If trekking is your thing, the world is literally your playground. The myriad of different options out there for hikers are enviable! Be it the African deserts, the Patagonian steppes or the meandering rock formations of Arizona and Colorado, every hiker would have a bucket-list of treks, and here are a few of those.
Torres Del Paine, Chile
The South American country is not just famous for wines. In the heart of the Patagonian back country lies this demanding, serene and exhilarating trek that should be part of every hiker’s bucket list. With a plethora of trails scattered throughout the 1800 square kilometer national park, you can pick any trail based on the level of difficulty that is sought. The “W” trek is the one less traversed and condenses a ton of scenic natural views and terrains. Pastel blue skies, snow-capped mountains, crystal-clear lakes, gushing rivers, raging ravines and gigantic glaciers promise to sweep you off your feet as you watch Andean Condors soaring across peaks. The W trek takes 4-6 days to complete, with four major attractions being Cordillera del Paine, Los Cuernos, French Valley and Grey Glacier. With the final view proving the worth of the trek – 3 giant granite monoliths rising from the ground, this trek will take your breath away in more than one way!
Tour Du Mont Blanc, Alps
One could be sold to this trek for one of many reasons – be it the formidable and intimidating Alps looming overhead, or the fact that you cross 3 countries along the trek, the thick fondue or blooming springtime meadows in a snow-capped backdrop. This 7-10 day trek is best enjoyed in the summers with flowing streams and exposed rock, locals residing in sparsely scattered huts, open tracks for side treks and acceptable amounts of snow along the length of the trek. The trek begins in France, meanders into Italy and Switzerland, then back into France for a climactic ascent to the beautiful Lac Blanc. Huts scattered along the length of the trek allow for comfortable stay and food options, while the highest peak of Western Europe serves as the ideal culmination to a trek filled with serene views of colorful valleys, jumping fish in transparent lakes and river crossings on makeshift bridges that will raise your heart rate that little bit higher.
Laugavegurinn / Fimmvorduhals Pass, Iceland
The land of fire and ice certainly does not disappoint when it comes to life-changing treks and scenery. Almost making you feel like you’re in a magical fantasy, rhyolite formations, cascading waterfalls and landscapes assure you of imagery that you have never witnessed in your life. The 75 Kilometre 4 day trek starts off at Landmannalaugar, a geothermal rainbow coloured land made of obsidian fields, red and yellow rhyolite mountains and black sands, the trek winds through canyons, lakes, geysers and springs finally opening into the Thorsmork Valley – a lush green valley amidst a featureless terrain surrounding it. Yes, this is where the locals believe Thor struck down his hammer and created the valley that never stops reaping. Nestled at the foot of the Eyjafjallajokull glacier that erupted a few years ago, this is also where you can view the two new craters formed as a result of that eruption – Magni and Modi. Hardened lava shaped as waterfalls, rainbow coloured slopes and valleys sculpted with sandstone and birch trees are only some of the rather magical attractions on this trek!
Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
The rooftop of Africa and the world’s highest freestanding mountain has quite a lot in store for the hiker in you. The Shira route is a 5-7 day camping route that hugs the western rim of the volcano and offers for spectacular 360-degree views. Starting off at Arusha, the trek begins with Mount Meru – Africa’s fifth highest mountain, after which you trek across the Shira plateau filled with sub-alpine forests. Once above the clouds, the sunrise and stars look extraordinary, and the ascent takes shape with the Arrow Glacier on one side and the Western Breach on the other. Ice sculptures and ash pits within the crater are other attractions of the ascent, finally ending at the Uhuru Peak, 19,430 feet above the bedrock of human civilization! Know all about what you should carry on your trek here.