fbpx

21 Best Mountain Treks in the World for an Unforgettable Adventure

This post may include affiliate links, including Amazon Associate links. I may earn money if you click on one at no extra cost to you.

We’ve scoured the globe to bring you a list of the best mountain treks that will take your breath away and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

From the challenging peak of Mount Kilimanjaro to the stunning beauty of the Milford Track, there’s a trek for everyone. Even if you’re short on time, some of them only take two days.

Mountain trekking is not just a physical challenge but a journey of self-discovery. The skills you develop on your trek can lead to growth in other areas of your life. Check out my post  How a Hiking Trip Can Change Your Life to find out more.

A mountain trek also gives you plenty of time to become aware of your thoughts and reframe them. This post tells you exactly how to do that. Just doing that alone may change your life. 

Now all you need to do is decide which trek of our recommended treks you’re going to do first, then lace up your hiking boots and start trekking!

best mountain treks

Best Mountain Trekking in Asia

Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Trek Highlight: Breathtaking mountain trek to the foot of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest

Trekking to Everest Base Camp
  • Distance: ~130 km  (81 miles)(can add side trips for more km)
  • # of Days: 12-16
  • Starting Elevation: 2,800 m (9,200 ft) in Lukla
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 5,364 m (17,598 ft) at Everest Base Camp
  • Fitness Level: Good physical fitness is required
  • Technical Skill Level: Non-technical
  • Accommodations: Tea houses with basic facilities
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: October to early December and March to April

Get ready for an adventure of a lifetime as you embark on this mountain trek to the legendary Everest Base Camp Trek: What You Need To Know Before You Hike It Everest Base Camp – the starting point for mountaineers who will attempt to climb Mount Everest!

You’ll be trekking in the heart of the Nepal Himalayas, surrounded by stunning vistas of towering peaks and glaciers as you make your way to the base camp. I had always thought the Canadian Rockies were the most beautiful mountains in the world – until I did this trek. The Himalayas are just awe-inspiring, towering mountains.

As you traverse the Khumbu region, you’ll have the chance to discover the rich culture and traditions of the Sherpa people. These mountain-dwelling folks are known for their friendliness and hospitality, and you’ll be welcomed into the tea houses and communities as you journey through the region. You’ll also make friends (or foes) with yaks, who you’ll be sharing the trail with. I recommend always giving them right away. 

From the quaint Sherpa villages to the famous Tengboche Monastery, the largest Buddhist monastery in the area, you’ll experience a unique blend of spirituality and rugged mountain life. And don’t forget to turn prayer wheels to accumulate merit and good luck for your trek. I turned everyone I passed and made it to Base Camp despite having altitude sickness so it works :). 

The ultimate highlight of the trek is reaching Everest Base Camp; although you can’t see Mount Everest from there, don’t worry; you’ll get an outstanding view of it from two different spots along the way.

The sense of accomplishment you’ll feel after your trek is worth the effort, and the breathtaking views will stay with you for a lifetime! It’s mountain trekking at its finest.

You can read about my day-day trek to Everest Base Camp here

Annapurna Circuit Trek, Nepal

Trek Highlight: Reaching Thorong La Pass at 5,416 meters (17,769 ft) and taking in the breathtaking views of the Annapurna Mountain Range 

Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal is one of the best mountain treks in the world
  • Distance: 160-230 km (99 – 143 miles) 
  • # of Days:  12-21 (depending on the route)
  • Starting Elevation: 790 m (2,592 ft) in Nayapul
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 5,416 m (17,764 ft) at Annapurna Base Camp)\
  • Fitness Level: Good physical fitness is required
  • Technical Skill Level: Non-technical
  • Accommodations: Tea houses with basic facilities 
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: September to November and March to May

As you trek the Annapurna Circuit, you’ll be surrounded by some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world. From lush forests to high-altitude deserts, you’ll experience a diverse range of landscapes as you make your way around the circuit on this mountain trek. 

During the trek, you’ll have the chance to witness the rich culture and traditions of the local communities as you pass through charming Nepali villages. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit the holy town of Muktinath, one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for both Hindus and Buddhists.

And let’s not forget about the highlight – crossing the Thorong La Pass, which at an elevation of 5,416 meters (17,769 ft), offers panoramic views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges.

With its unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and physical challenge, the Annapurna Circuit Trek is truly a once-in-a-lifetime mountain trek.

