Travel Bloggers & Influencers Share Their Favorite Hike of 2018

Travel Bloggers & Influencers Share Their Favorite Hike of 2018

From the Azores and Alaska to Vietnam and Washington hiking in the Alps, Andes, Cascades, Caucasus, and more. Over 60 bloggers and influencers from around the world have come together to share their favorite hike of 2018! Here’s your big dose of hiking wanderlust for 2019 and beyond!




EUROPE

John – Here Be Barr

Mount Pico – Azores, Portugal

I’m not an avid hiker, but when I created a YouTube series about  visiting the Azores Islands of Portugal, I knew I had to “climb” Mount Pico. At almost 8,000 feet above sea level it’s Portugal’s highest peak, and definitely not for beginners.

I did this difficult trek with Monica and Nuno, two tour guides from ATIPICO who I highly recommend. Without their encouragement, I don’t think I’d have made it. You never know what to expect on the Azores Islands, and I was dressed for the cold, the rain, and the wind. Once we broke the cloud cover, I felt like a god looking down on the earth below. It was one of the most incredible and gratifying travel experiences I’ve ever had. I learned that I can push myself to accomplish tough physical feats if I challenge myself.

The total hike/climb took about 8 hours, and I strongly encourage doing this with a guide, as we lapped many solo/pairs of hikers who couldn’t keep a good pace and were exhausted. This was my top activity in over three weeks spent on the mysterious Azores Islands in the Atlantic and something I will never forget.

Nic – Adventurer Nic

Black Fell – Lake District National Park, England

Reflecting on a year overflowing with peak-bagging memories, it was rather difficult for me to pick a favorite adventure! In 2018, I decided to climb all of the ‘Wainwrights’ in the Lake District National Park, England.

By June I had summited over half of the 214 fells, including the highest and most dramatic like Scafell Pike and Helvellyn. I’d completed the well-trodden circular day hikes too, like the Fairfield Horseshoe. I plotted to bag my remaining Southern fells in a single route from East to West, incorporating two nights wild camping under the stars in my bivvy bag and a hitchhike back to my car at the end.

I set off in the evening and Black Fell was the first of twelve to be summited that weekend. It swiftly secured a special place in my heart as my favorite Wainwright fell as I was treated to a magnificent sunset over the majestic, jagged peaks of the Langdale Pikes.

My 35km route took in woodland, river crossings, a hands-on rock scramble and over 7,000ft total ascent. An unforgettable summer expedition in a charming and breath-taking setting.

Becky – Becky The Traveler

Tryfan – Snowdonia National Park, Wales

Picking my favorite hike from 2018 feels like I’m cheating on some of the walks I did. How do you possibly pick the best hike? You can check out the UK walks that made my top 10 list here. But the award for the best walk goes to one of my Snowdonia hikes, walking and scrambling up the mighty Tryfan mountain, an iconic and popular mountain in Wales.

But on the day I hiked it, a glorious summers day, I only saw three other people and spent a good 30 minutes soaking up the late afternoon sun rays on the summit, knowing that I didn’t have to rush because I had my tent in my bag so all I had to do was find a spot to camp.

I had done some scrambling before, but always with other people. Tryfan isn’t overly technical but it does involve a bit of scrambling. It gave me a buzz as I made my way up to the summit, being careful not to do anything stupid!

At the summit, two guys suggested I do ‘the jump’ across Adam and Eve (the large rocks at the summit). It might look like I did the jump, but I wasn’t confident and decided the best (and safest) thing to do was enjoy the views from my vantage point.

The hike was finished with dinner watching the sunset and camping under the stars (well, in my Vango Banshee haha). The perfect end to a perfect hike. 

Sheree – Winging the World

Camino de Santiago (Camino Francés/French Way) – France & Spain

2018 was the year that I became a hiker. Whilst I had enjoyed walking for as long as I could remember, it was always short trips to gather my thoughts. I had never done anything more than a day-long hike before. So, logically, I decided I would walk 500 miles across Northern Spain with my boyfriend. I will admit, the Camino de Santiago may have been a slightly grand undertaking for someone who barely knows their right foot from their left but why the heck not?

I started my Camino journey in June, probably not the wisest time considering the baking hot sun and my fragile complexion. Despite the setbacks of sunburn, tendonitis and blisters larger than my mouth, I firmly believe walking the Camino was one of the best things I have ever done. It tested me and whilst at times, all I could think about was jabbing a hiking pole through my boyfriend’s throat, there was no doubt that cutting each other’s blisters off brought us closer than ever. Whilst the Burgos to León section of the hike was marred by my discomfort, this is when my fellow hikers took me under their wing and showed me that people are good. I think we all need reminding of that sometimes. 

Wendy – The Nomadic Vegan

Camino de Santiago (Camino Primitivo/Primitive Way) – Spain

When my husband and I walked 800 kilometers across Spain on the Camino de Santiago in 2017, we both fell in love with the pilgrim experience and vowed to do a different pilgrimage trail every year.

With the more famous Camino Francés under our belt, for our 2018 pilgrimage, we chose the Camino Primitivo. This one is shorter than the Francés, at just 330 kilometers, but it has great historical significance. As the name implies, it was the very first pilgrimage route to Santiago, created in the 9th century.

While the Camino Francés passes through many different landscapes and regions, the Camino Primitivo passes through just two regions of Spain: Asturias and Galicia. 

Both regions are very lush and green … and also very wet! Despite walking in the rain for much of the way, the Camino Primitivo was a magical experience. The trails were very quiet, with just a handful of pilgrims walking at the same time as us. We all got to know each other and became quite a tight-knit group by the end.

My favorite section was on day five, from Campiello to Berducedo via the Hospitales route. Even though the scenery was shrouded in fog, we still got to see the ruins of some centuries-old pilgrim complexes. Later that day, we passed through the remote village of Montefurado and stopped to chat with José, the only remaining inhabitant of the village.

On both my pilgrimages on the Camino de Santiago, I’ve found that the Camino really brings out the best in people, including myself. 

Linn – Pack Up And Wander

Mulhacén – Granada, Spain

After living more than four years in Málaga, it was time for me to make my dream come through; drive the two hours to Capileira and hike Mulhacén, the highest mountain in continental Spain with its 3479 meters of altitude. I went with friends in mid September, rather late in the season, but we were exceptionally lucky with the weather.

There are several routes to get to the top. Some go over days. We chose a day trip from Capileira with a bus taking us to Mirador de Trevélez at about 2700 meters of altitude. The hike in itself is not hard, and doesn’t require a high level of fitness. However, the altitude made my legs feel tremendously heavy as we got closer to the peak. Luckily, the extraordinary views made a perfect excuse to stop every now and then (read every 10 meters or so) to take photos.

Reaching the top, I was mesmerized by the feeling of being at the top and overlooking the mountains beneath. I had made it! I had done countless hikes in Spain this year, but standing on the top of Spain was to become the best of them all.

Sherry – Ott’s World

Saint Olav’s Way – Norway

I love the lesser known and less traveled areas – and that is also the case for hiking.  My favorite hike for 2018 is a long distance hike (400 miles) that few people have heard about!  Head North to Norway for one of the latest pilgrimage routes that will rival the Camino de Santiago.

Saint Olav’s Way is the latest offering in pilgrimage routes in Europe with 7 different routes through rural Norway all leading to Trondheim Cathedral where Saint Olav is said to be buried. So many people who go to Norway just stick to the popular Fjord hikes, and that leaves the middle of the country rather unexplored by tourists. 

I hiked portions of the Gudbrandsdalen Path that was a lovely mix of farmland, river hikes and mountain crossings.  My favorite was the Dovrefjell pass at  4,333 feet – a treeless vast openness where you could see for miles and miles. 

You’ll get a great dose of rural Norweigan culture on hiking this trail as you stay at local farm houses and get to meet farmers who host pilgrims in addition to their current farming jobs.  This is the Camino de Santiago of 20 years ago. Currently only 1000 people finished the route and picked up their Saint Olav letter in 2017 – but that number is growing, so get there fast before the crowds!

Ela & Beata – Stunning Outdoors

Romsdalseggen Ridge – Norway

We spent two months in Norway, driving from south to north in self-converted campervan, this summer. Further, we hiked in many different areas along the way, so it is quite difficult to pick up just one hike.

However, we decided to nominate Romsdalseggen Ridge as best hike. The hike is suitable for people who already have some hiking experience. Its level of difficulty is DEMANDING according to Norwegian standard marking system.

The scenery on this hike is one of the finest in Norway. One can enjoy the spectacular views of the famous Troll Wall and picturesque Romsdal Valley. We were a bit unlucky with constant clouds gathering on top of the rugged tops of Troll Wall and in the valley. So a word of advice would be: make sure you have a good weather while hiking the ridge!

