By Chris Rowlands-Barber
If you have finished school you might now be considering a gap year that involves hiking around the world with a backpack and good pair of walking boots.
If so, it’s important to be prepared beforehand: take enough money, do your paperwork, and make sure that you get travel insurance (click here to compare quotes at MoneySupermarket).
Now that you’re ready, here are some places for you to consider for a memorable experience.
Machu Picchu in Peru
Photo by szeke
Peru’s Inca trail might be considered a well-worn one, but that is for good reason, as it is definitely worth seeing.
The hike takes you through diverse habitats, from steamy jungle to crisp alpine heights. You will not only see Peru’s natural stunning beauty, but also the historical wonders of its ancient people.
For the history buffs, the trail passes three sets of Inca ruins and finishes at the famous Machu Picchu. Hikers can then climb one of the most iconic constructions on Earth.
Take a dip in Nepal
Photo by Dey
For those who want a more spiritual journey, Nepal is the perfect location. And if you are interested in something a little different to the usual destinations of Kathmandu and Everest there is the Annapurna circuit.
Hike from the sub-tropics to the mountains with plenty to see and do along the way. Meet the local people, visit temples and tea houses and, after all that hiking, have a well-deserved soak by relaxing in a hot spring.
Climb the Highest Walkable Mountain
Photo by Jorge Lascar
If you would like to climb a tall mountain but don’t feel ready for the physical and technical challenges Everest presents, then Mount Kilimanjaro is an excellent second choice.
No special climbing skills or equipment are needed, which is why Kilimanjaro has been called the world’s highest walkable mountain. That doesn’t mean the climb is easy, but it is definitely worth it.
Hike around Mount Doom
Photo by eliduke
The Tongariro Northern Circuit, on New Zealand’s North Island, winds through active volcanic regions for dramatic views while hiking. You will pass pools of boiling mud, valleys carved by glaciers and the Emerald Lakes, which are craters filled with water.
The trail is roughly 35 kilometres across a landscape that looks out of this world. And yes, while on it you will walk around Mount Ngaurube, the active volcano used as Mount Doom in the film of Lord of the Rings.
Watery Walks in Utah
Photo by Steve Corey
Hiking doesn’t just have to be up high mountain peaks. If you don’t mind getting your feet wet, then hiking through the canyons of the Zion Narrows in America’s south-western state of Utah is an incredible experience.
As the name implies, the slot canyons are high but narrow and made of sandstone carved by water over millions of years. The walls ascend over 3000 feet and are only 22 feet across the top at their narrowest point – a two-mile area known as ‘Wall Street’.
Be aware, though, that it can be an incredibly risky hike. The area is prone to flash floods which claim hikers’ lives every year. Check the forecast carefully beforehand to make sure that there is absolutely no rain predicted.
Whatever you decide on, stay safe and try to avoid getting too many blisters!
About the Author
Chris Rowlands-Barber is an online media specialist and lover of hiking and travel.