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Best Solo Hiking Trips Around the World


There’s nothing quite as invigorating as a hiking trip, whether you’re climbing to the top of a mountain or taking a walking trip overland. The sun’s on your face, the wind in your hair and there’s not a care in the world except for the road ahead of you. You get to see the world from a different perspective.

As a solo traveller, a hiking trip is one of the best ways to explore a destination – on foot. And you can do this on your own, at your own pace, or with a guided tour; the choice is up to you.

Our list of solo hiking trips covers everything from hiking to world-class destinations such as Everest Base Camp and Tour du Mont Blanc to walking safaris among Africa’s amazing wildlife.

Whether you’re a fitness freak or just looking for an easy walking trip, there are solo hiking trips to suit every fitness level. So, pack your bags, put on your hiking boots and get ready to take on some of the best solo hiking trips around the world.

Note:
Our solo hiking trips have been classed with a difficulty level – Easy, Medium or Hard. A difficulty level of ‘Medium’ requires a good level of fitness and some hiking experience or you need to be part of a group. A difficulty level of ‘Hard’ requires a high level of fitness, plenty of hiking experience and lots of preparation. Being part of a guided tour is always an easier option.

Best Self-Guided Solo Hiking Trips

Whether you’re heading overseas or wandering around your own country, there a hiking trip worth taking. Below are 20 of the best solo hiking trips that you can take on your own.

1. Overland Track, Australia

Best solo hiking trips - Overland Track, Australia

Hikers on the Overland Track in Australia.

Great for: Wildlife-rich hike
Distance: 40 miles (65km) or 51 miles (82km)
Duration: Five to seven days
Difficulty: Medium

The Overland Track, between Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair, is Australia’s premier bushwalk, attracting summer crowds like flies. The five- to seven-day solo hiking trip from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair offers up dramatic landscapes dominated by the iconic Cradle Mountain and 5305ft (1617m) Mt Ossa, the island’s highest peak. Expect boggy trails, strong winds, rapid weather variations and ample wildlife.

2. Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

A view of the Himalayan Ranges from a vantage point on the Annapurna Circuit.

Great for: Mountain hike
Maximum elevation: 17,770ft (5416m)
Duration: Eight to 15 days
Difficulty: Medium

For scenery and cultural diversity this has long been considered the best trek in Nepal and one of the world’s classic walks. It follows the Marsyangdi Valley to the north of the main Himalayan range and crosses a 17,770ft (5416m) pass to descend into the dramatic desert-like, Tibetan-style scenery of the upper Kali Gandaki Valley. The walk passes picturesque villages home to ethnic tribes, offers spectacular mountain views of the numerous Annapurna peaks and boasts some of the best trekking lodges in Nepal.

3. Rockies Road: The Skyline Trail, Canada

Best solo hiking trips - Skyline Trail in the Rockies, Canada

A view of lakes and mountains along the Skyline Trail in Canada.

Great for: Backcountry hike
Distance: 27 miles (44km)
Duration: Two to three days
Difficulty: Medium

One of Canada’s backcountry classics, the Skyline is an unforgettable adventure straight through the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Running between Maligne Lake and Maligne Canyon, the Skyline is considered the crème de la crème of Canadian hiking. Over half the trail runs way above the treeline, offering some of the grandest views in the Rockies. Its altitude means it’s exposed to the weather and its wildness means wildlife encounters are a constant possibility.  

4. The W in Torres Del Paine, Chile

Torres del Paine, Chile

A scenic view of Torres Del Paine in Chile.

Best for: Backcountry trek
Distance: 44 miles (71km)
Duration: Five days
Difficulty: Medium

Stretching across the southern half of Torres del Paine National Park, the W is Patagonia’s most celebrated hiking route and one of the best solo hiking trips in the world. Expect the unexpected in this climatically challenging but rewarding backcountry trek past glaciers, lakes, plains and peaks, including the magnificent blue towers of Torres del Paine. It’s a five-day route that affords access to some of South America’s wildest mountain scenery – razor-edge mountains, wind-scoured valleys, tawny pampas and icy glaciers.

5. Huángshān, China

Best solo hiking trips - Huangshan, China

High up in the mountains of Huangshan in China.