The hike starts in Venjesdalsetra and finishes in Andalsnes. It is around 10km long and is a combination of walking on grassy slopes, rocks and stones. Some may find it exposed in few places but the most exposed areas are secured with chains. The whole route is well marked. According to Visit Norway, it is the most beautiful hike in Norway!

Tara – Tara’s Travels

Schynige Platte Trail – Wengen, Switzerland

This summer, I was living in Wengen in Switzerland and tried to make the most of the beautiful scenery by hiking all the trails nearby. I hiked all types of terrain and they all had impossibly stunning views.

Some hikes were difficult but rewarding, some were more leisurely and others downright terrifying, but one route did tick all the boxes. This was the first to Schynige Platte Trail, which is a longer hike, but has options for rest along the way. It is 15km long and took nearly 6 hours with only one beer break. The hike has everything you would expect in the Alps, changing scenery and intensity to nicely break up the long journey. The views differed around each bend, from rocky trails, and mountain lakes to snow crossings (with some rain and hail) to meadows and forests, ending in a ridge walk, all with the Alps in the background.

It is less trafficked since most tourists don’t attempt a long hike or stay at the starting and end points. So if you only have one day for hiking in the Swiss Alps, this trail is the one to do.

Jeff & Kristen – Our Passion For Travel

Lake Bachalpsee – Grindelwald, Switzerland

Lake Bachalpsee itself is a postcard, and is the absolute best place to bring a picnic lunch before heading back. There are options to press on further afield, but you’d be hard pressed to beat the beauty of this 1.5 hour hike. 

We started our European adventures in August 2018, and headed to Switzerland first. It’s hard not to be in awe of the scenery in Switzerland. The hike from Grindelwald First (after a cable car ride) to Lake Bachalpsee isn’t overly difficult. It does however take you through some stunning Swiss countryside with the ringing of cowbells, jaw dropping mountain scenery and lush green fields. 

Upon return, the Tissot walk hugs the cliff face with an opportunity to stand on a glass bottom bridge. It might not be the friendliest excursion for those with a fear of heights, but it’s a truly breathtaking spot to take in the Alps, particularly in the summer time. 

Giusi – Maybe I’m Out

Hader Kulm – Interlaken, Switzerland

Switzerland is home of the most amazing hikes in Europe and it is here that I did the most beautiful hike of my 2018. It was April, and the snow was about to melt in the Alps when I decided to go back to Interlaken, a little town between two crystal blue lakes surrounded by mountains, and hike to the highest point in the area: the Hader Kulm.

The hike from the town to the viewing point takes about 2 hours and it is really pleasant. The trail is indicated by red marks on trees or rocks, which sometimes are not clearly visible. I got lost a few times, but the view from the top is stunning and well worth the hike. Along the way, it is also possible to find benches to rest for a while soaking up the nature vibes and the breathtaking views. This hike was the first of the spring season, and it made me realize how beautiful are the colors and the smells of nature with wakes up after a long and cold winter.   

Bilyana – Owl Over The World

Omala to Dartlo – Tusheti National Park, Georgia

”One of my favorite hikes from 2018 is without any doubts the one in Tusheti National Park in Georgia. Tusheti is one of the most remote areas of Georgia and getting there is another adventure on its own. 

There is only one road leading to Tusheti, passing over the Abano pass. The road is undeveloped and is only open during the summer months. It’s also known as one of the most dangerous roads in the world. No public transportation is available. Hikers can hire a private 4WD from Telavi or Alvani. 

The most popular hike that goes through Tusheti is the one from Omalo to Shatili. This hike takes about 4 or 5 days to be completed. I did only 2 days – Omalo to Dartlo and back.  One of the reasons why I love Georgia so much is its incredible nature and Tusheti National Park is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to. Another reason why I love Georgia is the hospitality of the local people. In Omalo, we meet a wonderful family that runs something like a cafe/bar. On our last evening in Omalo, they invited us for dinner and we had a lovely time.

Nate – Nate Meets World

Mestia to Ushguli – Svaneti, Georgia

My favorite hike of 2018 was in Georgia, which is now my favorite country. I went on many hikes in this beautiful country but what stood out for me was a 58km trek from Mestia to Ushguli in the Svaneti region of Georgia.

I did this trek in July which can take 3-4 days depending on your pace (it took me three days). The raw beauty of this trek from the monstrous magnificent mountains to rushing rivers, gorgeous glaciers and marvelous meadows absolutely blew me away.

My favorite part of this trek was on the second day hiking from Adishi to Iprari. After crossing the Adishi River by horse, I began a moderate ascent that had amazing views of the Adishi Glacier spilling down from the mountains behind it. This climb takes hikers to the highest point of this trek (Chkhunderi Pass at 2655 meters or 8711 feet) which has incredible the 360-degree views of the surrounding area.  

At the end of each day, hikers are welcomed in the home of a local family who serve a delicious array of Georgian food. This is exactly the kind of hearty meal you want to be eating at the end of a hike.

The trek finishes in Ushguli at an elevation of around 2100 meters (6900 feet) which makes it one of the highest villages in Europe. On a clear day, hikers are treated with a stunning backdrop of the Caucasus Mountains which includes Shkhara (Georgia’s highest peak at 5201 meters or 17604 feet). It’s the perfect way to cap off a trek that is definitely worth adding to your bucket list.

Natasha – The Boho Chica

Gabriela’s Trail – Bohemian Switzerland National Park, Czech Republic

Hiking in Bohemian Switzerland National Park in Czechia in August was one of my most favorite hiking experiences in 2018. I had the chance to do a few different hikes in the area and they were all different but equally great experiences.

There was the 6km. long Gabriela’s Trail along a ridge with massive sandstone rock walls on one side and forest on the other. Here, Pravčická Brána is the largest sandstone arch in Europe and the second largest in the world. Our group combined this with a hike to the gorges of the Kamenice river where a part of the trail can only be navigated by boats. You’re surrounded by jagged sandstone walls as high as 150m and it feels like the kind of place where time might have stood still. 

 Then there were the labyrinth sandstone rock towers of Tisá some rising up to 30m. The sandstone rocks look like towers and pillars, some with deep fissures and others with boulders between them. Narrow steps lead up to the tops of some of these towers, offering fantastic views over the area. We rushed up here one evening, dinner boxes and cameras in hand, just in time for one of the most spectacular sunsets of our trip. 

Dave – Dave On Arrival

Omu Peak – Brasov, Romania

Omu Peak, near Brasov, in central Romania tops my list for hiking in 2018. I went in October with a hostel group so we had to pack warm clothes. There are several ways to hike up Omu, the tallest in the Bucegi range, but our guide led us up kind of a back way that was quite a challenge and quite a distance. I think, round-trip, it ended up being around 15 kilometers or more.

The views at the top were obstructed by clouds but the hike up the south face was very beautiful with scrambling up granite boulders and over babbling streams. The best part was being surrounded by the cliff walls of the mountains and feeling as big as an ant trying to ascend from the valley. On a clear day, the summit views are grand, but I could only see as far as 20 meters as our group reached the weather hut at the peak. The low visibility was fun, but it was also cold and wet and even started snowing a bit. I’d recommend climbing in a warmer month. 

Eran – The Laughing Traveler

Cape Enniberg – Vidareidi, Faroe Islands

My favorite hike in 2018 has to be Cape Enniberg in the Faroe Islands. It is located in the northernmost village of the islands, Vidareidi, don’t ask me how to pronounce it… At around 750 meters high, Cape Enniberg is the 2nd highest mountain in the Faroes, which means you’re going to have a steep climb.

The trail begins in the upper part of the village where you can have a nice view of the church down below. You’ll park your car in the “parking lot”, of like, 4 cars and then start walking next to a stone wall. Not too long after, you’ll start seeing blue tubes sticking out from the ground. These are your trail marks and they are very convenient! The surface at the beginning is grassy but once climb it turns to mud and gravel.

Don’t forget to stop, take a breath and turn around. Several islands will surround you along with their beautiful shapes. When you get close the top the blue things disappear and you have to walk on your own. You’re almost there, don’t stop! From the top, you can almost see a 360-degree view of the area.

NORTH AMERICA

Matt – Wanderway

Angel’s Landing – Arches National Park, Utah

In May of 2018, I was in Zion National Park of Utah – my favorite National Park in the world – hiking Angel’s Landing for my second time in the same amount of years. I liked it so much the first time, I had to come back.

With narrow paths between double-sided drop-offs, tall switchbacks, and unparalleled vistas at the top, Angel’s Landing is one of the top day-hikes in the country. There are parts of the trek I was literally pulling myself up the cliff-side with the metal chain support the park has graciously built for you.

However, that still hasn’t prevented a few deaths on the trail in recent years. It’s the perfect amount of danger for the thrill-seeking adrenaline junkie.

But Angel’s Landing isn’t the only top hike in Zion National Park. The Narrows is, perhaps, the park’s most famous hike. Though, The Narrows is very seasonal so make sure you go at the right time of the year so you can knock out both hikes on one trip.

