25 Extremely Exotic Hiking Locations

Posted by , Updated on December 5, 2023

There’s something intoxicating about hiking to a distant land where you’re out of your comfort zone face to face with an adventure. Unfortunately, few dare to answer this call and consequently miss out on the experience of a life time. If you are one of the ones who has not embarked on this adventure, we hope that these 25 extremely exotic hiking locations will convince you to do otherwise.

Laugavegurinn Pass (Iceland)

25 Laugavegurinn_tnwww.icelandguest.com

Laugavegurinn, il is Iceland’s most popular hiking trail and connects the nature reserves Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk. The trail offers a great variety of landscape: mountains in almost every color, great glaciers, roaring hot springs, big rivers and lakes. If you decide to embark on this adventure however, come prepared. The full hike takes about four days to complete.


Kungsleden (Sweden)

24 Kungsleden_tnwww.flash-screen.com

Passing through one of Europe’s largest remaining wilderness areas, is a 270 mile (440 km) hiking trail that is between Abisko in the north and Hemavan in the south. Maintained by Svenska Turistföreningen (STF), hikers can experience Kebnekaise, the highest mountain in the country, Sarek National Park, and several small towns and villages.


Mount Kailash Pilgrimage (Tibet)

23 Mount Kailash Pilgrimage_tnhttp://michaelrsheehy.com/

Mount Kailash is the center piece to four religious pilgrimages: Bön, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. According to the practice, the hike should be done in one full day. However, this is a difficult task since the path around the sacred place is 32 miles (52 km) long and the mountain itself has never been climbed.


Mountains of the Moon (Uganda)

22 Mountains of the Moon_tnwww.skyscraperlife.com

Also known as Montes Lunae or the Ruwenzori Range, this mountain range in Uganda makes up the highest ranges in Africa. The total length of the hike is 38 miles and it takes 6-7 days to cover.


Cloud Forests (Costa Rica)

21 Cloud Forests_tnwww.thetransmittergroup.com

There are five cloud forests for you to choose from on your next hiking trip to Costa Rica. There’s La Paz Waterfall Gardens and San Ramon in the Central Highlands, San Gerardo de Dota, Santa Maria de Dota and Bajos del Toro in the Central Highlands. Aside from hiking, there’s also horseback riding, bird watching, a coffee tour and even some guided tours.


Milford Track (New Zealand)

20 Milford Track_tnwww.sharewonders.com

If you have seen Lord of the Rings then you already know how this hiking trail in Fiordland National Park looks like (well at least parts of it). Once described as the finest walk in the world, the Milford Track is one of New Zealand’s most popular walks with approximately 14,000 people completing the hike each year.


Kalalau Trail (Hawaii, USA)

19 Kalalau Trail_tnwww.wildbackpacker.com

Hawaii is home to tropical islands, beaches and volcanoes. It’s also home to this challenging trail that runs approximately 11 miles (18km) and takes about a day or two to complete (depending on your fitness level).


Israel National Trail (Israel)

18 Israel National Trail_tnwww.traildino.com

Crossing the entire country of Israel, this hiking trail spans 580-620 miles (1000 km). Despite current world issues, this trail gives hikers a taste of Israel’s unique and historical landscape.


Zion Narrows (Utah, USA)

17 Zion Narrows_tnwww.citrusmilo.com

Ranked #5 in the National Geographic’s America’s Best 100 Adventures, this hiking trail is a section from the canyon located on the North Fork of the Virgin River. The term “The Narrows” refers to the hike going through the canyon and also the actual place itself which covers 3.6 miles (5.8 km). Wading or swimming through the waist-deep waters can be a challenge for some hikers but is one of the highlights in the entire 16 mile (26km) expedition.


Fitz Roy Trek (Argentina)

16 fitz roy_tnwww.travelavenue.com

Cerro Fitz Roy is one of two mountains (the other being Cerro Torre) within Los Glaciares National Park and one of the two favorite hiking destinations in Patagonia. El Chaltén, a small mountain village below the mountain; used to help secure the disputed border with Chile but today, its existence is solely for tourism purposes. The stunning hike also enables you to take a side trip to Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the best attractions on the continent.


Pays Dogon (Mali)

15 Pays Dogon_tn_tnwww.acabao.com

Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989, Pays Dogon or French for Dogon Country, is a region in south Central Mali and is where the Dogon people have settled in for 1,000 years. Bandiagara, one of the major towns hiking through the smaller villages is one of the popular routes. Visiting this culturally rich plateaus and lowlands would allow you to experience very simple and spiritual way of living.


Petra Kingdom (Jordan)


From the Dana Reserve to Petra is a 50 mile hike (which takes approximately seven challenging days). Nevertheless, when you stand in front of the exquisitely carved and fabulously stunning façade of Al Deir , you’ll realize that the arduous hike was well worth it.


Cappadocia (Turkey)

13 cappadocia_tnhttp://travel.nationalgeographic.com/

Hiking through cave churches and houses carved in the rocks makes Cappadocia in Central Anatolia, Turkey, another culturally rich experience. Several of these underground cities were used by early Christians as hideouts. Other than hiking through all these famous structures, there are also hot air balloon tours and cross golf that you can try out after exploring the scenic cliffs and caves.