Great for: Mountain hike
Distance: 14 miles (22.5km)
Duration: Two days total; nine hours’ hiking
Difficulty: Medium

Huángshān is one of China’s most celebrated mountains and one of the best solo hiking trips in the country. Its archetypal granite peaks and lonely, twisted pines have inspired poets and painters for generations. Like exploring the landscape of a Chinese painting, a hike up Ānhuī’s iconic mountain brings wizened peaks and mist-shrouded intrigue, but watch out for those jelly legs! The hike involves climbing up 60,000 steps carved into the granite crags of the mighty mountain.

6. Mt Sinai, Egypt

Best solo hiking trips - Mt Sinai

A hiker climbing up Mt Sinai in the Sinai Peninsula.

Great for: Sunrise hike
Distance: 9 miles (14km) round trip
Duration: Two days
Difficulty: Medium

The most famous of the Sinai mountains is 2285m Mt Sinai, reputed to be the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments, and now the peninsula’s favourite hiking destination. Begin at St Katherine’s Monastery and follow the camel trail or, if you’re feeling pertinent, the 3570 Steps of Repentance to the summit. It’s customary to be here for sunrise, and if you’re planning to spend the night on top, as many visitors do, come ready for a cold night.

7. Mt Kinabalu, Malaysia Borneo

Mt KInabalu, Malaysia Borneo

A sunrise view at the summit of Mt Kinabalu.

Great for: Sunrise hike
Distance: 10 miles (16km) round trip
Duration: Two days
Difficulty: Medium

At 13,435ft (4095m), Kinabalu isn’t just the highest mountain in Borneo, it’s one of the highest mountains in all of Southeast Asia. Incorporating tangled jungle, granite ridges and barren plateaux, traversing Borneo’s highest and holiest mountain is a task that requires nerves – and legs – of steel. Though it’s a relatively short climb (5 miles or 8km), Kinabalu’s great challenge is its elevation gain (7874ft or 2400m). Much of it comes via a punishingly steep staircase that spirals up the mountain; the rest involves climbing over bare, slippery granite or hauling yourself up fixed ropes bolted into the rock.

8. Camino de Santiago, Spain

Best solo hiking trips - Camino de Santiago

Pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

Great for: Pilgrimage hike
Distance: 491 miles (790km)
Duration: 30 to 34 days
Difficulty: Easy

For more than 1000 years Europeans have taken up the age-old symbols of the Camino de Santiago (Way of St James) – the scallop shell and staff – and set off on foot to reach the tomb of James, the apostle, in the Iberian Peninsula’s far northwest. Today, this magnificent long-distance walk is an appealing mix of pilgrimage and adventure, heading across northern Spain from the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Testament to its importance is the fact that the walk is both a Unesco World Heritage listing and Europe’s first proclaimed ‘Culinary Itinerary’.

9. Tour du Mont Blanc, France

Tour du Mont Blanc, France

A hard climb up Mont Blanc in France.

Great for: Mountain hike
Distance: 110 miles (170km)
Duration: Ten days
Difficulty: Hard

Arguably Europe’s most famous hike and one of the world’s best solo hiking trips, the TMB passes through three countries as it makes a lap around the highest peak in the European Alps. The circuit loops out from Chamonix, crossing into Italy and Switzerland before returning to the ever-popular French Alpine resort town. There are low- and high-route options in many places, and the scenery is sublime, whether it be the Toblerone skyline of the Grand Jorasses or the grandstand final views along the Aiguilles Rouge.

10. Laugavegurinn, Iceland

Great for: Backcountry hike
Distance: 48 miles (77km)
Duration: Four days
Difficulty: Medium

Iceland’s back country feels like an elemental place ruled by elves and Arctic energy, and a walk between its volcanoes and glaciers is a symphony of wind, stone, fire and ice. While the landscape is as bleak as its reputation, there’s an uncanny beauty to the area’s wilderness that lures countless travellers from every corner of the globe. They come to complete the Laugavegurinn, Iceland’s premiere hike, which tackles a sequence of lunar landscapes over the course of several days.

11. Zanskar River, India

Best solo hiking trips - Zanskar River, India

The Zanskar River cutting through the landscape in India.

Great for: Ice trek
Distance: 40 miles (65km)
Duration: Eight days
Difficulty: Hard

The extremes of cold in the Himalayan region of Ladakh mean that it’s little visited in winter. The mountain passes close and the only way in and out is by air. For those hardy souls who not only take the challenge to visit in winter but want to do something even more outlandish, there’s the chance to trek along the frozen Zanskar River from Chilling to Padum. Only really feasible in February, the route involves gingerly walking down the frozen Zanskar River in dramatic canyons and across teetering snow bridges. With good route planning, it’s possible to do the trek with minimal baggage by sleeping in homestays en route.

