View Full Version : Help me out WB! Need a year's worth of awesome international trail recommendations.

09-17-2012, 20:48
Hey WhiteBlaze!

During my thruhike this year, I fell in love with long distance hiking and can't wait to get back on the trail. In the hopes of doing so, I'm applying for a travel grant from my college (I'm a current senior and will graduate this year) which would allow me to travel in whatever manner I would like for one year after I graduate. The only caveat is that I NEED to stay out of the US for 365 days, or else forfeit the grant. SO I was hoping you all could help me out by giving me some leads on great international long trails worth hiking. I need a whole year's worth! The focus of my proposal grant would be to learn about international long distance hiking cultures and/or an examination of pilgrimages, be they formal, or the kind of pilgrimage a lot of people find in the AT, so popular trails or those with a pilgrimage component would be especially appreciated. But I'd also like to hear about any obscure or lesser known trails, especially if you have personal experience hiking them.

Thanks in advance!

TL;DR: Tell me about some awesome long distance trails that are outside of the US!

09-17-2012, 21:17
Here are a few that have caught my eye over the years, and I would consider doing:

Israel National Trail (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_National_Trail)

GR 11 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GR_11_%28Spain%29)

GR 20 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GR_20)

Camino de Santiago (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Way_of_St._James) (there are a ton of different variants of the Camino that criss-cross Spain and western Europe; you could piece together an awesome walk on one of these routes, or do several)

The Pennine Way (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennine_Way)

09-17-2012, 21:20
I have no experience with the European trail system (Grand Route, or GR, for short), but I've heard fantastic things.


09-17-2012, 22:53
The New Zealand te araroa trail.

Odd Man Out
09-18-2012, 00:19
Go to Nepal and trek until your visa expires.

09-18-2012, 07:02
UK and Scotland. Many short 4 to 5 day trails can be combined for a longer experience. One trail runs bottom to top of the island. Would be easy to spend a month there and they speak the same language. Sort of.

09-18-2012, 07:34
I would suggest a round the world trip, the Te Araroa in NZ, The Australian Alps Walking Track, the Overland Track and the Bibbulmun (personal bias) in Australia, a Nepal trek or two, Turkey and/or Israel, the Dolomites in Italy, the Mont Blanc Circuit. one or two GR's in France, the Camino, the Pennine Way and the Norwegian one the name of which escapes me.
Take those as a starting point, use Trailjournals.com to find more and work out usual time taken on each and best time of year to hike. A round the world ticket going in one direction is fairly economical and you could string a heap together.
Would make a great video and/or book as well.
Good luck you lucky bast##d!:)

Odd Man Out
09-18-2012, 11:45
Kamchatka - probably need a guide though.

09-18-2012, 12:28
Italy off the beaten path.

Hook into the GR routes mentioned earlier.

The history buff in me has always wanted to do the Israeli National Trail. The fact that my good friend is from Israel (and he already said his folks would hook me up if I ever went there) also helps.

turtle fast
09-18-2012, 15:09
In Turkey you have the 500km St Paul trail that traces the route of St Paul, the Lycian Way (marked like the European GR footpath with red white blazes) 500km.
Of course you have the Inca trail in Peru, though 4-5 days only...but a ton of circuits exist in Argentina, Bolivia and Peru

English Stu
09-18-2012, 16:08
The GR5 is worth a look, I have done it- 400 miles from Geneva to Nice, you cross right through the Alps through some big ski towns like Val d'Isere and Chamonix and others,mostly in France but odd sections in Switzerland and Italy. In summer often great weather with odd snow/rain shower, bit like the Sierras. I tarped the whole lot with the odd night in a Gite de Refuge, food and dorms available in those. You can do it much like the AT resupplying every 4 or 5 days then the odd night in a Gite for meals and laundry.Gite meals are not the best but you can find eating places in most small towns on the way.

09-18-2012, 22:23
Thanks everyone for the awesome suggestions. So far I'm thinking: The Israeli Trail and the Camino Santiago for sure, one of the English/Scottish trails, one of the GR's, something in Australia during the northern hemisphere's winter months, and I recently found an awesome trail around an island in Japan that is a traditional pilgrimage to 88 Buddhist temples. Though if I find something less well known that is compelling I might switch out one of the better known trails on the list for that. The grant is very competitive, so it'll be a long shot, but I think thruhiking the AT sets anyone up for a pretty compelling proposal :)

09-19-2012, 00:41
A few suggestions:

You might check out the North Shore of Kauai as a possible place to hike if you can swing the costs -- you'll need reservations (many months in advance) to hike some of the name-brand trails on the North Shore. Kauai is one of the most beautiful places I've visited (I stayed at a place on the beach for a few weeks in Kauai and the weather every day was gorgeous).

Also, my favorite international place to hike is beautiful New Zealand. You might review the NZ Department Of Conservation (DOC) hiking trails listing in New Zealand and plan to spend 2/3 or more of your time in New Zealand hiking the trails on the South Island. Plus, New Zealand has got to have the friendliest people on the planet and is the cleanest place, for a country, that I've ever visited. You could easily spend three months or more in New Zealand and not get tired of the place. I was there for several months and started in the North Island and eventually crossed the Cook Strait and enjoyed the South Island, particularly Queenstown and Christchurch. New Zealand is spectacularly beautiful -- don't forget to hike the Banks Peninsula just outside Christchurch.

Also, The Bibbulmun Track in southwestern Australia is patterned after the AT -- has many shelters like the AT and also small towns along the way for resupply just like the AT.

You may want to look at the West Highland Way in Scotland which I enjoyed and the people there in Scotland were also wonderfully friendly. Quite a bit of history along the WHW if you're into history. Make sure you see Edinburgh Castle in the city of Edinburgh if you go to Scotland.

Also, you might want to look at the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in Wales.


09-19-2012, 05:22
Wales have just made a trail following the coast.http://www.walescoastpath.gov.uk/default.aspx

09-19-2012, 09:46
OK, start your trip by hiking the Chilkoot Trail from Alaska to the Yukon (http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/yt/chilkoot/index.aspx). It's fairly short, but very important historically and a big destination for northern buffs. Then head down the coast to British Columbia, and the West Coast Trail (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Coast_Trail). Also, just a week or so each way, but incredible. From there travel east to Banff/Jasper, and the less well known but equally spectacular Waterton Lakes NP (http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/waterton/index.aspx).

Travelling in Canada first, before heading overseas, will help get you in travelling mode without having to worry about big cultural or linguistic differences!

English Stu
09-19-2012, 10:01
My view is that if your navigation is up to it,there is no path, the Cape Wrath trail is the best Scottish one. Vary it to go through Knoydart after a ferry trip from Fort William, not in midge season though.e.g do it in May.