What Is The Longest Hiking- Only Trail In The World (2021)

A hiking trail is known as an increasingly popular off-road sport. Exercising health and finding fun on every trail attract many participants to trail hiking.

Trail hiking is always an engaging adventure whether you’re a fan of hiking trails, or someone looking to conquer long continental trails or enjoy walking.

What is the longest hiking-only trail in the world ? Let’s check out the top 16 longest hiking trails in the world.

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Hiking Trail- A Popular Activity

Hiking Trail- A Popular Activity
Hiking Trail- A Popular Activity

Trail hiking is an outdoor recreation or an outdoor activity. Trail hiking includes activities in the natural environment, often in mountainous regions, landmarks, scenic spots, or beautiful sites. It’s such a popular activity that many worldwide hiking organizations have been established.

Benefit of hiking

Hiking is one of the most extraordinary things you can do with your health, both physically and mentally.

In addition to the fun and experience of sightseeing, they are also good for your health. It will lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. The respiratory system, cardiovascular system, and lungs also improved.

Trail hiking helps you burn calories, especially when you go fast. Go hiking will help you burn about 500 calories per hour.

Mentally, trail hiking is considered to be more effective at reducing stress than walking on a stable surface.

Trail hiking can ward off depression. A walk for about 90 minutes in a natural environment can provide measurable benefits to the brain and may help fight depression, new research suggests.

Outdoor activities like trail hiking can improve your mood, reduce anxiety and even improve your memory. After an hour of interaction with nature, memory performance and attention span improved by 20%.

It is effective for you to break free of confinement and explore your surroundings. Hiking is also a great activity to bond with friends, family, and other essential things.

Hiking will help you solve the problem more effectively. Spending time outdoors increases attention span and creative problem-solving skills by up to 50%.

Top 16 Longest Hiking Trails In The World

Top 16 Longest Hiking Trails In The World
Top 16 Longest Hiking Trails In The World

Before going into the detailed review, check out the rankings for the top 16 longest hiking- only trail in the world 2021. The chart below will give you the basic information of the longest distance hiking trails such as the location and length of the trails.

No.NameLocationLength
1The Great Trail of CanadaAcross Canada from east to west16,777 miles
2The Great Western LoopIn the west of the USA6,875 miles
3Eastern ContinentalFrom Ernest Hemingway’s former stomping ground in Key West, Florida, to Cape Gaspé, Canada.5,400 miles
4American Discovery TrailFrom Delaware on the Delmarva Peninsula to northern California at the coast of the Pacific Ocean.5,057 miles
5E1 European Long-Distance PathFrom Norway through Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy4,960 miles
6The Sentiero ItaliaFrom Sardinia, Sicily, the Apennines and the Alps ranges, and then heads over to Trieste on the Italian-Slovenian border3,831 miles
7Grand Italian TrailFrom Trieste in northern Italy to Santa Teresa Gallura in Sardinia.3,831 miles
8The Bicentennial National TrailFrom Cooktown in Queensland down the eastern coast of Australia to Healesville3,312 miles
9Continental Divide TrailFrom the New-Mexico and Mexico border till Glacier National Park3,100 miles
10Hokkaido Nature TrailThe main northern island of Japan2,900 miles
11Great Himalayan TrailFrom the heart of the Himalayas through Nepal, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, and Tibet2,800 miles
12Pacific Crest TrailFrom south of Campo, California to Manning Park in British Columbia2,653 miles
13Chubu Hokuriku Nature TrailWithin prefectures of Gunma, Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui, Nagano, Gifu and Shiga2,503 miles
14Kinki Nature TrailWithin prefectures of Fukui, Mie, Shiga, Kyōto, Osaka, Hyōgo, Nara, Wakayama and Tottori2,045 miles
15Te Araroa TrailFrom Cape Reinga to Bluff1,900 miles
16Baker Historical TrailFrom the Sudanese village of Gondokoro to Murchison Falls on the Nile River500 miles

The Great Trail off Canada

The Great Trail off Canada
The Great Trail off Canada

The Great Trail Canada, also known as Trans Canada, is considered the ultimate recreational trail among the most extended trail networks worldwide. With the length of 16,777 miles, this is the ultimate challenge for hikers passionate about hiking trails.

The Great Trail Canada is a network of greenways, waterways, and roadways that stretch from west to east of Canada, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, even to the Arctic Ocean.

