25 Incredible Hiking Trails Around the World (2023)

What makes a hike great? For some, it's a route with incomparable views. For others, it's a trail so exciting that you'll book a plane ticket to experience it, or one so tough that you earn bragging rights by conquering it. Backpacking trips, walking tours, hut-to-hut hikes — there are myriad ways to hit the trail.

To inspire your next excursion, we've curated a list of the best hiking trails in the world — must-do journeys for outdoor enthusiasts. Some can be completed in a few hours, if you hustle, but many are longer and perhaps best suited for intermediate and expert hikers.They're also geographically diverse, bringing adventurers to some of the most spectacular corners of the planet. Use this list as inspiration, then dig into trip details once you've decided what hike you'll tackle next, including permit requirements and training needs.

Related: The Ultimate Hiking Trip Packing List

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West Coast Trail, Canada

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This iconic coastal trail on Vancouver Island’s west coast offers stunning ocean views and rugged, challenging terrain. Backpacking this beauty over multiple days is a good plan, and you can ponder its history as you go — it was initially established as a life-saving path in 1907, to aid in the rescue of survivors shipwrecked along the island’s treacherous coast.

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Tour du Mont Blanc, France, Italy, and Switzerland

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This trail circles Mont Blanc — the highest peak in the Alps — and passes through three countries (France, Italy, and Switzerland), offering ample opportunity to taste regional cuisine. If you like cheese as much as you like walking, this 7 to 10 day multicultural circuit is for you.

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Laugavegur Trail, Iceland

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A journey through these rhyolite mountains (ultra-colorful landforms) will bring you to steaming hot springs, glacial rivers, and swaths of black sand. Laugavegur Trail traverses 34 miles of Iceland’s southern highlands, an it's incredible in its otherworldliness.

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Overland Track, Australia

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On this trail, you'll hike through Tasmania’s pristine wilderness, complete with craggy peaks, glacial lakes, and ancient rainforests. Be prepared for challenging terrain (think stairs and scrambles), rapidly changing weather conditions, and potential encounters with wildlife, from possums and currawongs (a large black bird with a musical call) to spotted marsupials called quolls. The trail is about 45 miles long, give or take a few (depending on where you begin and end).

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Kumano Kodo, Japan

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One of only two pilgrimage routes in the world designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site (the other is the Camino de Santiago in Spain), this series of ancient trails takes you on a tour of the mountains and forests of the Kii Peninsula, with stops at time-honored shrines and temples along the way. To do the entire route usually takes three days.

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Camino de Santiago, Spain

Camino de Santiago is a collection of ancient pilgrimage routes that converge at the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in northwest Spain, the burial site of St. James. Some pilgrims carry a scallop shell during the journey, as its lines symbolize their own trek, and those of other pilgrims around the world. This is another long-distance adventure — to do the approximately 500-mile route in full may take 30 days or more.

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Lebanon Mountain Trail, Lebanon

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The only long-distance trail in Lebanon, Lebanon Mountain Trail takes hikers through 76 high-altitude towns and villages and across remarkable mountains. It is 293 miles long, stretching from north Lebanon toward its southern border.

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Pacific Crest Trail, USA

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The Pacific Crest Trail is one of the world’s most famous thru-hikes. It starts at the US-Mexico border in California, and ends at the US-Canada border in Washington. That means the trail brings hikers through California, Oregon, and Washington — it takes five to six months to complete it. Highlights along the way include Crater Lake, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the Cascade Range.

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Mount Kilimanjaro Trek, Tanzania

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This 7-day trek takes hikers to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. You’ll cross through five different ecological zones and climates, ranging from lush rainforests to arctic ice fields. The summit is as mentally demanding as it is rewarding.

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Trek to Petra, Jordan

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Hikers journey through ancient history and mesmerizing desert landscapes on this trek, all before landing at the awe-inspiring Treasury, also known as Al-Khazneh. This magnificent temple carved into a sandstone cliff dates back to the 1st century AD.

