When it comes to hiking, there are some places you just have to go. The Rocky Mountains, the Himalayas and the Andes are all up there as some of the best regions to don your backpack and hit the trail. But it’s not just the well-known, well-traveled trails that deserve our attention. Everywhere you can find an epic trail you can find obscure hikes that are definitely worth the climb.
With so many awe-inspiring trails, the issue lies in deciding where to go next. So if you want to avoid the crowds while still having a good time, get in touch with nature by checking out the 10 best alternative hikes in our hiking trail guide below. These off-the-beaten-path trails are sure to spark your imagination and give you something new to explore.
1. Lake Peyto, Canada
Forget Lake Louise or Lake Moraine in the Canadian Rockies – head for Lake Peyto instead. It lies at the heart of Banff National Park, in the southern part of the Rocky Mountains, and it is a beautiful blue lake with a number of trails just without one thing; the crowds.
2. Devil’s Path, USA
This off-the-beaten-path trail is every bit as dangerous as the name suggests. The Devil’s Path in New York is 24.2 miles long, and it’s a steep, unrelenting climb, with sections that require hikers to hoist themselves up by grabbing onto slippery roots. This one isn’t for the fair hearted.
3. El Hoyo Volcano, Nicaragua
In one of the most mountainous regions in all of Central America, the hike up El Hoyo provides views of a number of volcanoes, many of which are still active. Taking a day to climb, this hike is as hard as it is rewarding, and at the end of the day you are greeted with a crater lake to swim in.
4. Salcantay, Peru
The one thing everyone wants to do in Peru is hike the Inca Trail. However, if you’re looking for something a little more unique, then take a look at the Salkantay Route. You still have the natural beauty of Peru and an ancient city to finish with, but it’s less traveled and some would say it’s even more impressive.
(Image at the top)
5. Mount Kenya, Kenya
The second highest mountain in Africa enjoys far fewer visitors than its bigger rival Kilimanjaro, yet Mount Kenya offers many rewards along its slopes. The climb up Mount Kenya passes through a variety of rainforests before ascending to more Alpine landscapes. Just beautiful.
6. Camino del Norte, France & Spain
Of the many routes used by pilgrims to the reputed burial-place of St John at Santiago de Compostela, the Camino del Norte is one of the less heavily-populated hiking trails but arguably, at least in its western reaches, the most beautiful. Do it now; this obscure hike will get more and more popular year after year.
7. Zabljak, Montenegro
You may not think of Montenegro as a popular hiking destination, but in Zabljak and Durmitor National Park they’ve got one of the best regions in all of Europe. Also, the Tara River Canyon provides white-water rafting for those watery adventure-lovers too.
8. Langtang Trek, Nepal
While the path to the Everest Base Camp is now a very well-worn one, relatively few trekkers make it over to the Langtang region of Nepal. Yet this area, close to the Tibetan border, offers some of the most rewarding and authentic hiking trails in Nepal.
9. Six Foot Track, Australia
Marked out in 1884 as a six-foot-wide track to allow loaded horses to pass each other while traveling from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves, the Six Foot Track in the Blue Mountains is iconic. This 27.3-mile obscure hike takes three days through valleys and over rivers in Australia’s best hiking region.
10. Mount Taranaki, New Zealand
Egmont National Park on the west coast of the North Island is about as off-the-beaten-path as trails get in New Zealand, and there are some wonderful hikes in this often overlooked park. The place you absolutely have to visit is Mount Taranaki, a dormant volcano and the site of several walks through alpine and bush.