This majestic long-distance hiking trail begins from outside the Railway Coastal Museum in St. Petersburg. John’s Newfoundland spans Alberta, Edmonton, British Columbia and ends in Yukon.

Conquering this entire stretch of road is a tough challenge, taking more than 12 months to complete this 27,000-km hiking trail. The hikers usually do the day hikes or do specific chunks rather than walking the whole route.

The vegetation and landscape in this trail are incredibly diverse and majestic. The most famous destination on this longest hiking trail is the Banff scenic spot.

Currently, The Great Trail has a total of 400 different community trails, and each section is managed by the local government and population groups in that area.

The Great Trail is undergoing renovation. More greenways are added near dangerous roads. The new trail sections are being repaired and linked together.

For more information , let’s watch a helpful video on:

Watch video: Walk with Us on Canada's Great Trail

The Great Western Loop

The Great Western Loop
The Great Western Loop

The Great Western Loop is a 6,875- mile recreational hiking trail in the west of the USA. The Great Western Loop is famous for its massive length and its scenery, wilderness experience, and elegance that is unmatched.

This great hiking trail is a network that includes The Pacific Crest Trail along with the four other famous long-distance trails: Pacific Northwest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Grand Enchantment Trail, and Arizona Trail. Two of the five above hiking trails appear on the list as well.

Suppose you intend to conquer the whole route. In that case, you will have the opportunity to admire the majestic sprawling nature of The Great Western Loop and experience a trail-less section through the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts.

The Great Western Loop is a vast untouched natural area with pristine and captivating beauty.  The Loop stretches across 12 National Parks and over 75 wilderness areas.  The Great Western Loop creates an impressive highlight for the American West.

The Great Western Loop was first conquered by Andrew Skurka, which earned him the “Adventurer of the Year” award by Nat Geo in 2017. His adventure through this long-distance trail took  208 days, equivalent to 33 miles per day.

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Watch video: Great Western Loop 2018

Eastern Continental

Eastern Continental
Eastern Continental

With a total of 5,400 miles, the Eastern Continental trail stretches through 16 states. This hiking trail starts from Ernest Hemingway’s former stomping ground in Key West, Florida, to Cape Gaspé, Canada.

The Eastern Continental trail takes all the way through the Pinhoti Trail and Alabama, part of the famous Appalachian Trail, and the International Appalachian Trail through Maine, New Brunswick, Quebec, and  Newfoundland.

The Eastern Continental Trail is known as the “beast” for even professional hikers worldwide. John Brinda was the first to conquer this “beast” in 1997. M.J.  Eberhart, aka Nimblewill Nomad, was the next person to complete the Eastern Continental Trail.

His book Ten Million Steps chronicles the entire 8,690-kilometer-walking adventure of this long-distance hiking trail along with the breathtaking landscapes that give his tremendous hiking experience.

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Watch video: Eastern Continental Trail Documentary - A 4,800 Mile Thru Hike

American Discovery Trail

American Discovery Trail
American Discovery Trail

The American Discovery Trail is a network of many hiking trails spanning 6,800 miles from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. This enormous long-distance hiking trail extends from Limantour Beach in northern California to Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware.

The American Discovery Trail traverses the center of America, including two loops in the Great Plains and Midwest. You can take the adventure through The American Discovery Trail by two different routes.

The road to the north is about 4,834 miles through Chicago.  The south road starts at St.  Louis and stretches 5,057 miles.

You can choose between these two routes for your coast-to-coast journey.  To complete the American Discovery Trail, you must meet one of these two trails twice.

The American Discovery Trail will give you an overview of the true beauty of America that attracts hikers around the world.

You will have the chance to witness the Appalachian trail’s breathtaking wildlife. The stunning nature of the American Discovery Trail continues to the Great Plains, then the Rocky Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada Mountains until they reach the west coast.

In addition, you can also enjoy your adventure on horseback from coast to coast, something that a few hiking trails have.

E1 European Long-Distance Path

E1 European Long-Distance Path
E1 European Long-Distance Path

The E1 European Long-Distance Path, also known as the E1 Path, is 4,960 miles long. The E1 Path stretches over seven European countries, including Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy.

The E1 European Path offers hikers the opportunity to explore many different cultures and traditions of the countries it goes through.