Jess & Steve – Part Time Tourists

Delicate Arch – Arches National Park, Utah, USA

My favorite hike of 2018 is hands down the hike to see the Delicate Arch in Arches National Park in Utah! I woke up 2 hours before sunrise to drive to the trailhead and get started. Armed with my water bottle, granola bar, and headlight I started making the short trek to see the famous arch.

I hiked during the fall season so I barely came across others on the trail. After getting lost for a short time, I finally found the walkway up to the incredible viewpoint. Turning the corner and getting a glimpse of the arch was one of the most incredible moments of my life. I made it just in time to see the sun rise behind that red rock arch. It was a sight that I will never forget. I hiked alone which honestly may have been part of the great experience. There is something profound about being alone in nature. If you are looking for a hike to conquer in 2019, let it be Delicate Arch!  

Corry – Hiking Corry

Reflection Canyon – Utah, USA

Reflection Canyon was easily my favorite hike of 2018. Not only because of the stunning views but because this hike has been on my bucket list for years. I was able to complete this hike in May with my mom and dad. This hike certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. It travels along a very undefined path for several miles under the hot Utah sun. But the final reward is definitely worth it! 2018 was a great year full of beautiful hikes.

Riley – Riley’s Roves

Toklat River – Denali National Park, Alaska, USA

What’s the best thing about hiking in Denali National Park? You’re free to roam! You’re encouraged to leave the trail. In fact, despite being America’s third largest national park, there are only 35 miles of hiking trails maintained by the National Park Service in Denali. While I love each of the trails in the park I’m lucky enough to call home, experiencing Denali off-trail is where the real magic is.

In June, a group of fellow park rangers and I hiked along the Toklat River. We spent two nights camping along its banks, followed by a herd of caribou while we searched for glaciers. Our tent site was right next to a gorgeous waterfall where we could collect fresh drinking water and cook meals. My favorite part was the pure silence. Even when hiking with friends, at times we said nothing with the exception of an occasional shout to ward off grizzly bears, allowing us to really immerse ourselves with the beautiful surroundings. We never saw another group of people. It felt like we had the entire 6-million acres to ourselves. Our home was truly ours.

Living here, I’m constantly finding new meaning to the place. What drives people to come here and the strong magnet that prevents some of us from leaving. Searching along the Toklat, I found my park, my home, and myself all over again without even knowing I was looking.

Kiona – How Not To Travel Like A Basic Bitch

Kasha-Kutwe Tent Rocks – New Mexico, USA

My favorite hike in recent memory was that of the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks 30 mins outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

It was a cool May summer morning when we set out as early as possible to beat the impending sun. Through various landscapes of trees and brush to lavender grass, hiking between crevices no bigger than my body, and scaling the wall to get to the top. This was an easy but strenuous enough hike to feel like I did something that day. I looked down on the rocks that were formed by volcanoes millions of year ago and wondered how were there only two places where this ever occurred (here and Turkey).

But actually, this wasn’t my favorite part of the hike. My favorite part was the surrounding area. Being on Cochiti land and passing through the Pueblo of the Cochiti to get here placed context and significance of connecting with the earth. It is only because of those Native people allowing us to have the privilege of walking on their lands that made the entire hike even more special. To imagine the strength of these peoples living amongst these rock since time immemorial.

My favorite part was the surrounding area. Being on Cochiti land and passing through the Pueblo of the Cochiti to get here placed context and significance of connecting with the earth. It is only because of those Native people allowing us to have the privilege of walking on their lands that made the entire hike even more special. To imagine the strength of these peoples living amongst these rock since time immemorial.

Jen & Dylan – Nomadic Fitzpatricks

Mount Marcy – New York, USA

Our favorite hike of 2018 was the highest point in New York State – Mount Marcy.  We had planned to hike Mount Marcy on our one year wedding anniversary, but got rained out.  Part of what made this hike so important to us was our sheer determination to get it done!  Not only was this our longest hike to date (17 miles!) but it had various challenges as well.

My new pair of hiking boots wound up giving me blisters (my socks were too short to cover my heels!), the parking lot was almost full when we arrived at 7 AM, and the winds at the top of the mountain made us rock back on our heels.  But the stunning green trees, gradual incline, 360-degree views of the Adirondack Mountains, and perfect weather made this hike extremely enjoyable.  Plus, the feeling of accomplishment when we summited our 18th US state high point was something we’ll never forget. 

Angela – Angela Travels

Mount Katahdin – Maine, USA

As I reflect on hikes I did the past year, some involved glacier travel while others were your typical hike. For the simplicity of hiking, I’m going through all my photos to find the best one and choose Mount Katahdin in Maine. Why? I had never been to the New England states before this year and the 2-week road trip holds a special memory. I tried to time it during fall foliage and was a tad early but the colors still put on a show.

Baxter State Park emphasizes on preservation and only permits the amount of cars into the state park as there are parking spaces, a rare find these days. Katahdin is a special hike for the east coast as it exposes hikers to alpine terrain and the elements. I decided to do the Knife Edge ridge on a windy, cloudy day left us alone on the ridge gripping to the rocks at unsteady moments and descent the normal upward track making a big loop hike to experience more of what the park has to offer. Hikes with challenges are always the more memorable and rewarding because you learn about your physical and mental capabilities

Amanda – Every Two Pines

Heather-Maple Pass Loop – Washington, USA

My favorite hike of 2018 was the Heather-Maple Pass Loop in the North Cascades. While this route is phenomenal in its own right, following a ridgeline that circles a stunning lake with views of peaks for days, it stands out as my favorite because it was been on my goal list for four years and I finally had a chance to see it. I went with a dear friend on the first blustery day of fall as the larches turned from green to a brilliant gold. We watched a black bear meander through blueberry bushes below us and while the route was crowded, it was nice to see so many people making the trek to enjoy the fall colors. With two stunning lakes, jagged peaks in every direction and golden larches abound, it made for the perfect fall Washington hike.

Sonja – The National Parks Girl

Wonderland Trail – Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, USA

“My favorite hike of 2018 was the Wonderland Trail in Mt. Rainier National Park. The Wonderland Trail is 93 miles long, includes 22,000′ of elevation gain and loss, and circumnavigates the tallest point in Washington: Mt. Rainier. It is a world-class hike that has been on my mind for years so finally being able to complete it this year was such a wonderful feeling.

I completed this trail in nine days in the beginning of August and the trail left me breathless at every turn, both because of the unrelenting views along the way but also because of how tough it was. The trail took us through lush, dense forests, into beautiful meadows full of wildflowers, past calm, reflective lakes, and up into rocky, mountainous terrain where pikas and marmots kept us company.

Although it’s tough to pick a favorite section of the trail, since each mile brought unique and beautiful views, I would have to say the miles we hiked through Summerland on the eighth day were the most spectacular. 

The Wonderland Trail helped me grow as a hiker, it taught me that I am capable of more than I think and I am so grateful for that experience!”

Cate – Cate Tambeaux

Hidden Lake Lookout Trail – North Cascades National Park, Washington, USA

In late summer of 2018 I did the Hidden Lake Lookout hike in the North Cascades of Washington, and it stands out as my favorite of the year for a few reasons. First, this hike is extremely beautiful- you travel through meadows and scramble up boulders to this lookout perched high above.

Second, this hike is actually one that has been on my list since I moved to Washington. Even before I was a hiker, I aspired to see the lookout. For three years I’ve felt like it has been out of my reach. It’s too difficult. Too long. Too much elevation gain. I’m not fit enough. I can’t do it. Well, after hiking over 60 hikes this calendar year I felt like it was time to go for it. Not only were the views everything I had hoped for, but I also found it well within my ability level.

Anastasia – The Musical Mountaineers

Hidden Lake Peak – North Cascades National Park, Washington, USA

I’ve climbed this peak many times before, so it wasn’t new to me – but that’s exactly what made it so special. A hike doesn’t have to be brand new in order to be an incredible experience. It’s completely possible to hike the exact same trail and see it in new and surprising ways.

I hiked Hidden Lake Peak two times this year – once with my friends Rose Freeman and Mitch Pittman to film our video for the Washington National Park Fund Benefit Concert at Benaroya Hall. I climbed it a second time with my mom and my husband.

On both occasions, I was gifted with experiences that were quite magical. With The Musical Mountaineers, I was given the gift of sheer gratitude for life. On the hike with my mom and husband, I felt the satisfaction of sharing that same place with two people I love.

For me, hiking is about finding newness and satisfaction in each experience. The mountains have a way of re-focusing you on all the good in the world.  

Angie – Nature Girl Angie

Mount Saint Helens – Washington, USA

On August 19, I climbed a volcano. Mount St Helens. Three friends and I (Chad, Bethany and Jake) woke at 3 am to a sky full of stars, a beautiful milky way and shooting stars. It felt like Christmas morning did when I was a kid – my eyes were bright and I felt like I would bounce out of my skin with excitement.

