What better way to celebrate the start of summer than fresh air and exercise, plus stunning natural views while backpacking through some of the world’s best trails? Our correspondent Tomas White has curated a list of 7 of the best adventure travel hikes, hiking and backpacking trails in the world for a vacation this summer 2022, including trekking trips and scenic tours.
best places for an adventure travel hiking vacation summer 2022
After a rather trying winter, it’s safe to say we could all use a little fresh air.
Whether you’re marveling at the soaring peaks and alpine glaciers across France, Switzerland and Italy on the Tour du Mont Blanc. Or soaking in the atmosphere at the fabled city of Machu Picchu. Or meandering through the lush valleys and ancient villages of Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit – we have your guide to going the distance in summer 2022.
Best Adventure Hiking and trekking trips and tours for summer vacation 2022
1. Camino de Santiago
Location: Spain, France, Portugal
Total Possible Length: 500 Miles (800km)
The Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James, is a famous Catholic pilgrimage route dating back to the middle ages. More than 350,000 pilgrims hiked this path every year prior to Covid. The Camino actually consists of a network of various pilgrimage routes all terminating at the town of Santiago de Compostela in Northwest Spain, where it is said that the remains of Saint James the Apostle are buried. The most well known route, both in popular culture and in foot traffic, is the Camino Frances, which starts at St. Jean Pied de Port in France. This is the route that about 55% of the pilgrims walk. It takes an average walker about five weeks to complete.
While many people are inspired by religious devotion on this walk, the beautiful mountainous scenery of the Pyrenees, quaint villages, and delicious Galician and Basque food certainly add to its charm. Another famous branch of this network starts in Lisbon and lets you walk almost the whole North South length of Portugal.
2. Tour du Mont Blanc (aka TMB)
Location: France, Switzerland, and Italy
Total Possible Length: 100 Miles (160km)
With soaring peaks, alpine glaciers, flower filled meadows and architectural treasures, there is a clear reason the Tour du Mont Blanc is considered one of the great hikes of the world.
Most people take 13 days to finish the circuit around the tallest mountain in Western Europe and there are plenty of outfitters to help provide support forwarding your luggage to the next inn. Chamonix, frequently cited as the Adventure Capital of the World, is a popular starting off point for the hike. Between the sights and the delicious food options, this trek should be on everyone’s post-pandemic bucket list.
3. The Nakasendo Trail
Total Possible Length: 205 Miles (330km)
You could take the bullet train between Tokyo and Kyoto, but why not travel like it’s the 1600’s and simply walk between the two cities?
The Nakasendo Trail starts and ends at two very modern futuristic metropolises, but in between traverses through bamboo forests, wooded hills, and traditional villages that look very similar to the way they did during the Edo Period of Japan. Most travelers stay in Japanese traditional inns along the way called Ryokans, and there are many outfitters that can pick up and forward your luggage to your next stay. Most hikers end up skipping the city portions of the walk and end up walking for five nights. The full city-to-city walk generally takes 11 nights.
4. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Total Possible Length: 48 Miles (78km)
There is no better way to enter the fabled city of Machu Picchu than through the Sun Gate at the break of dawn. Located above the ruins and far from the crowds, the view is a just reward after a strenuous hike in the thin air of the Andes. Most hikers complete the hike in three nights and four days, though the longest option allows for seven days. Besides the reward of seeing majestic Inca ruins along the way, the trail passes through lush, beautiful mountains and valleys where the Andes and Amazon rainforest meet.
5. Mount Kilimanjaro Summit
Total Possible Length: 48 Miles (78 Km)
As the world’s tallest free-standing mountain and the tallest in all of Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro has many superlatives. Just south of the Equator, it rises above the dry Serengeti Savanna and contains many biozones before topping out in an arctic like zone with snow and glaciers. While there are well trodden routes that require no technical skills, the sheer elevation gain and need for altitude acclimatization for the 5,895 meter (19,341 feet) summit push requires users to be in general good fitness.
There is one route up the mountain that provides accommodations along the way, but otherwise most people camp. Either way, a guide is required to climb the mountain and most people also hire porters to assist with the logistics. The amazing views from the roof of Africa, the beautiful fauna and flora endemic to the mountain, and the feat of climbing one of the Seven Summits of the World make this a required trip on everyone’s hiking bucket list. Most people complete this hike in 6 days.
6. Grand Canyon-Rim-to-Rim
Locations: Arizona, USA
Total Possible Length: 24 Miles (39 Km)
The Grand Canyon is probably America’s most iconic natural wonder. This hike allows one to experience its beauty and stunning geology from all angles, heights and depths. While the hike is not long in length, it makes up for it with sheer elevation drops and gains as well as a punishing arid environment. While technically possible to complete as a day hike, it is recommended to be done as a three-day backpacking trip, with a stay of at least one night at Bright Angel Campground, on the gurgling banks of the Colorado River.
Those lucky enough can stay at the Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon. While not that expensive, it is certainly one of the most exclusive lodges in the world; guests need to enter a lottery for a chance to stay there a full 15 months down the road. An added bonus of winning the lottery is that you can also elect to have a mule schlepp you and your luggage in and out.
7. Milford Track
Location: New Zealand
Total Possible Length: 33 Miles (53 Km)
Famous for over one hundred years, the Milford Track is a four-day hike. It is from Lake Te Anau, through the Fiordland national Park, to the Milford Sound, a fiord known for its towering peaks, rainforest, stunning waterfalls, and colonies of penguins, seals and dolphins.
Of all the hikes on this list, this is probably the most moderate. Most people complete it in four days. Passing through beech forests, glacier fed rivers, and alpine scenery, there is good reason lots of trekkers call this “The Finest Walk in the World.” Almost every step is like walking into postcard scenery, where the water is incredibly pure. You are actually encouraged to drink it straight from the source! As with other hikes on this list, it is necessary to book a coveted spot way in advance.
best places to take a hiking vacation in summer 2022
That’s our take on the best adventure travel of the moment: hikes, hiking and backpacking trails for summer vacation 2022, with scenic trips and trekking tours to book now.
No matter where you find yourself, whether it is in Patagonia, the Irish coast, or the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, try to make a point of stretching those legs, getting back into nature and experiencing new cultures. Your mind, body and soul will thank you.
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A fan of remote nature travel, Tomas White enjoys the dichotomy of the good life in harsh settings, whether it is scuba diving off a decommissioned deep-sea oil platform in the Celebes Sea or reading a good book in a remote desert resort in Utah. He likes to keep his possessions to a minimum, and is thus a huge fan of the power of technology and is very particular about finding well-designed items that are built to last. Tomas majored in English at Harvard, and is making a career in IT. He lives in Chicago with his wife and 4-year-old son.
Join our community
For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter. And see luxury in a new light.