The best treks not only give you the opportunity to explore nature in all its glory, but also allow you to gain insight into an area’s history and culture. The following five treks will do just that, while also challenging you physically and keeping you occupied mentally.
- The Everest Base Camp Nepal
Following the route many refer to as “the steps to heaven” gives you endless opportunities to challenge yourself, while also viewing spectacular sights. And, of course, just seeing Mount Everest will change the way you look at the entire planet.
Thanks to the lush forests, glacial moraines, foothills, and Sherpa villages, you can also expect to take some mind-blowing photos. As you make the trek to get to the window to the top of the world, you’ll get up close and personal with the Himalayan people. Take the time to not only conquer glaciers and high passes, but also to visit Sherpa villages and the locals during teahouse stays before you get to base camp.
The best time to hit the Everest Base Camp trek is between August and November. On a side note, you should know that the “yaks” you may come across are actually a yak-cattle hybrid called a dzo. Also, there’s a good chance that any “yak burger” you eat in a guesthouse is really water buffalo. For locals, yaks are far too valuable to kill.
- The Inca Trail in Peru
Taking the path of the Inca to the top of the Andes offers plenty of chances for memorable moments, while also allowing you to breathe in Peru’s pure mountain air. While there are too many amazing things to see to name them all, you can rest assured that passing the ancient Tambo ruins and walking through the Sun Gate to get your first look at the forgotten city of Machu Picchu won’t be something you soon forget. Walking the Inca Trail is both a huge accomplishment and a transformative moment.
The best time to walk the Inca Trail is from May to September. Take the time to explore the Sacred Valley Ruins and learn about the traditional way of life as you head to Machu Picchu.
On a side note, don’t be concerned if you pass a porter sleeping with a mirror beneath them. It is believed that this will ward off spirits coming up through the earth.
- Tanzania’s Mt Kilimanjaro
If you are a fan of heights and taking risks, Mt Kilimanjaro is definitely worth considering. Topping off at 19,340 ft., it is the highest peak in Africa and has been walked by quite a few world famous mountaineers and explorers. Let’s be clear. Kilimanjaro isn’t for everyone, but with multiple routes to the top, your chances of successfully making the summit are greater. On your trek, you can expect to cross glaciers, along with alpine deserts and lush rainforests, while sleeping closer to the stars than you probably ever thought possible.
The best to go is from September to March. Be sure to really take in everything you come across as you trek through a variety of glaciers and forests on the way to Africa’s highest peak.
Here’s an interesting fact. Mt Kilimanjaro has an example of almost every ecosystem on earth, including alpine moorlands, savannahs, glaciers, snowfields, deserts, and tropical rainforest jungles.
- Colombia’s Lost City
Trekking Colombia’s Ciudad Perdida at Teyuna is truly a unique opportunity. On your trek, you will head through flourishing jungles and cross over pristine streams before getting to the ruins of Teyuna. Along the way, you can take advantage of the hammocks strung up by local villagers and also absorb some of the area’s culture. At the ruins, you will pretty much have full run of the place, allowing you to explore every single inch at your own pace.
The best time to make this trek is from December to March. Along the way, stop to enjoy the jungle scenery and take a dip in the Buritaca River before finally taking those last 1,200 steps to the Lost City of Teyuna.
On a side note, Ciudad Perdida, built by the Tairona civilization, was home to as many as 10,000 people during its peak. This was 650 years before Machu Picchu.
- Europe’s Mount Blanc
Passing through three countries (France, Italy, and Switzerland) and covering over 100 miles, the Tour du Mont Blanc is definitely a challenge. However, the rewards are great and including outstanding views of Mont Blanc itself, steep valleys, and glaciers. After a long day of traveling through meadows and crossing high passes, you can take advantage of the local cuisine in simple refuges. Situated in the heart of Europe, this is one of the world’s premier hiking routes.
The best time to trek Mont Blanc is from June to September. While hiking the Mont Blanc massif, be sure to take the time to appreciate all of the steep trails, windswept cols, alpine meadows, and rocky peaks.
Here’s an interesting fact. Pierre-Andre Gobet, a Swiss climber, managed to climb Mont Blanc roundtrip from Chamonix in a mere 5 hours, 10 minutes, and 14 seconds in 1990.