The 20 Most Beautiful Day Hikes in the World for Adventure Travelers Conquer

LAST UPDATED 10/19/22 – Most Beautiful Day Hikes in the World for Adventure Travelers

Most Beautiful Day Hikes

For some people, sitting back and relaxing while traveling is just not in their DNA.  I know that I am one of these people.  When I travel, I always have to be doing something active.  Depending on where I am traveling, it is typically kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, sky diving, or my favorite travel activity, which is hiking.  For me, there is no better way to appreciate the beauty of an area than to hike thru some of its most breathtaking landscape.  In fact, I love hiking so much that sometimes I will plan an entire trip around one of the most beautiful day hikes on my bucket list.

If you are like me and love to seek adventure when you travel, especially most beautiful day hikes in the world, then you are in luck.  In this article, I am going to share with you my list of the 20 Most Beautiful Day Hikes in the World for Adventure Travelers Conquer.  These hikes involve some of the most beautiful landscapes and difficult trails in the world.  When you combine breathtaking scenery with a challenging trail, you get some of the most epic hiking experiences you can imagine.  So before you start planning your next travel adventure, take a look at my list of the top day hikes for adventure travelers for some inspiration.

20. Queens Garden\Navajo Loop

Bryce Canyon NP, Utah, USA

Most Beautiful Day Hikes - Bryce Canyon

The first hike on my list is located in one of my favorite national parks in the United States.  While the Queens Garden and Navajo Loop combination trail isn’t the most difficult hike you will find on my list, it may be one of the most beautiful.  If you aren’t familiar with Bryce Canyon, be sure to check out my Bryce Canyon National Park Visitor Guide linked below.  It is one of the most spectacular landscapes you will find anywhere in the world.  The canyon is filled with hoodoos, which are interesting rock spires that stick up from the canyon floor.  Hiking thru these unique and beautiful rock formations is like hiking on another planet.  This is why the Queens Garden and Navajo Loop trail makes it onto my list of the top day hikes in the world.

Route Type:Loop
Distance:2.6 miles (4.2 kilometers)
Elevation Gain:623 feet (190 meters)

19. Hooker Valley Track

Mount Cook NP, New Zealand

Most Beautiful Day Hikes - Mount Cook

The next hike on my list of the top day hikes in the world for adventure travelers may come as a surprise to the hiking enthusiasts out there.  If you were to ask most hiking enthusiasts which hike they think is the most notable hike within Aoraki\Mount Cook National Park in New Zealand, I doubt a majority would say that the Hooker Valley Track is on the top of their list.  My guess is that the park’s more difficult hikes such as the Sealy Tarns Track or the Mueller Hut Track would get a majority of the votes.

Don’t get me wrong, those are amazing hikes.  However, they are also considerably more difficult than the Hooker Valley Track, which is a fantastic hiking track in its own right.  The beauty of the scenery and the accessibility of the track are what made me decide to include the Hooker Valley Track on my list.  After all, it is not often that you see a hiking track with three legitimate suspension bridges for you to cross.  For more information on this amazing hiking track and the other incredible tracks within the park, please review my Aoraki Mount Cook National Park Visitor Guide, which I linked to below.

Route Type:Out-and-Back
Distance:6.5 miles (10.5 kilometers)
Elevation Gain:652 feet (199 meters)
Difficulty:Easy to Moderate

18. Queenstown Hill Hike

Queenstown, New Zealand

Most Beautiful Day Hikes - Queenstown

The next hike on my list is located in one of my favorite cities in New Zealand, if not the entire world.  I absolutely love mountain destinations, and I cannot think of a more beautiful mountain destination than Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island.  The South Island is chock-full of beautiful mountain vistas and incredible alpine hikes and Queenstown certainly has its fair share of them.  Known worldwide as the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown is a city where you don’t have to look far or long for adventure.

For those with an urge to have an adventure, but perhaps don’t have the hiking chops to tackle one of the harder hikes on my list, then the Queenstown Hill hike may be just what you are looking for.  Rated as a moderately difficult hike, the Queenstown Hill can be tackled by anyone who is moderately in shape, regardless of your hiking experience.  There aren’t any really steep or technically challenging sections, but the incline is fairly sustained for stretches.  If you have the time to go at your own pace and take your time, you can knock off this hike and be rewarded with some of the most amazing views you will see at the end of a hike.