12. Croagh Patrick, Ireland

Great for: Pilgrimage hike
Distance: 6.2 miles (10km)
Duration: One day
Difficulty: Easy

Croagh Patrick is Ireland’s holiest mountain as it’s believed that St Patrick fasted here for 40 days and 40 nights, emulating the biblical accounts of Moses and Christ. The chapel at the summit is Ireland’s highest church and pilgrims ascend the slopes to perform penance at designated stations along the way. For those not primarily concerned with spiritual enlightenment, superb views over the island-studded inlet of Clew Bay more than reward the effort of the climb.

13. North Alps, Japan

North Alps, Japan

A climber trudges through the snow in the North Alps in Japan.

Great for: Mountain hike
Distance: 40 miles (65km)
Duration: Seven days
Difficulty: Medium

The hiking route from Tate-yama to Kamikōchi is Japan’s ultimate long hike in the most spectacular alpine scenery the country has to offer. Running the length of the North Alps, Japan’s hiking hotspot, the route allows you to stand atop more than 20 summits. The hike’s start at Murodō is at 2450m, the maximum altitude reached is 3190m at Oku-hotaka-dake and you won’t drop below 2000m until you descend on the final day. There are mountain huts with bedding and meals along the way, meaning you can take minimal gear, plus a number of camping areas.

14. 88 Temple Circuit, Japan

Great for: Pilgrimage hike
Distance: 870 miles (1400km)
Duration: Allow 30 to 60 days
Difficulty: Easy

Japan’s best-known pilgrimage is the 88 Temple Circuit on the island of Shikoku. Kōbō Daishi, the most revered of Japan’s saints, is said to have personally selected the circuit route. Some temples are only a few hundred metres apart, but it can be more than 100km between others. Individually, none of the temples is exceptionally interesting; it’s the whole circuit that counts. The 88 temples represent the number of evil human passions defined by the Buddhist doctrine, and completing the circuit is said to rid you of these. About half the temples have lodging facilities for pilgrims.

15. Mt Fuji, Japan

Best solo hiking trips - Mt Fuji, Japan

A view of the icy cap of Mt Fuji in Japan.

Great for: Mountain hike, sunrise hike
Distance: 12 miles (19km)
Duration: Two days
Difficulty: Medium

At 12,388ft (3776m), Fuji-san is a massive stand-alone volcano and Japan’s highest mountain. While the panorama from the top is stupendous, the classic views of Fuji are from a distance. This is a top hike, best when accomplished overnight in time to see the sun rise. Prepare to join the crowds, especially on weekends, as the official hiking season is short (1 July to 31 August). There are several huts for rest and sleep on the way up and at the top.

16. Jebel Toubkal, Morocco

Great for: Mountain hike, remote culture hike
Distance: 45 miles (72km)
Duration: Two to seven days
Difficulty: Medium

Despite the wealth of high peaks in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, it’s the tallest, Jebel Toubkal (4167m), that monopolises trekking attention. Most trekkers dash up and down it in two days, but you can also stretch the experience out to a rewarding week by trekking around Toubkal, passing through Berber villages as you go. From the Imlil valley make a clockwise loop via walnut groves and cherry orchards, high passes and boulder fields, mud-brick houses and neat green terraces, wandering shepherds and wind-wizened juniper trees.

17. Milford Track, New Zealand

Milford Track, New Zealand

The scenery along the Milford Track in New Zealand.

Great for: Backcountry hike
Distance: 33 miles (53.5km)
Duration: Four days
Difficulty: Medium

The best known track in NZ – with its towering peaks, glaciated valleys, rainforests, alpine meadows and spectacular waterfalls – is very popular. So popular is the track that in the tramping season (late October to April) permits are required and strict conditions are placed on all walkers. All restrictions will pale as you clap eyes on the views towards Mt Fisher, or branch off to take in the awesome Sutherland Falls, or scrabble into the tiny cave under Bell Rock – just a few of the many highlights along the route.

18. Kalalau Trail, USA

Kalalau Trail, Hawaii, USA

A dramatic view of the coastline from the Kalalau Trail in Hawaii, USA.

