The best day hikes in the world

When we put out the call for submissions to a collaborative blog post about ‘the best day hikes in the world’, we weren’t sure what we would get from our fellow travel bloggers. We thought the submissions would be very U.S. and Europe-centric, but boy we were wrong!

Here we have seven (plus our own) contributions from across the world – from Chile to the Philippines to Oman. These hikes have given us motivation to lace up our hiking boots and see more of what our beautiful world has to offer – and we hope this post does the same for you too.

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8 best day hikes

Siete Tazas, Chile – Uneven Sidewalks

Siete Tazas is a chain of seven magnificent pools of water that are connected by waterfalls in the mountains of Chile. The name in Spanish is translated to seven “cups,” a perfect name! It is a beautiful day hike with gorgeous opportunities for pictures of nature and wildlife. It’s a nice off-the-beaten-path type of trip which is so nice for getting to know what the locals enjoy in their own country! There’s even camping at the park entrance.

The waterfalls are located in the Radal Siete Tazas National Park. We stayed in Curicó, just a quick bus ride to Molina where there’s a bus station that makes trips out to the National Park. This bus ride costs about $5 per person and takes around 2-3 hours to arrive at the park. It’s a bit of a bumpy, dusty ride! You can also travel there just fine by car.

There were many other large waterfalls along the hike that were so breathtaking! Salto Velo de la Novia (Bridal Veil Waterfall) and Salta de la Leona (Lioness Waterfall) are the largest. The hike itself is no more than a few hours long, and the trails are very well maintained by the park with lots of shade. All combined, these waterfalls make a perfect day hike trip in Chile!

Landon & Alyssa Carlson are a California couple who left their life in San Diego in 2013 to see what adventures they could find outside the “box” they were stuck  in. Former engineer and teacher, they quit their jobs, sold everything they owned, and headed out to explore the world. They have spent majority of their time in Latin America and are currently exploring Asia. You can check out more of their journeys at UnevenSidewalks.com as well as Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram!

Hiking in Jebel Shams, Oman – What Doesn’t Suck

Only a few hours drive from Dubai, Jebel Shams in Oman is known to be “The Grand Canyon of the Middle East”. A few hours drive from the big shiny city, and the landscape changes, the temperature drops and you are in for a real treat.

We left Dubai early on a sticky Friday morning, already sweating just loading up the Jeep. We packed pretty light for four people, a couple of tents, collapsable chairs, light sleeping bags, fire wood and a couple of coolers with food and drink.

Jebel Shams really does bare a striking resemblance to the Grand Canyon of the United States. They both are so massive our eyes had trouble adjusting to just exactly what we were seeing.

We left the car at 2,000m and started climbing down, passed a small village and herds of friendly (sometimes too friendly) goats. Down we climbed, always alongside the cliff edge, which was a bit intense at times. Zig zagging along the lip of the canyon we climbed down at a steady pace for about 2 hours before passing an abandoned village built into the side of the rocks and to a small area with a pool of water.

While the pool was quite low with water (and full of monsters no doubt) it did look quite beautiful and provided a nice cool shade to relax in before we started our climb back up the mountain.

About 5 hours in total, the hike back up was way more tiring than we expected. We hadn’t realized how far down we’d climbed until the walk back up, but by the late afternoon we were back atop the canyon and searching for a flat spot to make our camp for the night. We decided on a nice flat spot about 20 meters from the cliff, which had Anne a bit worried. Talk about taking a leak with a view!

After setting up camp we spent the evening sitting around the fire, laughing, telling jokes and eating delicious food – exactly what a camping trip should be! To our surprise the temperature did drop and we all put on long sleeves and pants, very comfortable sitting around a hot fire in the middle of July – which shocked us all. What a nice change!

See more details of this hiking and camping experience here.
Jeff and Anne are expats living in Dubai. Their blog What Doesn’t Suck started from a common goal to find the best in life, it removes all the nonsense from the travel world and gives its readers the best destinations, recommendations, information, reviews, gadgets and advice to get them off on an adventure.

Zakopane, Poland – Tiki Touring Kiwi

After the flat lands of the Baltics I spend a great six week period with many day hikes in various European countries. My favourite? A trail starting near the southern Poland city, Zakopane.

