BestHike #1 – West Coast Trail, British Columbia

West Coast Trail is our top hike in the world.

Click PLAY or watch a 1-minute preview on YouTube.

West Coast Trail

Challenging in many ways.

So much VARIETY in pristine Canadian coastal wilderness.

Mystic dawns and mind-blowing sunsets. Hidden pocket coves and weird coastal geology.

You’ll never forget the West Coast Trail.

WCT ladders

AT A GLANCE

  • 75 km (47 mi), 5-7 days Pachena Bay <> Gordon River
  • 3-5 day routes possible via Nitinaht Village trailhead
  • southwestern edge of Vancouver Island
  • Pacific Rim National Park
  • Permits required 
  • May 1 – September 30
  • extremely rugged, requires a high level of fitness
  • 6,000+ backpackers / year

Read more on our WCT information page.

I have a 2021 PCT Permit

BestHike editor Rick McCharles

I applied online during the first few minutes applications opened for sections 500 miles or longer.

BUT I reckon there’s less than a 50% chance I’ll actually get on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2021:

  • could be cancelled due to COVID, as in 2020
  • travel could be impossible due to COVID
  • forest fires are often an issue
  • might decide travel is unethical in 2021

BUT hope for the best, plan for the worst.

I’m hoping for at least 500 miles.

Starting mile 702 – Kennedy Meadows – starting July 10th heading north towards the Oregon border.

That’s good timing for the John Muir Trail, the best section of the PCT.

http://musashe.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Overview-Map-CA.png

I watched Tim Seymour‘s excellent John Muir Trail northbound video for tips on how to get started on my way up to Whitney.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

BestHike #2 – John Muir Trail, California

John Muir Trail is one of our top 10 hikes in the world.

Click PLAY or watch a 1-minute preview on YouTube.

John Muir Trail

If there’s a hiker’s paradise on earth, it’s the JMT in the Sierra Nevadas.

213 miles without a road. Fantastic weather. 11 high passes. Unbelievable nonstop vistas. And Mt Whitney.

AT A GLANCE

Yosemite map
  • Yosemite, Ansel Adams and John Muir wilderness, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks
  • start in stunning Yosemite, Muir’s “Range of Light”
  • 223mi (360km) to Whitney Portal adding sidetrips to Half Dome, Vermillion Resort and Mt. Whitney 14,505ft (4,421m)
  • 15-21 days recommended
  • carry your own food and tent
  • JMT about 10% the length of the Pacific Crest Trail

Read more on our John Muir Trail information page.

BestHike #3 – Tongariro Circuit, New Zealand

Tongariro Northern Circuit is one of our top 10 hikes in the world.

Click PLAY or watch a 1 minute introduction on YouTube.

Tongariro Circuit

Our favourite multi-day tramp in our favourite hiking region of the world — glorious New Zealand.

AND our top volcano hike worldwide.

by Jeff Pang

AT A GLANCE

  • one of our top 10 hikes in the world
  • non-stop superb hiking
  • mostly volcanic & desert environs
  • 34+km (19+mi) depending on route
  • 3-days, 2-nights minimum
  • option to climb a volcano, or two
  • medium difficulty hiking, with challenging sections
  • wonderful variety of scenery
  • Dec – Mar best months
  • maximum elevation Red Crater 1886m (6188ft)
  • very crowded on the Tongariro Crossing section

Read more on our Tongariro Northern Circuit information page.

BestHike #4 – Ausangate Circuit, Peru

Ausangate Circuit is one of our top 10 hikes in the world.

Click PLAY or watch a 1 minute introduction on YouTube.

Ausangate Circuit

Our favourite hike in the high Andes. Doing it independently only recommended for confident, self-sufficient hikers experienced at high altitude. It’s remote.

alpacas

AT A GLANCE

Peru
Peru
  • circle sacred Ausangate massif (6372m, 20,905ft), the highest peak in southern Peru
  • 4 high passes between 4757m – 5165m
  • 70km (43.5mi) plus sidetrips
  • almost everyone does Ausangate with a guide, but it’s quite doable independently if you are acclimated 
  • many options to extend this trek
  • best months are the May-September dry season
  • Tinqui is 5-8 hours now only about 3.5hrs by bus on a new road, about 100km S.E. of Cusco
  • sidetrip to the “rainbow mountains” of Vinicunca

Read more on our Ausangate Circuit information page.