We began our hike from Climbers Bivouac at 4 am and with headlamps as our only light, made our way through the trees.  Reaching large boulders and loose ashen rock, we climbed over the terrain trying to reach some sort of viewpoint to catch the sunrise and some breakfast. We scrambled up to a ridge and caught Mount Adams along the horizon glowing pink and red from the fire red sun rising. We saw a mountain goat just below us – watching us and the sunrise. We climbed higher up the mountain, using hands and feet to lift us to the top – catching a couple more sunrises along the way up as we gained altitude.

At 8:30 we reached the summit of the crater – after the steep ashen final push, where sliding backward was a promise with every step.  The view was amazing – looking down into the crater and seeing steam coming out of the dome in the center. The walls of the crater were many colors of red, brown, white and ashen grey. We were covered in dust as we lounged around the rim having sandwiches and snacks. Our trek down involved some crab crawling down rocky boulder fields and surfing on loose ash and pumice. We made it back to the trailhead safely at 1:30 pm. 

It was one of the best days ever on an iconic volcano that I have always felt connected to. See, I remember the day it erupted – just days after my birthday. I remember wondering why it was snowing in May and every year after I thought about it. It’s been a goal of mine to climb it and sit at the top for a while now. I didn’t win the permit lottery, although was offered a permit in July this year.  I was injured just two days before the climb and I thought I had missed my chance. Luck would be on my side a month later that the stars would align and I would heal from my injury and have the opportunity to claim four permits and make it happen. Life is short. Climb the mountains.

Khyati & Jordan – Naan & Challah

Iliau Loop – Kauai, Hawaii

Our favorite hike in 2018 was a super family friendly one on the Garden Isle of Kauai. We visited Hawaii in June, which was a great time to avoid the crowds yet enjoy the warm weather.

We were committed to seeing a different part of the island every day and, when we learned about Waimea Canyon, we knew we needed to make the trek west. Not only is the Na Pali Coast an ideal place to watch the sunset, but it is also marked with dramatic, rugged cliffs and mountains. In fact, Waimea Canyon, one of the most noteworthy attractions, is known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, 3,000 feet deep, 10 miles long, and 1 mile wide. The Iliau Loop, part of the longer and more difficult  Kukui Trail, is one of the shorter dirt trails at the canyon.

It was our favorite hike because we were able to take our toddler with us and share with her the awe-inspiring and breathtaking views of the imposing mountains. At the toddler age, hikes can be difficult when you can’t drop them into a carrier, and, of course, not drag along a stroller. This very doable hike, completed in under 20 minutes, made it accessible for our daughter to explore and for us to expose her to the beauty of nature. Sturdy shoes are still a must and there will be wildlife, waterfalls, and helicopters to be seen. While the hike is easy and accessible, attention to weather and timing is critical as cloud coverage can often obstruct your views.

Brittany – Brittany Donnelly

Inner Basin Trail – Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

Living in Arizona often makes me feel like residents here miss out experience seasons changing. It is often a misconception that Arizona does not experience the leaves changing. Sure, if you live in the valley you might not see it right away. However, if you are willing to drive up north about 2.5 hours to Flagstaff you can experience all 4 seasons in the mountains.

As late fall was approaching this year I knew I had to get up there and witness the leaves change. I kept seeing pictures of the Inner Basin Trail and just knew I needed to check it out. So… off we went! In the parking lot, you can quickly see the gorgeous aspen trees all over. The trail itself was clearly marked, very shaded which made me think this trail wouldn’t be half bad in the summertime. We had the kids in tow and it was do-able for our 3-year-old at the time. The trail itself wasn’t too busy on the way in but, on the way out it became much more populated. The boys had fun jumping over the various trees and navigating through the forest. About 3/4 a mile in we stumbled upon these tall, yellow aspen trees. It was a sight to see. I realized quickly how this was one of my favorite hikes of 2018.

I highly recommend this trail in Flagstaff, Arizona if you are looking for a beautiful, nature hike that gives you plenty of shade coverage and a nice moderate hike in the forest.

Jen – Jen On a Jet Plane

Havasu Falls – Supai, Arizona, USA

My favorite hike of 2018 was to Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon. It was also the most challenging, scenic and rewarding. I have done plenty of day hikes, but this was my first overnight hike. I trekked 20 miles in and out of the Grand Canyon on consecutive days, by myself. The way in wasn’t so bad — the way out was killer. There’s a helicopter that charges $85 to fly hikers out of the canyon (a price I was ready to meet; heck, they could’ve had my firstborn child at that point) but it only flies on Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday. Naturally, I was there on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Despite being woefully unprepared, I made it. I saw the legendary turquoise blue waters and met the people of the Havasupai Indian Reservation, instantly becoming their biggest consumer of fry bread. Most importantly, I learned that I am capable of climbing mountains, descending into canyons and anything else I set my mind to. 

Michelle – The Wandering Queen

Havasu Falls – Supai, Arizona, USA

One of my favorite hikes in 2018 was the hike to Havasu Falls. The hike was long but incredibly worth every step. While the hike was difficult, the process of obtaining the permit was even more difficult. It is one of the most sought-after permits in the USA. Every February, the permit goes on sale, and they usually sell out within a few hours. It is essential to be extremely flexible to be awarded the permit.

Once you receive a permit, start researching for all the equipment you need to bring. Since the hike is long (11 miles), it is necessary to spend the night at the campsite. Purchasing the right equipment is crucial for the long journey and stay ahead. The locals have a helicopter service available, but I wouldn’t depend on the ride because it does not run every day nor consistently.

While the hike is long, it isn’t as difficult as you would imagine. Carrying a heavy backpack can strain the novice hiker but if you are a seasoned backpacker, it shouldn’t be too difficult. The views are tremendous. You walk through stunning orange-red canyons, flat desert landscapes, and even oasis vegetation. Eventually, you will run into the beautiful turquoise blue waterfall everyone seems to talk about. The trek to the infamous falls and the falls themselves are why I consider this my favorite hike of 2018. 

Solely obtaining the permit was pretty tricky and even the journey was slightly difficult, but once you get there, all the worries melt away, and you are left with a stunning blue waterfall in the middle of a desert oasis. 

Matt – Expert Vagabond

Mount Whitney – Sequoia National Park/Inyo National Forest, California, USA

My personal favorite hike in 2018 was solo climbing California’s Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the continental United States at 14,505 feet. It took me two days to complete the round-trip trek in early April, with snow covering a majority of the route. Whitney is a very popular hike during the summer months (being so close to Los Angeles), with a very limited lottery permit system. However, there are far fewer people attempting it during the winter, so it’s much less crowded. There’s no limit to permits in the winter either.

There are a few different ways up the mountain, I chose the “mountaineer’s route”, and it was a tough but exhilarating experience. It required some extra technical gear, like crampons, an ice-axe, and climbing helmet. The weather was perfect, with blue-bird skies and beautiful starry nights. The views of the surrounding snow-covered Sierra Nevada Mountains were stunning. To help me prepare for the climb, I spent a night at the Lone Pine Campground, at around 6000 feet, to acclimatize for the hike. It was a wonderful, short, but challenging adventure!

Kieara – Hammock Momma

Mooner’s Hollow – St. Francois State Park, Missouri, USA

My most favorite hike of 2018 is hands down Mooner’s Hollow in St. Francois State Park! Mooner’s Hollow Trail is a 2.8-mile loop, that follows Coonville Creek. It is named after the moonshiners who used the creek’s cold, clear springs to make moonshine. (And yes, I did watch the creek pretty closely but it seems like time and people have managed to remove any jars that may have been left to keep cold in the creek, darn my luck!)

The creek is visible during almost the entire hike. In fact, you cross it two or three times. And there is a gorgeous waterfall about halfway through. We did this trail in November, so now I plan on going back next time it snows, when spring is here and things start turning green again, and in the summer when it’s hot enough that wading across (instead of rock hopping!) will be a welcome relief for my feet! It’s such a beautiful trail that I want to experience and photograph it in all seasons.

This year (2018) has been a year of challenges. And hiking always helps me process change and growth, as well as providing healing. This hike happened right after some major life changes for my family, so it was desperately needed. And I suppose that’s why it stands out the most, because out of the 52 hikes I completed in 2018, it was needed the most. 

Vivian & Angus – The Wilderness Theory

Capitol Peak – Pitkin County, Colorado, USA

My favorite hike of the year was climbing Capitol Peak, one of Colorado’s most dangerous mountains over 14,000 feet. I had been dreaming of doing this hike since I saw its infamous knife edge in a photo in 2015. Over the years, I climbed more mountains and scrambled up more 14ers. I read the trip reports on Capitol Peak, got as much beta as I possibly could before starting my journey there.