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Great Himalaya Trail, Nepal

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This trail network follows the Himalayan range and showcases stunning mountain landscapes, as well as the diverse cultures of the region's remote villages. It stretches over 2,800 miles across the country, traversing subtropical forests, lush valleys, alpine meadows, and rugged mountain passes.

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Simien Mountains Trek, Ethiopia

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The Simien Mountains Trek takes you right through Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Expect drama, including high-altitude plateaus, deep valleys, and incredible (and copious) wildlife, such as gelada baboons and Ethiopian wolves.

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Appalachian Trail, USA

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One of the longest hiking-only footpaths in the world, the Appalachian Trail begins in Maine and passes through 14 states. At the trail’s southern terminus in Georgia, you will find a spooky celebration: a tree strung up with the boots of hikers who have completed the nearly 2,200-mile trek.

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Lycian Way, Turkey

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This long-distance trail follows the coast of Turkey’s Lycia region, offering stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea, rugged mountains, and ancient ruins. You can complete the route in roughly three weeks, or opt to do shorter segments. Along the way, swim in crystal-clear waters and visit charming towns.

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The Narrows, USA

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This slot canyon hike in Zion National Park is unusual in that you spend most of your time trekking through the waters of the Virgin River. You can attack the Narrows from the bottom up or from the top down. The former is the popular choice, since it takes 4 to 8 hours or so. If you hike it from the top down, expect a 10- to 13-hour journey.

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Trolltunga Hike, Norway

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One of the best ways to see the Norwegian fjords is via this challenging and scenic trek that leads to the eponymous Trolltunga (which translates to the "troll’s tongue"), a picturesque, jutting rock formation high above sea level.

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Half Dome, USA

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If you’re prone to height-induced vertigo, you may want to think twice before hiking Half Dome in California’s Yosemite National Park. To conquer the wildly steep slope here, hikers keep a tight grip on the granite trail’s cable system. This adventure is considered one of the best hikes in America, and it's a bit of a white whale for some hikers — you need a permit to climb the dome, and they're distributed by lottery.

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Kalalau Trail, USA

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Located on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, this 22-mile coastal hike also requires a permit. If you can secure one, you'll traverse five valleys on your way to Kalalau Beach. One of the most challenging treks in the state, Kalalau Trail's steep and narrow paths give way to stunning ocean and cliff views.

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Fitz Roy Trek, Argentina

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Situated within Los Glacieres National Park on the shared border of Argentina and Chile, this challenging 15-mile trail does not actually lead to the summit of Mount Fitz Roy. Instead, it brings you to an unbelievable view of the glacier-covered mountain, as well as the turquoise-colored Laguna de los Tres at its base.

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Inca Trail, Peru

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The historic Andes mountains trek to Machu Picchu usually takes around four days, culminating at the renowned Incan citadel ruins. Although the classic Inca Trail is the most popular, numerous tour operators now offer additional routes and trip durations. The Salkantay trek, for example, provides a more scenic experience, bringing you past glaciers, natural springs, and through the jungle.

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Angels Landing Trail, USA

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The hike to Angel's Landing consists of two parts: a series of unrelenting switchbacks, then a stomach-in-your-throat cable climb. The final hair-raising stretch offers a remarkable payoff, as the views of the sandstone cliffs and valley below are literally breathtaking — you’ll be scared to breathe lest you make one wrong move near the landing's edge. This is without a doubt one of the best hikes in Zion National Park.

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Ben Nevis Summit Trail, Scotland

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One of three treks that make up the National Three Peaks Challenge (climbing the three highest peaks of Scotland, England, and Wales, often within 24 hours), the Ben Nevis Summit Trail will take you to the top of the U.K.'s highest peak. Whether you take the Mountain Track (affectionately known as the Tourist Track) or the Carn Mor Dearg Arête (usually reserved for more experienced summiteers), a gorgeous panorama of the Scottish Highlands awaits.