Mount Rinjani, Indonesia

Trek Highlight: Summiting an active volcano

Mount Rinjani in Indonesia is one of the best mountain treks in the world
  • Distance: 60 – 75 km (37 – 47 miles)
  • # of Days: 3
  • Starting Elevation: 1,157 m (3,796 ft) in Sembalun Lawang 
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 3,726 m (12, 224 ft) at Rinjani Summit 
  • Fitness Level: Good physical fitness and comfortable with steep ascents/descents
  • Technical Skill Level: Non-technical
  • Accommodations: Camping or basic homestays/lodges available
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: April to November (dry season)

Are you ready for a trek that will take you to the top of an active volcano in Indonesia? You can do the Sembalun Lawang Route in three days. Although it’s a shorter trek than some of the other mountain trekking experiences included here, don’t be fooled, the trek to Mount Rinjani will challenge you physically with the steep ascents. Fortunately, you’ll be passing through lush forests, past pristine lakes, and up steep rocky paths to the summit so you can focus on the stunning scenery instead of how hard you’re breathing. 

The highlight is, of course, reaching the summit of Mount Rinjani and witnessing the spectacular views from the top. From the summit, you’ll be able to see the crystal-clear crater lake and the steam vents that signify the volcano’s continued activity.

But the trek is not just about reaching the summit; it’s also about the journey. You’ll have the chance to experience traditional Indonesian village life, soak your tired muscles in hot springs, and witness breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.

With its unique combination of natural beauty, cultural richness, and adventure, the trek to Mount Rinjani is a true bucket-list experience.

Markha Valley Trek, Ladakh, India

Trek Highlight: Climbing the Kang Yatse II, a majestic peak over 6,000 meters (19,685 ft) offering panoramic views of the surrounding remote Himalayan Mountains

Markha Valley Trek in Ladakh, India is one of the best mountain treks in the world
  • Distance: 80 km (50 miles)
  • # of Days: 7-8 days
  • Starting Elevation: 3,350 m (10,991 ft)
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 4,800 m (15,748 ft)
  • Fitness Level: Moderate to high fitness level is required as the trek involves long daily hikes at high altitudes
  • Technical Skill Level: Non-technical
  • Accommodations: camping or local guesthouses.
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: June to September when the weather is dry and clear, with the best views of the surrounding mountains.

This is mountain trekking at its finest in the heart of the Ladakh region in India. As you set out on the journey to the Markha Valley, you’ll hike in rolling hills, past crystal-clear rivers, and through charming Ladakhi villages.

During the trek, you’ll have the chance to witness the rich culture and traditions of the local communities, as well as the stunning Himalayan mountain scenery that surrounds you.

You’ll also have the chance to visit ancient monasteries, witness unique rock formations, and see rare wildlife, including the elusive snow leopard, if you’re really lucky.

And let’s not forget about the highlight of the trek – reaching the Kang Yatse II, a majestic peak that rises over 6,000 meters (19,685 ft) and offers panoramic views of the surrounding peaks.

With its unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and physical challenge, the Markha Valley Trek is mountain trekking at its finest.

Snowman Trek, Bhutan

Snowman Trek in Bhutan is one of the best mountain treks in the world
  • Distance: 720 km (447 miles)
  • # of Days: 22-24 days 
  • Starting Elevation: 22,850 m (9,350 ft)
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 5,230 m (17,160 ft)
  • Fitness Level: High fitness level is required
  • Technical Skill Level: Some technical skills and experience in high-altitude trekking is required
  • Accommodations: Camping or Lodge-based trek
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: September to November or March to May 

The Snowman Trek in Bhutan is considered one of the most challenging mountain treks in the world due to its high altitude, remote location, and rugged terrain. It covers a total of 11 mountain passes, which are over 5,000 meters (16,400 ft) in elevation, making the trek physically demanding and requiring a high level of fitness and preparation. This is on my hiking bucket list, and I’m really hoping to do it next year. 

Despite the difficulties, the trek is also considered one of the most rewarding and spectacular, offering breathtaking views of the Himalayas and unique cultural experiences like the chance to visit ancient monasteries, visit the remote villages of Laya and Thanza, and experience the hospitality of the Bhutanese people, who not only measure their GDP, also measure happiness. It’s considered the happiest country in the world.

You’ll get fantastic views of Gangkar Punsum, the world’s highest unclimbed peak, from a distance.

It remains unclimbed because it is considered sacred by the Bhutanese people. And climbing it is against Bhutanese law and cultural beliefs. In 1994, Bhutan prohibited all mountaineering above an altitude of 6,000 meters (19,685 ft) in order to preserve the spiritual and environmental integrity of these sacred peaks. This also includes Gangkar Puensum, making it the highest unclimbed mountain in the world.