My friends and I backpacked 6.5 miles to Capitol Lake, spent the night and departed for the class 5 scramble up to the peak at 2:30am the next morning. We witnessed a beautiful sunrise just as we reached the knife edge. I took each and every step slowly and carefully, because I knew one misstep could potentially cost me my life.

After several slow, careful hours, we made it to the top and back. Capitol Peak is my favorite hike of 2018 because of my dream to do it the last few years, along with the challenge it gave me. It forced me to be ultra-prepared for anything to happen. Not to mention, it was one of most beautiful, scenic hikes I’ve ever done!

Heather – Reason 2 Roam

Akshayuk Pass, Auyuittuq National Park, Nunavut, Canada

Hands down, our favorite hike of 2018 was Akshayuk Pass, in Auyuittuq National Park. The park is on Baffin Island in northern Canada. Challenging logistics, magnificent mountains, and truly off the beaten path – this hike may end up being our favorite of the decade, not just 2018!

The 97 Km Akshayuk Pass is filled with stunning peaks that tower above the valley. The valley connects the deeply indented fjords across Baffin Island. Glacier fingers hang down from these peaks, the remnants of the last ice age. 85% of the hike is above the Arctic Circle. Much of the route is clambering over the rocks and moraines or trudging through muskeg, but there are occasional moments of defined path.  

Our favorite section of the trail was the first moraine we had to climb up and over. At the top of the moraine, there is a Parks Canada red chair celebrate Canada’s 150 anniversary. The contrast of the red against the grey of the moraine and the views of the two valleys was incredible. The chair was pretty comfortable too.

We completed the hike over 12 days in August 2018, which was more than enough time to hike the distance and it also allowed us some down days to explore and take in the scenery. The swift cold river crossings, strong winds (upwards of 70-90km/hour) and an average temperature of 5 degrees Celcius made the views a tremendous reward for our efforts.

This hike is a must do for anyone who is experienced in backcountry travel in remote locations, and we can’t wait to go back.

Thomas – T Money Travels

Volcan Acatenango – Antigua, Guatemala

The first time I set out to hike this beast was back in 2016. A grueling climb at an altitude of over 3,976 meters (13045ft). Volcan de Fuego can be seen across a small valley. The volcano of fire is one of the most active in the world.

It’s a 6-8 hour climb depending on the guide. The agency will warn you to bring at least 4 liters of water. This is a good suggestion as the climb is exhaustive.

Some days you will get excellent photographs and some you’ll be standing in the fog. It’s well worth the trip, however, knowing you conquered a volcano.

The second time I hiked Acatenango in August, the view was better. I saw the volcano erupt several times from the view of my tent. Seeing a real life monster like Volcan de Fuego is indescribable. And the pictures do it little justice. Only a few times did I hear it erupt from Antigua.

However, In June, 2018, things changed. The volcano exploded. It killed over 200 people and destroyed many folks’ homes. People still live near the volcano today.

Lora – Explore With Lora

Volcan Acatenango – Antigua, Guatemala

I spent all of 2018 backpacking the world, and many hikes were conquered in that time. When I reflect back on all the places I’ve trekked, my favorite hike is actually one that I did on day three of my yearlong trip, Acatenango Volcano in Guatemala.

Antigua, Guatemala is a charming city surrounded by volcanoes. Nearby is Fuego, an active volcano with frequent eruptions. One of the most popular tours in Antigua is to hike the volcano next to Fuego, Acatenango Volcano. Tours run from Antigua, which involves an overnight camping experience where you hike up Acatenango Volcano and sleep on a base camp near the top. The hike is challenging but rewards you with the most incredible views of Fuego erupting throughout the night.

This hike was special to me because while I was planning my trip I discovered the hike and was daydreaming about it for months leading up to the start of my trip. Accomplishing this hike was not just an epic experience because of Fuego, but also because it symbolized that my trip was actually happening, and for all the adventures that the year would bring.  

Jackson – Journey Era

Cerro Picacho – Ola, Panama

Cerro Picacho in Ola is by far my favorite hike of 2018 in the beautiful country of Panama. After 100 days of exploring the mountains, waterfalls, and beaches of Panama, it was one sunrise atop Cerro Picacho that remains printed vividly in my mind. 

To reach the top for sunrise we camped out the night before as there are no hotels here. In fact, there are no tourists. We then had to hack our way through the undergrowth in the dark trying to find the trail. Once we did, it was a steep climb that had us out of breath at the summit just before the sun rose.

The intensity of the ridges provides a dramatic viewpoint, which looks out over the fog covered mountains as the sun began to rise. The short but steep hike in the darkness of the morning was rewarded with a view few people have ever witnessed. Running along these ridges, in the golden hour of the early morning, can only be described as a moment of magic.

Sigrid – My Travel Secret

La Sirena to La Leona – Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

This year we’ve been on an amazing trip through Central America. During this trip we went on several great hikes, but my most favorite one was definitely the one from the La Sirena to La Leona ranger station in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica.

I’m a huge wildlife lover and Corcovado National Park was on my list for ages. This park covers 2.5% of the worldwide biodiversity and many rare animal species live here, like jaguars and ocelots. It’s also one of the few places where all four species of monkeys live that are native to Costa Rica.

We started our hike at 5.30 a.m. The first part we walked through dense jungle and we spotted many animals like monkeys, birds, anteaters and a tapir. We even saw a puma for a moment. The second part of this trip we hiked over wild, deserted beaches. It was amazing to see how the wild jungle met the ocean. Again we saw many beautiful birds and monkeys. The hike was much harder than expected, mainly because of the heat, but even though it was one of my most amazing wildlife experiences ever! 

SOUTH AMERICA

Kristin – Be My Travel Muse

‘O’ Circuit – Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile

My favorite hike is the O circuit in Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia. It’s a loop that can take anywhere from 7 to 9 days, with the average being eight days, that culminates with the fantastic Las Torres Rock formation. There’s a glistening glacial lake at the bottom that looks like a mix of turquoise and baby blue that couldn’t be real.

The best way to enjoy it is to climb up in the dark and wait for sunrise when the Torres illuminate. What I love most about this hike is that each day is drastically different and has something amazing to see. Las Torres is not the only noteworthy thing to see on the hike. You’ll also see Los Cuernos, two peaks so-named because they look like a bull’s horns and a sweeping view of the southern Patagonian ice field on the day that you climb the pass. It was drizzling on the day that I climbed it, which meant that there was a rainbow over the ice field all day long.

Though the hike itself is moderate, the weather can make it tough. Expect winds up to 100 km/h and rain. I honestly do not think it’s possible to get through this hike without any rainy days, but that’s par for the course in Patagonia. You also have options for how difficult to make the hike. You can opt to carry all of your own gear, or you can reserve beds or tents in the refugios, and eat each meal there, lightning your pack significantly. Whichever way you do it, you see the same views and get to have a spectacular experience.

The trail is open during the summer months in Patagonia, usually from mid-November until the beginning of April.  Be sure to book campsites ahead of time as they tend to fill up as this park becomes more and more popular. 

Nick & Dariece – Goats On The Road

‘O’ Circuit – Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile

Our favorite hike for 2018 would have to be the Torres Del Payne “O Trek”. It’s a challenging but stunning 7-8 day hike through the high Andes and we had a blast. The weather can be unpredictable and some parts of the trail can get a bit dangerous, but that’s all part of the fun! We were lucky enough to have great weather and we were with a great group of people.

Torres Del Payne also has the more popular “W Trek” which is just a portion of the entire O Trek, but we definitely recommend doing the entire thing! The “backside” of the trail which makes up the O, is the best part in our opinion.

Ryan & Corinne – Aloha Zoe Photography

Fitz Roy Trek – El Chalten, Argentina

During our time spent in El Chalten this year, Ryan and I hiked to see the infamous Fitz Roy and it was the most stunning hike of 2018. We started the hike from town and followed the trail toward ‘Laganua de los Tres.

Our first rest stop was Lago Capri, which took about an hour for us to reach from the town center. It was so peaceful and illuminated blue from the bright sun above us. 

Even though we continued hiking up the mountain, Lago Capri is a beautiful campground beside the lake with stunning views of the mountains. It’s also a very popular option for a day hike if you didn’t bring camping gear.

We eventually reached our campground for the night (Poincenot) and set up camp, sipped on mate, and ate empanadas before finishing up our day hike to see the Fitz Roy. 

The last leg of the hike was up a strenuous path with endless switchbacks until we finally reached Laguna de Los Tres. The instant that we all arrived at the top, all of us were completely stunned! Nestled below us was a bright blue lagoon surrounded by snow capped granite peaks.  Sunset was the perfect time to visit because most the crowd had dissipated and we got to enjoy the mountains while the sunset. 

