Hiking trails are all about getting out of your comfort zone and exploring nature, but if you want to go beyond that you should plan to check out one of the world’s longest hiking trails. The following list includes nine of the longest hiking trails in the world, each with its own unique scenery and attractions. Some are better suited to serious hikers than others, so read up on them before making your decision!
1) Appalachian Trail – United States
The Appalachian Trail is a hiking trail in the Eastern United States, stretching from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Maine. It is roughly 2190 miles long and one of the world’s best known long-distance hiking trails.
The Appalachian Trail is the oldest and longest footpath in America’s National Park System. The following are among its features:
It passes through 14 states; it runs for about 2190 miles (3,500 km) from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine; 5 million people visit annually. A person can also hike southbound or northbound. The northbound journey takes about six months, while the southbound journey takes five months. The Appalachian Trail was completed in 1937 by volunteers working on behalf of the newly created Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
2) Pacific Crest Trail – United States
The Pacific Crest Trail is a 2650-mile trail extending from Mexico to Canada. It traverses 23 national forests and 7 national parks. It passes through 25 different states, including California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT is well known for being one of the best hiking trails in North America for a variety of reasons.
The Pacific Crest Trail is considered by many to be the epitome of long distance hiking due to its diverse terrain, climate, wildlife and spectacular scenery.
Some hikers are able to complete the entire trail in one season but more often than not people choose to hike it over several seasons or years with many taking three months per year off work in order to complete it.
3) Continental Divide Trail – United States
The United States is home to one of the world’s longest hiking trails, and for good reason. The 2,650-mile (4,265-kilometer) long Continental Divide Trail follows the Rocky Mountains from Mexico to Canada. The trail is so remote that it can take up to a month to cover just 50 miles (80 kilometers). Keep in mind this is not a trail for beginners.
The CDT was created in 1978 and has been growing ever since with more than 400 people finishing this challenge each year.
4) Te Araroa Trail – New Zealand
The Te Araroa Trail is a multi-day, tramping trail that traverses New Zealand from north to south. The trail stretches 3,000 kilometres and takes about six months to complete. Check out what makes this one of the world’s longest hiking trails.
The trail starts in Cape Reinga at the northernmost point of the country and finishes in Bluff on South Island’s southern coast. Along the way, hikers will be guided by maps and signage, but they should also have good navigation skills as sections are unmarked or unmaintained.
If you are up for it, you can start at either end – Te Araroa is a loop with no beginning or end.
5) Bibbulmun Track – Australia
The Bibbulmun Track is a long distance hiking trail that runs around the coast of Western Australia. It is about 1000 kilometres in length and takes about six weeks to hike, with an elevation gain and loss of nearly 100,000 metres. The trail has over 1100 campsites, so one can choose to hike for as long or short a period as they wish. Along the way there are beautiful forests, coastal views and limestone caves to explore.
The best time to hike this trail is from April to October when it is not raining or too hot or too cold. In winter there may be snow on higher ground and many waterholes will have dried up so make sure you carry enough water for your journey!
6) Arizona Trail – United States
If you are in need of a long-distance hike, then consider the Arizona Trail. This hiking trail is situated in Arizona and runs from Mexico to Utah. The entire length of this trail is 1,300 miles! Along with being one of the longest trails in the world, it also has one of the most beautiful landscapes and diverse ecosystems. Along with that, there are a variety of animals and plant life along this route. The best part about hiking on this path is that you never have to get bored because each day brings new scenery. It is impossible not to feel awe as you gaze at the sun set over majestic mountains or stop for lunch by a river where birds are chirping around you. I highly recommend this hiking trail for those who want to experience something different than what they would find at home.
7) John Muir Trail – United States
The John Muir Trail is a 211 mile (340 km) trail that runs from Yosemite Valley to Mt. Whitney in California, passing through some of the most scenic places in America. It was named after famed naturalist and conservationist John Muir who encouraged many people to visit and explore Yosemite National Park. The trail starts at Happy Isles, located on the eastern side of Yosemite Valley and ends at Pinchot Pass on the summit of Mount Whitney. The John Muir Trail is one of America’s best hiking trails and can be completed in about three weeks time. In 2006, it was ranked as the number one trail in California by the San Francisco Chronicle.
8) Snowman Trek – Bhutan
Snowman Trek in Bhutan is a must-see for any diehard hiker. The 30-day trekking course has been ranked as the fifth best hiking trail in the world by National Geographic. It was created to honor the ancient Tibetan Buddhist Saint, Padmasambhava. Along with incredible views of snowcapped peaks and glaciers, you can also spot wildlife such as tigers, blue sheep, bears, leopards and bharal (a type of sheep).
9) GR 20 – France – longest hiking trails
GR 20 is one of the world’s longest hiking trails, stretching all the way from France to Italy. Spanning over 1000 kilometers and taking up to three months to complete, this trek is both challenging and rewarding. There are many areas along this trail that hikers can camp with or without permits. It is advisable that anyone looking to take on this adventure should be well-prepared before they start their journey as there are no shops open along the way, making it necessary for a hiker to carry enough supplies for themselves during their trek.
10) Great Himalaya Trail, Nepal
The Great Himalaya Trail is one of the best hiking trails in Nepal, as well as one of the longest hiking trails in the world. 2680 kilometers long this trek spans across nine high mountain passes and crosses through eight national parks. The trail is said to be one of the most difficult in the world with a high level of difficulty, but it does not offer any technical climbing sections. It’s not for beginners, but for those who are looking for an extreme challenge that will push their limits and give them bragging rights, this is it! You can hike the sections at a time like Everest Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Circuit Trek, or Manaslu Circuit Trek.
11) Hokkaido Nature Trail
The Hokkaido Nature Trail (HNT) is a hiking trail that runs through the island of Hokkaido, Japan. It spans 2800 miles, making it one of the longest hiking trail in the world. Along with being relatively unknown, this trail is not an easy hike as it takes a full month to complete and has 20 peaks that are over 3200 feet tall! A different climate awaits you at every point along the way as you trek up and down mountains while going through lush forests and crossing grassy plains. There are also many waterfalls to enjoy along your journey!
If you’re looking for an adventurous yet rewarding hike that will take some time out of your busy schedule, then consider taking on this long-distance trekking adventure for yourself. One of the great benefits to hiking is how each trail offers its own uniqueness and scenic beauty; so you can try many trails before deciding which one is best for you. For example, if you don’t want to wait a whole month before finishing the trail, but still want some strenuous exercise and stunning scenery, then try South Kaibab Trail. Though only 8 miles long and taking only two days or so to finish it’s been named one of the best hiking trails in America by Backpacker magazine. Or if you want more challenging terrain without too much elevation change I recommend Haleakala Crater Loop which provides two days of difficult terrain without too much elevation change for avid hikers who like a good challenge but aren’t quite ready for summit climbs!
12) The Grand Italian Trail
The Grand Italian Trail is considered to be one of Italy’s most beautiful and best hiking trails. It stretches a whopping 1,200 kilometers and takes hikers through some of Italy’s most picturesque and diverse landscapes. The best time to take on this challenge is in spring or fall when the weather isn’t too hot or cold. There are plenty of accommodations along the way if you want to stay overnight in your tent.
In general, each day will cover around 25-30 miles with an elevation gain between 2,500-3,000 meters (8,200-10,000 feet). The trail passes through Rome for about 45 miles and ends at Sicily.
Many trekkers recommend going during October or November because it offers pleasant temperatures with moderate rainfall.