Route Type:Out-and-Back
Distance:4.3 miles (6.9 kilometers)
Elevation Gain:1,305 feet (398 meters)

17. Bondi to Coogee Beach Walk

Sydney, Australia

Most Beautiful Day Hikes - Bondi Beach

While the next walk on my list of the Top Day Hikes for Travel Adventurers may be one of the easiest hikes on the list, it may also be the most beautiful.  If you are a fan of beautiful beaches, then you will absolutely love the Bondi to Coogee Beach Walk in Sydney, Australia.  This trek follows a path along the coast between the legendary Bondi Beach and the nearby Coogee Beach.  Around every turn in the trail, you will discover another amazing stretch of rocky coastline that will take your breath away.

Route Type:Out-and-Back
Distance:8.9 miles (14.3 kilometers)
Elevation Gain:688 feet (210 meters)

16. Kalalau Trail

Kauai, Hawaii, USA

Most Beautiful Day Hikes - Kalalau Trail

The Kalalau Trail in the state of Hawaii in the United States is the first extremely difficult trail to be showcased on my list of the Top Day Hikes for Travel Adventurers.  Located on the island of Kauai, the Kalalau Trail is not a trail that should be attempted by anyone who doesn’t have a lot of experience hiking.  There are a lot of very steep pitches on this hike and sections that can be quite dangerous.

However, for those who do have the hiking experience and do choose to tackle this hike, the reward is absolutely incredible.  You will be treated to some of the most spectacular coastal viewpoints, waterfalls, and rainforest views that your mind can imagine.  Make sure you plan ahead for this hike as both the distance and the elevation gain will push your limits.

Route Type:Out-and-Back
Distance:22 miles (35.4 kilometers)
Elevation Gain:6,177 feet (1,883 meters)
Difficulty:Very Difficult

15. Laugavegur Hiking Trail


Most Beautiful Day Hikes - Landmannaugar

Widely regarded by hiking enthusiasts as one of the most beautiful and challenging hiking treks in the world, the Laugavegur Hiking Trail is the premier hiking trail in Iceland.  It is well known for the ever-changing and always beautiful landscapes that the trail transverses.  Along the trail, you will pass thru volcanic mountains, glacier, lava fields, beautiful hot springs, and lush forested valleys.  You never know what the next corner of the trail will bring, which is part of the allure of this amazing hiking track.

At a total distance of roughly 33 miles, it is almost impossible to hike the total distance of the Laugavegur Hiking Trail in one day.  Not to mention, with all of the beautiful scenery you are passing thru, I am not sure why one would want to rush thru the trail.  However, if you are looking to only do a day hike, you can pick one of the segments of the trail and just hike it.  The full trail is typically hiked in 3-4 days with 2-3 overnight stops at huts along the way.  I would recommend hiking the Alftavatn to Landmannalaugar segment of the trail, as I believe this is the prettiest and most interesting segment of the trail.

Route Type:Point-to-Point (Alftavatn to Landmannalaugar)
Distance:13.8 miles (22.2 kilometers)
Elevation Gain:2,962 feet (903 meters)

14. Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop

The Dolomites, Italy

Most Beautiful Day Hikes - Tre Cime di Lavaredo

The next trail on my list is one of the most acclaimed hiking tracks in all of Europe.  When it comes to challenging and beautiful trails, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop is among the most beautiful and most challenging.  The trail draws hikers from around the world each year to try themselves against the trail and to enjoy the jagged limestone peaks and stunning views of the Italian Dolomites.  Once on the trail, you will be mesmerized by the beautiful panoramic mountain vistas as you traverse rocky ledges, high alpine meadows, and steep slopes along this famous alpine trail.  If you decide to do this hike, make sure you pack a camera because you will want to photograph the amazing scenery you see.

Route Type:Loop
Distance:3.7 miles (6 kilometers)
Elevation Gain:1,187 feet (362 meters)

13. The Narrows Hike (Bottom-Up)

Zion NP, Utah, USA

Most Beautiful Day Hikes - Zion National Park

The next trail on my list is the Narrows Hike in the Zion National Park in the American Southwest state of Utah.  Not only is the Narrows hike widely considered to be one of the most unique hiking trails in the US National Parks System, but it may also be one of the prettiest hikes in the park system as well.  While most hiking tracks cover ground, the Narrows Hike is almost exclusively in the water.  The vast majority of the hike is up the Virgin River between some of Zion National Park’s most magnificent slot canyons.  It’s not often that you get to hike up a river with stone walls that are hundreds of feet high on both sides of you.

