Travelling has been a rejuvenating experience since ancient times. Exploration, self-discovery and entertainment have always been the cornerstones of an expedition, leaving travellers curious and excited.
The wide spectrum of leisure and adventure activities on holiday captivate guests and accentuate the excitement quotient. These activities are intended to entertain tourists and recharge the vigour into their lives. Hiking is one such exuberant tourist activity involving long and leisure walks across the countryside, exploring the mysterious beauty of nature.
Hiking – in a Nutshell
Europe gave rise to the Romantic Moment called Romanticism towards the end of the 18th century. This Romantic Era sparked off a literary, musical, artistic and intellectual movement, emphasizing emotion and individualism.
It also inspired a change in attitude towards nature, giving rise to the concept of walking across the countryside for pleasure. Walking is considered a popular outdoor recreational activity in the Western World. It can range anywhere from a leisure walk across the city to trekking the landscape and the mountains.
These are extended walks,individuals and groups undertake across a landscape for several days. These are very similar to backpacking and trekking.
In this article, let’s probe deeper into the hiking domain of travelling and throw light on significant destinations offering awe-inspiring views.Most parts of North America, Europe and prominent regions in South America and Africa lure the wanderlust with their epic hiking trails. Most of these hiking trails are loaded with other breath-taking activities and camping options.
International Hiking Wonders – Points of Interest
Glacier National Park
The Crown of the Continent sits proudly in Montana’s Rocky Mountains amidst pristine forests, magnificent lakes and alpine meadows. Featuring over 700 miles of hiking trails, its valleys run down to the Canadian Border. Bask in the glory of scenic views as you walk along the picturesque Going-to-the-Sun Road that passes the park and crosses the famous Logan Pass. This road sits at the highest elevation of 6,646 feet. The road also provides access to several hiking trails. Cycling, guided tours, boating and camping are other adventurous activities tourists can indulge in.
Tour du Mont Blanc
Unwind across the Mont Blanc massif as you pass through Europe’s most popular long-distance walking trail covering Italy, Switzerland and France. Visit seven valleys as you traverse through Chamonix, Les Houches and Zermatt dipped in the pristine Swiss Alps. The classic trail takes you through blooming meadows and steep, exposed rocks. The high points include Col des Fours and the Fenêtred’Arpette with out-of-the-world views at 8,478 feet high.
Everest Base Camp
Welcome to the highest mountain range in the world. The Everest Base Camp is a must-visit for hiking enthusiasts. This is the place where you get to see the highest point on the planet, Everest or Chomolungma. It is considered as the Goddess Mother of the World. The South Base Camp in Nepal is at an altitude of 5,364 meters and, the North Base Camp in Tibet sits at 5,150 meters. The snow-capped peaks of the Everest are the highest in the world where you experience a different world altogether.
Yosemite National Park
Breath-taking rock formations, towering waterfalls, the tranquillity of Sierra Nevada Mountains, ancient & gigantic sequoia trees. All these and more make Yosemite a natural wonder and a magical sight to behold. The famous Half Dome is captivating to the human eye, especially when sun-kissed. The vast wilderness and deep valleys leave you spellbound and, the Glacier Point and Tunnel View give a spectacular perspective. What’s more? Check out the guided tours and climbing lessons, including the unforgettable Half Dome cables route.
Grand Canyon National Park
This national park is a leading favourite among all hiking enthusiasts. Hiking the Grand Canyon offers an overwhelming expedition and dominates a very large part of Arizona. Stretching up to 277 miles, the canyon charms travellers with striking views of the Colorado River featuring a steep curve. River trips are an all-time favourite and, the red and orange grandeur is a marvel to gaze. Mather Point and Yavapai Observation Station are the well-known viewpoints with camping facilities.
Simien Mountains National Park
If you are looking to traverse a trail loaded with distinct wildlife and a landscape droned in nature, you have to head to this exotic national park. Located in Ethiopia, the park features soaring grasslands dotted with Heather trees. Enjoy panoramic views of the mountains from Gidir Got and ImetGogolookout. Camp at Sankaber, Geech or Chenek as trails pass through them.