Tiffany – Follow Tiff’s Journey

Fitz Roy – El Chalten, Argentina

I’ve been on a lot of amazing and humbling new adventures this year, but I think my favorite hike of 2018 would have to be Fitz Roy in Argentina. Patagonia has always been one of those bucket list destinations, the “one day I’ll make it there” spots and at the end of 2017, I thought well why not now? So I planned my trip for 2 months down the road in Feb 2018 and it was an adventure I’ll never forget.

The destination must have been filled with hundreds of hikers but that actually didn’t take away from the experience once I found my own little spot to enjoy the view. The milky-turquoise lakes together with the impressive mountain structure and glacier really is a sight for sore eyes. Also, the last 2km of the trail really kicks butt which makes it so much more worth it! & I love how pristine Patagonia is and that you’re able to drink directly from the glacial-fed streams with no filter!

Tereza – Czick On The Road

Huayna Potosi – La Paz, Bolivia

Choosing the best hike of this year is no easy task. After spending the whole year in South America doing many hikes in the mighty Andes, there is a plenty to choose from. But there is certainly one hike that got staked in my mind. In April, we set on a 3 days expedition to conquer our first 6000m peak – Huayna Potosi (6088m). After spending more than 4 weeks at the altitude of around 4000m, we were well acclimatized and in a good shape after many hikes in Peru, so finding out there is so called easiest 6000m peak near La Paz, Bolivia, it was a clear choice. The hike itself is not hard due to difficult terrain, steep slopes, or long distances, the only hard part is the altitude, and for us, additionally also a snow storm. There was no sunrise at the top as I was hoping, but it was still a strong experience of getting out of the comfort zone and winning over myself. You can read more about our hike to Huayna Potosi here.

AFRICA

Patrick – The German Backpacker

Siemien Mountains – Ethiopia

My favorite hiking experience in 2018 was my 3-days hike in the Simien Mountains, Ethiopia in February 2018. While Ethiopia might not be known for hiking in the first place, the Simien Mountains are one of the big highlights the country has to offer.

Starting in the ancient town of Gondar, my friend and I made our way into the national park and spent 3 days hiking and camping in the mountains. The mountains consist of valleys and high plateaus, offering an incredible view of the landscape. We were also able to spot thousands of wild monkeys and passed through small, local villages far away from civilization.

During the 3 days, the landscape changed continuously with different flora and fauna depending on the altitude. We spent the nights (which were surprisingly cold) in camps, sitting around the bonfire with our local guides and other hikers – a great experience.

My favorite moment of the hike was on the evening of the second day when we went to a beautiful viewpoint to watch the sunset. Suddenly, thousands of monkeys appeared and made their way down the cliffs – to be saved from leopards roaming around the highlands in the night. An incredible moment!

Please note that due to local issues, you won’t be able to visit the park solely independently and you’ll need to hire a guide. You can do this easily in Gondar and I paid 175$ for 3 days including camping equipment, food, transport etc.

Teresa – Brogan Abroad

Atlas Mountains, Morocco

My favorite hike of 2018 has to be a 2-day trek I did with the Kasbah du Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains with Morocco. The Kasbah is a sustainable Berber Hospitality Centre who arranged for a local guide, a muleteer and a mule to carry our food, water and overnight luggage.

Departing from the village of Imlil, we climbed almost 800 meters the first day to the Tizi Mzik Pass. The walk up was arduous, but the views of the valley were breathtaking. The villages appeared camouflaged on the side of the arid mountain, and the bottom of the valley, in contrast, was lush and green. From the pass, we descended through a few small villages on to the Azzadene Valley, where the Berber Lodge where we stayed was located.

After a restful night, we made our way back to Imlil, completing a circular route. It was a tough but peaceful trek back. All we could hear we could hear was the sound of our steps, the cicadas and the occasional goat.

II did the trek in the middle of July, so it was extremely hot. One thing I’d recommend would be wearing a hat and lots of sun cream.

ASIA

Michelle – Full Time Explorer

Mera Peak – Nepal

I trekked to Mera Peak in Nepal last May, and it was absolutely incredible. Mera Peak is the highest trekking peak in Nepal, which means that you can hike it without mountaineering experience, but it’s almost 6,500m (over 21,000ft) and takes around 13 days. Unfortunately, I got altitude sickness and wasn’t able to summit, but I made it to high camp (5,800m) in an absolute white-out blizzard. I couldn’t see more than ten feet in front of me.

That day, we had to walk for 8 hours in a white cloud with no views. It was the most mentally draining thing I’ve ever done. Like being on a treadmill to nowhere. We slept at high camp in a tent on the side of a cliff. Waking up the next morning to a perfectly clear sky was an unforgettable moment. You could see half the Himalayan range including Everest and several of the highest mountains in the world. It was breath-taking, and not just because we were breathing 50% oxygen.

Justin – GOAT Volunteers

Langtang Valley Trek – Nepal

My favorite trek of the year came as a bit of a surprise.  My trip to Nepal was initially planned as a work trip; but, instead, I found myself trekking through Langtang National Park.  It was the rainy season, but my trekking company partner ensured me the trip would be worth it. He was right.

The Langtang Valley trek to Tserko Ri (16,500 feet) isn’t as popular as EBC or Annapurna, so there are very few trekkers; fewer still in the rainy season.  Without crowds on the trails, we were able to experience Nepali mountain life in total tranquility except for the vicious mosquitoes and ever-present leeches.

The people that live in the Himalayas are pound-for-pound the strongest I’ve ever seen.  Walking with up to eight 4×4 logs on their backs while I struggled to carry a light pack.  Our summit day was the first clear day in two months.  On our way to the top, we stopped and had fresh boiled nak’s milk (female yak) with a farmer on the side of the mountain.  It was a surreal experience topped off by a cold beer at the summit!

Leen – A Hiker’s Tale

Mount Everest Base Camp Trek – Nepal

Severe lung Inflammation. Splitting headaches. And constant dizziness. Those are the three things that could sum up my Mount Everest Base Camp Trek. And although this first stage of altitude sickness I was finding myself in during this whole journey was nothing to joke about, I couldn’t have dreamed of a more beautiful trip this year. Because the vast landscapes with freshly fallen snow, the majestic white mountains with ancient glaciers on their shoulders and the mysterious stories of yeti’s that might just jump up in front of you, will make you forget about all the aches and pains at the snap of a finger.

During two unforgettable weeks, we have lived by the side of the highest mountains in the world. We have had admiration and respect for them. They forced us to cross borders that we thought we would never cross. And above all, they taught us lessons … Lessons about how small and insignificant we are. Two weeks in this overwhelming and majestic landscape make you realize that – yes – we might be at the top of the food pyramid, but in the end, we will always be defeated by the power of nature. It sets you both literally and figuratively with two feet on the ground. The megalomania of our race inevitably gets a stone-hard reality check on this trek. A reality check that all of us might need to get. Because the only thing that our planet earth really needs to survive is just a little more human modesty.

Sherri – Travel Mermaid

Windmill Point – Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia

I’ve taken a few great hikes in Malaysia this year but my favourite by far was on a semi-remote island off its East peninsula, Perhentian Kecil. Last October was my second time visiting the Perhentians, but like many people, I didn’t leave the water the first time around!

There are no roads on the island so the only way to get around is via a boat taxi or by foot through the jungle, which connects a number of secluded beaches. I loved the hike because it felt so remote, peaceful and above all beautiful. We walked for about 2 hours and didn’t see another person on the entire trek.

The first leg was an uphill climb through the jungle to Windmill Point. Ascending through the sweet-smelling vegetation, we spotted giant monitor lizards and Malaysia’s carnivorous pitcher plant. But the highlight was reaching the top and being prized with panoramic views overlooking a secluded bay. The crystalline water beamed a spectrum of turquoise and we were instantly transported to our happy place.

From atop, it was fun attempting to brave it down an old, dilapidated stairwell to a sunken jetty for a dip in the water. We were also blessed with so many different angles of the idyllic cove. The second leg took us deeper into the mystical jungle to the remote Adam and Eve beach, where we got to cool off from the humid trek. The hike gave us a different perspective of the islands and showed us the best of both worlds: it’s beautiful coastline and untouched inland.  

Cynthia & Niko – Journal of Nomads

Ala Kul Trek – Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is a paradise when it comes to hiking and trekking. We spent one year in this small Central Asian country, did many day hikes and treks during that time and we still have the feeling there are many more trails to be explored. It’s hard to choose one hike to label as our favorite as every hiking trail in Kyrgyzstan brought us along majestic landscapes.

However, one hike was very special to us. In July 2018 we organized our first Adventure Trek, on which we guided 15 fellow travelers on a 4-day trek to Ala Kul, a stunning glacial lake that lies at an altitude of 3560 meters in the Terskey Alatau mountain range. We hiked through lush forests and valleys, camped on the banks of the fast raging Karakol river and made an arduous climb to reach the summit of the Ala-Kul pass. There we got treated to a magnificent panoramic view over the Terskey Alatau mountain range and the beautiful turquoise lake of Ala Kul.