Aksu Traverse, Kyrgyzstan

Trek Highlight: Experiencing a remote wilderness adventure while forging your own way through Kyrgyzstan’s Tien Shan Mountains

Aksu Traverse in Kyrgyzstan is one of the best mountain treks in the world
  • Distance: 93 – 98 km (57 – 60 miles)
  • # of Days: 6-10 days (typical itinerary)
  • Starting Elevation: 2032 m (6666 ft)
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 4,200 meters (13,779 ft)
  • Fitness Level: Good fitness level 
  • Accommodations: Camping or Homestays
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: July to September (dry season with stable weather conditions)

You’re in for a wild adventure when you set out on this mountain trek, the Aksu Traverse in Kyrgyzstan! This multi-day trek takes you through some of the most remote, breathtaking and rugged landscapes in the world.

You’ll find yourself surrounded by towering peaks in the Tien Shan Mountains, glistening glaciers, and pristine alpine lakes. As you trek, you’ll pass landmarks like the Aksu Pass, which sits at a dizzying 4,250 meters above sea level, and the stunning Aksu Glacier, which creeps down the valley like a river of ice.

With each step, you’ll be struck by the beauty of the landscape and the isolation of this remote corner of the world. I’ve had the pleasure of hiking in Kyrgyzstan and the Tien Shan Mountains (sometimes called the little brother of the Himalayas), and I LOVED it. It’s so remote and incredibly beautiful. And if you time it right, you can combine it with a visit to the Nomad Games.

But what really sets the Aksu Traverse apart from other treks is the sense of adventure that comes with it.

This is not a well-trodden trail with established campsites and easy-to-follow paths. Instead, you’ll be forging your own way through the mountains, relying on your map and compass skills to keep you on track.

You’ll spend long days testing your endurance as you cross boulder fields and ford rivers and scramble up steep slopes.

At the end of each day, you’ll set up camp in some of the most serene and peaceful places on earth and fall asleep to the sound of silence. If you’re looking for a challenge and a true backcountry experience, you’ll love the Aksu Traverse Trek!


Best Mountain Trekking in Europe

Walker’s Haute Route, France and Switzerland

Trek Highlight: Traversing the iconic peaks of the French and Swiss Alps, with breathtaking views of Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn

Walker's Haute Route in France & Switzerland is one of the best mountain treks in the world
  • Distance: 190 km (118 miles)
  • # of Days: 11-12 days (or 7 Days to do The Best of the Walker’s Haute Route)
  • Starting Elevation: 1,100 m (3,609 ft)
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 4,000 m (13,123 ft)
  • Fitness Level: Good fitness level is recommended
  • Technical Skill Level: Some previous mountaineering experience and basic alpine skills (the Best of the Haute Route is non-technical)
  • Accommodations: Camping, mountain huts or staying at B&Bs in villages in some locations
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: mid-July to August  

Don’t let the name mislead you, “Walker’s” doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s to differentiate it from the ski mountaineering route, which it first became famous.

As you embark on this trek, you’ll traverse the Swiss and French Alps, taking in stunning views of this beautiful region, which is more rugged than the Tour du Mont Blanc. Along the way, you’ll encounter iconic peaks like Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, and Grand Combin and pass by picturesque French and Swiss mountain villages.

As you traverse this scenic route, you’ll also encounter lush forests, pristine lakes, and rushing rivers, making this trek a feast for the senses.

The highlight of the trip is the ever-changing panoramic vistas you’ll experience, showcasing the sheer beauty and majesty of the Alps.

And, with simple but comfortable mountain hut accommodations or accommodations in villages and a well-marked trail, the Walker’s Haute Route is more comfortable than other treks.

Check out our self-guided Walker’s Haute Route, where we’ll book all your accommodations, provide GPS treks, give you an in-person briefing in Chamonix and organize everything for you on this once-in-a-lifetime trek!

Kungsleden Trail (King’s Trail), Sweden

Trek Highlight: Experiencing the beauty of the Swedish Lapland wilderness with 24 hours of sunlight

Kungsleden Trail (King's Trail) in Sweden is one of the best mountain treks in the world
  • Distance: 440 km (273 mi)
  • # of Days: 10-14
  • Starting Elevation: 400 m (1,312 ft)
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 1,450 m (4,757 ft)
  • Fitness Level: Good fitness level
  • Technical Skill Level: Non-technical  
  • Accommodations: Mountain huts or camping
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: July to September 

The Kungsleden Trail is Sweden’s longest and most famous mountain treks passing through four national parks of World Heritage Site Laponia in Northern Sweden. With its stunning scenery of snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes, and rolling hills, you will feel as though you have stepped into a fairy tale.

As you make your way along the trail, you will cross bridges over babbling brooks, hike through pristine valleys, and see wildlife such as reindeer and moose.You’ll hike in Stora Sjöfallet National Park and enjoy the beauty of Lake Tjäktja, Stora Trolltunga Mountain, the Sylarna mountain range, Abisko National Park, and the Akka mountain range.