If you are going to hike the Narrows Hike in Zion, I would make sure to plan ahead.  You can hike the trail from the bottom up without a permit in one day, but the hike from the top-down is much longer and requires a backcountry camping permit to complete.  The hike is difficult enough in low currents, but when the water levels of the Virgin River are high, the hike can be downright dangerous.

The Park Services will close down the trail if the water levels get too high, so make sure you monitor the situation for the park service before setting off for your hike.  To make things more comfortable, there are a number of outfitters in the area that will rent you special shoes, wet or dry suits, and hiking poles to make the hike safer and more comfortable.  For more information on the Narrows trail in Zion and how to rent gear, please check out my Zion National Park Visitor Guide linked below.

Route Type:Out-and-Back
Distance:4.5 miles (7.2 kilometers) for Bottom-Up Hike
Elevation Gain:0 feet (0 meters)
Difficulty:Moderate to Difficult (depending on water level)

12. Isthmus Peak Hike

Wanaka, New Zealand


The Isthmus Peak on New Zealand’s South Island is one of the most stunning and challenging hikes that I have undertaken during my travels and one of the hikes that I look back on the most fondly.  Located outside the famed hiking destination of Wanaka, New Zealand, the Isthmus Peak Track is often overshadowed by the far more acclaimed Roy’s Peak Track that is located just on the other side of Lake Wanaka from the Isthmus Peak.  Like its neighbor Roy’s Peak, Isthmus Peak rewards hikers who reach its summit with some of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful vistas you can imagine.

Before you set off on this hike, please be aware that this hike is rated as difficult for a reason.  Why it isn’t as technical or as dangerous as some of the other hikes on this list, it isn’t without its dangers.  The track is very long and very steep and can be a relentless challenge for beginning hikers.  If you plan to complete this hike, I would make sure you check the weather, dress in layers to be prepared, pack enough food and snacks for the trail, and start off early in the morning to ensure that you are back down by nightfall.  If you plan ahead and give yourself enough time, you can complete this hike and will be so very happy you did when you reach the top and see the views!

Route Type:Out-and-Back
Distance:9.9 miles (16 kilometers)
Elevation Gain:3,717 feet (1,133 meters)

11. The Five Lakes Walk at Matterhorn

Zermatt, Switzerland


While the area around Zermatt Switzerland is more well-known around the world for its alpine skiing and mountain climbing, there are some very good hiking trails in the area for visitors to explore as well.  One of my favorite day hikes in the area around the famed Matterhorn peak is the Five Lakes Walk at Matterhorn.  The track leads hikers past some of the most breathtaking lakes in the Matterhorn region.  This includes the beautiful Stellisee, Grindjisee, Grünsee, Moosjisee, and Leisee, which gives the trail the name of the Five Lakes Walk.

While the views from the trail are almost always breathtaking, if you visit during the right time of the day and are lucky, you could be treated with a beautiful reflection of the Matterhorn on the water.  Although the track is located in an alpine region, the track isn’t technical or overly steep in any areas, which makes it a great hike for beginners or intermediate hikers.  In fact, the trail is a big hit with families with children, especially in the summertime when the lakes are good for swimming.  If you make it to Zermatt to see the Matterhorn, hiking the Five Lakes Walk is a must-do for travel adventurers.

Route Type:Point-to-Point (taking a train back to Zermatt from Sunnegga)
Distance:5.8 miles (9.3 kilometers)
Elevation Gain:938 feet (286 meters)
Difficulty:Easy to Moderate

10. South Kaibab-Tonto-Bright Angel Trail

Grand Canyon NP, Arizona, USA

Grand Canyon

The next hike on my list of the Top Day Hikes for Travel Adventurers is located in one of the most remarkable landscapes in North America, if not the entire world.  The Grand Canyon, which is located in the American Southwest state of Arizona, is widely considered to be one of the most amazing natural wonders of the world.  It is for that reason, among other things, that the South Kaibab Trail is on my list of the world’s best day hikes.  The views you will see on the trail alone are so breathtaking they will blow your mind.

