by walkers from outside Ontario.
rooshoo on October 30, 2012:
Such a great list of hiking trails. I love hiking but have never done any long distance stuff. This lens is inspiring. Maybe next summer...
CoffeeWriter LM on October 29, 2012:
Wonderful list. I wonder how many miles you;d cover if you did them all?
Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on October 24, 2012:
@anonymous: Thanks. It's actually already on this page but under "Other Long-Distance Walks." I just haven't had a chance to add it to the North America section yet. I'll be doing that shortly. It's a trail on my own bucket list.
anonymous on October 24, 2012:
One BIG omission is the Wonderland Trail in Washington state. It circumnavigates Mt Rainier. It's about 92 miles of up and down with incredible hanging meadows, glaciers, wildlife etc. Certainly worthy of including.
One of my all-time favorites.
ERiverDogs on October 16, 2012:
I've hiked just a small part of the Appalachian Trail (Trial?). Even that was not exactly a stroll in the park, even though it was in a park.
anonymous on October 13, 2012:
Very nice lense :)
Thanks for sharing it...
thememorybooksh1 on October 03, 2012:
wow. amazing lens
spids1 on September 30, 2012:
great lens love this!
Gregory Moore from Louisville, KY on September 29, 2012:
Wow, tons of great information. I'll have to add one of these to the bucket list
official-salmon on September 24, 2012:
Wow, there are a lot of trails on here that I had no idea even existed! The two at the top of my list are the pacific crest trail and the AT. I hope someday to work up the motivation and courage to actually go on these hikes. I find these paths fascinating for some reason. I really like the idea of that long hike through the wilderness.
Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on September 22, 2012:
@anonymous: Yep, it's there, under Asia. :-) I'd love to do that trail someday! And thanks for stopping by, Maw-ee! I've heard that trailname before, so it MUST be you!
anonymous on September 22, 2012:
....thanks for this awesome list!...please add the "israel national trail" .....(you can read more about it on my trail journal's page ....i am "maw-ee"
anonymous on September 10, 2012:
This is a very interesting and inclusive list ... thank you! I would suggest adding Hadrian's Way; it is about 84 miles in northern England and, while not perfect, it has several very scenic days and the Roman history is very interesting.
petelovestoread on September 02, 2012:
Great Lens! I live in Western NC and have section hiked the AT and hiked the Mountains to Sea. You have a great list here!
maryLuu on September 01, 2012:
I never were in a backpack trip outside my country, yet. But the trails you showed me sound very interesting. Thanks. Nice lens.
Kathryn Wallace from Greenbank, WA, USA on September 01, 2012:
Great lens, so many trails I hadn't heard of, quite an education!
WebMarketingPro on August 31, 2012:
What an amazing resource for hikers looking for spectacular trails! Thanks so much!
MimayManalo on August 30, 2012:
so much adventure! so much fun! i like to try it and go somewhere far :) wew...
anonymous on August 26, 2012:
Thanks a lot for this great list ! The Saint Paul Trail in Turkey (500 km) sound nice too, just for information because not so much people know about this new trail.
anonymous on August 20, 2012:
There's a one day hike on the Greek Island of Crete down the Samarian Gorge. Many holiday makers sign up whilst in their resorts and don't realise 1. the early start, 2. the need for proper footwear, 3. it's hot and 4. it's fantastic but it's a long way. The pick up at the far end is by boat. Most people have jumped into the sea to cool off by that point.
sentanta lm on August 18, 2012:
The long path is about 15 miles from house - maybe sometime I'll start there
djh4yla on August 16, 2012:
The long-distance journey I want to take at some point of my life is the 'way of St. James' or 'El Camino de Santiago Compostela'. It is the pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the apostle Saint James are buried. It's an spiritual walk, I wan to undertake.
Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on August 08, 2012:
@madoc: Well, I suppose one recommendation would be to start hiking (aka trail-walking) with a backpack on, filled with what you might carry for an overnight. But do just dayhikes at first, getting used to the pack and the extra weight. Then try some one-nighters, getting used to setting up and breaking down camp. Then go from there. Really, it's not complicated and it's a learn-as-you-go thing, and we never stop learning, adjusting, re-adjusting. Just break in your body and your mind as you feel comfortable. And perhaps do your first overnight, at least, with someone else, possibly with someone who's been backpacking for a while.
madoc on August 07, 2012:
What a wonderful resource. But any recommendations for putting one's "first" foot in front of the other? I grew up on the edge of the Pennines in the UK and I walk a lot of bike trails in the USA, but the transition from walking to hiking isn't easy.
Kajakpolo on August 07, 2012:
Those are some very nice long walks you presented here ... Bit too long for my taste ;-)
Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on August 03, 2012:
@anonymous: It just depends on the trail. I know there's a service run by a former thru-hiker for group hikes on the Appalachian Trail (van-supported), and I'm sure there are groups hikes available for some others (ie. Inca Trail), but you'd need to research the individual hike and see what's out there. I would just do a Google search with the name of the trail and "group hike' or "guided hike" maybe. Or, if there's a trail organization, I would contact them and ask.
anonymous on August 03, 2012:
I love this page and am very interested by some of the hikes. My question though is that I wish to do an enduring hike, but with a group in oppose to on my own. Are group hikes available? There a few that I am interested in (the longer enduring ones), but need to know whether they can be conducted as group hikes. The purpose is that I wish to raise money for animal welfare. Thank you.
nolinel lm on July 31, 2012:
Walking the 500 miles to Santiago de Compostela was the best experience of my life. I enjoyed your lens. I didn't know about many of these trips. :-)
ShariSmith on July 26, 2012:
It's a great lens for aspirant runners like me, I'm just a half mary fella! But soon, I'll try to go on longer distance category.
anonymous on July 25, 2012:
Love the list! What about the Highline Trail in UT? http://www.utah.com/hike/uinta_highline.htm
Mark Shirbroun on July 13, 2012:
Great lens - I did some of the Superior Hiking Trail with my wife. It was awesome! Would love to try some of the others.