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Milford Track, New Zealand

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Located in South Island's Fiordland National Park, Milford Track is about 33 miles long, and it treats hikers to beautiful views of snow-capped mountain peaks, pristine rainforests, and even the highest waterfall in New Zealand. Well-maintained trails, conveniently placed huts, and a limit on the number of hikers per day make this a pretty comfortable long-distance trek.

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Puez-Odle Altopiano, Italy

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Here’s a cheat: Take a cable car to elevation, and then start out on the Puez-Odle Altopiano, a hike along the ridges of Italy’s Dolomite mountains. Prepare for panoramic views of the surrounding rocky peaks, plus lush green valleys filled with wildflowers. Go in the summer months if you're especially keen on seeing colorful blooms.

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Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim, USA

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If you’re not content to passively view the Grand Canyon from one side, why not cross it on foot? Doing so lets you experience the unique geological formations and diverse ecosystem of the Grand Canyon up close. It's possible to complete the 24-mile trek in one day, but when there’s an option to stay overnight in the belly of one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders, you take it.


What is the biggest mistake that novice hikers make on the AT? ›

Carrying too Much Weight

The most common mistake thru hikers make is to carry too much weight when they start the trail.

What is the hardest hiking trail ever? ›

The Everest Base Camp Trek in the Himalayas in Nepal is one of the most famous and also, the hardest hikes in the world. Everest Base Camp at an altitude of 5,364m is where some of the best mountaineers in the world start their attempt to climb the highest mountain on the planet, Mount Everest.

What is the highest hiking trail in the world? ›


The Everest Base Camp Trek is both visually and mentally very enchanting. It passes four of the world's six tallest peaks along the way: Everest (8,848 meters, 29,028 feet), Lhotse (8,516 meters, 27,939 feet), Makalu (8,470 meters, 27,788 feet), and Cho Oyu (8,201 meters, 26,315 feet).

How to hike 25 miles a day? ›

Tips and tricks to hike 25 miles days
  1. Eat and drink frequently on the go. If you are cutting down on breaks you will need to learn how to hydrate and fuel on the go. ...
  2. Walk faster. ...
  3. Have clear segment goals. ...
  4. Carry less. ...
  5. Lighter footwear. ...
  6. Accept wet feet. ...
  7. Track time and progress. ...
  8. Use hiking poles.
Feb 3, 2017

What is the average age of at hikers? ›

Hiking is popular amongst all ages and typically hikers range from 13-70 years old.

Can you carry a gun on Appalachian Trail? ›

Visitors may possess firearms within a national park unit provided the possession of the firearm is in compliance with the law of the State in which the National Park System unit is located.

What is the hardest hike in the United States? ›

The 9 Hardest Hikes in the US National Park Service You Can Do in a Day
  • The Skyline Trail to Camp Muir, WA. ...
  • Half Dome, CA. ...
  • Long's Peak, CO. ...
  • The Narrows (Top Down), UT. ...
  • Highline Trail to Grinnell Glacier Overlook, MT. ...
  • Mt. ...
  • 7 Great Wilderness Areas and State Parks Near Yosemite National Park.
Feb 23, 2022

Which is the longest hiking only trail in the US? ›

The Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world, ranging from Maine to Georgia.

What are the 3 longest hiking trails in us? ›

The Triple Crown (TC) includes the three longest trails in the United States: The Appalachian Trail (~2,184 miles), the Pacific Crest Trail (~2,654 miles), and the Continental Divide Trail (~3,100 miles).

What is the oldest hiking trail in the world? ›

Originally built in 1819 by Ethan Allen Crawford and his father, Abel, Crawford Path is the oldest continuously used and maintained recreation trail in America. Its appeal derives from the fact that its 8.5 miles of mountainous ridgeline travel converges with the famed Appalachian Trail.

What is the biggest trail in history? ›

The world's longest designated hiking trail is the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs for 4,260 km (2,650 miles) along the West Coast of the USA between the Mexican and Canadian borders.