BestHike #5 – Sunshine to Assiniboine, Canada

Sunshine Meadows to Mt Assiniboine is one of our top 10 hikes in the world.

Click PLAY or watch a 1 minute introduction on YouTube.

Sunshine to Assiniboine

Our favourite hike in the Canadian Rockies. 

Banff to Sunshine Meadows Ski Resort by bus or tram. Then head for the Matterhorn of the Rockies.

AT A GLANCE

banff_map
  • recommended route 6 days, 5 nights. Shorter options are possible and popular.
  • 56km (34.8mi) plus side trip day hikes
  • July to mid-September
  • moderate difficulty
  • accessed only on foot or by helicopter
  • heavenly alpine meadows
  • It can snow any day of the year. Or it can be 30°C (86°F).

Read more on our Sunshine to Assiniboine information page.

BestHike #6 – Glacier North Circle, USA

Glacier North Circle in Montana is one of our top 10 hikes in the world. Even better if you add a side trip to Waterton National Park in Canada.

Click PLAY or watch a 1 minute introduction on YouTube.

Glacier North Circle

Of the many great American Rocky Mountain hikes, this is our favourite.

Highline Trail vista

AT A GLANCE

  • 7 days, 6 nights recommended
  • 65miles (104km) plus side trips
  • best months July-Sept
  • well-signed
  • medium difficulty hiking
  • recommended for experienced multi-day hikers

Read more on our Glacier North Circle information page.

BestHike #7 – Otter Trail, South Africa

The Otter Trail on the Garden Route out of Capetown is arguably the most famous in Southern Africa.

Click PLAY or watch a 1 minute introduction on YouTube.

Otter Trail

Lush forests, rugged shorelines, mountain streams and waterfalls and fragrant fynbos make this a unique coast adventure.

Book 12 months in advance to get one of the exclusive permits. .

South Africa Tourism
South Africa Tourism

AT A GLANCE

  • one of our top 10 coastal hikes in the world
  • Storms River Mouth to Nature’s Valley
  • 42km
  • 5 days, 4 nights
  • clean huts, no tenting
  • gorgeous cliff tops, returning to sea level to cross rivers

Read more on our Otter Trail information page.

BestHike #8 – Everest Base Camp / 3 Passes

The Everest Base Camp via 3 Passes is one of our top 10 hikes in the world.

Click PLAY or watch a 1 minute introduction on YouTube.

Base Camp / 3 Passes

Everyone wants to hike to Everest Base Camp (5,320m / 17,450ft). The 3 Passes route is the most epic.

Based on weather and fitness, you can do one or more passes as well as peaks like Kala Pattar (5,545m) that don’t require a permit.

base camp sign

AT A GLANCE

Nepal
  • majority of hikers in the Everest region hire a guide, porter(s) and/or pack animal(s) but it’s fairly easy to do independently
  • guided trekkers stay in lodges, or sprawling tent encampments
  • October to November best months
  • beginning of March to mid-May next best
  • 16-18 days minimum for 3 Passes. 21 days would allow for rest / illness / sidetrip / and other unanticipated delays.
  • if you don’t have time, it’s recommended 14 days just to get to Base Camp and back safely.
  • generally easy hiking on good trails with a light pack. Some very challenging, potentially dangerous sections, if you cross any of the 3 Passes
  • on the main trails buy food as you go and stay in simple “lodges”
  • Everest trails are not expensive, but many spend more than they anticipate on luxuries
  • be clear — you might have to QUIT if by bad luck or rushed ascent you suffer altitude sickness (Acute Mountain Sickness or AMS).
  • many suffer respiratory problems. And fatigue.

Read more on our Everest Base Camp / 3 Passes information page.