1. Appalachian Trail, USA
More than a simple walk in the woods, following the Appalachian Trail in its entirety will take about six months from start to finish. Of course, there are day hiking and other simple overnight options available too, thanks to the trail’s many access points. While certain stretches of this trail can be crowded, others will have you feeling like you’re the only person in the world. Plan your route at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
2. West Coast Trail, Vancouver Island, Canada
Ladders, cable cars, and some rope work add to this adventurous trek through the Canadian wilderness. You may catch a glimpse of sea lions, or even some whales off shore, but one of the rarest sightings on this trail is another hiker. That’s right, while not too far from civilization, only 52 hikers are allowed to set off each day the trail is open, from May to September. Enjoy the peace and quiet as you take in the stunning views.
3. Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Taking about 3-weeks to complete, the memories from this horseshoe-shaped trail will certainly last a lifetime. With its constantly evolving scenery, you’ll trek through deep canyons, jungles, rice paddies, and snow-capped peaks. However, the most memorable part of this hike will likely be the people that you meet along the way. With tea houses scattered throughout the route, you won’t need to worry too much about food and shelter - and you’ll have the chance to interact with some locals, and maybe even sample some yak cheese.
4. Tour du Mont Blanc, France, Italy, and Switzerland
This picturesque trail gives you the opportunity to see three different countries, and enjoy some of Europe’s most dramatic glaciers. With constantly changing terrain, you’ll have plenty of variety. Plus, you don’t have to worry about cooking your own food or sleeping in tents (though, you can if you want to). You’ll find lots of places to stay and eat during the trek, from huts, to high-end hotels.
5. Laugavegurinn/Fimmvorduhals Pass, Iceland
One of the best things about this 50-mile trail is its variety. This stunning trek packs in more natural wonders than other more famous (and longer) hikes. By starting at Skogar and hiking north, you’ll pass 20-cascading waterfalls in the first 7 miles. Then you’ll hike between two glaciers, and descend to the “Woods of Thor,” a breathtaking valley that’s said to be the inspiration for Tolkien's Middle Earth.
6. Tongariro Northern Circuit, New Zealand
Hike around Mt. Ngauruhoe, one of three volcanoes in the center of New Zealand’s North Island. Trek through an ever-changing landscape, that transitions from volcanic desert, to grassy plain, and rich forest. Plus, you’ll see some incredible sights along the way, including Red Crater, Emerald Lake, and some boiling mud. Add a trip up Mount Ngauruhoe, Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings, if you’re looking to make this 3-day hike last a little bit longer.
7. Torres del Paine Circuit, Chile
Patagonia is known for having some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the world - and the Torres del Paine Circuit will get you up close and personal with all of it. Camp beside bright blue lakes, see glaciers, and check out the national park’s extensive wildlife. The highest point in the 52-mile look is 4000 feet, so there’s no need to worry about altitude sickness.
8. Snowman Trek, Bhutan
Bhutan’s Snowman Trek certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. In fact, veteran trekkers rank this trail, which takes at least 25 days to complete, among the hardest trails on the planet. However, no risk, no reward - and the Snowman Trek is nothing if not memorable. Hikers battle through the unpredictable Himalayan weather, a peak of 17,388 feet, 11-passes, and have the privilege of wandering into local villages for tea with the indigenous Layap people.