After spending the night on the lake shore, we made our descend towards the Altyn-Arashan Valley, where we took a well-deserved therapeutic bath in its famous hot springs. We definitely recommend this hike as its a great reflection of all the natural beauty Kyrgyzstan has to offer!

Charlotte – A Wandering Web

Petra – Jordan

I thought I was going to die. Literally. It was 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) on that sweltering day in June, the second warmest time of the year to visit Jordan. My water bottle was empty and there were no water stations in sight until just before the gates to exit Petra. The midday sun was merciless with little or no shade to provide any relief. Donkeys, camels or horses could offer reprieve. No way, this hike was going to be accomplished on my own two feet and nobody was going to change my mind. The 16 km round trip hike to the Monastery at Petra was going to be epic, even if it killed me.

Pushing myself beyond my normal human abilities to make it up the 850 steps to the Monastery in scorching heat was my goal. Was it worth the 16 km round trip? Absolutely! The Monastery was more impressive than the Treasury, perhaps because it was a surprise and it took effort to get there. Hikes where you push yourself always seem to be the most memorable. “Yes, because these obstacles are actually opportunities to test ourselves, to try new things, and, ultimately, to triumph.” – Ryan Holiday

Agnes – Agnes Goes East

Daqing Mountains – Inner Mongolia, China

I never liked winter hikes, I always thought it’s too cold to walk for a long time, and there is not that much to see anyway. Oh boy, was I wrong! Earlier this year (2018) around February, I’ve joined a few amazing winter hikes in the heart of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (China). Winter months here get extremely cold, but that didn’t stop us, as it’s usually nice and sunny. As I later found out, plenty of sun and stunning blue skies, make for a perfect winter hiking weather.

The hikes were organized by local hiking enthusiasts and I think that made all the difference, as they really know the terrain and many secret trails. On one of the days we were walking along a frozen stream until we reached a frozen waterfall. The braver and better equipped members of our group started climbing up the ice, while the rest of us observed and toasted baozi (local steamed bun with filling) and other goodies on a bonfire. 

Even though at times I struggled to keep my hands warm, I had a strange feeling of coziness inside. The silent winter world really put my mind at ease. After discovering what a pleasure winter hikes can be, I definitely plan to take part in some in 2019!

Cindy & Simon – Free Two Roam

Big Pha Ngern Viewpoint – Vang Vieng, Laos

What would you do if you’d just spent the last hour hauling yourself up a slippery dirt path in the heat, only to find out that you’d hiked to the wrong viewpoint?!

That was the decision that faced us in Vang Vieng, Laos recently. We’d spent most of the morning hiking to what we thought was the Big Pha Ngern viewpoint but was actually a different lookout.

In our case we decided to buy a couple more bottles of water and drag ourselves up the real deal in the midday heat. It was a tough slog to the top, with well over an hour of clambering up and over rocks, tree roots and dodgy looking bamboo ladders.

In the end though all of the hard work was well worth it. The lookout provided spectacular views out over the surrounding farmland and limestone karts. Combined with the satisfaction of making it to the top despite our earlier setback, this made it easily our favourite hike of 2018.

If you don’t want to hike to the highest viewpoint there’s a platform lower down that still offers great views and takes only half the time to reach. So if you’re relatively fit and you like a bit of a challenge, the Big Pha Ngern viewpoint is a great hike to tackle while you’re in Vang Vieng. You should be able to get it done before lunchtime if you start early to avoid the heat, and if you don’t hike to the wrong viewpoint beforehand!

Chelsey – The Ninja Gypsy

Pai Canyon – Thailand

When I think of Thailand, adventure is what comes to mind! One of my marvelous adventures of 2018 was going hiking at Pai Canyon last April. Often when someone travels to Pai, they do a guided tour which ends with sunset at Pai Canyon. You spend about 30 minutes lined up taking pictures with all the other tourists. It was not enough for me! I wanted to experience the full majesty of Pai Canyon, so I went back the following day for a solo hike.

Pai Canyon is an interwoven network of high ledge walkways with steep cliffs on either side. You must watch where you tread so not to take a tumble to the canyon floor. I spent hours working my way through the twists of the elevated trails all the way down into the canyon itself. At some parts, I even had to go on all four to bear climb in and out of the canyon itself due to the steep cliff sides.

At the end of my hike I was sweaty, dusty, and satisfied. I celebrated my accomplishment by sitting on the ledge of the cliff, feet swinging 30 meters above the canyon floor, and taking in the magnificent view.

Angela & Audriana – The Rambling Gals

Erawan Waterfall – Erawan National Park, Kanchanaburi, Thailand

We usually head for the mountains when we want to hike; fresh air and foliage have always been favorites of ours.

However, we recently did our first trip to a tropical destination and found ourselves looking for a good day hike; something with water to keep us cool in the hot and humid Thailand climate!

Erawan National Park was a great fit. The park is known for its 7 tiered waterfalls with swimming holes, turquoise waters, and giant fish who feed on the dead skin on your feet (it’s like one of those fish spas you put your feet in with the tiny fish in it — only the fish here are massive)! As it’s a National Park, there is plenty of wildlife around, including monkeys rummaging through people’s bags as they took swimming breaks.

The grandest waterfall is at the very end and you can walk right underneath it and have the highest water-pressure shower of your life! The hike up to the 7th tier is just under 1 mile, so it’s a great option for a fairly easy day hike and you can hop in the water anytime you start feeling that Thai heat!

Milou – Explorista

Sapa – Vietnam

My favorite hike of 2018 was Sapa in Northern Vietnam. I’m honestly the least hike-y person on this list, I’m sure because my legs hurt for DAYS after this hike. We did a one day hike, organized through a company called Sapa Sisters (not sponsored), that hires local women to be hiking guides.

We walked all the way down from Sapa town into the valley, crossing through rice fields, balancing on ridges, and slipping and sliding down the muddy trails. The views were out of this world, and it was so interesting to learn more about our guide So’s life in rural Northern Vietnam. We had to cross a fast-flowing river while jumping from rock to rock and then had lunch in So’s sister’s house who cooked a fresh meal for us.

It was a truly memorable experience, and not just because I limped for days afterward! In all seriousness, it’s a workout for those of us who never hike, but generally, I didn’t find it to be super difficult. I’d also really recommend the organization I booked with because they only offer private tours, which meant we could walk at our own pace and go wherever we wanted

Roobens – Been Around the Globe

Munnar – Kerala, India

I love to stay active when I’m on the road, and I try to hike whenever possible! A few months ago, I hiked in India and I really loved it! I was staying in the south of India, in Kerala, and I wanted to explore the area. I was staying in a city called Munnar, known for its tea plantations.

Instead of hiking on my own, I decided to go with a guide, and that was a great decision. We were walking in the middle of all those tea plantations, and the guide taught me a lot, about the history of the city and the tea plantations. That’s what made it special, listening to the history of those plantations, tasting the tea leaves, watching the locals harvesting the tea leaves, and of course admiring the wonderful landscape.

It was in October so the weather was good, not too hot. It was a 13-kilometers (8 miles) hike,  and we reached a peak altitude of 2000 meters (6500 ft.). If you go to Kerala in India, don’t miss the Munnar hike in the middle of the tea plantations!  

OCEANIA

Jarryd & Alesha – NOMADasaurus

Coast Track – Royal National Park, New South Wales, Australia

Our favourite hike of 2018 was the amazing Coast Track in Royal National Park, Australia. The 27km long trail follows the NSW coastline just south of Sydney, and has some of the most beautiful beach and cliff views of anywhere on the east coast.

We split this hike up over two days, with one night camping beneath the stars right next to a remote beach. We opted to do this hike in wintertime for two reasons: The first was to beat the summer crowds, but the second and main reason was to have the chance to see the annual humpback whale migration just off the shore. Over two days we saw dozens of humpbacks breaching while we hiked. Definitely a highlight of our 2018!

Brian & Kris – Gadsventure

The Leap Hike – Mackay, Queensland, Australia

Earlier this year we took our 4 young children and tackled one of our famous local hikes called The Leap. This trek is well-known thanks to its colorful history and local legend.  A young aboriginal woman leaped off the escarpment with her young baby after allegedly stealing a shawl from her boss and being chased all the way up the hill by men and dogs. Thanks to this tale, the track has a somewhat haunted feel!  As you clamber over rocks and boulders with a baby on your back and guiding 3 other children you can’t help but feel in awe of the poor woman who ran, terrified through the night. 

For us, it was a nicely paced 3-hour hike up to the summit which offered stunning views of the surrounding farmland across to the Pacific Ocean.  the temperature was perfect, the kids loved the adventure factor and it was this amazing bonding experience for us as a family. We were able to inspire other local families to tackle this track with their kids too.  With a moderate difficulty and mild gradient, the hike was rewarding, historical and easy enough for all to enjoy.

