The idea of walking for fun is a relatively recent idea. It started to become acceptable in the 18th century due to changing attitudes about nature. Prior to that, walking was considered something poor people and vagrants did. But a few men such as Thomas West, an English clergyman, helped popularize the concept by writing a guide to the Lake District in 1778; and other early proponents included a contemporary of West, the English poet William Wordsworth; and, in the 19th century, poet John Keats and writer Robert Louis Stevenson.
Fast forward to 2012 when the number of total outdoor outings by Americans reached an all-time high with Americans going on 12.4 billion outdoor excursions, up from 11.5 billion excursions in 2011.
Whether you are an avid outdoors person or just beginning, it’s time to put on your hiking boots and head out for the hike of your life.
Huilo Huilo, Chile
Huilo Huilo is a natural for outdoor enthusiasts. Set in the Patagonian Forest nestled on the north side of the river Puerto Fuy, it is near the “Salto de la Leona” waterfall. Here, you can opt for any one of 40 excursions by horseback, by bike, kayak, specialized vehicle or on foot! For trekkers, you have the option to enjoy hikes that offer a leisurely pace, or choose something more demanding. The Huilo-Huilo Reserve has multiple trails allowing through the Patagonian Forest, crystal rivers and lakes, flora and fauna, and volcanic formations at your own pace. At nightfall, armed with torches like the early explorers, you take a fascinating hike into a mysterious nocturnal world. Hike Huilo Huilo in our Chile’s Patagonia & Mapuche Culture
Phobjika Valley, Bhutan
Hike through this magnificent landscape of the valley of Phobjikha, part of one of Bhutan’s most important wildlife reserves. The valley is home to a flock of 300 rare and endangered black-neck cranes. You can enjoy other hikes on our 12-day Central Bhutan journey, including a hike to Cheri Goemba, the monastery where the first monastic body was established in the country, and a morning hike in Punakha Valley through fields of chilies, cabbages and rice that lining the banks of the Mo Chhu River. We can also incorporate other hikes for those interested. Begin by exploring Central Bhutan.
For serious hikers, you can’t beat this high altitude (3,850 m/12,600 ft) hike. The four-day trek – lodge to lodge – ends at spectacular Machu Picchu. The highest point on the trek is a pass at 4,600 m/15,000 ft., which offer views of the snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range, and the south face of Salkantay towering above you. Hiking level is considered difficult with that 15,000-foot mountain pass. But for the avid hiker, this truly is a Walk among the Ancients.
Hiking is the best way to experience the natural beauty of Zhangjiajie with many paths through the stunning sandstone landscape. It doesn’t take long to realize that this is the land of AVATAR. At Yellow Stone Mountain, take a cable car to the top of the mountain. Travel to the cable car launch traveling to Tianzi Mountain. Hike to the top for incredible views, sightseeing in Helong Park and Tianzi Tower. Discover Legendary China.
Mahale Mountains, Tanzania
Mahale Mountains is home to Greystoke Mahale, with just six wood and thatch bandas set on a pristine, white sandy beach overlooking the turquoise water of Lake Tanganyika, with the forested slopes of the 8,000-foot Mahale Mountains rising behind. Here, chimpanzees are the focus of your visit. Each day, the rangers advise you of the whereabouts of the chimp groups, and possibility of seeing them. In addition to tracking chimps, you can also hike forest paths looking for birds and butterflies, as well as the other shy mammals who quietly live there. For a chance to encounter these endangered animals that are closest living relative, explore Tanzania: Into the Wild.