You’ll also have the opportunity to take a dip in one of the many hot springs along the trail to soothe your tired muscles after a long day of hiking.

If you love nature, adventure, and the great outdoors, it’s an unforgettable trek and experiencing the beauty of the Swedish Lapland wilderness with 24 hours of sunlight is an experience like no other.

There are also multiple entry and exit points if you want to make it shorter. The most popular part of the route is from Abisko and Nikkaluokta. It’s ~105 km long and takes 10-12 days, and passes by Sweden’s highest mountains.

Laugavegur Trail, Iceland

Trek Highlight: Trekking in a colorful varied volcanic landscape

Laugavegur Trail in Iceland is one of the best mountain treks in the world
  • Distance: 55 km (34 miles)
  • # of Days: 4-6
  • Starting Elevation: 300 m (984 ft)
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 1,100 m (3,609 ft)
  • Fitness Level: Good fitness level is recommended
  • Technical Skill Level: Non-technical  technical 
  • Accommodations: Mountain huts or camping
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: July to September 

This trek takes you through a varied landscape of hot springs, glaciers, and multi-coloured mountains like the red, orange and yellow slopes of Bláhnjúkur, the volcanic canyon of Eldgjá that’s ~ 40 km long and up to 600 meters deep, making it one of the largest volcanic canyons in the world, and the black volcanic rock formations of Hrafntinnusker. You’ll get to witness the raw beauty of nature as you cross over the hulking glaciers and hike through fields of black volcanic sand.

And the best part? The trail ends in the picturesque mountain village of Þórsmörk, where you can reward yourself with a well-deserved dip in one of the natural hot springs.

You’ll experience some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes and see wildlife like reindeer, foxes, and birds such as ptarmigans on this mountain trek.


Best Mountain Trekking in the U.S.A and Canada

John Muir Trail, California, United States

Trek Highlight: Immersing yourself in the beauty of the Sierra Nevada mountain range while trekking past iconic landmarks and wilderness areas.

John Muir Trail in California, United States is one of the best mountain treks in the world
  • Distance: 339 km  (211 miles)
  • # of Days: 14-21
  • Starting Elevation: 4,000 ft (1,219 m)
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 14,496 ft (4,418 m)
  • Fitness Level: Good fitness level is recommended
  • Technical Skill Level: Non-technical 
  • Accommodations: Backcountry camping, mountain huts, and lodges
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: July to September

Hiking the iconic John Muir Trail in California is a trek of a lifetime. The hiking trail winds its way through the Sierra Nevada mountain range, showcasing some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world.

As you trek, you will be met with sweeping views of snow-capped peaks, alpine meadows, and crystal-clear lakes. Along the way, you will encounter famous mountain landmarks such as Half Dome, Mount Whitney, and Cathedral Peak. You’ll also traverse the Ansel Adams Wilderness and John Muir Wilderness, both of which are renowned for their natural beauty.

What makes the John Muir Trail truly unique is the diverse range of terrains you hike through.  One moment you’re surrounded by towering mountain peaks, and the next, you’re trekking through lush meadows filled with wildflowers.

The trail is also a challenge, with significant elevation changes and rough terrain, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

You’ll gain a newfound appreciation for the beauty of nature and feel a sense of accomplishment as you reach the trail’s end at the summit of Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states.  

Kalalau Trail, Hawaii

Trek Highlight: Experiencing the raw beauty of the Napali Coast while hiking in the remote and rugged backcountry of Kauai, Hawaii.

Kalalau Trail in Hawaii is one of the best mountain treks in the world
  • Distance: 36 km (22 mi) round trip
  • # of Days: 2
  • Starting Elevation: 0 m (0 ft)
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 800 m (2,625 ft)
  • Fitness Level: Good physical fitness 
  • Technical Skill Level: Non-technical 
  • Accommodations: Camping only
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: Year-round, but the best conditions are from April to October.

The Kalaalau Trail is proof that a fantastic trek doesn’t have to be weeks long. The Kalalau Trail on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, is a bucket list adventure waiting to happen.

As you hike, you’ll be surrounded by lush green cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and crystal-clear streams. The hiking trail takes you along the Napali Coast, a stunning stretch of coastline known for its rugged beauty and towering cliffs.

You’ll traverse through five valleys, each with its own unique features and stunning views. Along the way, you’ll pass by landmarks such as Hanakapiai Beach and Falls, Ke’e Beach, and Honopu Valley.

But what really sets the Kalalau Trail apart is its remote and untamed nature. Unlike many popular hikes, the Kalalau Trail is a true backcountry experience.

