Best Treks, Trails and Climbs
Backpacking is a great way to experience new cultures and take in the splendour of jaw-dropping scenery. If you are up for an adventure check out the best treks, trails and climbs brought to you by our friends are travelbyu. With so many beautiful treks to choose from, our friends at travelbyu have narrowed down the very best treks; from hiking ancient trails to some of the most challenging climbs in the world.
1. Best Treks, Trails and Climbs – Inca Trail, Peru
If you know anything about travel you will surely know of the famous Inca Trail in Peru. The most popular trail by far leads to the ancient city of Machu Picchu. The trek starts in Cuzco and visits 3 sets of Inca ruins along the way, the ruins of Patallacta, the Incan tambo of Runkuraqay, and a view of Sayaqmarka. You will also see an Incan tunnel, mountains and drop offs, and there may be some steep climbs in some areas. Along with offering spectacular scenery, the Inca Trail is not only safe and easy to organize but it also allows trekkers to hike through jungle to high alpine terrain and take in the beauty of the Peruvian mountains over the 3-night, 4-day hike. Plus, at the end of the journey, hikers will arrive at one of the most celebrated man-made destinations on earth.
If you plan on doing the number one trail in the world be aware that reservations in advance are mandatory as it is limited to only 500 people (including guides and porters) per day. Also note that the trail is closed in February for maintenance.
2. Best Treks, Trails and Climbs – Mount Fuji, Japan
Climbing Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest and most prominent mountain, can make for lifelong memories. The mountain itself may look more attractive from afar than from close up, but the views on clear days and the experience of climbing through the early morning hours among hundreds of like-minded hikers from across the world, are very rewarding.
It is recommended to climb Mount Fuji on a weekday in the first half of July before the start of the school holidays to avoid the crowds. The downside of a climb in early July is the weather, which tends to be somewhat more unstable than later in the season.
The mountain huts open a few days before the start of the official climbing season and remain open until mid September. Public transportation is considerably less frequent (borderline non-existent outside of the official climbing season). While there is usually no snow on Mount Fuji from late June until October, temperatures at the summit can drop to far below zero in the shoulder seasons so pack appropriately.
3. Best Treks, Trails and Climbs - Cinque Terre, Italy
Hiking through vineyards and along sheer granite cliffs of the Cinque Terre or “Five Lands” is a foodie’s dream.
Connected by a trail system along the northwest coast of Italy, these five quaint fishing villages allow hikers to walk the trails during the day and indulge in exquisite seafood and fabulous wine after dark. The train from Monterosso passes each hamlet and can drop visitors off to allow for a one-way hike.
4. Best Treks, Trails and Climbs - Torres del Paine, Chile
Torres del Paine is recognised as one of the most breathtaking, unspoiled places on earth. This world renowned national park in Patagonia is home to some of Chile’s best treks. Torres del Paine is an internationally acclaimed Chile trekking destination offering beautiful panoramas, exotic wildlife and diverse ecosystems. On this trek, you will see fields of wildflowers, mountains, valleys, and glacial views as far as the eye can see. Among the many animals that can be seen throughout the park you will find Andean condors, guanacos, and foxes.
The internationally renowned Patagonia trekking destination and park of Torres del Paine were declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978, and is on the list to be declared a World Heritage site.
The spectacular Paine Massif, with peaks Cuernos and Grande (pictured), dominate the landscape. The name “Paine”, translates to “blue” in Indian, thus Torres del Paine means the “Blue Towers”. With cascading rivers and waterfalls, lush meadows and mirror-like turquoise lakes this is a place not to be missed.
5. Best Treks, Trails and Climbs – West Coast Trail, Canada
The West Coast Trail is part of the Pacific Rim National Park in British Columbia, Canada. You will start at Bamfield and travel all the way to Port Renfrew. Along the way, you will travel through forests, along beaches and navigate age old bogs. Designated camping areas are available along this rugged path, and you will be required to cross a few areas by boat, bridge, and even fallen logs. There are places to stop and rest along the trail if you do not wish to hike the entire way. There are many wild animals that can be encountered, including bears, wolves and cougars, so be careful! Tidal pools with fish, mollusks and sea anemones can be found at the beach portions of the trail, plus you may catch a glimpse of an orca or sea lion. The trail is only open from the start of May until the end of September, so plan your adventure accordingly.
6. Best Treks, Trails and Climbs - Tiger Leaping Gorge, China
Tiger Leaping Gorge is located along the Yangtzee River between the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the Haba Xueshan Mountain, in China. A series of rapids pass under these dramatic 2km tall cliffs making for an incredible sight. The gorge got its name from a legend that says a tiger once jumped the narrowest point of the gorge to escape a hunter, a leap of approximately 25 meters. As one of the world’s deepest river canyons, Tiger Leaping Gorge is a beautiful and scenic hike for the adventurous trekker.
The high-road trail is well-maintained and marked and takes hikers on a 20km journey with varied mountain views, a surprising variety of micro-ecosystems, waterfalls and even guesthouses where hikers can stay along the route.
While this spectacular gorge is an essential and protected part of the World Heritage site of the three parallel rivers of the Yunnan Province, the Chinese government has proposed building another hydroelectric dam that would flood this place so hikers interested in seeing this beautiful, lush canyon should probably head there sooner rather than later.
7. Best Treks, Trails and Climbs – Hollyford Track, New Zealand
The Hollyford Track is located within the spectacular Hollyford Valley which marks the northern most boundary of the Fiordland National Park which is part of the larger Te W?hipounamu – New Zealand World Heritage Area.
Remote and dramatic, the Hollyford Valley begins among the sheer rock walls of the Darran Mountains and runs from the base of the Southern Alps to the Tasman Sea. The forest is a mix of native lowland species and there are views of the Fiordland’s two largest peaks T?toko and Madeline. The remote and often wild coastline is inhabited by native New Zealand Fur Seals and rare Crested Penguins.
The Hollyford Valley is a classic glacial carved valley and was formed by the action of a huge glacier over 20,000 years ago. The only remnant of this once massive glacier is the Donne Glacier on the eastern face of Mt T?toko. Originally a fiord, the Hollyford became a valley when Lake McKerrow was formed and cut off from the sea by sedimentary deposits at Martins Bay.
8. Best Treks, Trails and Climbs - Everest base camp – Nepal
Previously an expensive flight and a guide in the Everest region was enough to send many hikers into cardiac arrest. Nowadays this epic trail has become more and more accessible to the average trekker as adventure tour companies have entered the market. World-class views of massive glaciers, yaks carrying masses of equipment and quaint villages perched in an ancient landscape quickly make the money factor fade.
The breath-taking photo opportunities are enough to keep a trekker’s mind spinning, but many return raving even more about their cultural and spiritual experiences they have gained.
If you are up for an adventure, this trail is perfect for you. Lukla, Nepal, is your starting point on this journey and the total trek can take about 2 weeks. If you decide to take on this challenge, be prepared for cold temperatures and high altitudes as Base Camp reaches an elevation of approximately 5,400 meters.
About the author: Michael is the founder of the travel blog and soon to be launched travel social network www.travelbyu.com .