The 10 longest hiking trails in the world

THE 10 LONGEST HIKING TRAILS IN THE WORLD

There is nothing better than a good old hike.

Whether it be up mountains, through forests, past glistening lakes, or along coastal bluffs, the feeling of walking outdoors in the fresh, open air is hard to surpass.

When it comes to walking trails not all of them are created equally. Indeed some stretch for huge distances, connecting coasts, linking countries and crossing time zones.

For any discerning hiking enthusiast you should have a bucketlist. So allow us to present to you the 10 longest hiking trails in the world.

10. The English Coastal Path, UK (2,795 miles)

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The English Coastal Path is just that. A 2,800 mile trail that links the entire coastline of England.

Recently opened, having been in development for over 10 years, it eventuated after a law change that allowed for open access to the coastline.

Crossing 16 coastal counties, it is a lovely hike that provides plenty of spectacularly stark spots to explore as you make your way along it.

9. Hokkaido Nature Trail, Japan (2,848 miles)

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The Hokkaido Nature Trail is the only trail in Asia that features on this list. A relatively new trail, it officially opened in 2003.

Located on an island which is roughly the size of Austria, the landscape is very mountainous, with a number of active volcanos. 

This trail is usually walked from the north to the south on account of the summers being cool and the winters being long.

Its full of rare wildlife, as well as scenic wetlands and shimmering lakes, which makes it a very picturesque trail to undertake.

8. The Continental Divide, USA (3,100 miles)

You’ve heard of quintessential road trips; well the Continental Divide Trail is the hiking equivalent.

Often referred to as the CDT, this epic trail runs between Chihuahua, in Mexico, and Alberta, in Canada.

Incorporating the Continental Divide of the Americas, hence the name, the trail will take you through a number of notable places including the Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado) and the charmingly-named Scapegoat Wilderness (Montana).

The 3,100 mile trail takes about six months to complete, and around 200 people attempt a full hike of it every year. The first person to successfully do this was Dave Odell in 1977.

7. The Sentiero Italia, Italy (3,831 miles)

The longest trail outside of North America, the Sentiero Italia flanks all of Italy’s boot shaped landmass and even carries on into its islands.

Not only does it connect Sardinia with Sicily and both the Apennines and Alps ranges, it also makes its way over to Trieste which is nestled on the Italian-Slovenian border.

Portraying a scenic terrain that incorporate coastlines, lakes and mountains, perhaps one of the best aspects of this hike is the fabulous food you can eat at the many charming small towns you will stumble upon across along the way.

6. The Great Western Trail, USA (4,455 miles)

Not to be confused with The Great Western Loop, but no less fabulous, The Great Western Trail runs for 4,455 miles.

Running all the way from Canada to Mexico, this trail is based on a 19th century cattle path and swathes through the states of Montana and Wyoming, as well as Idaho, Utah and Arizona.

Within Utah, it forms the backbone of their trail system, and is one of 16 trails the White House designated as National Millennium Trails.

Amongst many others, it goes through places like Desolation Lake and the Wasatch Crest Trail. Both of which are in Salt Lake City. As well as Orderville Canyon, which is located near Zion National Park. 

5. The North Country Trail, USA (4,600 miles)

The North Country Trail, which is often called the NCT by those who hike it, is a 4600 mile route that runs from Middlebury in central Vermont, all the way towards central North Dakota, where it ends at Lake Sakakawea.

Connecting both the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail, with the Lewis and Clark trail, it is passes through eight states in total.

The longest of all the 11 National Scenic Trails that have been authorised by the US congress, it showcases a wonderful landscape of ten National Forest areas, as well as four National Parks and two National Wildlife Refuges.

4. Eastern Continental, USA (5,400 Miles)

First completed in 1997 by John Brinda, and later by M.J. Eberhart, who immortalized the adventure in his book Ten Million Steps, the Eastern Continental trail covers some 5400 miles.

Running from Key West in Florida to Cape Gaspé in Canada it has been described, rather ominously as a ‘beast’ by the Sierra Club.

It is a picturesque route that is made up of a number of smaller, though still relatively long distance trails. This includes the Pinhoti Trail, the Appalachian Trail and the International Appalachian Trail, amongst others, that collectively coursethrough some 16 states.

3. American Discovery, USA (6,800 Miles)

Whichever way you look at it The American Discovery Trail is avery long one to hike.

However the 6,800 mile trail does have a point of contention about it, because to traverse the full distance you will have to repeat a section of it twice.

Starting in northern California, at Limantour Beach, and ending in Delaware at Cape Henlopen State Park, the route cuts through the centre of the USA.

But around the region of the Great Plains and Midwest, it includes a loop that divides the trails into two parallel paths. Hence the repetition.

2. The Great Western Loop, USA (6,875 miles)

Located in the western part of the USA, The Great Western Loop links together five other hiking trails to form one ‘super’ trail that covers a distance of some 6875 miles.

Included within this link are the Pacific Crest Trail and the Pacific Northwest Trail, as well as the Continental Divide Trail (which has previously been mentioned), the Grand Enchantment Trail and also the Arizona Trail.

The trail was only entirely completed for the first time in 2007 by a professional backpacker called Andrew Skurka. A feat that saw him awarded the title of Nat Geo’s ‘Adventurer of the Year’. 

1. The Great Trail, Canada (16,777 miles)

Appropriately named; the Great Trail is the Everest of long distance hiking trails.

Starting at the Railway Coastal Museum in St. John’s,Newfoundland and ending in the Yukon, this network of multi-use trails stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and all the way up to the Arctic Ocean.

Leading you through Alberta, Edmonton and British Columbia, the route incorporates a fantastic scenic chain of waterways, roadways and greenways, all of which are breathtaking to look at.

Apparently 80% of Canadians live within 30 minutes of some part of the trail. So there is no excuse for them not to do at least a part of it!

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