2/2024

Best Hiking Trails in the World for Beginners

For beginners, hiking can be an exciting way to explore nature and stay active. However, it can be overwhelming to choose a hiking trail when there are so many options available. This article will provide a comprehensive list of the best hiking trails in the world for beginners.

When selecting the best hiking trails for beginners, several factors were considered, including the trail’s length, elevation gain, and difficulty level. The selected trails are suitable for hikers of all fitness levels and offer stunning views of natural landscapes. From Italy’s alpine ranges to Turkey’s iconic natural landscapes, this list will take hikers on a journey around the world. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or a beginner, this list will provide you with the perfect hiking trail to explore.

Understanding Hiking for Beginners

Hiking is a great way to connect with nature, get some exercise, and explore new places. However, if you’re new to hiking, it can be intimidating to know where to start. Here are a few things to keep in mind as a beginner hiker:

1. Start Small

It’s important to start with easy hikes that are appropriate for your fitness level. An ideal beginner hiking trail is typically 3-6 hours long. You can gradually increase the length and difficulty of your hikes as you become more experienced.

2. Elevation Gain

On top of terrain, elevation gain is another good indicator of how much you can actually hike in one day. Basically, it means how steeply the trail goes uphill or downhill. The more elevation gain in a short distance, the steeper and harder the trail. As a beginner, you should look for trails with minimal elevation gain.

3. Proper Gear

Having the right gear is essential for a comfortable and safe hiking experience. As a beginner, you don’t need to invest in expensive gear. However, some key items to have include:

  • Comfortable and sturdy hiking shoes
  • Lightweight and breathable clothing
  • Sunscreen and a hat
  • A backpack with plenty of water and snacks
  • A map and compass or GPS device

4. Leave No Trace

When hiking, it’s important to leave the natural environment as you found it. This means packing out all trash, staying on designated trails, and respecting wildlife and other hikers. As a beginner, it’s important to learn and follow the principles of Leave No Trace.

By keeping these things in mind, beginner hikers can have a safe and enjoyable experience on the trails.

Importance of Choosing the Right Trail

When it comes to hiking, choosing the right trail is crucial, especially for beginners. The trail you choose can make or break your hiking experience. Choosing the wrong trail can lead to injuries, exhaustion, and frustration, while choosing the right trail can lead to a memorable and enjoyable experience.

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a hiking trail is the difficulty level. Beginner hikers should start with easy or moderate trails that have well-marked paths, minimal hazards, and gentle inclines and declines. Trails that are too difficult can be overwhelming and dangerous for beginners. It is important to choose a trail that matches your fitness level and hiking experience.

Another factor to consider is the distance and duration of the trail. Beginners should start with shorter trails that can be completed in a few hours. Longer trails can be challenging and require more preparation, such as carrying extra food and water. It is important to choose a trail that you can comfortably complete within your skill level and physical abilities.

The location and environment of the trail are also important factors to consider. Some trails may be located in remote areas with limited access to amenities, while others may be located in urban areas with easy access to facilities. It is important to choose a trail that matches your preferences and comfort level.

Best Trails in North America

North America offers some of the best hiking trails in the world, and there are plenty of options for beginners. Here are two of the best trails in North America for beginners:

1. Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is a 2,200-mile trail that runs from Georgia to Maine, and it’s one of the most famous hiking trails in the world. While the entire trail is challenging, there are plenty of sections that are suitable for beginners. The trail passes through 14 states and offers hikers a chance to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. Some of the best sections for beginners include:

  • Georgia: The southernmost section of the trail is relatively easy and offers hikers a chance to see stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Shenandoah National Park: This section of the trail is known for its stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley and is a great option for beginners.
  • Maine: While the northernmost section of the trail is challenging, there are plenty of shorter hikes in the area that are suitable for beginners.

2. West Coast Trail

The West Coast Trail is a 47-mile trail that runs along the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. The trail passes through some of the most beautiful wilderness in the world and offers hikers a chance to see stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. While the trail is challenging, there are plenty of options for beginners. Some of the best sections for beginners include:

  • Nitinaht Narrows: This section of the trail is relatively flat and offers hikers a chance to see stunning views of the ocean.
  • Tsusiat Falls: This section of the trail is known for its stunning waterfall and is a great option for beginners.
  • Pachena Bay: This section of the trail is relatively easy and offers hikers a chance to see stunning views of the beach.

Both the Appalachian Trail and the West Coast Trail are great options for beginners looking to explore some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. While both trails are challenging, there are plenty of options for beginners, and hikers can take their time and enjoy the stunning views along the way.

Top Trails in Europe

Europe is home to some of the world’s most stunning hiking trails, offering a range of landscapes and difficulty levels. Here are two of the top trails in Europe for beginners:

1. Tour du Mont Blanc

Tour du Mont Blanc is a classic hike that circles the Mont Blanc massif, passing through France, Italy, and Switzerland. The trail is approximately 170 km long and takes about 10-12 days to complete. The hike offers breathtaking views of the Alps, glaciers, and mountain peaks, making it one of the most scenic hikes in Europe.

The trail is well-marked and has plenty of amenities, including mountain huts and restaurants. The hike is rated moderate, making it suitable for beginners with some hiking experience. The best time to hike Tour du Mont Blanc is from June to September when the weather is mild and the trail is open.