How many miles can the average hiker hike in a day? ›

However, most hiking authorities say that the average person can hike about 8 to 15 miles per day. According to Ramblers, the average hiking speed for adults is about 2.5 miles per hour. This means that it takes 24 minutes to hike a mile.

How many miles is a 1 hour hike? ›

Most people can cover at least 3 miles in an hour. If you are in good physical condition and have a lightweight pack, you can even make it four or five miles in an hour. Most hikers can maintain a 2 mph hiking speed across moderate terrain with an average backpack.

Can the average person hike 10 miles? ›

The answer is a resounding yes; it's definitely possible to hike 10 miles a day, depending on your fitness level, experience level, the terrain you are hiking, and how much of the day you are willing to spend on the trails.

Are hikers healthier? ›

Going up and down hills gets the heart pumping, creating a great cardio workout. Like most cardio exercises, hiking helps reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even some cancers. Hiking is a weight-bearing exercise, which builds muscle mass and helps prevent osteoporosis.

Are hikers healthy? ›

Building stronger muscles and bones. Improving your sense of balance. Improving your heart health. Decreasing the risk of certain respiratory problems.

Is hiking hard on your body? ›

Hiking is great for cardiovascular health. Even light hiking can raise the heart rate to a moderate level which helps improve aerobic fitness and endurance. Over time, your body adjusts to new fitness levels and you can hike longer, faster, and harder without feeling as fatigued or out of breath.

Do I need bear spray on the Appalachian Trail? ›

It is recommended that you carry bear spray when hiking in bear country. However, some parks do not allow the possession or use of bear spray. Check park regulations before your trip.

How much money should you save to hike the Appalachian Trail? ›

There are several ways to be frugal when hiking the Appalachian Trail. However, travelers must expect to budget $5,000 to $7,000 for a thru-hike. This includes the trail expenses, the cost of gear, and expected expenses when visiting towns.

How much weight do you carry on the Appalachian Trail? ›

According to The Appalachian Trail Backpacker's Planning Guide in 1991, "an easy-to-use rule of thumb is to never carry more than one-third of your body weight." Back when the Appalachian Trail was at its starting form, there were limited guidebooks and everybody had different preferences on what to actually bring.

What is most difficult mountain to climb in North America? ›

Mount McKinley, Alaska (20,320')

As the highest peak in North America, McKinley (or Denali as most call it now) commands respect. Though not Himalayan in altitude, it is considered one of the most difficult mountains in the world to climb.

What is the hardest national scenic trail? ›

Continental Divide Trail

Arguably the most challenging thru-hike of the National Scenic Trails, it traverses five states, ranges from 4,000 to 14,000-feet in elevation, and passes through alpine tundra, broad glacial valleys, craggy mountain peaks, and desolate desert landscapes.

What is the most famous trail in the US? ›

The Appalachian Trail is a mammoth jaunt encompassing 2,174 miles (3,455km) of the ridges and valleys of the Appalachians which spans 14 of America's states.

Is there a hiking trail that goes across the US? ›

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) begins in southern California at the Mexican border and travels a total distance of 2,650 miles through California, Oregon, and Washington until reaching the Canadian border.

What is the longest walkable trail in the world? ›

The Great Trail, formerly known as the Trans Canada Trail, runs for a rather daunting 14,912 miles (or 24,000km) and is currently the longest hiking trail in the world. There are also some stunning options elsewhere, travelling through Italy, Japan and even along the coast of England.

What is the triple crown of hiking in USA? ›

What is the. Triple Crown of Hiking Award? ALDHA-West recognizes those individuals who have hiked, in their entirety, the complete lengths of the Appalachian Trail (AT), The Continental Divide Trail (CDT), and the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

What is the Triple Crown of the American trails? ›

Quite simply, the Triple Crown refers to the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail—the three longest north/south trails in the United States.

