5 Best Hikes For Your Outdoor Vacations-panergy
Tour de Mont Blanc, Switzerland, France & Italy: I have personally done this one and it is awesome! Unlike many such hikes, there are optional legs, allowing for trips from 8 to 12 days (the longest version of the route is 112 miles), you get every type of quintessential alpine scenery imaginable, from mountain ridges to green hillsides to glaciers, and it passes through wonderful ski towns like Chamonix and Courmayeur. You can sleep in hotels, eat great food - fondue, raclette and such - even stop for gelato along the way, while enjoying day after day of spectacular landscapes. The TMB route has been around for a long time but has become much more popular in recent years, thanks in part to an annual ultra-marathon trail running race that draws world class athletes from around the world. The circular route is a circumnavigation of the highest mountain in the Alps, crosses the borders of three countries, and most typically begins and ends in Chamonix, France, just over an hour from the Geneva airport. It is as turnkey and straightforward as it is wonderful, and I could not recommend it more highly.
Wales Coastal Path, United Kingdom: This one gets a lot less press than the many older and more established treks across Scotland and Ireland, but is notable because when completed in 2012, Wales became the first country on earth to offer a hiking path the entire length of its national coastline, 870 miles, border to border. Doing the whole thing in one shot is a 3 to 4 month endeavor, so most people pick one of the eight themed segments and go for about a week, enjoying ruins, medieval castles, fishing villages and stunning cliff walks, all while traveling through millennia of history. But the real beauty of this special walk is that it keeps passing through towns full of charming bed and breakfasts, pubs and restaurants, so a cold pint and hot plate of fish and chips is never far away.
Torres del Paine National Park, Chilean Patagonia: If you’ve seen amazing, epic hiking photos online and thought “I have to go see that,” there’s a decent chance you were looking at this spot near the Southern tip of South America. Unlike the other hikes on this list, the top multi-day options are not a circuit, but rather a series of day hikes based out of one of several excellent all-inclusive adventure lodges in the area, which allow you to mix hikes with other excursions like mountain biking or horseback rides (there are certainly long hiking circuits of note in the region, but all require extensive backcountry savvy). The classic of the bunch is the day hike on the longer W Trek route to view the Three Towers, the park’s iconic rock formations, followed by the hike to Glacier Grey.
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim: This is the shortest multi-day hike at only two days (of hiking) but it traverses the most famous geological feature in the U.S., and both days are long, and as they cannot be broken into segments, challenging in a way that invites fit and avid trekkers. The classic route is 14-miles on the descent and 10-miles on the return and the way to do it in style is with an overnight (at least one!) at Phantom Ranch at the bottom, the only lodging below the rim and a classic National Park Service lodge, with both cabins and dorms. This is the easiest of these trips trip to do solo (though Phantom Ranch reservations are tricky) or you can go with a respected outfitter like OARS.
Overland Track, Tasmania, Australia: Australia has many famous multi-day hiking routes, but if you Google the subject, just about every list will rank this one on the island of Tasmania number one. The main options include a 40-mile route that typically takes 6 days or 55-miles and 7 to 9 days. Either way, it runs through the Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and offers everything from waterfalls to glaciers to the nation’s deepest lake. It’s possible to do it self-supported by booking shelters through Australia’s Parks & Wildlife Service, but guided operators make it easier, especially the highly regarded Tasmania Walking Company, whose Cradle Mountain Huts tour uses the trail’s only private lodging, in ecofriendly huts with showers and beds, every night.