The route I took started from Kiry, 5km by bus from Zakopane to Kopa Kondracka Peak across to Kasprowsky Wierch Peak and back down to Zakopane. The hike is six – seven hours long for a person of average fitness.

The highlight for me was hiking between the peaks with Poland falling away to one side, and Slovakia the other. There are a few sections on the hike with benches for lunch breaks surrounding yourself with epic scenery. Another interesting take away from the hike was seeing the fauna change, as you get closer to the peaks, the trees suddenly stunt in growth and eventually you get to a height where nothing grows.

The terrain is mountainous and the weather changes quickly but with many well marked trails you can turn around at short notice at any point in time. Which is great as the weather can turn nasty in a hurry, dress appropriately.

I highly recommend coming to Zakopane, the hiking scene is great for all fitness levels.

Jub, from New Zealand, has been travelling around the world for the last four years to ensure there is no place quite like New Zealand. With no luxury budget, he tries to fit into a new place like a local as soon as possible. He enjoys doing things the hard way and is always trying to do the right thing. Hiking, health, sports, travel, interesting questions and personal development are a great way to get him talking over a beer. Follow Jub at Tiki Touring Kiwi and on Instagram and Snapchat (@jubanator).

Boulder Canyon Trail to the Elwha Hot Springs, Washington – The Girl and Globe

After tackling strenuous hikes through Washington’s Olympic National Park, it’s worth it to add one more hike to your agenda.  Just five miles round-trip and relatively flat for the entire trail, it’s a hike that just about anyone can do and everyone will love!
For about an hour, you’ll hike through lush, green forests with the sound of creeks trickling nearby.  The smell of pine and fresh rain is refreshing, but it’s not the scenery that makes this hike special.  Just after crossing a log bridge, you’ll find natural hot spring pools on the right hand side.  Slip in to relieve sore muscles!  Intrepid travelers can continue farther, where the trail narrows and heads up slippery hills on unmarked paths to find hidden pools great for skinny-dipping before returning the way you came.
To get there, drive to the lesser-visited Elwha Canyon section of Olympic National Park, about 2.5 hours from Seattle. The road twists and turns all the way to a big parking lot at the end, where the Boulder Canyon Trail begins.
Becky is an avid hiker and loves finding outdoor activities and other sightDOING adventures around the world.  Find her on The Girl and Globe or on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

Mt. Talamitam, Batangas, Philippines – Karla Round the World

Hours to Summit: 2 hours / 4 hours return

How to get there: Take a Bus going to Nasugbu Batangas from the Pasay Termnial Station near LRT 1, tell the conductor to drop you at Sitio Bayabasan. They will know what you are talking about.

Although not as popular compared to its sister mountains, Mt. Batulao and Mt. Maculot. Mt Talamitam has its own captivating presence. At first glance, you’d think that you were on the cliffs of New Zealand, but nope, it’s right smack here in the Philippines. I have climbed a lot of mountains, mostly to gain a sense of achievement, but the climb to Mt. Talamitam was an entirely different experience. It remains to be my favorite day hike because it is a straightforward and easy trail with lots of farm animals around the area. The view from the peak is magnificent and if you are lucky enough to catch either the sunrise or sunset, you will fall in love with the mountain even more. If the view wasn’t lovely enough, on our way down, there is a river where you can swim and cool off before bidding the mountain adieu. A beautiful view, an easy hike and a river to top it all off – what more can you ask for?

Karla, a free spirit, thrill seeker who thrives in adventure travels, off beat destinations and well, will wander off to wherever her feet will take her. She believes in why wonder, if you can wander too. Check out her blog Karla Round the World, and her Instagram and Facebook!

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa – Travel Addicts

South of Cape Town, South Africa the Cape Peninsula juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. Historically, the Cape of Good Hope marked the point where sailors caught the winds and begun sailing north.

From the parking lot atop the Cape Peninsula, the hike to the Cape of Good Hope is a relatively easy 4 kilometer trip. It takes about 3 hours, but hikers are treated to stunning views of the Atlantic and Southern Oceans, the Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope.

Situated within the Table Mountain National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the area is a nesting ground for birds, home to wild ostriches and is covered in a dizzying array of flora.  The hike is beautiful!

See more detail of this hike here.