Each year, this long-distance hiking trail attracts millions of hiking enthusiasts to attempt.  The best time to take your adventure on the E1 Path is from May to September.

With such a colossal length stretching through many European countries, it takes about 12 months to complete the entire E1 European Long-Distance Path. No one has achieved this majestic road. Most people hiking at E1 Path usually make their trip in sections.

The route from the North Cape to Sicily is one of the most challenging trails. The characteristics of this trail are very diverse, and each country it goes through brings engaging experiences for hikers.

Trails in central Europe often pass densely populated areas, so hikers will be more secure in finding accommodation and supplies for their upcoming journey.

In contrast, the Path through the Scandinavian peninsula is more remote and pristine.  Therefore, the hiker should plan carefully if intending to walk through this area.

The E1 European Long- Distance Path is relatively new.  It was formed in 2011 and is still being refined and expanded.

For more information , let’s watch a helpful video on:

Watch video: E1 European Long Distance Path - From Germany to Norway

Grand Italian Trail

Grand Italian Trail
Grand Italian Trail

The Grand Italian Trail is a trail spanning across the country, with approximately 6,166 km in length. The route starts at Trieste in northern Italy, through the entire Alpine Arc, to the whole of Apennine mountain Chain, and across Sicily and Sardinia. This long-distance hiking trail finally ends at Santa Teresa Gallura in Sardinia.

Hiking the Grand Italian Trail is a great recreational activity if you want to experience both the outdoors and Italian culture. This trail is divided into 168 individual sections, allowing hikers to choose the most convenient starting point for themselves.

The best time to visit the Grand Italian Trail is from March to October. You will have a chance to enjoy snow-capped mountains, visit ancient ruins and travel through vineyards and valleys.

The Grand Italian Trail lets you see the natural beauty of Italy on your journey from Trieste to Sardinia. You may spend from 8 to 12 months on a single thru-hike to complete this trip.

Most of the smaller footpaths will not be marked, so prepare yourself with a map and GPS track to avoid getting lost.

The Sentiero Italia

The Sentiero Italia
The Sentiero Italia

Sentiero Italia has a total length of 3,831 miles, stretching over the entire boot-shaped land of Italy. This road is a system that connects Sardinia, Sicily, Apennines, and the Alps.  It extends to Trieste on the Italian border-Slovenian and some distant islands.

What draws visitors to Sentiero Italia is the majestic natural scenery stretching across its enormous length and the opportunity to be immersed in a massive view of sunshine on the coastlines.  The food here is also a big plus to attract hikers to the experience.

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Watch video: Ferrino and Va' Sentiero - Discovering the Sentiero Italia

The Bicentennial National Trail

The Bicentennial National Trail
The Bicentennial National Trail

The journey to a tranquil landscape of the Bicentennial National Trail will bring you a memorable outdoor experience back to nature.

Legendary horseman R.M. Williams founded the National Trail.  After years of planning and preparing, and negotiating with the Australian Trail Riders’ Association, R.M.  Williams lived his dream when the trail was officially opened in 1968.

The Bicentennial National Trail stretches 3,831 miles along the Great Dividing Range.  The national trail starts at Cooktown in Queensland down the eastern coast of Australia to Healesville, near Melbourne in Victoria.

The National Trail is ideal for hikers who want to leave the crowded cities to return and immerse themselves in nature. You will have a chance to enjoy some of the finest natural scenery in Australia.  Lush tropical forests, dry plains, rugged canyons, and mountains all add various nature to the majestic landscape.

Initially, the trail was designed for horse riding but is now used for trail hiking to give travelers a chance to experience the untouched beauty of this outdoor activity. Visitors can feel more authentic about the landscape and its history, culture, and traditions.

The whole route is divided into 12 sections.  Aberdeen to Jenolan Caves section and Jenolan Caves to Yaouk section are the two most popular tourist attractions by unique natural areas there.

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Watch video: Bicentennial National Trail

Continental Divide Trail

Continental Divide Trail
Continental Divide Trail

The Continental Divide Trail, lovingly known as CDT, is a 3,100-mile long-distance hiking trail that splits the continent of the USA. The hiking trail starts at the New-Mexico and Mexico border then reaches the Glacier National Park and the Canadian Border.

The Continental Divide Trail follows the Path that divides America along the Rocky Mountains and runs through Chihuahua, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Alberta in Canada.

Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park and New Mexico’s Chama River Canyon Wilderness are the destinations you cannot miss when visiting the Continental.

Wyoming’s Two Ocean Pass, the Chief Joseph Pass in Idaho, and the Scapegoat Wilderness in Montana Divide Trail have to be mentioned when coming to the Continental Trail.

More than hundreds of people join the thru-hike every year and take about six months to complete the journey. Dave Odell was the first person to conquer The Continental Divide Trail in 1977.

The Continental Divide Trail, along with the Pacific Crest and the Appalachian Trail, forms the Triple Crown area. Many hikers have come each year with the desire to conquer the Triple Crown.

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Watch video: The Continental Divide Trail in Four Minutes

Hokkaido Nature Trail

Hokkaido Nature Trail
Hokkaido Nature Trail

The Hokkaido Nature Trail is about 2,900 miles long around the northernmost island of Hokkaido in Japan.

This island is relatively unspoiled and is the second-largest island in Japan. Hokkaido is about the size of Austria but is relatively sparsely populated with about 5.6 million inhabitants.

Hokkaido is a less developed land, and most of the monuments or places to visit here are natural. Therefore, The Hokkaido Nature Trail will bring hikers to see through unique and remote landscapes, including glaciers, volcanoes, forests, and lakes.

There are many active volcanoes around Hokkaido. This creates incredibly mountainous scenery but also hides many dangers.

The Hokkaido Nature Trail connects many national parks with many cultural attractions that attract thousands of tourists to visit each year.

The climate is cool in summer and cold-lasting in winter. Visitors to this long-distance hiking trail will typically travel north to south.

Walking on The Hokkaido Nature Trail, you will have the opportunity to see rare species unique to this area, such as red-crowned cranes and Yezo brown bears.

For more information , let’s watch a helpful video on:

Watch video: Hiking on Hokkaido, Japan's northern island

Great Himalayan Trail

Great Himalayan Trail
Great Himalayan Trail

The Great Himalayan Trail is known as one of the highest and most beautiful mountain peaks globally.  This hiking trail spans five countries: Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and China. The 2,800-mile Great Himalayan has a natural beauty that humans have not influenced.

The best time to visit this mountainous hiking trail is from February to April and in winter.

You can choose the elevated Path across the mountains to enjoy the majestic natural landscape of the entire Himalayan range. You can also choose the lower roads that cross the villages to feel the unique culture and traditions of the people here.

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Watch video: Great Himalaya Trail, High Route – The Ultimate Trail

Pacific Crest Trail

Pacific Crest Trail
Pacific Crest Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails globally, especially for thru-hikers.  It is about 2,653 miles long and extends off the west coast of the USA.

The Pacific Crest Trail begins at the borders of the US and Mexico. It extends to the US and Canadian borders at Manning Park in British Columbia.

This long-distance hiking trail is approximately 13,000 ft above sea level.  It takes the hiker through California, Oregon, and Washington.

Adventure hikers often go on their adventure through the high route through the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges to see some of America’s most majestic terrains.

Whether completing the whole course in a single thru-hike or enjoying the beauty of nature through each section, The Trail offers you the best hiking experience you’ll ever have.

PCT is divided into 30 sections across California, to Oregon, and reach Washington. Each section has an average length of 90 miles suitable for hikers looking to do day hikes.

It will take you about 4 to 6 months to completely conquer the entire Pacific Crest Trail.  If you want to conquer this road, you should plan carefully to complete the trip before the harsh winter hits.

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Watch video: The Pacific Crest Trail in Three Minutes

Chubu Hokuriku Nature Trail

Chubu Hokuriku Nature Trail
Chubu Hokuriku Nature Trail

Chubu Hokuriku Nature Trail has a total length of 2,504 miles. It passes through Gunma, Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui, Nagano, Gifu, and Shiga prefectures.

Chubu is an area located in the heart of Japan. This area is famous for the beautiful coastal region Hokuriku and the Japanese Alps.

Visitors to the Chubu Hokuriku Nature Trail will have the opportunity to admire the majestic mountains and beautiful coastlines.

Much of the Chubu Hokuriku Nature Trail runs along the coast of Japan Sea. As a result, the climate and the hiking experiences here are somewhat more varied and enjoyable than the hiking trails that cross mountains.

