Tag Archives: Hiking

Hikes of the World

I just wanted to take a moment and list some of my most memorable hikes and also some hikes that I’m hoping someday to do. Please let me know your thoughts on these hikes or any I should add to my list.

Treks I’ve done

Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

2-3 weeks / 260 km

Annapurna 2010

This is my all-time favorite hike and one of the only ones I’ve done twice. There is a road now which is good for people who live there and people who used to have to carry goods up on their head, although I hear it’s made the hike less enjoyable. I don’t think I’ve ever seen nature more beautiful than this, and I don’t know if I ever will.

Annapurna Sanctuary, Nepal

80 km / 5-10 days

Despite the similar name, this is mostly an entirely different hike than the Annapurna Circuit, though it is possible to link up the two. This hike has stairs for days, and in this case that’s not an exaggeration. It’s a really good “easy” Himalaya hike though it must be said it’s not the easiest hike in the world.

Everest Base Camp and 3(ish) Passes, Nepal

3-4 weeks / 220ish* km

Distances in Nepal are usually measured in hours, not kilometers. Furthermore some people (including myself) took a jeep to Jiri and hiked in, which adds a few dozen km on either side. Once you get a high enough elevation, your hiking days become very short as you can only safely gain 300 meters/ 1000 feet of elevation a day. It also depends on how many of the passses you do. When I went, I only summited Cho La because of heavy snowstorms on Kongma and Renjo La. That was in early March, so those hiking later would have no problem. Also Gokyo Lakes were snowed under that early, which was a bummer–but the tradeoff is that the guesthouses had room and often even gave away free rooms.

Much of this hike is above the treeline so the beauty is raw and stark. EBC itself is a hefty 5,364 meters (17,598 feet) but it is not the highest point. Both Kala Pattar (5,545,meters/18,190 feet) Chukkung Ri (5,550 meters/18,200 feet) are optional side-routes but should be considered mandatory.

Kalaw to Lake Inle, Myanmar

3 days / 57 k

This is a great training hike. Not much elevation gain; no need to bring tents or food. Meet locals, chat with your guide, and just take in the scenery. Dry earth and curious kids and goats and moon festivals alike await: the best thing is, at the end you are at Inle Lake, one of the coolest parts of the country.

Goat Rocks, USA

?? km 3-4 days

I don’t really remember how long this hike was, but I started at Packwood Lake and hiked along the PCT for a few days before hitchhiking back. It was cool. As an Oregonian I’m supposed to be partial to Mt. Hood but can you honestly look at Rainer and not admit that it’s just as awesome? I certainly can’t!

Keplar Circuit, New Zealand

60 km, 4 days

This was the first Great Walk I did, as well as my first proper backpacking experience, back in 2006 when I lived in Australia. I made so many mistakes–bringing a change of clothes for each day! Bringing a proper big bath towel! Bringing a kilo of rice and a big glass bottle of soy sauce! Letting the soy sauce leak all over my clothes. Buying a liter of Frangelico at the duty free and lugging that along as well! It was with a heavy bag and a heavy heart that I trudged through this wild wilderness but the Keplar is truly amazing. Bonus: it was made in a convenient loop, so you can walk right from town.

Milford Track, New Zealand

3-4 days / 53.5 km

‘the finest walk in the world’ 

The 2nd Great Walk I did. Supposedly there are epic views but this picture is pretty indicative of my trip. Went off-peak, which was great because it was way cheaper and more flexible (you don’t have to pre-book where you stay). If you like mist in the mountains though, this tramp* is for you. Although I’ll never forget a German girl on the trek who was so upset at the mist. “This is shit,” she kept saying, “This is so shit.” Her tone was one of bafflement, like she had been attacked.
Fun facts: Long hikes in NZ are called “tramps.” Trail mix is called “Scroggin” And everything is “sweet as.”

Queen Charlotte Trek, New Zealand

2-3 days / 72 km

The 3rd Great Walk I’ve done. This is a beautiful trek with some long climbs where you can see hungry wekas and ocean views. The camping is cool too; sleeping in orchards and farms. Furtheremore, you get a dope boat ride on either end across the top of NZ’s South Island. I was more meh on this hike that I expected because, I suspect, the scenery never really changes. Jaw-dropping bay views from day 1 just seem like normal by day 3. But in their defense, they are jaw-dropping views nonetheless.

