There are many epic hiking trails in the world. Consider these 10 long-distance possibilities, like The Great Trail of Canada, The Grand Italian Trail and the Sultans Trail.
What Are Some of Epic Long-distance Hiking Trails in the World?
There are many terrific choices in hiking trails that are over 1,400 miles long. Completing one or more of these hikes will challenge even the most experienced hiker. They can also be great goals to set for those just getting into the sport.
The Great Trail of Canada
The Railway Coastal Museum in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, serves as the starting point of this trail running through 13 provinces and covering more than 14,912 miles. While the main trail connects Newfoundland with Victoria, British Columbia, there is also a sizeable northern arm beginning in Edmonton, Alberta, running to Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Passageway. You cannot hike the entire trail, so be prepared to paddle some.
What Are Some Highlights of The Great Trail of Canada?
- Explore over 540 miles running along abandoned railway lines in Newfoundland and Labrador.
- See over 275 miles of Prince Edward Island’s charming coast.
- Stay in the warming huts along 100 miles of trail between Frobischer Bay near Iqaluit and Glasgow Bay at Kimmirut. The average temperature in this region is 47.2 degrees.
- Learn about Celtic culture first hand along 65 miles on Cape Breton Island
2. E1 European Long-Distance Path
The E1 European Long-Distance Path starts at Nordkapp, Norway. Its 4,962-mile length winds through seven countries before ending in Sicily, Italy. Take the ferry from Sweden to Denmark before completing this journey.
What Are Some Highlights of the E1 European Long-Distance Path?
- Cross the Norwegian-Finnish and Norwegian-Swedish borders several times
- Stay in three-sided log cabins, called vindskydd, for free in many areas along 746 miles of trails in Sweden’s central park.
- See Germany’s Baltic coastline while following over 1,100 miles of trails in that country.
- Hike along this trail and the Way of St. James through Switzerland as 215 miles of the route uses the same path.
3. Grand Italian Trail
The Grand Italian Trail covers 3,700 miles starting in Trieste, Italy, which lies between the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia. The trail ends in Santa Teresa Gallura in Sardinia, Italy. The path is divided into 368 sections, which may make it more manageable. Be sure to hike the 368 sections ending at Sarita Teresa Gallura in Sardina, Italy, from south to north to beat the summer heat and winter snows.
While this trail already passes through many national parks, the Italian government announced plans in 2020 to extend the route to over 4,340 miles, which will allow you to visit all 26 Italian national parks.
What Are Some Highlights of the Grand Italian Trail?
- See the Alpine Arc sweeping from Trieste to Monaco
- View much of the Apennine Mountain Chain
- Experience Sicily and Sardinia
4. Continental Divide National Scenic Trail
You can hike the 3,100-mile-long Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, which follows the Continental Divide across America, by starting at Crazy Cook Monument near Hachita, New Mexico, or the Canadian border north of Waterton Lake. Officials have completed about 70% of the trail, but it is easy to hike the rest by following roadways.
What Are Some Highlights of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail?
- Hike on over 200 miles of the trail running concurrently with the Colorado Trail before this trail heads to higher altitudes
- See Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park, including by Old Faithful
- Follow the trail north in Montana through Glacier National Park
5. Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail
The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail starts on the Canada–US border on the edge of Manning Park in British Columbia and ends on the US=Mexico border near Campo, California. This 2,653-mile trail runs through the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges. Almost 1,692 miles of the route is in California while 455 miles is in Oregon and the remainder in Washington.
What Are Some Highlights of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail?
- Start by seeing breathtaking scenery in Cleveland, San Bernardino and Angeles national forests.
- Experience Central California’s John Muir Trail, including Sequoia and Yosemite national parks.
- Explore the Cascade Mountains, including Lassen Volcanic National Park
- Enjoy Oregon’s flat terrain before dropping into the Columbia River Gorge
6. Appalachian Trail
Many hikers choose to start their 2,200-mile-long Appalachian Trail trek at Georgia’s Springer Mountain while others decide to start at Amicalola Falls State Park. If you are hiking it from south to north, which usually provides better weather conditions, the ending point is in Katahdin, Maine, but you can walk the Appalachian Trail in either direction.
What Are Some Highlights of the Appalachian Trail?
- Experience stunning views throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
- See the wild ponies in Grayson Highlands State Park, the James River Footbridge and Shenandoah National Park while completing Virginia’s 1,000 mile part.
- Hike at lower elevations once you reach Kittatinny Ridge,
7. Te Araroa Trail
The Te Araroa Trail starts at Cape Reinga, New Zealand, and the 1,864-mile route goes south through a variety of terrain on both the north and south islands before reaching Bluff, New Zealand. While it is possible to hike it from Bluff to Cape Refuge, it is best to start this trek from the north in September to avoid as much bad weather as possible.
What Are Some Highlights of the Te Araroa Trail?
- Experience hiking in a variety of terrains, including heavy sand, before entering Herekino and Raetaea Forests and passing by volcanoes made famous in the Lord of the Rings movies..
- Watch the aurora australis in the Southern Alps.
- Fall in love with the ruggedness of this trail that opened in 2011 and is still undeveloped in many places.
8. Via Francigena
The Via Francigena covers more than 1,200 miles between Canterbury, England, and Rome, Italy. Hikers have been following this route running through Great Britain, France, Switzerland and Italy for more than 1,300 years to get the Pope’s blessing. The fantastic sites that you find along the way will also bless you.
What Are Some Highlights of the Via Francigena?
- Hike through beautiful vineyard landscapes in France’s Champagne region.
- Stroll along mountain streams as you discover the headwaters of River Loue flowing in a cave.
- Discover the lifestyle of the rich and famous while visiting towns on Lake Geneva’s shores.
- Climb through passes in the Switzerland’s Alps.
9. Via Alpina
Pass through eight countries on the 1,615-mile Via Alpina that you can easily break into five different parts. While there are several starting and ending options available, think about starting in Trieste, Italy, passing through Bavaria and Liechtenstein to reach Monaco.
What Are Some Highlights of the Via Alpina?
- Skirt some of the world’s most famous mountain ranges, including Triglav, Tre Cime of Lavaredo, Hochfeiler, Zugspitze, Silvretta, Bernina, Mont Blanc, the Vanoise glaciers and Barre des Ecrins.
- Experience unique cultures in larger cities, like Feldkirch, Austria and Briançon, France, along with smaller communities in the Julian, Carnic and Western alps.
- Discover the rugged terrain of the Gran Paradiso National Park, Stelvio National Park and other beautiful areas.
- Hike through the area where Ötzi the Iceman, who is the oldest natural human mummy, was discovered.
10. Sultans Trail
The Sultans Trail covers 1,491 miles from the Stephans Dom in Vienna to the sultan’s tomb in Istanbul while passing through Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. Suleiman the Magnificent, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, used this path in the 16th century. Many hikers of different faiths embrace the social experience of hiking this route.
What Are Some of the Highlights of the Sultans Trail?
- Visit ancient cities and archaeological sites to learn about different cultures, including Ottoman, Habsburg, Byzantine, Roman and Communism.
- Experience different types of weather depending on when you hike, including extreme winter in the Bulgarian mountains from May to October and extreme heat in Turkey in July and August.
- Explore unique cities in Croatia, including Udvar, Zmajevac, Bobota and Ilok.