They say the world is small but a hiker knows how vast it is. They say beauty is in our concrete palaces and digital machines but a hiker knows the real beauty. And, what may it be? Well, it is the Nature. For those who have shackled themselves to the luxuries of their concrete world, the word “nature”, which is narrowed down to ignite a picture of a small garden in their mind, would never tickle their excitement. So, it is time you strap on your trekking boots and stuff everything that you might need in your backpack, from that handy torchlight to a delightful sleeping bag. Then, take that small step which shall lead you out of the concrete world and throw you into the wild, where every day is a big adventure. Here are some of the loveliest hiking trails, blossoming with natural beauty and wonder.
1. Zion Canyon, United States
Have you ever been to the Narrows? Well, if not then, imagine a 16 miles long stretch of river, flanked on either side by a wall of gigantic red rocks transforming it into one of the longest and most spectacular canyons the world has seen. Now, imagine yourself tramping, knee-dip or maybe waist-dip (depending on the season), through that cold river with nothing but a trekking pole to warn you of the water’s depth (and to give you support). So, if rocks and rivers fascinate you, then prepare for a wet trek down the picturesque canyon of Zion National Park (incidentally, the park accepts up to 80 hikers a day).
2. Tongariro Northern Circuit, New Zealand
Something hotter than fire (or any aphrodisiac women) lurks inside Mount Ngauruhoe. Do you know what is it? Yes, lava, hot molten lava! Now, before I encourage you people to embark upon the Tongariro Northern Circuit, which encircles this spectacular volcanic mountain, let me give you a word of caution: Mount Ngauruhoe is not dormant but an active volcanic peak, ready to shower lava on you. All the same, no hikers can restrain from inching near to the marvelous lava pits and craters for a close view. Add that Emerald Lake in the vicinity and this volcanic stretch is a scene of wonder.
Speaking of mountains, it would thrill you to hear that Mount Kilimanjaro, despite its intimidating altitude of around 19,340 feet, requires no such mountaineering expertise, nor any complex gears, to make it to the summit. No wonder, it is heralded as the “world’s tallest walkable mountain”. Any hikers can manage it, although with care.
3. Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal
In the humble territory of Nepal – a country sandwiched between two enormous neighbors -, one can see the Everest (yeah, that’s summit of the world… 8848m, to be precise), not to mention seven other noble snow peaks that make it to the “top ten tallest mountains” list with their incredible eight-thousand-meter-plus altitude. Among these mighty mountains include the Annapurna, and it is not just renowned for its 8 altitude but rather more popular for the outstanding, and numerous, hiking trails it offers to the wanderers. While you can dare the beautiful trail to the Annapurna Base Camp in just about 13 days, we nevertheless insist upon the 19 days long Annapurna Circuit trek. The reason being it offers more diverse landscapes, ranging from the stunning Himalayan peaks to the lush forests, poignant waterfalls, scenic landscapes, sacred temples and, yep, the roaring rivers. In short, Annapurna Circuit is a beautiful package, although the altitude sickness could be a big obstacle.
4. Inca Trail, Peru
While the ancient tribe of Quechua and their royal Incan Empire may have lost their way into the pages of history and myths, their mighty fortress city still stands majestically in what we now call Peru. And, it is to that remote city of mystique and archaeological wonder that this Inca trail leads to. The only danger here would be stumbling across that irregular stone staircase, stretching on for around 15000 careful steps or so. It will take around four or five days for you to explore this Incan empire. And, while you are in Peru, it would be nice to try the lovely Santa Cruz trek too, if time allows.
5. Kalalau Trail, Hawaii
We do not underestimate the beauty of Cinque Terre of Italy (the lovely seaside villages are a sight to see at night) or the Tour du Mont Blanc (it stretches over 100 miles, connecting three countries, namely France, Italy and Switzerland) but, nevertheless, we would like to recommend the Kalalau trail of the Hawaii Island for a lovely hike (just make sure to bring mosquito repellant or patrolling bloodsuckers won’t let you peace). Wherever you stand or pause along this 11 miles long trek, the lush green vegetation and that ocean landscape will be a constant marvel. The prize for the hikers, who make it to the end of this strenuous trail (the ground can be slippery, and you will wish you had brought a trekking pole), is the magnificent Kalalau Beach, calm, serene and far from the roaring crowd of civilization.