Ice climbing in Iceland or a jungle trek to ancient ruins in Colombia? The spectrum of the world’s trekking and hiking opportunities is unlimited so let us help you select some of the most rewarding destinations that best suit your preferences. From more travelled countries to absolutely remote and wild states, this list will help you choose your next ultimate trek adventure.
1. Colombia. The Andes.
After years of civil conflict, Colombia is now back on the travelers’ map, luring backpackers and holidaymakers with spectacular nature and cultural achievements. Among the country’s highlights are its trekking possibilities – Colombia offers some of the best destinations on the continent for hiking and trekking addicts.
Among the most rewarding mountain zones are Pargue Nacional El Cocuy and Los Nevados. Sierra Nevada Del Cocuy is a stunning mountain range, with 20 spectacular peaks (most of them higher than 5,000 meters), waterfalls, glaciers and crystal lakes. Los Nevados, located in the central area of Colombian Andes, is a great, though a bit more demanding, destination for mountain lovers. It is home to the famed Nevado del Ruiz, the northernmost volcano of the Andean Volcanic Belt. In turn, the trekking beginners should consider a 5-day hike through Colombia’s rainforest to fascinating Ciudad Perdida, a lost city founded about 800 A.D., some 650 years earlier than Machu Picchu in Peru.
2. Tajikistan. The Pamir.
If you are looking for a wild, remote and off the beaten track trekking destination, Tajikistan should be your choice for the next adventure trek. This mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia, bordering with Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and China, is covered by the spectacular Pamir range known locally as the Roof of the World. In fact, 50% of Tajikistan’s area lies over 3,000 meters (10,000 ft) above the sea level so the high-altitude landscape is right at your fingertips.
The country is home to the Pamir Highway, one of the Asia’s most spectacular road trips, and it also contains three of the four highest peaks in former USSR. The highest is the Communism Peak (now renamed as Koh-i-Samani) – the mountain of 7495 m discovered only in 1928. Of course, climbing the latter would be an option for the advanced trekkers. Still, the country has hundreds of outstanding routes of different difficulty levels on offer.
3. The USA. California.
It may not be the most unspoiled destination on Earth, but California certainly is home to some of the most amazing trekking and hiking routes in the country. This third largest state (by area) in the USA offers something for every type of trekkers, from mountain addicts to desert lovers. Besides such iconic natural sites as Death Valley, Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park, California also contains an array of mountain ranges: coastal mountains in the west, the Sierra Nevada to the east, the Cascade Range in the north and the Tehachapi Mountains in the south.
Be it hiking along the famous High Sierra Trail to the Mount Whitney, the highest peak (4,421 m) in the contiguous forty-eight states, popular wine treks, or a hiking tour in the spectacular scenery of California’s national parks, the state has plenty of rewarding trekking destinations.
4. Argentina and Chile. Patagonia.
Shared by Argentina and Chile, Patagonia is a must for every avid trekker and mountain lover. Though it is now being visited by more and more travelers, Patagonia remains a land of wild nature, large spaces, pristine lakes and unconquerable peaks. Among the Patagonia’s most spectacular treks are the Fitz Roy Range trails, Torres del Paine National Park, and Glacier Perito Moreno as well as Tierra del Fuego, an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland, perfect for lone wolf type of trekkers. Whether you follow more popular tourist trails or venture more isolated stretches of the region, Patagonia is a place not to be missed while in South America.
The absolutely stunning landscape of Iceland creates a perfect scenery for some of the world’s best hikes and treks. Be it glacier trails leading through the labyrinth of glacier tongues, hot spring hikes, ice climbing or mountain climbing, trekking Iceland is like walking on the moon. If you search for an ultimate adventure, don’t miss hiking Hvannadalshnúkur, the country’s highest peak of 2110 m (6,900 ft). The trail offers jaw-dropping views of Vatnajokull glacier (one of the world’s largest), though it is a long and physically challenging climb. On the Iceland’s hike odyssey, you will discover much more than the highlands – the country is home to fantastic waterfalls, geysers, volcanoes, hot springs and steaming waters of thermal pools, where you can relax and give your muscles the rest they deserve after the treks.
6. Slovakia. The Tatras.
This tiny country in Central Europe is a paradise for trekkers and hikers. While the trails of the Alps and the Dolomites are well-worn and crowded, Slovakia offers amazing, pristine mountain land of crystal lakes, snow-capped peaks and wild forests. The Carpathian Mountains extend across most of the northern part of the country and amongst these mountain ranges are the Tatra mountains – shared by Slovakia and Poland. Slovakia is home to Gerlachovský štít (2654m), the highest peak in the Carpathian range and around 600 km of hiking trails that will take you to beautiful alpine valleys and high summit ridges.
The travelers are still rare in Kazakhstan, so the vastness of its highlands is literally all for those who decide to venture into this remote state in Central Asia. This huge country, the ninth largest in the world, contains two grand ranges: the Tian Shan and the Altai Mountains, where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan come together. The beauty, remoteness and wilderness of the country go beyond imagination. Although the mountain areas cover around 10% of the Kazakhstan’s territory, their untouched and breathtaking landscapes make it one of the world’s most rewarding trekking and hiking destinations.
8. The USA. Alaska.
It goes without saying that Alaska is one of the world’s most beautiful and wildest destinations. Home to Denali and Glacier Bay National Parks as well as Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska has so much to offer for trekkers and hikers that one could spent a lifetime venturing the state. Alaska’s iconic area is Denali National Park, home to Mt McKinley, the highest peak in North America. The park offers loads of off-trail trekking opportunities where nature lovers can admire absolutely stunning wildlife such as marmot, brown bears and moose, which are, fortunately, quite easy to spot. Though expensive and difficult to access, Alaska is a heaven for outdoor enthusiasts.