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National Geographic's World's Best Hikes: 15 Classic Trails

A great selection from author Peter Potterfield of the world's best hikes, including Patagonia, Newfoundland, Petra, and more.

Over the past decade, author Peter Potterfield has hiked more than 10,000 miles over six continents to research this list. He here tells us his picks for the world's 15 best hikes, including Patagonia, Tasmania, Newfoundland, and Petra. Read more in his best-selling book Classic Hikes of the World or his US book Classic Hikes of North America.

View full story on nationalgeographic.com.

Kungsleden, also known as "The King's Trail," is a 440km hiking trail that runs through Sweden's Arctic wilderness. The trail starts in Abisko National Park and ends in Hemavan, passing through stunning landscapes including glaciers, mountains, and vast forests. It is a popular route for hikers and nature enthusiasts who want to experience the beauty of Sweden's untouched wilderness. The trail is divided into several sections, each with its own unique scenery and challenges, and offers a range of accommodation options, from mountain huts to campsites.

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The Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike is a challenging and rewarding trek that covers approximately 24 miles and takes hikers from the North Rim to the South Rim. This hike offers breathtaking views of the canyon's colorful walls and unique rock formations. It requires careful planning, as hikers must navigate steep inclines and descents, as well as unpredictable weather conditions. However, the stunning scenery and sense of accomplishment make this hike a bucket-list item for many outdoor enthusiasts.

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The hike to Everest Base Camp is a challenging yet rewarding journey through the stunning Himalayan landscape. Starting in Lukla, trekkers will ascend through traditional Sherpa villages, past Buddhist monasteries, and alongside roaring rivers before reaching the base camp at an elevation of 5,364 meters. Along the way, hikers will be treated to breathtaking views of towering peaks, including the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest. This bucket-list adventure requires physical fitness and mental determination, but those who complete it will have memories and experiences to last a lifetime.

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The Fitz Roy hike is a challenging trek through the rugged terrain of Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina. The trail leads hikers through stunning landscapes of glaciers, lakes, and mountains, culminating in breathtaking views of the iconic Fitz Roy peak. The hike is approximately 26 kilometers round trip and can take up to 10 hours to complete. It is recommended that hikers have prior experience with long-distance hikes and be in good physical condition.

Hiking Fitz Roy in Argentina offers breathtaking views of the iconic Cerro Torre, known as the "smoking mountain" due to its ever-present cloud cover.

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The Petra Through the Back Door hike is a unique and off-the-beaten-path experience that takes you through the rugged and stunning terrain of the Petra region. This hike allows you to explore ancient Nabatean ruins, hidden valleys, and breathtaking vistas that are not accessible to the general public. Along the way, you'll encounter local Bedouin communities and learn about their rich culture and traditions. This is a challenging but rewarding trek that offers a truly authentic and unforgettable experience of Petra.

Petra in Jordan is home to the iconic Treasury building, which was featured in the movie "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."

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The Grindelwald hike is a breathtakingly beautiful trail that takes you through the heart of the Swiss Alps. The hike starts at the picturesque village of Grindelwald and winds its way up to the stunningly scenic First mountain station. Along the way, you'll be treated to stunning views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains. The trail is well-marked and suitable for hikers of all levels, making it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the natural beauty of Switzerland.

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The Yosemite Grand Traverse is a challenging 60-mile hike that takes you through the breathtaking wilderness of Yosemite National Park. The trail starts at Glacier Point and winds through the park's most iconic landmarks, including Half Dome, El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls. You'll navigate steep inclines, rocky terrain, and narrow ridges as you make your way through the park's stunning backcountry. Along the way, you'll be rewarded with stunning vistas, alpine lakes, and the chance to spot wildlife like black bears, mountain lions, and deer. This hike is not for the faint of heart, but it's an unforgettable adventure for experienced hikers looking for a challenge.

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The Chilkoot Trail is a historic hike through the rugged terrain of Alaska and British Columbia. The trail was once used by gold prospectors during the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1800s. The 33-mile trek takes hikers through stunning mountain scenery, across glaciers, and over steep passes. Along the way, hikers can explore abandoned mining camps and learn about the history of the area. The trail is challenging, but the stunning views and rich history make it a must-do for any experienced hiker.

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The Tonquin Valley hike is a stunning 44-kilometer trek through the Canadian Rockies. The trail takes hikers through breathtaking alpine meadows, past crystal-clear lakes, and over mountain passes with panoramic views. The highlight of the hike is the Tonquin Valley, a remote and pristine wilderness area surrounded by towering peaks. Along the way, hikers may spot wildlife such as moose, elk, and grizzly bears. This challenging hike is best suited for experienced hikers who are prepared for backcountry camping and unpredictable weather conditions.

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The Bay of Fires hike in Tasmania is a 4-day trek that covers 29 kilometers of stunning coastline. The route takes you through pristine beaches, rocky headlands, and secluded coves, all while offering breathtaking views of the Tasman Sea. The trail is relatively easy, making it accessible to hikers of all levels. Along the way, you'll have the opportunity to spot dolphins, seals, and a variety of birdlife. The hike ends at the iconic Bay of Fires, where you can relax on the white sandy beaches and take a dip in the crystal-clear waters.

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The Newfoundland's Long Range Traverse hike is a challenging 35-kilometer trek through the remote wilderness of Gros Morne National Park. It takes 4-6 days to complete and requires hikers to navigate steep climbs, rugged terrain, and unpredictable weather conditions. The trail offers stunning views of the park's mountain ranges, fjords, and forests, as well as the opportunity to see wildlife such as moose and caribou. Hikers must be experienced and well-prepared for this demanding adventure.

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The Queen Charlotte Track is a 71-kilometer trail in New Zealand's Marlborough Sounds region. The track offers stunning views of the Sounds, native bush, and wildlife. It can be completed in 3-5 days, with options to camp or stay in lodges along the way. The track is well-maintained and suitable for all levels of hikers, with opportunities for kayaking and mountain biking as well. It is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and offers a unique way to experience the beauty of New Zealand's South Island.

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The Mountains of the Moon hike is a challenging trek that takes you through the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda. This 8-day adventure will take you through lush rainforests, alpine meadows, and rocky terrain as you ascend to the summit of Margherita Peak, the highest point in the range at 5,109 meters. Along the way, you'll encounter stunning waterfalls, glaciers, and wildlife such as chimpanzees and colobus monkeys. This hike is not for the faint of heart, but the breathtaking views and sense of accomplishment make it an unforgettable experience.

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The Kalalau Trail is a breathtaking 11-mile hike located on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. This challenging trail takes you along the rugged Na Pali Coast, through lush valleys and towering cliffs, and offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. The trail is known for its steep inclines, narrow paths, and unpredictable weather, but the reward is worth it: secluded beaches, cascading waterfalls, and breathtaking vistas. The Kalalau Trail is a must-do for any adventurous hiker looking to experience the natural beauty of Kauai.

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The Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail is a 61-kilometer long-distance walking route that takes you through stunning landscapes, picturesque villages, and historic sites in County Mayo, Ireland. The trail starts in the town of Balla and finishes at the summit of Croagh Patrick, Ireland's holy mountain. Along the way, you'll pass through rolling hills, lush forests, and tranquil lakes, while learning about the rich cultural heritage of the region. The trail is suitable for walkers of all abilities and offers a unique opportunity to explore the natural beauty and history of Ireland's west coast.

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