Kaleigh – KKTravel and Eats

Walpa Gorge Walk – Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

I spent a lot of time outside in 2018, but the country that will forever hold a special place in my heart because of it is Australia. The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia is home to my favorite hike of the year, Walpa Gorge Walk.

This hike is unique because of the stunning colors and atmosphere that engulf you as you get deeper into the rock. Each walk in the park offers something unique and you will have time for more than one hike in one day. The blistering sun and persistent flies, if you’re there during the summer, don’t matter when you’re hiking and climbing around massive rock formations and learning about the ancestry of the landscape.

I would recommend visiting through a tour company that handles all of the leg work. This also typically includes a sunset dinner and view of Uluru, which is one of the main tourist attractions in Australia. The guides are incredibly knowledgeable about the history and can also give you information on the areas not to photograph for cultural reasons.  

Andrea – Get Lost With Andy Bee

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail – Flinders Chase National Park, South Australia, Australia

In May this year, I hiked the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail with my (then) 20yo daughter. This is a 5-day hike on a remote part of the island which lies off the coast of South Australia. It was opened in 2016 and there are a number of ways it can be done. We stayed off trail each night and got shuttled to and from each section daily. But the on-trail campsites looked amazing! 

The Great Southern Ocean is the only thing between Kangaroo Island and the Antarctic. Over the 5 days, we were treated to stunning, rugged coastline, the incredible rock formations of Remarkable Rocks, Admirals Arch and wildlife such as koalas, kangaroos, seals and goannas. There was even a quirky little section where we had to cross a river by a punt on a pulley!

The trail is well marked and relatively easy to walk however some days are definitely harder than others. The length is around 66km with an extra 12 km of side trips should you also choose to hike them. 

My favorite section was Day Three. After almost giving in at the end of Day Two, being treated to the spectacular Remarkable Rocks and stunning coastline was exactly what I needed. Hard to beat those views! 

This was the perfect hike to get away from it all and be treated to spectacular scenery and lots of native Australian flora and fauna. 

Jem – That Kiwi Hiker

Rangiwahia Hut – New Zealand

My favorite hike of 2018 was Rangiwahia Hut, Ruahine Range, New Zealand. Not because of its epic nature, but because it was where my children (aged 10 and 12) and I spent my birthday. I dragged them up the mountain to stay in the iconic hut referred fondly by locals as ‘Rangi Hut’ for the night.

With the fire roaring, sleeping bags around our waists and many hands of exploding kittens played, I could think of no better way to spend my birthday.

The hike is beautiful and manageable for a range of ages and fitness levels. Winter makes itself known with snow dusting the hut and surrounding area, whereas summer brings spectacular views across the country out to Mt Ruapehu, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro. A different hike each season.

Rangi Hut has you hiking three hours up the mountainside, across picturesque arched wooden bridges, up past the bushline and into the tussocks. The hike can be extended to complete a loop via Deadmans Track or you can carry on to Triangle Hut and down into Iron Gate gorge.

For us, to the hut and back overnight was enough. The children went back to school after the holidays filled with stories of hiking to the clouds, smelly long drops and broccoli trees. 

John – The Hiking Society

Mount Ruapehu Walking Track – Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

Without a doubt, my favorite hike of 2018 would have to be the Mount Ruapehu Walking Track located in the Tongariro National Park, New Zealand. After completing some 260kms the 12 days prior, my two friends and I finished off our trek by climbing Mount Ruapehu. Whilst we weren’t able to summit due to a 10m section of solid ice (we didn’t have crampons with us), it still made for an incredible hike.

Roughly 8kms in distance, and 2700m in elevation, Mount Ruapehu is an active volcano is one of three volcanos in the area (the other two are dormant) including Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe. We did this hike in January. It was special because the entire adventure was inspired by the Hobbit film as we had walked from the filming location of Hobbiton to one of the filming locations of the Lonely Mountain aka Mount Ruapehu. If you ever get the chance to visit the North Island of New Zealand, I would strongly recommend you visit Mount Ruapehu.

Mari – Mari Johnson

Humpridge Track – New Zealand

Living in New Zealand has given me the opportunity to go on so many hikes this year! I feel very fortunate. But my favorite has got to be my most recent trek on the Humpridge Track.

The lodges make it feel more “luxurious” than your average backpacking experience, but it’s still rugged enough to make you appreciate all 65 kilometers. I definitely recommend this hike if you’re looking for something that has it all.

It’s a 3-day hike at the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island and the trail goes through forests, up a mountain, down a ridge, and across a beach. I did it over Christmas, which was a fantastic and memorable way to spend the holiday. There were endless views, stunning sunrises and sunsets, nice lodges to hang out and sleep in, as well as some cool people to meet along the way.

Jasmine – How To Vanuatu

The Giant Banyan Tree (Tanna, Vanuatu)

The 83 islands of Vanuatu are crisscrossed with trails. However, hiking in Vanuatu, while gorgeous isn’t straightforward. You must ask and pay community chiefs to use trails. Hiking, therefore, requires a great deal of verbal research. The quest for information can be more slippery and winding than the trail itself.

Like most in Vanuatu, the people on Tanna are excellent at smiling and gardening but terrible at directions. After an hour of “the long road”, “over there” and vague gestures from locals in Lenakel, I finally figured the track began opposite my accommodation, Sunset Bungalows. The ‘long road’ snaked up through gardens, past smiling ladies in bright island dresses carrying children and children carrying machetes.

Tanna is very densely populated. As you hike let your eyes linger. Realize the ‘wilderness’ is actually carefully constructed food gardens. You may notice hidden roofs and faces giggling at you. Occasionally I glimpsed banyan trees with benches beneath: nakamals. Later men will gather here for coconut shells of intoxicating kava. A lazy serenity will embrace them as they chatter.

Finally, I saw a sign for the giant banyan tree. A teenage guide led me to a humungous sprawling monster of a tree. As we climbed around the tree, he proved as curious about me as I about him. I showed him my home on Google Earth. He is in awe I can see the world on my phone. I showed him the Banyan tree on Trip Advisor. He was flabbergasted at pictures of his snotty siblings. He presented me with a gigantic papaya in thanks.

I had presented him with ‘magic’, as Tanna had provided me with the same. I skipped down the ‘long road’. I could see Lenakel and the sea far below. 

Ian – Barefoot Backpacker

Mount Benbow and Mount Marum – Ambrym Island, Vanuatu

Imagine hiking along a dried lava bed, then heading onto trails one dog wide that curl steeply uphill through some low-level jungle, before opening out onto a vast, flat, plain of black ash stretching out to the horizon, the vista punctuated only by not one, but two, vapor-covered volcanoes in the distance.

Then imagine trekking up to the volcanoes, past the remnants of previous eruptions, the ash soft underfoot, the occasional whiff of sulfur requiring donning a gas-mask, no sound at all other than your own breathing. At one of the volcanoes the trail climbs through the bare rocks, maybe not even a meter wide, with sheer drops to the plain awaiting a false move, and requiring holding hands and staring only at your feet as you descend later. The other volcano is easier but no less bleak.

And at the end of the trail, imagine looking down from the ridge, over the rim of the crater at the bubbling, bright red, a pool of lava below. Such a small lake feels strange given the size of the crater, but it looks no less impressive for it.

This, then, is Mount Benbow and Mount Marum, on the Vanuatan island of Ambrym; this is why I chose to visit Vanuatu in the first place. I was not disappointed. Hiking from West to East across the island, spending two nights in a camp on the ash plain. It felt like such an achievement to make it to the top, to look down into Hell, and then another to have hiked across the whole island and reach the black sand beach in the East, knowing I’d made it.

What an epic list! If you loved it as much as I did share with a friend or family member and post it on social media! Have you done any of these hikes on the list? What was your favorite hike of 2018? Share with everyone in the comment section!

Check out my other big collaboration post in which Travel Bloggers and Influencers Share Their Favorite National Park!

If you are looking for even more hiking inspiration, check out the 2017 Favorite Hike collab post!


21 Replies to “Travel Bloggers & Influencers Share Their Favorite Hike of 2018”

  1. Thanks for putting this together, Nate! What an amazing list with so many places to add to the bucket list. It was an honor to be featured, thanks for including me!

  2. Nate! Thanks for all your work putting this together; as always, we are lucky to be included in such a list!

    Annnnd we’ve got A LOT of hikes to knock off our list next year!

  3. SO SO SO many good hikes in here! I love that the list you included is all around the world; there were so many in Switzerland and since I now live in Switzerland, I’m excited to tick these off!

  4. Wow, I can tell you put a lot of work into this. I love all the pictures, especially the ones about the Camino – such great memories. 🙂 – Now I’m gonna have to start this new year off right with a good hike! Thanks for allowing me to be a part of this Nate – you’re awesome!

  5. I love this post! What really stands out to me is the diversity of the hikes from family, to leisurely, to demanding. Great compilation and I am excited to be part of it. Nice work, Nate!

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