What city has the most hiking trails? ›

Phoenix. Surrounded by parks and nature preserves, Phoenix easily takes the No. 1 spot for most hiking routes available. At South Mountain Park, you can try easy one-mile loop trails or try the 2.5-mile loop at the North Mountain visitor center.

What is the farthest hike in one day? ›

24 hours The greatest distance walked in 24 hours is 228.930km 142 miles 440 yd by Jesse Castenda (USA) at Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA on 18-19 Sep 1976.

What was the longest Native American trail? ›

The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail commemorates the removal of the Cherokee and the paths that 17 Cherokee detachments followed westward. Today the trail encompasses about 2,200 miles of land and water routes, and traverses portions of nine states.

What was the first trail in America? ›

The Oregon Trail was a roughly 2,000-mile route from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon City, Oregon, that was used by hundreds of thousands of American pioneers in the mid-1800s to emigrate west.

What state has the best hiking? ›

Hiking in Alaska is one of the best in the country, and most hikes in this state are characterized by dense forests, crystal clear water bodies, as well as views of snow-covered mountains, interesting wildlife, and picturesque glaciers.

What is the most beautiful mountain to hike in the world? ›

Mount Kilimanjaro, which rises to a height of about 19,340 feet and is the highest point in Africa, is one of the most beautiful trails in the world on every trekker's bucket list.

Which state has the most hiking places? ›

However, Montana does have Wyoming beat in one essential category: It has the highest number of hiking trails of any state. “Scoring 69.29 out of 100, Montana ranked as the second-best state for camping in the U.S.,” the website shared in its findings.

Is the Appalachian Trail the longest trail in America? ›

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail — commonly known as the Appalachian Trail or simply “the A.T.” — is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world, measuring roughly 2,190 miles in length.

Are the Appalachian Mountains the longest trail in the world? ›

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy claims the Appalachian Trail to be the longest hiking-only trail in the world. More than three million people hike segments of the trail each year.

What was the name of the famous trail? ›

Trail Names: Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail has, by far, the largest number of finishers among the three trails.

Can you hike 12 miles in a day? ›

A person of average fitness can cover 8 to 12 miles a day with a beginner to intermediate level of hiking experience. However, experienced hikers with stellar fitness can cover 12 to 16 miles a day!

How far should a beginner hike? ›

How many miles should a beginner hike? Beginner hikers should plan to hike up to 5 miles on easy trails. As you get more experienced, you can work your way up to either more distance or to harder difficulty.

How many miles a day should you walk on the Appalachian Trail? ›

Most hikers start out slow, averaging eight to 10 miles a day. They will eventually work up to 12 to 16 miles a day. Don't worry if you end up doing less some days and more on other days; as long as you set a goal for where you need to be each month, you will survive and successfully complete the trail before winter.

What is the rule of thumb for hiking? ›

Hiking Estimates:

Naismith's Rule: is 19½ minutes per mile, plus 30 minutes for every 1,000 feet of ascent. A good rough estimate on reasonably easy ground with well marked trails. Book Time: is 30 minutes per mile, plus 30 minutes for every 1,000 feet of ascent, rounded off to the nearest 5 minute increment.

How fast should a 62 year old woman walk a mile? ›

Average walking speed by sex
50 to 59Male3.2
60 to 69Male3.0
10 more rows
Mar 14, 2019

What is the average speed to hike the Appalachian Trail? ›

According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, most hikers take between five and seven months to complete the AT end to end. According to our data, that translates to an average pace of 14 to 20 miles per day for most hikers.

How many miles can you backpack in a day? ›

How much time you have: If you're limited by time, you'll need to know how many miles you want to tackle each day and ensure that the route you choose is within your time constraints. Most people will plan to hike 3-10 miles per day, depending on what shape you're in and how much elevation gain there is.

Is it possible to hike 30 miles in a day? ›

Mathematically speaking, 30 miles at three miles per hour means at least ten hours of hiking. It sounds like a lot, and it is. But how you break up your day can make it feel less daunting. Plan to wake up between 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m., and spend 45 minutes (or less) breaking down camp before hitting the trail.