As you hike, you’ll feel like you have the island to yourself, surrounded by nothing but the sounds of nature. The trail can be strenuous, with steep inclines and rocky terrain, but you’re rewarded with secluded beaches, hidden waterfalls, and breathtaking vistas that can only be accessed on foot.

West Coast Trail, Vancouver Island, Canada

Trek Highlight: Embarking on a rugged wilderness adventure along the Pacific Ocean on Vancouver Island.

West Coast Trail in Vancouver Island, Canada is one of the best mountain treks in the world
  • Distance: 75 km (47 mi)
  • # of Days: 5-7
  • Starting Elevation: 0 m (0 ft)
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 330 m (1,083 ft)
  • Fitness Level: Good physical fitness and backpacking experience
  • Technical Skill Level: Some technical skills, such as ladder and cable crossings
  • Accommodations: Camping only
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: June to September, when conditions are generally drier 

You’re in for a wild ride on the West Coast Trail, located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This strenuous 75-kilometre trail takes you along the rugged coast of the Pacific Ocean, where you’ll be met with crashing waves, towering cliffs, and lush rainforests.

This trek has been on my bucketlist for years, so I need to finally make it happen. 

You’ll cross creeks on rickety bridges, scramble over rocks, and traverse boardwalks, all while taking in the stunning views of the west coast. Along the way, you’ll pass by landmarks such as Owen Point, Tsusiat Falls, and the Damien Point Lighthouse.

What makes the West Coast Trail truly unique is the sense of adventure and challenge that it offers. You’ll need to learn how to read a tide table to complete this trek, but don’t worry; you’ll be given a tide-table chart at your mandatory orientation.

This trail is not for the faint of heart, as you’ll be tested physically and mentally by the rugged terrain and challenging conditions. But the rewards are well worth the effort. You’ll experience a true wilderness adventure, surrounded by the raw beauty of the Pacific Ocean and the lush rainforest.

It’s also a great place to spot wildlife, including whales, bears, and sea lions.

Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park, Canada

Trek Highlight: Experiencing the awe-inspiring beauty of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and Jasper National Park, with a diverse range of landscapes and excellent opportunities for spotting wildlife.

Skyline Trail in Jasper National Park, Canada is one of the best mountain treks in the world
  • Distance: 44 km (27 mi)
  • # of Days: 2
  • Starting Elevation: 1,250 m (4,101 ft)
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 2,045 m (6,709 ft)
  • Fitness Level: Good physical fitness
  • Technical Skill Level: Non-technical 
  • Accommodations: Camping or a luxury backcountry lodge
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: July to early September

Yet more proof that you can do an epic hike in just two days! Get ready for an awe-inspiring adventure on the Skyline Trail in Jasper, Alberta, Canada! While hiking, you’ll be surrounded by towering peaks, pristine lakes, and rolling meadows. This is yet another one on my bucket list, and being from Alberta, I don’t have any excuses. I’m hoping to hike it this summer. 

The hiking trail takes you through the heart of Jasper National Park, offering stunning views of the Canadian Rockies and the Valley of the Five Lakes. You’ll pass by famous landmarks such as Medicine Lake, Mount Edith Cavell, and the Angel Glacier, each offering its own unique views and experiences.

What sets the Skyline Trail apart is the diverse range of landscapes you’ll hike in such a short distance.  One moment, you’ll be trekking through a dense forest, and the next, you’ll be standing on a high ridge with sweeping views of the mountains.

The trail is also excellent for spotting wildlife;  like grizzly bears, moose, and elk. I always love hiking in Jasper and come away with a sense of awe of how beautiful this part of the Canadian Rockies is. 


Best Mountain Treks in South America

Salkantay Trek vs the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu

Salkantay and Inca Trail going to Macchu Picchu in Peru

The main difference between the Salkantay Trek and the Inca Trail is the length, altitude terrain, and cultural significance of the routes. The Salkantay Trek offers a longer and more strenuous wilderness experience with fewer crowds. 

However, it offers a less rich cultural experience than the Inca Trail. The Inca Trail is also one day shorter, making it easier. 

The other key difference is that the Salkantay Trek reaches an altitude ~ 400 m higher than the Inca Trail – 4,600 meters (15,091 feet) at the Salkantay Pass. In contrast, the highest point reached on the Inca Trail is approximately 4,200 meters (13,776 feet) at Dead Woman’s Pass.

So if you’re concerned about altitude sickness, the Inca Trail may be a better choice. 

