Five Favorite Hikes Around the World—Take a Hike Day
Hiking is both a healthy and an educational pastime, so we recommend hikes all year round—not just on Take a Hike Day. Below, we’ve provided some of our favorite hikes: on mountains, sidewalks, and even below sea-level! Bonus: there’s a WorldStrides tour that visits each one of them.
Denali State Park, Alaska
With 325,240 acres to explore, you could hike in this park for months! The Alaska Range is also part of the park, with beautiful vistas, glaciers, and mountain climbing options to enhance the experience. Home to bears, foxes, moose, beavers, and even flying squirrels, you can see your fair share of wildlife while visiting, including over 130 species of birds! If you hike here, be sure to make noise as you walk to let the wildlife know you’re approaching, and keep all food tucked away in airtight containers so you don’t end up with a porcupine rifling through your rations!
Driving through Denali, your eyes are constantly peeled for amazing wildlife—Dall sheep lingering on the ridges, caribou wandering in the open fields, and, if you’re really lucky, a moose or a bear hiding in the thick forest. Hiking through Denali and coming above the tree line to thigh-high treetops and sweeping views over the trees and mountains was spectacular! – Kim
Machu Pichu, Peru
Constructed around 1450 AD, this location makes hiking a history lesson. The estate was built by the Incas, and while it was locally known since its creation, Machu Pichu was not internationally known until historian Hiram Bingham brought it to the world’s attention in 1911. Placed atop a mountain ridge at 7,970 feet, it’s quite a hike, but the premises are also a lot to take in! The estate is divided into urban and agricultural sectors, as well as a lower and an upper town. With more than 200 buildings centered around a central square, there’s a lot to explore.
Machu Picchu is a truly a magical place. The mist among the imposing mountains, the peace and quiet and every little corner of this archeological site really take your breath away. Visiting Peru and Machu Picchu was a dream come true. – Ana
The National Mall, Washington, D.C.
You can’t forget about urban hikes! One of our favorites is the National Mall. From the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol, the mall stretches nearly two miles. With more than 100 unique monuments and memorials, as well as 11 museums, there’s something for every interest and plenty of walking.
It’s humbling to walk this stretch of Washington, D.C. To stand in the memorials of the greats of our nation and to see those memorials for soldiers who have fought for our freedom is a great honor. There is also so much to take in that is inspiring and beautiful. From the National History Museum to the Tidal Basin to the Washington Monument, there is a great deal to behold in just two miles! – Stephanie
The Great Wall of China
When first built, the Great Wall was a defense and trade outpost, but it may also be one of the oldest constructed walking paths, with construction beginning as early as the 7th century BC. While the entire defense system stretches over 13,171 miles, the wall portion is only (only!) 3,880 miles long. The most famous section of the wall, the Badaling Great Wall near Zhangjiakou, is 7.8 miles long and was the first stretch to be opened to the public.
I’ve visited the Great Wall of China three times, and each time is more impressive than the last. My favorite section is Mutianyu, translated means “to long for the fields and valleys.” It’s not as crowded as the more popular (and closer to Beijing) Badaling section. On a clear day, one can see forever. And a hike on the Mutianyu part of the wall will burn calories for days to come! – Alex
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
While not the most traditional of hikes, at the Great Barrier Reef, your legs still get a workout. The world’s largest coral reef system, it stretches over 1,400 miles with over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands. It’s so large, it can even be seen from space! To snorkel or scuba in the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll most likely go to Cairns or the Whitsundays, which are the most accessible parts of the reef and make up about 7-8% of the whole structure. With 1,500 species of fish, 17 species of sea snakes, seven species of Turtles, and 49 species of mollusk—to name a few of the wildlife there—there’s a whole underwater world to take in.
Diving down into the Great Barrier Reef is like entering another world. The biodiversity of the reef is unmatched, and it’s amazing to think of how the entire thing is ALIVE. Pro tip: When they recommend you take a motion-sickness pill on the way out there, take it! – Nikki