Great for: Coastline hike
Distance: 22 miles (35km) round trip
Duration: Three days
Difficulty: Hard

One of the world’s great coastal walks and Hawaii’s premier hiking trail, this exquisitely beautiful trek along Kaua’i’s Na Pali Coast epitomises the rare beauty of the Hawaiian Islands. It’s a heartbreaking path, both beautiful and brutal, following an ancient Hawaiian footpath along the valleys of Kauai’s famous Na Pali Coast. It passes hidden waterfalls, wild beaches and visions of traditional Hawaii, ending below the steep fluted cliffs of Kalalau, where the sheer green cliffs drop into brilliant turquoise waters.

19. Grand Canyon, USA

Best solo hiking trips - Grand Canyon, USA

A hiker admiring the landscape of the Grand Canyon from the top.

Great for: Canyon hike
Distance: 21 miles (33km) round trip
Duration: Two to three days
Difficulty: Medium

Hailed as one of the best solo hiking trips in the world, a descent into the Grand Canyon is one for the bucket list. From one rim across to the other and back again, this trek veers to and fro along different trails each way. As you descend into the depths of the crater, you get up close to the striking rainbows of brick hues filling the strata; the meandering Colorado River beckons and you pass pretty Ribbon Falls, the 30m-high waterfall that resembles ribbons billowing in the breeze. And when you reach the bottom and look up, you feel as tiny as an ant.

20. GR20, Corsica, France

GR20, Corsica, France

Hikers perched on one of the craggy peaks along the GR20.

Great for: Backcountry hike
Distance: 104 miles (168km)
Duration: 15 days
Difficulty: Hard

One of Europe’s toughest marked hiking trails, the GR20 (Grand Randonnée, or Great Walk) spans the length of Corsica and stretches through the granite ridges of the island’s interior. The trail passes through dense forests and over dramatic mountain passes, skirts glacial lakes and pastures, and offers sweeping views of Corsica’s dramatic coastline.

To walk its entirety you’ll need at least two weeks, but if you fancy something shorter, you can try the selection of Mare e Monti (Sea to Mountains) and Mare e Mare (Sea to Sea) trails that crisscross the island. Although less publicised than the GR20, these routes take in some spectacular mountain and coastal scenery, with the added bonus of ending each day comfortably in a village.

Best Solo Hiking Trips on a Guided Tour

If you’re not sure about hiking on your own and would like some well-lauded company, join a guided tour for a hiking trip you’ll be raving about to your family and friends for years to come. Below are 10 of the best solo hiking trips you can take on a guided tour.

1. Everest Base Camp, Nepal

Best solo hiking trips - Everest Base Camp

Trekkers camp en route to Everest Base Camp.

Great for: Mountain hike, extreme hike
Maximum elevation: 18,192ft (5545m)
Duration: Minimum two weeks
Difficulty: Hard

This is the definitive Himalayan trek, flying into Lukla and climbing to the foot of Mt Everest, through breathless mountain landscapes. Your destination is either Everest Base Camp or the stunning viewpoint at Kala Pattar. The trails are steep and the altitude hangs on your muscles like a diving belt as you climb through the foothills of the world’s highest mountain. Because of the risk of acute mountain sickness, it takes a minimum of two weeks to climb to Everest Base Camp or Kala Pattar.

2. Kokoda Trail, Papua New Guinea

Great for: Historical hike
Distance: 60 miles (96km)
Duration: Six to 11 days
Difficulty: Hard

Moving from azure beaches, to misty mountains through jungle that’s every type of green, the Kokoda Trail in southern Papua New Guinea is an immersive mix of modern history and Papuan culture. Today, the trail attracts hundreds of hikers a year, many to honour its history and many simply for a damn good hike. You should use local guides and carriers, never walk with less than four people, and allow between six and 11 days.

3. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Hikers at the summit of Kilimanjaro.

Great for: Mountain hike
Distance: Approx. 37 miles (60km)
Duration: Six to seven days
Difficulty: Hard

At 19,341ft (5895m), Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak by far. It’s the world biggest free-standing summit, rising isolated and enormous from the Tanzanian plains. But it’s the mountain’s combination of huge heft yet relative accessibility that makes it unique. Trek to the top of this mighty mountain in Tanzania for the greatest high you can get without crampons, and stand on the roof of Africa.

4. Walking Safari, Zambia

Great for: Wildlife-rich hike
Distance: Not more than 7.5 miles (12km) each day
Duration: Three days
Difficulty: Easy

There are some things you can’t experience sitting in the cab of a jeep. A three-day hiking safari in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia’s flagship wildlife destination, offers you countless moments of connection with the African bush, where’s there nothing separating you from the natural world. Its mosaic of grasslands, lagoons and riverine woodland is a haven for creatures great and small, including four of the Big Five. But what makes it a treat for wildlife-watchers is the chance to roam its vastness on foot alongside some of Africa’s finest guides.  