Is it possible to hike 50 miles in a day? ›

Some can. If you can walk an average of 3.3 miles per hour and stop for some breaks and rests average 2.5 miles per hour. Reasonable hiking rates. You can hike 50 miles in 20 hours.

What not to do on the Appalachian Trail? ›

Top 10 Mishaps to Avoid When Hiking the Appalachian Trail
  • Bringing too much food. ...
  • Carrying too much water. ...
  • Carrying too many (or too few) clothes. ...
  • Not practicing with gear before starting. ...
  • Carrying a pack weighing 50 pounds or more. ...
  • Making someone's day turn to crap. ...
  • Sleeping with food in tents and shelters.
Mar 6, 2016

How difficult is the at to hike? ›

Hiking the entire A.T. is a grueling and demanding endeavor. It requires great physical and mental stamina and determination. The terrain is mountainous for its entire length, with an elevation gain and loss equivalent to hiking Mt. Everest from sea level and back 16 times.

How many people fail a thru-hike? ›

How to complete the dream the way you intended. The new thru-hiking season approaches and thousands of hopeful hikers will soon attempt the peak adventure of our sport. 75% of them will fail.

How much food should you carry on the Appalachian Trail? ›

Carry 2.5 pounds per day. In winter or early spring, carry enough food for an extra day or two in case you are stranded by a snowstorm.

What do thru hikers use for toilet paper? ›

I highly recommend striped maple leaves, taken straight off the tree – but always use two or three layers.

How do you use the bathroom on the Appalachian Trail? ›

Where do you use the bathroom on the Appalachian Trail? All of the campsites and shelter areas have “privies,” which are basically outhouses. Volunteers typically build and maintain the privies. Oftentimes there is information posted about how to best use the privy.

Why do so many people quit the Appalachian Trail? ›

Failing to recognize that you're not always going to be happy or that some days you'll be bored drives a lot of hikers to quit. Physical Expectations – Underestimating the toughness of a thru-hike can lead to injury or illness but it can also be mentally challenging for those who do not have mental toughness.

What is the dropout rate for the Appalachian Trail? ›

Ryan says that “the attrition rate among hikers attempting the entire 2,100-plus mile trail is high. Only about 25% of thru-hikers and 20% of section hikers end up completing the trail according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.”

What state is the hardest of the Appalachian Trail? ›

1. Southern Maine. For hikers heading north, hitting Maine is a significant milestone, and they are rewarded with this section that's arguably the most challenging on the trail.

How old are most thru-hikers? ›

Most of the thru-hikers seemed to be in their 20s and, usually, had just finished university. The rest seemed to be retirees in their 50s and older. So it's a bit misleading when you look up the average age of people who try to thru-hike the A.T. and see the average age is about 36-years-old.

Where do most people quit the Appalachian Trail? ›

The ATC gives hikers the opportunity to sign in at Amicalola Falls, GA, Harpers Ferry, WV, and Baxter State Park, ME (roughly the beginning, middle, and end of the journey). Based on those registrations, ATC reports that about half of NOBO hikers quit between the Springer and Harpers Ferry.

What are the leading causes of hiking deaths? ›

Falling. Falling is the most common cause of death while hiking, accounting for approximately 50 percent of all fatalities. This is usually due to hikers losing their footing on uneven or slippery terrain.

How much weight do thru-hikers carry? ›

Nowadays, thru-hikers carry no more than 20 pounds on their back.

Should I bring a tent on the Appalachian Trail? ›

All overnight hikers should carry a tent or other lightweight portable shelter. Backcountry camping is available at about 125 designated camp sites and is also allowed in the immediate vicinity of most of the 260 shelters along the Trail.

How many calories do thru-hikers eat? ›

An average food carry on a thru-hike is five days (some can be even longer). Five days at 4,000 calories a day comes out to a whopping 20,000 calories.


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