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7 Hikes That Are Worth Traveling For

From the peaks of Patagonia to the wilds of New Zealand, these hikes will take you around the world and back.

Planning your next vacation? These hikes will take you off the tourist track to some of the world's best-kept secrets.

1. Tour du Mont Blanc, Europe

At 15,781 feet, Mont Blanc is Western Europe’s highest peak. Hiking its circumference will take you through three different countries — France, Italy, and Switzerland — and some of Europe’s most dramatic peaks and glaciers, as well as charming alpine villages. What’s more, hikers have the option to do the 100-mile circuit can be done in ten days, meaning trekkers are free to discover local wines, delicacies, and cultural attractions along the way.

2. Patagonia, South America

Mount Fitz Roy is a popular destination for die-hard hikers, and for good reason: Its amazingly distinctive landscapes are unlike anything else on Earth. From Fitz Roy’s distinctive peaks to rivers, lakes, deserts, and grasslands, Patagonia has captivated explorers for thousands of years. With about a dozen routes spanning hikes between two and five days, travelers are free to choose their level of difficulty. Each trek is clearly marked, and experienced hikers with adequate equipment don’t need to use the services of a guide.

3. The Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda

Reaching a maximum height of 16,762 feet, Uganda’s Rwenzori range is a challenge even for experienced adventure travelers. It’s far less crowded (and not to mention, less expensive) than Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. But what it lacks in height — about 2,500 feet — it makes up for in its surreal landscapes. Trekkers often describe this range’s unique vegetation as otherworldly. There are several routes of varying skill levels to choose from, with the average trek taking around seven days.

4. Long Range Traverse, Canada

In Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland, the Long Range Traverse is a rugged, unmarked backcountry route that spans 25 miles and takes three to four nights to complete. Though hikers should come with navigation chops, most will find this pristine, uncrowded route worth the extra effort. Trekkers wind their way through rocky terrain, with every twist and turn revealing breathtaking sights: Atlantic fjords, sparkling blue lakes, towering granite peaks, spruce groves, and grazing moose and caribou. The five designated campsites are each spaced a day apart, and the trail ends with a sweeping view of the Gulf of St. Lawrence from Newfoundland’s second-highest peak.

5. The Arctic Trail, Scandinavia

This little-known Arctic trail through the Sweden, Finland, and Norway spans nearly 500 miles. Located above the Arctic circle, it’s Europe’s northernmost long trek and winds its way through hills covered in flowers, craggy mountains, glaciers, plateaus, and plunging forested valleys. The Arctic trail crosses international borders a total of 10 times, with more than 40 staffed and unstaffed huts for hikers along the way.

6. Te Araroa Trail, New Zealand

New Zealand is every nature lover’s paradise, but it’s this island country’s ever-changing landscapes — from glaciers and volcanic peaks to rainforests and sandy beaches — that make Te Araroa a must-see for avid hikers. Maori for “the long pathway,” this near 2,000-mile track is split into some 160 smaller hikes. Bisecting both the North and South Island, it spans from Cape Reinga to Bluff, the country’s northernmost and southernmost tips, respectively, and takes about five months to complete.

7. Hokkaido Nature Trail, Japan

Japan’s trails are well-known among avid trekkers, but they’ve somehow escaped the attention of the rest of us. With more than 70 percent of this small island country covered in mountains and volcanoes, Japan boasts some of the finest hiking trails in the world. The 2,849-mile long Hokkaido Nature Trail is the country’s northernmost (and most rugged) among them. In the summer, the balmy weather is perfect for walking, while the trail snakes its way through forests, volcanoes, coastline, idyllic valleys, glaciers, and lake systems.

[Imgae via Shutterstock]

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