More Than A Walk In The Park
These long-distance trails are what hikers dream about, but few undertake. When we think long-distance we think the Appalachian Trail (2,200 miles), Pacific Crest Trail (2,654 miles) or Continental Divide Trail (3,100 miles). A lot of the time, people walk a few miles, turn around, head back to their car and drive back home.
Most of these routes are much longer than the 2,200-mile Appalachian trail and they offer an abundance of mountains, sites and scenery. You'll be impressed with the amazing abundance of nature, wildlife and accomplishment for finishing these trails.
5 Legendary Long-Distance Trails
1. Trans Canada Trail, canada
View from the Trans Canada Trail© James Clark
Distance: 14,000 Miles (22,530 KM)
Points of Interest: This trail covers Canada from the east coast to the west coast. The start of the trail is in St. John's Newfoundland. It ends slightly near the western coast of British Columbia. There are over 400 sections managed by volunteer organizations and local and provincial governments.
Trail Notes: This is a trail you definitely want to do piece meal for obvious reasons as it's extremely long. Lots of featured trails are located in the many provinces of Canada. These include:
- Chilliwack Valley Trail (in British Columbia)
- Kettle Valley Rail Trail (in British Columbia)
- Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park (in Alberta)
- Battleford Trans Canada Trail (in Saskatchewan)
- Kawartha Trans Canada Trail (in Ontario)
- Sentier Mestashibo (in Quebec)
- Salt Marsh Trail (in Nova Scotia)
- Grand Concourse (in Newfoundland)
View an interactive map of the Trans Canada Trail here.
2. GRAND ITALIAN TRAIL, Italy
The Grand Italian Trail spans the Italian Alps© zocchi2/Getty Images
Distance: 3,700 Miles (6,000 KM)
Points Of Interest: If you're going for a long hike you might as well see some amazing landscapes. This trail through Italy's most scenic countryside including snow-capped mountains, beautiful coast lines, ancient ruins, and vineyard valleys.
Trail Notes: This trail can be divided into 368 sections and you can spend a few days on each of the most scenic sections. However, if you want to do this through from trail-head to terminus, you'll want to be well prepared and planned for.
3. Te Araroa, New Zealand
Te Araroa trail New Zealand© Ben Curran
Distance: 1,800 miles (3,000 km)
Points Of Interest: This relatively new hike opened in 2011 and runs the entire length of New Zealand. It's well known for it's rugged landscapes, diverse scenery and mountain ranges on both of the islands.
Trail Notes: This trail is only hiked by 100 people a year who spend an average of 4 months on the trail. This hike can be done in pieces and provides significant terrain challenges. On average, 300,000 people do individual parts of the trail each year.
4. Great Himalaya Trail, Nepal
The Dho Tarap Valley, Nepal© Robin Boustead
Distance: 2,800 miles (4,500 KM)
Points Of Interest: This network of trails forms one of the longest and highest walking trails in the world. The trail passes through some of the remotest communities, lush green valleys, jaw dropping landscapes and highest plateaus the world has ever known.
Trail Notes: This trail can be hiked in 10 different sections. It's extremely challenging and takes several weeks to complete. The High Route tops out an altitude of 18,000 feet and the Low Route averages 6,000 feet above sea level.
5. Via Alpina, Europe
Distance: 3,100 miles (5,000 km)
Points Of Interest: There are 5 international trails through 8 countries that form this point of interest. This is also the largest natural space in Europe which starts in Slovenia and ends in Monaco. The Via Alpina crosses through Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Italy and France.
Trail Notes: Trails are clearly marked and are quite hiker friendly. The altitude can reach as high as 9,000 making it a little difficult to travel to. The trail encompasses guesthouses, restaurants, and stores. The train can be done in sections through multi-day guided treks. Going thru-hiking is quite challenging and requires advanced preparation.
5. Bicentennial National Trail, Australia
Distance: 3,300 miles (5,300 km)
Points Of Interest: This trail runs through the west coast of Australia. It started off as a trail for horses back in the day but now promoted for hikers and bikers. The views include a historical town of Cooktown, followed by dirt roads, horse trails and fire tracks.
Trail Notes: The trail is divided into 12 sections and you'll be able to experience the remoteness on most of the sections. Make note that it's not always possible to hike the whole route at once. Enjoy each short journey a piece at a time. You can always go back to revisit the missing parts later.