Salkantay Trek to Macchu Picchu, Peru

Trek Highlight: Less crowded and slightly more challenging option than the Inca Trail to reach the ancient city of Machu Picchu

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu in Peru is one of the best mountain treks in the world
  • Distance: 60 km (37 miles)
  • # of Days: 5
  • Starting Elevation: 2900 m (9514 ft)
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 4630 m (15, 190 ft)
  • Fitness Level: Moderate-High
  • Technical Skill Level: Moderate
  • Accommodations: Camping, some lodges
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: April and May and September to October (June, July and August are the peak times so Macchu Picchu will be extremely busy then, but weatherwise, it’s fine)

The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu in Peru is an adventure unlike any other. You’ll hike through rugged mountain terrain, cross glacial rivers, and traverse lush cloud forests as you make your way toward the ancient city of Machu Picchu.

Along the way, you’ll pass by landmarks such as the Salkantay Pass, the Inca ruins of Llactapata, and the Humantay Lagoon, a turquoise-water lagoon surrounded by the impressive Humantay and Salkantay Peaks offering one of the most beautiful views in Peru. 

What makes the Salkantay Trek truly unique is the blend of natural beauty and cultural history that you’ll experience. Not only will you be hiking through stunning mountain landscapes, but you’ll also have the chance to immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of the Incas.

The mountain trek culminates with a visit to Machu Picchu, one of the most famous and well-preserved ancient cities in the world.

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru

Trek Highlight: Following in the footsteps of the Incas and exploring the ancient Inca empire before arriving at the ancient city of Machu Picchu.

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru is one of the best mountain treks in the world
  • Distance: 43 km (26.72 miles)
  • # of Days: 4 (typical itinerary)
  • Starting Elevation: 2,792 meters (9,160 feet)
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 4,215 meters (13,828 feet)
  • Fitness Level: Moderate  level 
  • Technical Skill Level: Non-technical 
  • Accommodations: Camping or Basic Lodges
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: April and May and September to October (June, July and August are the peak times so Macchu Picchu will be extremely busy then, but weatherwise, it’s fine)

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is an unforgettable journey that takes you back in time to the heart of the ancient Inca empire. You’ll follow in the footsteps of the Incas, trekking through lush cloud forests and steep mountain passes as you make your way toward the Lost City of the Incas.

Along the way, you’ll see landmarks such as the Sun Gate, the Wiñay Wayna ruins, and Dead Woman’s Pass, which will leave you in awe of the Incas’ engineering and architectural feats.

What sets the Inca Trail apart is the rich cultural history that you’ll experience on the trail. Not only will you be surrounded by stunning natural beauty, but you’ll also have the opportunity to explore some of the best-preserved Inca ruins.

The trail culminates in the arrival at Machu Picchu, one of the most famous and well-preserved ancient cities on the planet. 

Torres Del Paine “O” Circuit, Patagonia, Chile

Trek Highlight: Experiencing the raw, unspoiled beauty of Patagonia, with its towering peaks, pristine lakes, and diverse wildlife.

Torres Del Paine "O" Circuit in Patagonia, Chile is one of the best mountain treks in the world
  • Distance: 110 km (convert to miles)
  • # of Days: 8-9
  • Starting Elevation: sea level
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) 
  • Fitness Level: High fitness level 
  • Technical Skill Level: Non-technical 
  • Accommodations: Camping or Refugios (basic huts)
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: November to March (summer months)  

The Torres Del Paine Circuit trek takes you through the heart of the Torres del Paine National Park. The mountain trek is considered challenging due to its uneven terrain, river crossings, and unpredictable weather, but the rewards are well worth it.

This is at the top of my bucket list. Everyone I know who’s hiked here has said it is amazing! Who wants to go with me?

Along the trail, you’ll encounter several distinct landscapes, including forests, rivers, grasslands, and glaciers. Some of the must-see landmarks include the Grey Glacier, a massive wall of ice that descends from the mountains into a lake; the French Valley, with its soaring peaks and pristine beauty; and the Torres del Paine themselves, three granite peaks that serve as the park’s most famous landmark.

You can expect to see wildlife such as guanacos, Andean condors, and even pumas (mountain lions)   adding to the overall adventure and excitement of the trek.

Overall, the Torres Del Paine Circuit is a trek for those looking for a challenge and a chance to immerse themselves in the raw beauty of Patagonia. With its diverse landscapes and abundant wildlife, it’s an unforgettable experience.


Best Treks in New Zealand

Milford Track, New Zealand

Trek Highlight: Experiencing the raw, unspoiled beauty of New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, with its towering peaks, sparkling lakes, and lush forests.

Milford Track in New Zealand is one of the best mountain treks in the world
  • Distance: 53.5 km (33.18 miles)
  • # of Days: 4 
  • Starting Elevation: sea level
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 1154 m (3786 ft)
  • Fitness Level: Moderate fitness level
  • Technical Skill Level: Non-technical 
  • Accommodations: Hut-based trek (bookings are required)
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: December to April (summer months) 

The Milford Track takes you through the raw, unspoiled beauty of breathtaking Fiordland National Park. As you traverse the trail, you’ll encounter several stunning passes and glaciers that will take your breath away.