It can take about 200 days to complete this entire course. The terrain here is relatively easy to move, so you will not have much trouble on your journey.

Kinki Nature Trail

Kinki Nature Trail
Kinki Nature Trail

Kinki Nature Trail is a walking course approximately 10km long across Kinosaki Onsen’s mountains.

The hiking trail is through immense lush forests.  You can enjoy a beautiful view from the top of Mt. Taishi- one of the landmarks that received a Michelin Green Guide One Star.  You can move up and down the mountain by cable car.

The Kinki Nature Trail starts at JR Kinosaki Onsen Station. It crosses the mountains surrounding the hot spring town Kinosaki Onsen. This hiking trail aims to give hikers a glimpse of Mt. Taishi.

Along the way, you can admire Hyogo Prefecture’s local memorial “Tree of Unity” and the 88 enshrined stone buddha.

The Kinki Nature Trail is pristine. You should prepare the right equipment and shoes for easy portability, especially in rainy and snowy weather. There are no restrooms or supply points along the way, so you should plan and prepare suppliers carefully.

Areas in the mountains can contain bears, so bring a whistle or device that makes a lot of noise to keep them away.

Te Araroa Trail

Te Araroa Trail
Te Araroa Trail

Te Araroa Trail, a.k.a The Long Pathway, was officially formed and used in December 2011. This hiking trail is 1,900 miles long and stretches across two of the largest islands of New Zealand. It starts from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

Te Araroa is a unique combination of older railway tracks, walkways, and new tracks.

Te Araroa is divided into 300 different sections. Small trails have time ranges from 1 hour to 9 days. This allows hikers to perform day hikes if they do not have much time to conquer the whole route.

Hiking Te Araroa is one of the recreational activities to help you explore the full beauty of New Zealand’s natural beauty. The stunning views of The Long Pathway stretch from the high volcanic scenery to beautiful beaches along the coast.

For more information , let’s watch a helpful video on:

Watch video: Te Araroa in 7 Minutes - An Overview

Baker Historical Trail

Baker Historical Trail
Baker Historical Trail

The Baker Historical Trail was formed in 2013 and is the longest hiking trail in Africa. The trail follows the adventurous Path of the Bakers in the mid-1800s.

Sir Samuel and Lady Florence Baker Trail is named for those who discovered the area.  This is rated as one of the best hiking trails in the world.  The hikers coming here will admire the pristine beauty of this area.

Some parts of this section of the road were damaged during the civil war in Sudan.  For the safety of visitors, currently, only The Ugandan section of the trail is open.

The Historical Trail starts at the Sudanese village of Gondokoro and extends 500 miles to Murchison Falls on the Nile River. You may spend 2 or 3 weeks to complete this route.

The best time to visit The Baker Historical Trail is from June to August and into the beginning of spring from December to February.

The hiker will have a chance to admire the historic beauty of the Nile River and Lake Albert while exploring the longest trail found in Africa.

Conclusion

If you intend to conquer the longest hiking trails listed above, prepare yourself for a well-planned hiking plan. Plan your starting and ending points to bring all suppliers and choose where to camp overnight.

I hope this recommendation to the top 16 longest hiking-only trails worldwide will help hikers have the necessary information to choose the ideal trail.

FAQs

What is the hardest hiking trail in the world?

Caminito del Rey, Málaga, Spain, is a nightmare for hikers due to the extreme terrain of this hiking trail. The Path of the Caminito del Rey is narrow and vertical, not to mention the heat here makes you feel like trapped inside a baked potato skin.

What is the longest hiking trail in the US?

Currently, The New American Perimeter Trail is the longest hiking trail in America with a 12,000 miles loop that traverses the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail.

What is the longest hiking trail in Canada?

With a length of 16,777 miles, Great Trail Canada is the ultimate hiking trail in Canada. The Great Trail Canada is a system of trails that stretch across Canada, from the west coast to the east coast.

How far can I hike for 2 hours?

For the untrained, you can enjoy a short journey of about 6 miles in 2 hours at a slow pace while hiking and sightseeing without the ill effects.

How far can I hike for a day?

For the average person, if you spend 8 hours hiking at a moderate pace, a day you can walk an average of 16 to 24 mizvles.  Some people in better shape may even hike between 30 and 50 miles per day.