Fish River Canyon
Namibia is home to the world’s second largest canyon featuring gigantic and deep gorges that are up to 27 km wide and nearly 550 meters deep. The 800 km-long Fish River is over a billion years old. This hiking trail is one of the toughest and, a successful completion takes you to 5 billion years old geological history.
Yellowstone National Park
The 3,500-sq. mile wilderness spreading across Wyoming and Montana is a pristine wonder featuring the most dramatic peaks and canyons. Hot springs surround the multi-coloured pools. The lush forests and rivers feature endless walking trails. Take in the views of hot geysers forcing steaming waters high towards the sky. If that’s not enough, the park is home to numerous animal species including wild bisons, bears, antelopes, wolves and more. Hike the Yellowstone Lake, a freshwater lake that is set over 7,000 feet in North America.
Witness one of the world’s most captivating and wildest natural terrain traversing Tasmania’s walking trail. The Australian wonder lets you explore the ruggedCradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. As you walk along, astonishing views of glacial mountains, rainforests, vast plains and wild rivers take over your senses. The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is a biodiversity hotspot with a range of wildlife and eucalyptus groves.
Sarek National Park
The grandiose of 2,000+ meters high mountains, extended & deep narrow valleys and turbulent waters make one of the oldest National Parks in Europe an invaluable hiking spot. Make your own route and explore at your own pace at this high alpine area covering a vast delta landscape. This hiking beauty in Sweden has over 100 glaciers and, the rugged landscape is home to large elk and reindeer.
Zion National Park
Head to Southwest Utah and, gear up for an unforgettable hiking expedition taking you across towering mountain ranges, natural arches, canyons, rivers and monoliths. The reddish and tanned canyons are a scenic marvel and, the area is great for exploration and backpacking. Enjoy a lazy stroll across the Riverside Walk or explore the scenic surroundings hiking the Hidden Canyon. Angels Landing is the most popular hiking spot featuring a narrow ridge with stunning views.
The Narrows and Weeping Rock are hikers’ favourite points, challenging, breath-taking and adventurous. Th Observation Point is worth the visit offering jaw-dropping views of Angels Landing and the panoramic Zion National Park. That’s not all. If you are someone who enjoys scenic views while driving, then take the Zion canyon Scenic Drive. Wade through the Virgin River and set off for an adventurous walk through the canyon.
The wonderous mountain range bordering Austria and Italy is Tyrol’s spectacular hiking and biking trail with loads of natural setting. Just laze around or walk at your convenience to a unique panorama from famous ridges. Hochfeiler, the highest point of the ZillertalAlps awaits tourists for a mindboggling view above sea level. Go for a walk in the valley or take a stroll in the wild nature reserve.
Blyde River Canyon
South Africa’s hidden jewel set across the sparkling Blyde River gives an expansive view of the awesome Drakensberg Mountains. Rich with flora and fauna, the canyon, consisting of red sandstone, offers hikers a unique and stimulating experience. Witness boundless views of rich surroundings from Mariepskop. It’s the highest point there towering 1,944 meters above sea level. Covered with lush foliage, it’s the largest green canyon in the world.
And, if you seek a break, head to the Blyde Hillside Houses set in a tranquil atmosphere with the backdrop of the fabulous Drakensberg Mountains.
Olympic National Park
The most unique national park on the planet located in Washington State is home to several distinct ecosystems. It’s a nature lover’s paradise gifted with glacier-capped mountains, temperate rainforests and a wild coastline. The hiking trails cut through the old-growth forest and pass through the Pacific coastline. The coastline offers dramatic views of the Olympic Mountains.
In recent years, hiking has become the most popular and most enjoyable activity for adventurous and active travellers. Exploring the outdoors gives travellers the opportunity to break away from the hustle bustle of city life and bask in nature’s glory. The numerous activities, both for leisure and adventure, have given holidays a brand-new perspective.
The dozens of activities including camping, horse riding, trekking, boating, walking tours, fishing, kayaking, exploration, mountain climbing, and many others make for a perfect hiking expedition.
Life-changing experiences and self-awareness are the direct by-products of hiking. Hiking provides the opportunity to study the mysteries of nature to learn the historical significance of a region.