5. Inca Trail, Peru

Best solo hiking trips - Inca Trail, Peru

Hikers heading to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail.

Great for: Historical hike
Distance: 27 miles (43km)
Duration: Four days
Difficulty: Medium

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a perennial rite of passage for every would-be South American explorer. The iconic trek is deservedly the stuff of legend – crossing two 13,000ft (3962m) passes, traversing ancient Inca steps and tunnels, and visiting other magnificent ruins en route to breathtaking views of Machu Picchu at dawn through the Gate of the Sun. South America’s most fabled adventure attracts so many trekkers that the government has heavily regulated it in recent years – now you can only walk the trail with a guide or tour, and trekker numbers are limited to 200 per day.

6. Kruger Wilderness Trails, South Africa

Great for: Wildlife-rich hike
Distance: Up to about 12 miles (20km)
Duration: Three days
Difficulty: Easy

Kruger National Park is one of the world’s best safari destinations, but to really get under the skin of the park and its diverse wildlife, join one of the official three-night Wilderness Trails guided tours. Based in a small, rustic camp on the Madzaringwe River, overshadowed by the looming Soutpansberg Mountains, you’ll be among just eight guests led out on consecutive days for hikes among baobab trees to spot the biggest game – including lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant – and local specialities.

7. Simien Mountains, Ethiopia

Simien Mountains, Ethiopia

A local man and his donkey walking one of the trails on the Simien Mountains.

Great for: Wildlife-rich hike, remote cultural hike
Distance: 52 miles (83km)
Duration: Three to seven days
Difficulty: Medium

Trails opened in 2016 by the African Wildlife Foundation and Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority lead hikers on multi-day jaunts through remote areas of the World Heritage-listed Simien Mountains. This community-based tourism venture sets groups up with a guide, a cook and donkeys to carry luggage, through villages set on nearly treeless, steep mountains with spectacular views at every turn. Expect to meet goat herders and lots of children and to sleep in rustic, round thatched huts. Dine on local cuisine before huffing and puffing to views of Ras Dashen (14,872ft or 4533m), Ethiopia’s highest mountain.

8. Jhomolhari Trek, Bhutan

Great for: Mountain hike
Distance: 75 miles (120km)
Duration: Nine days
Difficulty: Medium

The Jhomolhari trek is to Bhutan what the Everest Base Camp route is to Nepal: a trekking pilgrimage. With two different versions, it’s one of Bhutan’s most popular route, walked by around 40% of trekkers to the country. The trail takes you to a high camp at Jangothang (4080m) for spectacular views of 7314m Jhomolari. The trek combines some of Bhutan’s best high-mountain scenery, with remote villages and excellent opportunities to see yaks.  

9. Gorilla Tracking, Bwindi, Uganda

Best solo hiking trips - Gorilla Tracking, Uganda

A baby gorilla seen on a gorilla tracking hike in Uganda.

Great for: Wildlife-rich hike
Distance: Various
Duration: One day
Difficulty: Easy

The total population of mountain gorillas is tiny: fewer than 900 are believed to survive in the Virunga Mountains straddling DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, and in the latter’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Whacking up through the lush, dense vegetation of Bwindi to locate one of the habituated family groups is not for the softies: it’s steep, it’s muddy, it’s overgrown, and it can be wet, cold, hot or all three in one day.

10. Baltoro Glacier & K2, Pakistan

Great for: Mountain hike
Maximum elevation: 17,700ft (5400m)
Duration: 15 days
Grade: Difficult

This corridor of ice leads to the colossal peak of K2 (8611m), the world’s second highest. This incomparable trek traverses some of the most humbling scenery on the planet. What begins following icy rivers boldly goes to the guts of the glacier before leading to the granite pyramidal mountains including Paiju (6610m), Uli Biaho (6417m), Great Trango Tower (6286m) and, ultimately, K2. If the 15 days don’t floor you, take side trips to more moraine-covered glaciers.

The ultimate in Karakoram trekking is to traverse the length of one of these Karakoram glaciers. Two treks epitomise this experience: the Hispar La trek to Snow Lake, and the Baltoro Glacier trek to K2 Base Camp. Both take you up massive ice highways lined with magnificent peaks and towers into the very heart of the Karakoram.

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