Chelan Lakeshore Trail, USA

1-3 days, 17 miles

I remember thumbing through a Pacific Northwest hiking book and just being transfixed by the sight of Lake Chelan. It settled in my head like a mental mosquito and I had to come check this out. I hiked it with two friends when we were all celebrating our 30th birthday and it’s really a perfect little hike.

Chitwan National Park Trek, Nepal

3 days / 30 km

If you like animals, this is a great trek. I saw rhinos, gators, sloth bears, wild pigs, and got close to seeing a tiger (found its footprints next to the water early in the morning.

Lake Waikaremoana, New Zealand

3-4 Days / 46 KM

Compared to the walks on the south island or Tongariro, this is a lesser-known Great Walk. But in it’s defense it is a walk–the Whanganui journey is a great walk that is entirely in a boats. I liked this hike–it was was consistently pleasant without ever threatening to be epic. I can’t guarantee this for you, but All Blacks legend Dan Carter slept in the first hut the same night as me. Man, did he carry a lot of gear, including a gas stove (the huts have stoves already). This definitely is a walk, but I find the claim of “great” to be a little undfounded. Maybe “Generally Nice Walk” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Pouakai Circuit, New Zealand

3-5 days / 52km

This hike goes through so many tussocks that it gets high marks for that alone. This was another New Zealand summer hike where it rained so much that a) I never saw the mountain and b) even in waterproofs, we ended up being miserably wet.

Honorable Mention – Day Hikes that are as Exhausting and Epic as Proper Treks

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

I really wanted to do the full Tongariro Circuit and had booked it months in advance but even though it was the middle of summer, New Zealand remembered how far south it is and it snowed like crazy. Luckily the day hike was still available. It’s called “the finest day hike in the world” and to me it lived up to that status. Kiwis are so low-key that when they brag, they really mean it.

Trolltunga, Norway

Look at those people just chilling on a Troll’s Tounge

Perhaps the single best hiking day of my life. I had just arrived in Norway, drove across the country, camped out, hid from trolls, enjoyed Taco Friday (it’s a thing there) while camping, got up, rode bikes for 10 or so kilometers, scrambled up a mountain, climbed a via ferreta, had a snowball fight, and then ended up here. Posed for pictures, did a dance on the Troll Tongue (sorry, mom!) and then did the whole thing in reverse, ending up in cabin in the woods.

Glencoe, Scotland

I’m pretty sure you have to say the phrase “rugged beauty” when you’re talking about the Highlands. So enjoy some rugged beauty! Glencoe is one of my very favorite places in the world.

Besseggen Ridge, Norway

Camping at Gjendesheim is free.

All you need to know is that this area in Norwegian is called “The Land of the Giants” and every trail sounds like it could be a Led Zeppelin song.

Seoraksan – Dinosaur Ridge. South Korea

Yes a lot of people come here. So much that there are times you have to queue on the trail. It’s also super hard, so much up and down and a lot it is climbing up or down ropes. I went on a group trek that started at 5:30 am before summiting and then continuing over dinosaur ridge. We did get a little lost and ended up back at the bus by 9:30 pm that night. Grueling but very much type II fun.

Japanese Alps

I ended up hiking this with a guy from my hostel who was from Switzerland (the actual alps) and he was none too impressed. But while Matterhorn-less, these mountains are great. For a long time, completing this day hike gave me my Fitbit step count record (62,000 steps). I would really love to come back and complete the full Kamikochi-Yari-Hotaka Circuit

Bluebird Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, USA

I haven’t spent a lot of time in the Rockies, but judging from this hike it would be a good idea to go back. This is a great day hike, going past waterfalls and rivers and fields before ending up at a beautiful mountain lake.

Booyong walking track, Australia

The thing about hiking in Australia is that are so many spiders you might want to carry a stick in front of you to break all the webs. This area was pretty leechy as well, but we also saw all kinds of birds and even wild pottaroos. (Yes that’s a real thing.)

Santubong, Borneo, Malaysia

Most people when they think of Malaysia and hiking think of Kota Kinabalu but it was too expensive for my blood, so this hike down in Sarawak served as a good substitute. Just a day hike but with natural roots serving as via ferrata there were truly some death defying moments. It was so humid I had to take of my shirt and wring it out–every ten minutes. The views and breezes up on the top are very nice.

Green Lakes Trail, USA

Ever have a trail blow your mind? This place is so pretty it feels like it was designed by Disney as the ideal hike.

Cocora Valley, Columbia

I blogged pretty recently about this hike. Wait, what do you mean over a year ago doesn’t count as recently?!

Hikes I’ve partially done


Planning on doing a lot more this summer

Overland Track

Mucked around for two days at Cradle Mountain. Would love to do the whole thing.

