Imagine reaching the top of a hill, after 2 hours hiking, and seeing a view that makes your jaw drop! That is surely the dream of anyone who loves hiking. But finding those places is not always easy, or the hikes not accessible to your average joe. That is why in this post I want to sure you some easy to reach, and quite easy hiking destinations you can consider for your next vacation.
Switzerland, Land Of Mountains
If you want to combine a trip to Europe with a bit of stunning mountain scenery, there is no better place than Switzerland.
Most of the hikes are extremely easy to get to, often with public transport. And with so many ski lifts and gondolas around, most of the time you can avoid the hard slog to the top and just enjoy the views.
There are quite a few must visit mountains in Switzerland, but the ones I would consider for the best scenery are: The Matterhorn (in Zermatt), Pilatus (near Lucerne), and the Eiger (near Grindelwald). There is a reason these mountains are famous and on most tourist’s radars – they are easy to get to and will have you running out of memory on your camera in minutes!
Colorado, Starting At A Mile High
Another place right in the heart of the USA worth a visit is Colorado. And why not? Denver, the capital, is within easy reach of the mountains. Often less than an hour away by car, and with bucketloads of hiking options.
Of course, the Rockies are not to underestimate, but there are some easy options too. Like the Blue Lakes Trail (one of the most stunning blue lakes you will ever see) or Bear Lake with its stunning reflections. The choices are almost endless!
Nepal, The Heart Of The Himalaya
A little bit more of a commitment, but certainly worth the effort, Nepal is a must see for any lover of high peaks. Nepal offers some of the highest mountains in the world within reach of almost anyone willing to put in the effort. Such renowned mountains as: Everest, Annapurna, Lhotse, Ama Dablam and many more.
Of course, with such high peaks comes a little extra effort to go with it. You can take a short flight to shorten the trek in, but in almost every case you are going to have to trek for at least a week. However, if you like hiking and treking as much as I do, it will only put a smile on your face.
Some of the more popular treks in Nepal include the Anapurna Circuit and the trek to Everest Base Camp. If you want to avoid the crowds you can also try some of the lesser visited routes such as Annapurna Base Camp, the Lang Tang trek, or the Manasulu trek.
Patagonia, About As Far South As You Can Go
South America is not as well known as the other three on this list, but it is one of my favorites for sure. With glaciers and floating icebergs only hours walk away from civilization, the wilderness was never more accessible.
The biggest challenge with Patagonia is the weather. Because it is so far south, and subject to strong winds and storms, you can often get a lot of rain. However, once the fog and rain clear, the views will knock your socks off. I remember waiting 5 days in El Chalten for the rain to pass before we could hike to see Fitz Roy. But the sunset views from our tent were worth the wait.
So, what are the “big” hikes and must sees in Patagonia, I would say: Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre (you can see them on a day hike, or a multi-day circuit) as well as Torres Del Paine are enough to blow you away. And a side-trip to see Perrito Moreno glacier while you are there is worth the effort.
Which One To Choose?
With so many amazing places to visit, which should you choose? Well, it depends on where you live and how much time you have for vacation. As well as the time of year.
Colorado is obviously easy if you are in the USA in summer. Switzerland is best in the northern summer too.
Nepal is best in October-December, when the monsoons have passed and the skies are clear. But the treks are usually long and require some acclimatization – so give yourself at least 3 weeks. And despite the recent earthquakes in the area, most places are now safe to go to.
Patagonia is similar, with the weather best in the southern summer (December-March) however there is no real altitude problem there. So you just need to consider travel time. No matter which region you head to, you won’t regret the decision!