The Snowman Trek (Bhutan)

12 The Snowman Trek_tnwww.bahighlife.com

It may not be the longest hiking trail on this list, but 24 days away from modern civilization can be challenging in it of itself. Bhutan is known for being a blessed and peaceful place and houses one of the most difficult hikes known to man; the Snowman Trek. What makes this trail particularly challenging is 11 peaks, the highest peak reaching 17,400 feet (~5,303 m).


Great Ocean Road (Australia)

11 Great Ocean Road_tnwww.victoria.visitorsbureau.com.au

The Great Ocean Road is actually the world’s largest memorial dedicated to those who fell during World War I. The 243-kilometer (151 mi) stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia was constructed by returned soldiers from 1919 to 1932.


Annapurna Circuit (Nepal)

10 Annapurna Circuit_tnhttp://fortheinterim.com/

Spanning 150 miles within the Annapurna mountain range in Central Nepal, this circuit is one of the most popular hiking trails in the world as Nepal is known as the hiker’s mecca. One of the three in this list from this country, the trek takes between from 17 – 21 days to complete.


Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)

9 Mount Kilimanjaro_tnhttp://cherylyeoh.com/

The highest free standing mountain in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro’s is a stunning 19,341 feet (5,895 m) above sea level. There are six official trekking routes by which someone can climb the mountain. However, if you’re just up for hiking rather than climbing then you can traverse the easier routes.


Great Himalaya Trail (Nepal)

8 Great Himalaya Trail_tnhttp://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/

Although there have been sections in Nepal and Bhutan that have already been walked on and documented, this 2,796 mile (4500 km) trail is still an ongoing project. It is a proposed route along the length of the Great Himalayan range from Nanga Parbat in Pakistan to Namche Barwa in Tibet, China. It’s projected to be the longest and highest alpine walking track in the world when completed.


Yoshida Trail, Mount Fuji (Japan)

7 Yoshida Trail, Mount Fuji_tnhttp://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/

Around 300,000 people climb this popular cultural destination in Japan from July to August. Though it is a natural site, the Japanese consider it as a holy mountain along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku. It has been submitted to become a World Heritage site because of its relevance in the country’s cultural history.


Yunnan (China)

6 Yunnan_tnwww.asianoise.com

This mountainous province and an exotic hiking location in China boast a fusion of cultural, historical and environmental diversity. It is riddled with lakes, rivers, rice terraced mountains, national parks, and three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, two of which are natural sites and the other one is a cultural site. The popular Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of its popular hiking spots.


North Drakensberg Traverse (South Africa/Lesotho, uKhahlamba/ Drakensberg Park)

5 North Drakensberg Traverse_tnwww.zuidafrikainstijl.nl

The Drakensberg is the highest mountain range in South Africa, crowned by the “Amphitheater” which is a three-mile-long up-to-3,280-foot-high wall of rock. The range forms the border between South Africa and eastern Lesotho. Moreover, the uKhalhlamba/Drakensberg Park is protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.


Torres del Paine Circuit (Chile)

4 Torres Del Paine_tnwww.veoverde.com

One word to describe this popular hiking location: gorgeous. That’s why almost every avid hiker in the world wants to experience this mesmerizing Patagonian sensation. Here, blue glaciers create a vivid dichotomy with the earth, exotic animals–like the guanacos–dot the hillsides, and the mountains themselves take on wild and incredible shapes.


Inca Trail (Peru)

3 Inca Trail_tnwww.gwenbooks.com

The Inca Trail is by far the most famous trek in South America and is rated by many to be in the top 5 treks in the world. The 26 miles (43km) trail combines beautiful mountain scenery, lush cloud-forests, subtropical jungles and a stunning mix of Inca paving stones, ruins and tunnels. To top all this off, the final destination of the trail is Machu Picchu, the mysterious “Lost City of the Incas”.


International Appalachian Trail (USA, Canada, Greenland, Scotland, Spain, Morocco)

2 International Appalachian Trail_tnwww.cbc.ca

Although there is already an established international trail which covers 1900 miles (3058 km) there are plans to extend the trail towards Great Britain and North Africa. It currently runs from the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail at Mount Katahdin, Maine, through New Brunswick, to the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec, after which it takes bridge crossings to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, a ferry ride to Newfoundland, and then continues to the northern-easternmost point of the Appalachian Mountains at Belle Isle, Newfoundland and Labrador.


Mount Everest (Base Camp Trek, Nepal)

1 Mount Everest (Base Camp Trek)_tnhttp://twoandfrowego.blogspot.com/

Mount Everest towers above the Khumbu at over 29,000 feet and is perhaps the most iconic symbol of challenge and adventure on Earth. At the base of the mountain, you can stand face-to-face with the fabled Khumbu Ice Fall and its towering seracs. You can also hike to the summit of Kala Patar at over 18,100 feet for an unobstructed view of Everest’s windblown summit.