Zion Narrows

Just hiked in a couple of miles before it got dark.

Timberline Trail

Hiked for one day going north and two days starting south but need to connect the whole thing.

Hikes I really want to do

Lycian Way

The most historical of hikes is quite the draw for me.

Swedish Kings Way

You can see the Northern Lights!

West Highland Way

I can’t actually go to Scotland anymore but if I could it would be for this

Scottish National Trail

I can’t actually go to Scotland anymore but if I could it would also be for this


I didn’t rank any of NZ’s Great Walks that highly, but I reckon that’s just because I’m waiting for the right one.

Te Araroa Trail

Something about crossing a country is just cool. Though if you did it horizontally it would be way easier.

Wonderland Trail

Looks amazing but I hate having to get permits.


Looks just as amazing but I still hate having to get permits.

Torres Del Paine



Another classico


The worst name for a hike ever, true, but it doesn’t look like the worst.

Yeti Hikes: How Expensive is the Annapurna Circuit?

Nepal has two “big” hikes–the Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit.  (And lots of other, probably more worthwhile and certainly less touristy choices.)  With some of the best mountain views in the world, great chances to meet trekkers from around the world, plentiful and delicious food, and comfortable beds each night, these treks have earned their status as world-class.  But although they are on many hikers all-time wish lists, for the average person a trek to Nepal can seem rather expensive and overall unattainable.

Some costs are unavoidable.  You’ll need to have boots, fleeces, noncotton shirts, and a backpack.  Airfare is what it is (though you can fly from London or LA to India for less than 600 bucks).  Once you are in Nepal, though, it’s cheap as chips.  And the hiking is cheaper than that! (Yes, even cheaper than chips.)

Handy Signs Abound

Handy Signs Abound

And if you relied on the internet for checking prices, you’d be forgiven for believing the Annapurna Circuit costs the equivalent of Sierra Leone’s yearly budget.

How much does it cost to hike Annapurna?

World Expeditions charges $2890 for 24 days in Nepal.

The bandits at REI charge you $3000 to hike the shorter Sanctuary Trek for a total of 14 days.

EXPLORE seems like a relative bargain with charges of $1980 for three weeks

These places aren’t cherry-picked; it’s pretty much $2000-3000 dollars to hike the Circuit if you book from abroad.  (Which, for a variety of reasons, you should never do.)

AC Day 1

Early Days

Even the indy route seems scary–these guys are pretty indicative—17 days (with porter and guide) cost them $1455.  (Tangent alert: Stay tuned for another post why hiring porters is an asshole move.)

It’s Much Cheaper than this.

As mentioned above, you need airfare and hiking equipment (which, if you don’t have, can be purchased cheaply in Kathmandu or Pokhara.)  And then you have to buy the permits.

It costs 40 dollars for your ACAP permit and TIMS card.  (ACAP is still, despite a recent government takeover, largely a good organization.  Click the link for more on how they affect the region.)  TIMS is less so—you are paying a subsidy to the trekking agencies who threw a fit at how many trekkers were going alone.  But what are you going to do?  It costs 20 bucks or more to get into some American National Parks.

100 rupees = approx $1 USD

100 rupees = approx $1 USD

The bus from Pokhara, depending on how well you negotiate, should be about 6 dollars.  It will be cheaper coming back, as you are much closer to Pokhara at the end.

And then there are your daily expenses.  These include breakfast, lunch, dinner, room, drinks and snacks.  Also included are things like toilet paper, band-aids, wipes, moisturizer creme, etc.  Ours varied (prices increase as you climb higher.)  On our best day, they were as low as $18.20 (total) and our most expensive day cost $34.15.  We didn’t really limit ourselves on tea, sodas, or meals, but we didn’t drink any beer on the trek.  (Caffeine and alcohol aren’t recommended when climbing that high.)

In total, for 14 days of hiking for food, accommodation and various sundries we spent $341.89.

Add in transportation to and from the trailheads, and the ACAP and TIMS permit, and our total cost was $444 dollars.

For those not great at math, that’s $222 each.  $111 per week.  Just over $15 dollars a day.  Not the cheapest you could live for, by any means, but a far cry from REI’s rates of $214 per day.

annapurna 2

The payoff

In other words, if you’ve dreamed of hiking in the world’s highest mountains, eating lentils 3 times a day, riding a Yak, or spotting a Yeti, don’t let the costs stop you.  Cheaper than chips is cheap indeed.