2. The Camino de Santiago

The Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James, is a network of trails that lead to the shrine of the apostle St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The trail is approximately 780 km long and takes about 30-35 days to complete.

The Camino de Santiago is a popular pilgrimage route that has been walked by millions of people over the centuries. The trail offers stunning landscapes, charming villages, and historic landmarks, making it one of the most culturally rich hikes in Europe.

The trail is well-marked and has plenty of amenities, including hostels and restaurants. The hike is rated easy to moderate, making it suitable for beginners with some hiking experience. The best time to hike the Camino de Santiago is from April to June and from September to November when the weather is mild and the trail is less crowded.

Recommended Trails in Asia

Asia is home to some of the most breathtaking hiking trails in the world, from the towering peaks of the Himalayas to the lush jungles of Southeast Asia. Here are two recommended trails in Asia for beginners:

1. Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji, located in Japan, is one of the most iconic mountains in the world and a popular hiking destination for both locals and tourists. The trail to the summit is well-maintained and marked, making it a great option for beginners. The most popular route is the Yoshida Trail, which takes hikers through forests, past volcanic rocks, and up to the summit at 3,776 meters (12,388 feet). The trail is typically open from July to early September, and hikers can stay in mountain huts along the way.

2. Annapurna Circuit

The Annapurna Circuit in Nepal is a classic trek that takes hikers through diverse landscapes, from lush subtropical forests to high-altitude deserts. The trail is well-developed and has teahouses and lodges along the way, making it a great option for beginners. The trek typically takes 15-20 days to complete and reaches a maximum altitude of 5,416 meters (17,769 feet) at Thorong La Pass. Along the way, hikers will see stunning views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges, as well as traditional Nepalese villages.

Both Mount Fuji and the Annapurna Circuit offer stunning views and unique cultural experiences, making them great options for beginners looking to explore Asia’s hiking trails.

Ideal Trails in South America

South America is a hiker’s paradise, with its diverse landscapes, breathtaking vistas, and rich cultural heritage. Here are two of the best hiking trails in South America that are ideal for beginners.

1. Inca Trail

The Inca Trail in Peru is one of the most famous hiking trails in the world. It is a 26-mile trek that takes you through the Andes Mountains, past ancient Incan ruins, and culminates at the iconic Machu Picchu. The trail usually takes four days to complete and is suitable for beginners who are reasonably fit. The trail is well-marked and has campsites along the way, making it a comfortable trek.

The Inca Trail is a popular trail, so it is advisable to book your trek well in advance. The best time to hike the trail is during the dry season from May to September when the weather is mild and the skies are clear.

2. Torres del Paine Circuit

The Torres del Paine Circuit in Chile is another popular hiking trail in South America. It is a 52-mile trek that takes you through the stunning Patagonian wilderness, past glaciers, lakes, and mountains. The trail usually takes 8-10 days to complete and is suitable for beginners who are reasonably fit. The trail is well-marked and has campsites along the way, making it a comfortable trek.

The Torres del Paine Circuit is a challenging trek, so it is advisable to be well-prepared and have the necessary gear. The best time to hike the trail is during the summer months from December to March when the weather is mild and the days are long.

Both the Inca Trail and the Torres del Paine Circuit offer stunning scenery, rich cultural heritage, and a challenging yet rewarding hiking experience for beginners.

Safety Tips for Beginner Hikers

Hiking can be a fun and exciting way to explore the great outdoors, but it’s important to take safety precautions to protect yourself and others. Here are some safety tips for beginner hikers:

1. Research the Trail

Before hitting the trail, do some research to learn about the trail’s difficulty level, length, and terrain. This will help you prepare for the hike and ensure that you have the appropriate gear and supplies. Additionally, knowing the trail’s layout will help you avoid getting lost.

2. Hike with a Buddy

Hiking with a buddy is always a good idea, especially if you’re a beginner. Having someone with you can provide an extra set of eyes and ears, and it’s always more fun to share the experience with someone else.

3. Dress Appropriately

Wearing the right clothing and footwear is essential for a safe and comfortable hike. Choose breathable, moisture-wicking clothing that will keep you cool and dry, and wear sturdy, comfortable hiking boots with good traction.

4. Bring Plenty of Water and Snacks

Staying hydrated and fueled is important for a successful hike. Bring plenty of water and snacks to keep your energy levels up and prevent dehydration.

5. Stay on the Trail

Veering off the trail can be dangerous and increase your risk of getting lost or injured. Stay on the designated trail and follow any posted signs or markers.

6. Check the Weather

Before heading out on a hike, check the weather forecast to ensure that you’re prepared for any conditions you may encounter. Bring rain gear if necessary and avoid hiking during thunderstorms or other severe weather.

By following these safety tips, beginner hikers can enjoy a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience.

Conclusion

There are many amazing hiking trails all over the world that are perfect for beginners. From the beautiful alpine ranges of Italy to the serene woods of the United States, there’s a trail out there for everyone.

When choosing a hiking trail, it’s important to consider factors such as length, difficulty level, and terrain. Some trails may be shorter but steeper, while others may be longer but flatter. It’s important to choose a trail that matches your fitness level and experience.

It’s also important to prepare adequately for your hike. This includes bringing enough water, food, and appropriate clothing for the weather conditions. It’s also a good idea to let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return.

Overall, hiking is a great way to explore the outdoors and get some exercise. With so many amazing hiking trails around the world, there’s no excuse not to get out there and start exploring.