You’ll cross Marian Creek, one of the most picturesque streams in the area, and Allan Burns, a high mountain pass that offers panoramic views of the surrounding peaks.

And, of course, the highlight of the Milford Track is the Mackinnon Pass, a challenging ascent that takes you to the highest point on the trail. The views from the top are truly breathtaking, with panoramic views of glaciers, peaks, and crystal-clear lakes.

Additionally, you’ll cross the Earland Falls, a cascading waterfall surrounded by towering cliffs, and the Clinton River, a rushing river that winds its way through the forest.

Overall, the Milford Track is an adventure that takes you through some of New Zealand’s most stunning raw and unspoilt landscapes. And although it’s one of New Zealand’s most popular walks, it feels remote and untouched, offering a true escape from civilization.


Best Mountain Treks in Africa

Kilimanjaro Trek, Tanzania

Trek Highlight: Climbing the highest mountain in Africa

Kilimanjaro Trek in Tanzania is one of the best mountain treks in the world
  • Distance: varies depending on the route, but the most common route (Marangu) is approximately 60 km (37.28 miles)
  • # of Days: 5-9 (typical itinerary)
  • Starting Elevation: 1,830 m (6,000 ft)
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 5,895 m (19,341 ft)
  • Fitness Level: High fitness level
  • Technical Skill Level: Non-technical 
  • Accommodations: Hut-based trek (bookings are required) or camping
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: January to February and June to October 

The Kilimanjaro Trek is a bucket-list adventure that takes you to the summit of Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro. With several trekking routes to choose from, although I recommend the Lemosho Route, since it’s the most scenic and varied in terms of a diverse range of landscapes, from lush tropical forests to barren alpine deserts.

During your trek, you’ll pass by landmarks such as the lush Shira Plateau, the beautiful Lava Tower, and the iconic Barranco Wall, a steep climb that requires a little bit of scrambling over rocks.

As you make your way to the summit, you’ll cross the challenging Arrow Glacier and pass by several majestic peaks, including the incredible summit crater of Kilimanjaro.

The highlight of the trek, of course, is reaching the summit of  Mount Kilimanjaro, where you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the savannas of Tanzania and the snow-capped peaks of Mount Meru.

It’s definitely not for the faint of art though and you will likely experience altitude sickness as I did. However, it’s a trip of a lifetime and I’m so glad that I did it. 

Mnweni Circuit Hike, Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa

Trek Highlight: The breathtaking view of the Mnweni Valley and the opportunity to experience South Africa’s stunning wilderness.

Mnweni Circuit Hike in Drakensburg Mountains, South Africa is one of the best mountain treks in the world
  • Distance: 43 km (27 miles)
  • # of Days: 3 – 5
  • Starting Elevation: 1,800 m (5,906 ft)
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 2,925 m (9,599 ft)
  • Fitness Level: Moderate fitness level
  • Technical Skill Level: Some scrambling skills over rocky terrain.
  • Accommodations: Hut-based trek (bookings are required) or camping
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: May to September (dry season)

The Mnweni Circuit Hike in the Drakensberg Mountains is an outdoor adventure that takes you through the heart of South Africa’s stunning wilderness. Along the way, you’ll encounter a variety of flora and fauna, including rare and endemic species found nowhere else in the world, like the Cape parrot and the olive bush-shrike, as well as wildlife like bushbuck and reedbuck. You may also encounter snakes. Several passed in front of me when I hiked to Cathedral Pass

As you make your way along the circuit, you’ll cross rushing streams, climb steep grassy slopes, and traverse narrow passes, all while taking in the stunning beauty of the Drakensberg Mountains, a UNESCO site.

You’ll pass by landmarks like the Mnweni Needles, a series of towering rock formations, and the Cathedral Peak, a massive mountain that dominates the skyline.

The highlight of the Mnweni Circuit Hike is undoubtedly the breathtaking view of the Mnweni Valley, a vast and sprawling landscape that is simply awe-inspiring. You’ll stand at the edge of a sheer cliff and take in the panoramic views of the valley below, a seemingly endless expanse of rolling hills, soaring mountains, and dense forests. 


Best Mountain Treks in Oceania

Kokoda Track, Papa New Guinea

Trek Highlight: Experiencing the rich cultural heritage of the local people and the incredible beauty of this rugged and remote landscape.

