Hiking is not only a great way to get in shape no matter what your age but also one of the healthiest ways to experience the sheer natural majesty and beauty a country has to offer.
Says a professional adventure guide who leads hiking tours in Phoenix, AZ, unlike 4-wheel drive excursions, seeing the Sonoran Desert on foot can be a far more intimate and exhilarating experience. In fact, day hiking in the Valley of the Sun is considered by some avid hikers as “the ultimate hiking adventure.”
The same can be said of places like the Swiss Alps, New York’s Adirondack Mountains, Peru’s Machu Picchu, or even Italy’s hilly Tuscan region (you can enjoy a fine lunch of vino and porchetta panini in Chianti). There is just about nowhere you can travel to on earth that doesn’t offer some form of hiking adventure.
According to a recent report by Forbes, nature is one of the best medicines you can get for free. Studies show that it’s better to be surrounded by trees and wildflowers than locked inside a cubicle with only a computer screen to stare at and stressed-out bosses and co-workers barking at you nonstop.
This is one of the major reasons you might want to consider a long hiking trip. However, not everyone wants to go full bore by having to sleep in tents, suffering through sub-zero temps, and squatting on the bare ground when Mother Nature comes calling.
That said, here are just a few of the best hiking tours for the world traveler minus all the uncomfortable “roughing-it” drawbacks. In other words, at the end of a long hiking day, you can enjoy a frosty beer at your hotel bar!
Day Hiking Mont-Blanc
Say the travel experts, “slack-packing” doesn’t get any better than this. In the Mont-Blanc hiking adventure, you don’t need to climb directly up the mountain, but instead, corkscrew your way around it. The hiking is still challenging with great climbs and descents daily, but you don’t enter into a verticality where the air is too thin or too cold.
At night, you enjoy the best of what European comfort is all about, including vintage wines and fresh foods like wild boar, roasted rabbit, fish, and pasta. Multiple trails are available for every leg of your journey, along with various routes that place guests in different villages in Italy, France, or Switzerland every night.
You have a choice of staying in a three or four-star hotel, plus you drink and eat in local restaurants. A picnic is packed for the next day’s journey.
Make sure to book your hiking journey via a reputable tour operator.
High-Desert Hiking in Argentina and Chile
For those who are seeking rather remote hikes, you can hire an adventure travel company to guide you from San Pedro de Atacama to Salta. Or you can do the hiking tour in reverse.
Journeys are designed to immerse you in different flora, fauna, and weather throughout the altiplano, which consists of the Andes, the Atacama Desert, the Calchaquíes Valleys, and the old “colonial town of Cachi.”
Hiking tourists can stay in luxury camps, simple guesthouses, or very old cabins, all of which have fully stocked bars and food services.
Vail to Aspen Hiking Adventure
No serious hiker would willingly skip the Rockies in the U.S. While better known for its world-class downhill skiing, a five-day llama trek through the Colorado Rockies can combine beautiful skies with lush, seemingly endless meadows of wildflowers and rugged ridge lines.
You can spend the night in luxury in one of three refurbished 10th Mountain Division huts. Reconstructed in the 1980s, the huts stand as a memorial to the U.S. Army who trained at Camp Hale during the outbreak of the Second World War and who later fought in the mountains of Italy.
You will enjoy hearty meals cooked over wood stoves at the end of a long hiking day.
Hiking Italy’s Mighty Dolomite Mountains
Speaking of Italy, no hiker would dare skip a hiking adventure in the white Dolomite Mountains. These high, “craggy pinnacles” located in northeastern Italy boast thousands of trails, lots of exciting terrains, ever-changing landscapes, and temperatures, plus what are said to be “lively huts” that offer some of the best Italian hospitality.
You will stay overnight in alpine lodges in your own private bedroom. Some are outfitted with private baths, and other, less expensive rooms with shared baths.
As for the food and vino? There’s only one word to describe them. Stupendo!