Whether you want a change in the everyday workout routine, a fun activity to explore the great outdoors, or a new life adventure, hiking is the best way to fulfill all these needs. It presents a unique opportunity to spend time with oneself, family, friends, and pets away from the hubbub of the city, challenging you out of your comfort zone.
If nature is your calling, hiking is the most authentic way of connecting with Mother Nature. Hiking offers fantastic sceneries; this outdoor activity presents incredible views and landscapes through various terrains, weather, and seasons, whether fall, winter, or summer. With the current age of evolving technology and growing screen time, hiking helps you to disconnect from screens, aiding better mental health.
Among some expected health benefits, hiking improves endurance by strengthening the lungs and heart and works multiple muscles in the lower body. It also has a vast positive impact on mental health; hiking brings a sense of composure and inner peace, and sometimes, it also helps get a sense of real purpose in life that many people often search for.
This article covers many underrated hiking trails, the undiscovered great outdoors, and hiking trails the world offers that promise beautiful sceneries and physical challenges that tick off every item on the hikers’ bucket list. Further, this article summarizes some immersive experiences regarding culture and nature and a few lesser-known facts that would leave you surprised and enthusiastic to discover all the hikes mentioned.
1. Lares Trek to Machu Pichu, Peru
Peru is well known for its jaw-dropping backdrops that cater to the fantastic Andean culture and the gorgeous Lares Trek, a must-visit. The Lares trek is a profoundly enriching experience accompanied by immense physical exertion and the magnificence of nature that is soothing and calming to the human mind. The route to this trek seamlessly combines nature and local Peruvian interactions, giving an overall intriguing experience.
The Lares Trek is an enchanting hiking route in the Cusco region of Peru and is one of the world’s most renowned hiking trails; this is one of the less crowded hiking paths to visit the iconic Machu Pichu. This route is also known as the ‘route of the weavers’, holding to its name. This route has local communities that follow ancient weaving techniques to create beautiful textiles. This factor makes the Lares Trek stand out.
The beginning point of this trek is usually Pumahuanca, which is essentially situated at an elevation of 3,150 meters above sea level; this route also covers the well-known sacred valley. This trek typically ends in 4 days, leading to Machu Pichu.
2. Goecha La Trek, India
This classic Himalayan trek is one of the popular trekking routes among people of India and around the world. This mind-blowing route in Sikkim offers colorful Rhododendron forests, infinite meadows of Thansing, gorgeous Samiti Lake, and fascinating panoramas of the giant mountains of the Himalayas, including the renowned Kangchenjunga.
Goecha La Trek is a lifetime adventure on board you on a journey towards Kanchenjunga National Park. Some other mountains that can be spotted on this route include Talung, Kabru, Pandim, and Simvo. This journey commences from a hamlet called Yuksom in the west district of Sikkim. During this hiking route, one would encounter multiple suspension bridges, streams, waterfalls, and rivers.
This trek is a 9-day moderate to strenuous trail usually recommended for experienced hikers or avid hiking enthusiasts. Prior preparation and proper attention to the acclimatization process and some fitness training are always suggested for the trip. The last section of the trek from Lamuney to Goecha La pass is easily one of the most challenging sections, reaching over an elevation of 3000 meters.
One of the fascinating facts about the underrated hiking trail is that ‘Yuksom,’ where the hiking begins, means meeting three lamas. The hike lies on the eastern side of the adjacent country, Nepal.
3. Rim Trail, USA
The Rim Trail is one of the best hikes in the USA, stretching along the 21-kilometer rim of the famous Grand Canyon National Park. The Grand Canyon National Park is situated in the northwest part of Arizona. It is 446 kilometers long, 29 kilometers wide, and 1829 meters deep, covering a vast area. The famous Colorado River divides the canyon, and the evidence of the river can be seen from the Rim trail.
This extensive, raw, eroded beauty of the canyon comes from the forces of nature, such as wind, water, and stone. This happens because of the earth’s natural phenomena, where the land is pushed up, and at the same time, the Colorado River can be observed carving down and through over time through centuries.
The term ‘Rim Trail’ essentially means hiking from the southern to the northern rim, and the underrated hike trail can be done in a day or multiple days if one decides to go camping on the trail. Depending on the side of the trail, hikers can take advantage of the bus shuttle if they get too tired. The Rim trail offers an excellent 360-degree view of the Grand Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979, and is among the world’s greatest geological spectacles. Interestingly, the Grand Canyon changes color throughout the day and seasons.