Lance and Laura Longwell are authors of Travel Addicts.  They enjoy long road trips, hikes of exceptional beauty, and sharing a beautiful sunset together. Check out their Instagram feed!

Yosemite National Park, USA – Travel Photo Discovery

One of my favourite and easy hikes to do in Yosemite National Park in California is about 2 miles round trip from the start point (stop #17) and is and easy to moderate trip that takes between 2 and 2 hours, if you take the full trip around the lake to the other side on the return. You get scenic vistas of Tenaya Creek, Mirror Lake, Mt Watkins, and Half Dome. It is a fantastic hike for taking a variety of photographs around Yosemite’s valley floor.

You can check out more images and places to visit on this highlights tour of Yosemite here.

Noel is a writer and photographer based in San Francisco and Hawaii. He writes about delicious food and wine indulgences, thoughtful luxury, and adventure travel. He also shares camera tips and techniques while exploring new and unusual places around the world. Keep up with Noel’s travels at Travel Photo Discovery, and on Instagram and Pinterest.

Abel Tasman Coast Track, New Zealand – The Global Couple

New Zealand is full of great hikes. It was so difficult to choose our favourite one! The Abel Tasman National Park, at the top of New Zealand’s South Island, is one of the most popular national parks in the country. The park, filled with stunning white sand beaches, quintessential New Zealand bush, native birds and even seals and dolphins, is a perfect summer holiday destination.

The Abel Tasman Coast Track, one of the famed ‘Great Walks’, is a 60 km, 3-4 day tramp. However, if you’re short of time or don’t fancy a multi-day tramp, you can easily walk a section of the track in less than a day.

The Abel Tasman coastline is frequently serviced by water taxis, starting at the base of Marahau. The water taxis can drop you off and pick you up at pretty much anywhere you please.

Our boat trip was fantastic, skimming across the glassy water and spotting dolphins in the wake. The captain pointed out sights such as Split Apple Rock (wonder why it’s called that…) and the Tonga Island Marine Reserve, complete with baby seals. We landed at Bark Bay and began our walk.

The hike is pretty easy, although it can be tiring if you do it on a hot summer’s day like we did. We walked from Bark Bay to Anchorage, and it took us about 4 hours in total. The beaches along the way are perfect for a cool dip and a lunch break, and most of the track is under the bush canopy.

One of the things to keep in mind walking the Abel Tasman Coast Track is that there are some estuaries which can only be crossed a couple of hours either side of low tide. The water taxi companies will tell you the best part of the track to walk depending on the tides for your day!

What is your favourite day hike? Do you have any others that we should add to our list of hikes to do? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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20 comments

    • Petra
      Author

      No worries Alyssa – thanks for your contribution! We are so keen to do the hikes too, they all look amazing. Which one to do first though?!

  1. So helpful – I really enjoy day hikes as part of a visit somewhere – I haven’t quite worked up to the multi-day hike, but I’d like to get there. Sometimes it’s hard to get a sense of what’s available from a quick Google search, so thanks for the tips!

  2. I can’t believe you didn’t put the Tongariro Alpine Crossing 🙂 I did it back in 2010 and it is until today my favorite walk ever!
    I will have to try the Abel Tasman one day that I return to NZ. I went there but only did the kayaking 🙂 (it was awesome, of course lol )

    • Petra
      Author

      I know… We haven’t actually done that one together yet (bad kiwis, I know!). I did it when I was 15 but we’re planning on doing it later this summer. Might need an updated post afterwards! 🙂

  3. Some great sounding hikes on your list! I have favorites in my home state of New Hampshire. The White Mountains have many to chose from but The Bonds is my favorite backpack. Iconic views, ledges for picnics and it even takes you on some of the Appalachian Trail. I’d also add on one of the Seven Summits- Kilimanjaro. This is a life changing hike that will make you feel anything is possible after completing it!

    • Petra
      Author

      The White Mountains are so awesome! I wish we had had time to go hiking when we were there in 2014. Will have to put that one on the list for next time! 🙂

  4. Pingback: The best day hikes in the world #SouthAfrica #TravelChatSA - Urban Angels

  5. I really think that there are a few hikes in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park that are even more amazing. I’m a lava guide in the park and would love to send you pictures of a few of them if you’d like

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