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Long-distance trails

Find your long-distance trail

Long-distance hiking is the art of mastering a multi-day hike, covering long distances, typically over several days, weeks, or even months. It’s what hikers love to do the most and it combines a physical and mental experience, always with a connection with nature and other hikers. Hikers often choose one of the marked trails that goes through diverse landscapes. Preparing for long-distance hiking requires careful planning which is not only important but also very joyful. Long-distance trails can be derived from thru-hiking trails, mostly hiking for several weeks or months to shorter hut-to-hut trekking or long-distance trails carrying your tent or sleeping in hotels or bed & breakfasts along the trail. Or enjoy the spiritual pilgrim trails. The choice is between plenty of beautiful long-distance trails all over the world.

Best long-distance trails


Famous long-distance trails

Some of the most famous long-distance trails in the world attract hikers from everywhere. For example, in Europe, the Tour du Mont Blanc, Alta Via 1, Laugavegur Trail, Fishermen’s Trail, and the West Highland Way are among the most famous long-distance trails in Europe. Not only Europeans, but many other nationalities such as Americans, Japanese, and Australian people find their way to these trails. The Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James, is a network of pilgrimage routes leading to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain on one of the many long-distance pilgrim trails varying in length and difficulty.

In the United States, you’ll find 11 National Scenic Trails that include famous thru-hiking trails: the Appalachian National Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail. But they have also shorter trails such as the North Country National Scenic Trail, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail, Florida National Scenic Trail, Arizona National Scenic Trail, New England National Scenic Trail, and the challenging Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail. These are the most recognized long-distance trails in America.

Last, but of course not least, you’ll find some of the best hiking trails in New Zealand, such as the Great Walks which consist of all these tracks, varying in length and difficulty: Milford Track, Lake Waikaremoana Track, Abel Tasman Coast Track, Rakiura Track, Whanganui Journey, Routeburn Track, Paparoa Track, Kepler Track, Heaphy Track, Tongariro Northern Circuit. If you want to cross both of the islands in New Zealand, you can attempt the Te Araroa for the full experience. It’s New Zealand’s thru-hike covering 3000 kilometers.

Preparation is key

The activity of long-distance hiking always begins with sufficient preparation. Before you begin, start by researching what food you’ll need to carry, how much water you should take, where there are shelter options, or if you’ll bring lightweight camping gear. Next, you’ll think about which clothing is necessary and, of course, your backpack and type of hiking shoes or boots. The weight of the pack and the physical demands of walking for hours each day can be challenging, requiring both physical fitness and mental strength. Be prepared for varying weather conditions and potential hazards, learning first aid and how to read the weather will be important for a safe trail experience. Note that the weather can change swiftly, especially in mountainous areas, and always keep an eye on the forecast.

Trail magic

While long-distance hiking not only provides a physical challenge, it also gives you a lot in return. Not only the chance for personal reflection and growth but also making strong bonds and lifetime friendships with others you meet along the way. The journey on such trails is as much about the inner experience as it is about the physical journey, allowing hikers to disconnect from the routines of daily life and connect more deeply with the natural world. You’ll get to know the phenomenon of Trail Magic that can happen at any moment. Trail magic is the spontaneous event of a stranger offering you a free cold drink or maybe even a bed for the night. Or it can be something else that turns your heavy day into a great day.

Happy Trails!

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