4. Nevado de Toluca, Mexico
Hiking to the fourth-highest volcano in Mexico makes this fantastic trip to Nevado de Toluca, just a mere 3-hour drive from bustling Mexico City, memorable and beautiful. Although the volcano is no longer active, mammoth bones were discovered in the debris of this extinct volcano, and it offers exceptional views of multiple turquoise lakes and craters. It’s one of the best hikes in Mexico for catching fresh air and escaping busy city life.
Standing tall at 4,691 meters, Nevado de Toluca is the best moderate alpine climbing in Mexico. Nevado de Toluca has many outdoor activities to offer, attracting many people around the world. Multiple easy hike options are also available for non-climbers, and the rich, cold lakes, Lago del Sol and Lago del Luna, attract many scuba divers catering to a diverse crowd. The dry season from November through March is the ideal time to climb, and the underrated hiking trail contains some skiing during the winter.
Many Mexicans consider Nevado de Toluca spiritual, and some everyday rituals include modern-day parents bringing their newborn babies to the crater and presenting them to the mountain. The summit of Nevado de Toluca is very pointy. The hike to the peak can be done in a day or two, depending on the lodging chosen.
5. The Sapa Valley Trek, Vietnam
The Sapa is the abode of Vietnam’s highest mountain peak, Fan Si Pan, which overlooks rice paddies aligned on Sapa’s steep walls. Along with being visually appealing, this valley, which was once designed as a hill station by the French, is the home of many ethnic people in Vietnam, such as the Dao, the Dai, and the H’Mong. The mesmerizing greeneries of Sapa Valley attract people from all over the world; with a local guide, the experience becomes all the more enriching for hikers.
The route begins in Sapa town, where hikers can also experience the famous colorful hill tribe market of the Sapa town; one can take a taxi or follow the road to the tail head equipped with stairs to the trail. On the course, one can also glimpse the gorgeous Sapa Lake on this moderate trail. Sapa is beautiful all year, and every season has its beauty; however, winter can be very misty and foggy, with occasional snow on the mountain peaks.
A full day of trekking in this valley is sufficient. However, one would ideally spend 2 to 3 days taking in the beauty of Sapa Valley, which is dense with multiple mountain trails. Sapa offers three levels of treks based on the ability to hike; the underrated hike trail takes to the absolute peak of the Fansipan. Some popular are the Lao Chai and Ta Van villages, Cat Cat – Sin Chai villages, Can Ho B – Ta Giang Phinh village, the Sa Seng – Hang Da – Hau Thao villages, and the Ta Phin village.
Based on the trek chosen, hikers can enjoy waterfall and river views. The locals use the lush green vegetation on these treks for various purposes, including clothing, medication, and cooking.
Related: 5 reasons why you should visit Vietnam.
6. Big Almaty Peak, Kazakhstan
At 2,511 meters in the Almaty Canyon, Almaty Peak is a triangle-shaped mountain visible from every corner of the city, dominating the skyline. Nestled in Kazakhstan, this mountain is home to a glacial lake with a gorgeous turquoise blue color, a significant source of drinking water for that region, just like most lakes in the Tien Shan mountains. These lakes appeared due to multiple earthquakes that happened in the past.
Along with catering to fantastic scenery, the Big Almaty is blessed with abundant bird species, ancient fir, and Siberian pine trees. The Big Almaty is often underrated for its lush greenery, which is sidelined due to the dominating blue of the lake. Spending time in this national park seems surreal and soothing at the same time.
The weekends are the busiest; hence, avoiding it will cater to a better experience in this national park. From September to October, the lake is in the pristine blue state after all the disappearance of the snow. However, it is essential to note that one does not touch or approach the lake since it is heavily guarded to keep its natural beauty intact.
Many More To Explore
There are many more such underrated hiking trails around the world looking pristine and ever-beautiful, reminding us of what a remarkable place the Earth is. A hiking enthusiast would dream of exploring all the treasured pockets of the great outdoors at least once in a lifetime. Every hike in the great outdoors brings one closer to Mother Nature. It gives excellent opportunities to learn about places, people, and their unique cultures that are cherished as every lasting experience.