Kodoka Track in Papua New Guinea is one of the best mountain treks in the world
  • Distance: 96 km (59.65 miles)
  • # of Days: 8-10 
  • Starting Elevation: 150 m (492 ft)
  • Highest Elevation on Trek: 2,190 m (7,185 ft)
  • Fitness Level: High fitness level
  • Technical Skill Level: Non-technical skills
  • Accommodations: Camping or Basic Lodges
  • Best Time To Do This Trek: June to September (dry season) 

The Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea is a challenging and rewarding trek that takes you through the heart of one of the world’s last truly wild and remote frontiers. You’ll hike through lush rainforests, cross rushing streams, and climb steep ridges, all while taking in the stunning beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Along the way, you’ll encounter a variety of unique flora and fauna, including exotic birds, fascinating insects, and breathtaking views. You’ll trek past famous landmarks like the Templeton Crossing, where you’ll cross the raging Kumusi River, and the Isurava Memorial, a powerful testament to the bravery of the Australian soldiers who fought in the Kokoda Campaign.

The highlight of the Kokoda Track is undoubtedly the chance to experience the rich cultural heritage of the local people and the incredible beauty of this rugged and remote landscape. Whether you’re a seasoned trekker or a first-time hiker, the Kokoda Track is an unforgettable adventure.


Mountain Trekking Gear

While the specific gear you need for each trek may vary, check out my Trekking Gear List for a general idea of what you’ll need on almost any trek. Of special note are:

Mountain Trekking Tips

Trekking with hiking poles

Check out my guide 7 Things That Will Wreck Your Trek. It’s a must-read before doing any trek. But of special note:

Choose a trek that’s suitable for your fitness and hiking experience

This might seem obvious, but owning a hiking company, I’m shocked at how many people want to do the Tour du Mont Blanc who say they’re in good shape but haven’t hiked before.

If you’ve never hiked before, then you’ll want to do at least a few day hikes first, but ideally, hike regularly. Setting yourself a hiking goal can help you do this. Plus, it’s motivating knowing that you’re training for your mountain trek. 

And if you’re regularly doing day hikes, but it’s your first trek, start with a shorter trek. As you can see from above, there’s a wide range of treks you can do, starting from as little as two days. 

Use trekking Poles

Even if you don’t normally hike with them, I highly recommend them for any trek. They take pressure off your joints, so you’re less likely to experience a knee issue and you won’t be as sore at the end of each day. You can see our list of recommended trekking poles

Choose your Hiking Buddies Wisely

When you’re spending day and after day with the same people, it’s important to choose your hiking buddies carefully. Maybe that means going hiking with a friend. If you decide to do a group tour, ensure you spend the most time with the people that you vibe with the most and be polite, but don’t feel that you have to talk to everyone regularly. See my post on Travelling with a Group When You Don’t Fit in for more tips. 

Guided vs Self-Guided Trekking Tours

This depends on the type of trek you’re doing. For some treks, like the Snowman Trek, you have to do guided. But for many, you have a choice. While I normally prefer self-guided hiking tours, when you’re doing a trek at a high elevation, like Everest Base Camp. I recommend going with a guide.

Also, if you’re doing a remote trek with little to no infrastructure, I also recommend going with a guide. Your safety is more important than your personal preferences. 

More Trekking Tips

  • If you’re trekking in cold weather, make sure your water doesn’t freeze with these tips. 
  • Ensure that you start your day off by having the right hiking breakfast.
  • Eat for fuel with these hiking snacks and lunches.
  • Wear Merino wool on your trek. I think it’s a miracle fabric. 
  • Know what the signs of frostbite are – and how to prevent it. 
  • Set a date by …  you want to do a specific trek.  Otherwise, you may never do it. You’ll find more tips on setting a hiking goal here. 

How to Prevent Altitude Sickness on Your Mountain Trek

trekking in Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park

If you’re really worried about altitude sickness, the best way to avoid it is to choose a low-altitude trek.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, altitude sickness most commonly occurs at elevations of 3,000 meters (9,843 feet) and higher. However, it can occur at slightly lower altitudes as well.

When I did the trek to Everest Base Camp, I experienced it at 3300m. 

As you can see from the list of mountain treks, there are incredible treks that you can do that stay below the threshold.

While I’ll go into how to prevent altitude sickness in more detail in another post, the best way to prevent it and/or to reduce its severity of it is to hike very slowly to give your body time to acclimatize to the elevation.

You’ll also want to take regular breaks, giving your body even more time to acclimatize. When you’re not experiencing altitude sickness, it can seem like you’re hiking painfully slow, but by doing so, you can delay the onset of it. 

On my Everest Base Camp Trek, ten of our twelve participants experienced it to varying degrees, but the ones that experienced it, later rather than sooner were grateful. I was really surprised that I experienced it at such a low elevation. 

best mountain treks in the world for an unforgettable adventure

Leave a Comment