These classic treks are for serious walkers. All of them require a sturdy pair of lungs, fit legs and a good amount of preparation. However, if you choose to go on any of these trails then you will be rewarded with experiences that last a lifetime
Routeburn Track, New Zealand
See the stunning subalpine scenery of New Zealand’s South Island surrounding this medium three-day (32km, 20mi) track. At the base of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, the track passes through two national parks: Fiordland and Mt Aspiring. Highlights include the views from Harris Saddle and atop Conical Hill – from where you can see waves breaking on the distant beach. The main challenge for this popular hike is actually securing a place among the limited numbers who are allowed on the track at any time.
The Narrows, USA
A 26km (16mi) journey through dramatic canyons carved over centuries by the Virgin River, the Narrows in Zion National Park is a hike like no other. The route is the river, with over half of the hike spent wading and sometimes swimming. The hike can be traversed in a day, though some choose to take the hanging gardens and natural springs at a more leisurely pace – spending a night at one of the park’s 12 camp grounds.
The Haute Route, France-Switzerland
Leading from Chamonix in France through the southern Valais to Zermatt in Switzerland, the Haute Route traverses some of the highest and most scenic country accessible to walkers anywhere in the Alps. The summer Haute Route walk (which takes a different course than the more famous winter skitouring route) takes around two weeks to complete. It mainly involves ‘pass hopping’ and demands a high level of fitness, with every section containing a high huff factor.
Baltoro Glacier & K2, Pakistan
This corridor of ice leads to the colossal peak of K2 (8,611m, 28,251ft), the world’s second-highest peak. 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 (6,610m, 21,686ft), Uli Biaho (6,417m, 21,053ft), Great Trango Tower (6,286m, 20,623ft) and ultimately K2. If the 15 days doesn’t floor you, take side trips to more moraine-covered glaciers.