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6 Epic Adventures on the World's Most Iconic Trails

In our fast-paced world, it's an act of bravery to do things slow.

From slow food to slow communications (pen and paper, anyone?), there is something magical about disconnecting from the speed of modern life.

Nowhere is this more true that with travel. There's nothing wrong with a whirlwind trip to see the sights or check items off your bucket list, but there's also a beauty in exploring someplace at the pace your feet can take you.

That's where the world's iconic trails come in. From ancient pilgrimage routes to mountain paths that connect remote villages, trail travel immerses you in local culture while challenging your mind and body.

Intrigued? We asked our partners at World Expeditions — whose trips are all 100% carbon offset — to share some of the most epic trail adventures for travelers.

1. Larapinta Trek, Australia

The Larapinta Trek through Australia's Northern Territory is a place to soak in the beautiful scenery and quiet moments while learning about the area's Indigenous cultures. World Expeditions offered the first commercial trek on this route in 1995, and their trek features nights spent in exclusive semi-permanent campsites where great food and lively campfires will provide a welcome respite after a day of walking.

More Amazing Walks of Australia

2. Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route, Japan

The Kumano Mountains of the Kii Peninsula are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and held as sacred by the Japanese pilgrims who make their way through the area each year.

On this self-guided walk from World Expeditions, you'll spend seven days trekking the 68 miles from Tabae to Katsuura, and an additional three days exploring the region. World Expeditions will take care of all your arrangements (and provide a local, English-speaking helpline for any questions) so that you can enjoy the journey.

3. Jordan Trail, Jordan

Trade routes have crisscrossed the country of Jordan for thousands of years, but it's the recently completed, 400-mile Jordan Trail that is starting to capture the attention of trekkers worldwide. 

Join World Expeditions on a 10-day journey from the Ajlun Reserve in the north of Jordan to the Red Sea in the south. The trip includes a scramble up Jabal Um Ad Dami (the highest peak in the Wadi Rum), an exploration of the Red Rose City of Petra, Bedouin hospitality, and a dip in the Dead Sea. 

4. John Muir Trail, California

You don't need to travel internationally to experience the challenge and beauty of a long-distance trek. Lovers of the American West will certainly not want to miss World Expeditions' 22-day hike of California's John Muir Trail. You'll summit Mount Whitney, cross mountain passes, and wander alongside refreshing rivers. 

This journey includes expert guides, all your permits, and regular resupplies — but you'll be hiking with a full pack, so come prepared!

5. Transcaucasian Trail Hike, Armenia and/or Georgia

Be one of the first to tackle parts of the Transcaucasian Trail, a 1,850-mile route that has been in development since 2015. Once complete, the trail will connect over 20 national parks and protected areas, and allow easier access into the Caucasus Mountains, which, to date, have been unreliably mapped.

World Expeditions reports that the full route is highly anticipated by travelers worldwide, and so they are ahead of the curve with trips to Armenia (8 days) and Georgia (10 days) to trek the mapped sections in both countries. The itineraries line up such that you can hike both back-to-back, too, for an 18-day experience.

6. The Great Himalaya Trail

Bank up your vacation time, because you're going to need it for this 150-day trek on The Great Himalaya Trail. Only a handful of people have ever tackled this epic task, which will bring you through some of the most remote mountain environments on the planet.

If you book now, you'll have a year to get ready — and you're going to need it. This journey will not only challenge your body and your mind but your mountaineering skills as well. 

All photos courtesy of World Expeditions

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Sara SheehyAdmin

Writer | Nomad