To hike the entire South Kaibab Trail would take several days, if not more, but there are options available if you would like to do a day hike.  One of the more aggressive routes that should only be attempted by the most experienced hikers is the South Kaibab Trail to the Tonto Trail to the Bright Angel Trail combo route.  This route takes you from the South Rim near the Yuki Point down the South Kaibab Trail until you get to the Tonto Trail.  You turn left onto the Tonto Trail and follow it until you reach the Bright Angel Trail.  Following the Bright Angel Trail back up to the South Rim completes your hike.  This is an extremely long and grueling hike that can be dangerous for beginners, so I cannot stress enough that this hike should be taken very seriously.

Route Type:Point-to-Point
Distance:12.4 miles (20 kilometers)
Elevation Gain:3,395 feet (1,035 meters)

If you would like to hike in the Grand Canyon, but don’t feel as though you have enough experience to tackle the South Kaibab-Tonto-Bright Angel combo trail, you could always hike the South Kaibab Trail into the Grand Canyon and then turn around at a pre-determined location and hike back.  Remember, getting to your turn around spot is only half the hike, and hiking back out of the canyon is always more difficult.  If you are interested in giving this a shot, I have included the total hike distance for a number of turn-around spots on the South Kaibab Trail below for you to use to plan your hike.

9. Fimmvörðuháls Hike

Fimmvörðuháls, Iceland

Iceland Hike

There are very few hikes in this world that allow you to get close to amazing waterfalls, volcanos, or glaciers.  In fact, if a hiking track gets you close to any one of those amazing natural features, the hike is undoubtedly a popular one with hikers around the world.  What sets the Fimmvörðuháls Hike in Iceland apart from other amazing hiking tracks is that it brings you close to all three – waterfalls, a volcano, and glaciers.  In fact, on this world-renown hike, you will get to see twenty-six waterfalls, an amazing volcano, and two incredible glaciers.

While the Fimmvörðuháls Hike is a beautiful hike, it is also a difficult hike that is meant for those who have a lot of hiking experience.  The trail, which is point-to-point, is long and steep, which can take its toll on an unprepared hiker.  However, if you are up for the challenge, you will get to experience a hike that is unlike any other on this planet.  You will hike thru green fields that seem like they never end, only to turn into a rocky volcanic landscape that looks like it is from another planet.  Then, when you think you’ve seen it all, you will encounter breathtaking waterfalls that will blow your mind.  This is why the Fimmvörðuháls Hike in Iceland is one of the most coveted hiking goals for adventure travelers around the world and one of the top 10 hikes on my list of the Top Day Hikes for Adventure Travelers.

Route Type:Point-to-Point
Distance:16.0 miles (25.7 kilometers)
Elevation Gain:4,235 feet (1,290 meters)

8. Half Dome Hike

Yosemite NP, California, USA

Half Dome

When it comes to epic hikes in America’s National Parks System, there are few day hikes that can compare to the Half Dome Hike in Yosemite National Park in California.  Not only are the granite monoliths in Yosemite National Park grand, but so are the hiking trails.  Hikers that are able to tackle this difficult, and oftentimes dangerous, trail and make it to the top of Half Dome will be rewarded with a view to end all views.  Looking down Yosemite Valley, you will get a true sense of just how small we are in this big and beautiful world.

Route Type:Out-and-Back
Distance:14.8 miles (23.8 kilometers)
Elevation Gain:5,164 feet (1,574 meters)
Difficulty:Very Difficult

Half Dome Cables

Before you set off to complete this hike, please be aware that this hike is long and very difficult and dangerous in sections.  Most notably, the last section of the trail that has hikers climb to the top of the Half Dome by use of steel chains is notoriously dangerous.  Inexperienced hikers and people who are afraid of heights should turn around at this point and not attempt to reach the top of Half Dome.  If you are an experienced hiker and do plan on making it to the top of Half Dome, please make sure you are prepared.  Nitrile utility work gloves, which can be found at any hardware store, are an absolute must for gripping the chains.  Be cautious about using the gloves that are left at the base of the cables as they are typically in poor condition.

7.  Great Wall of China – Jiankou to Mutianyu

Jiankou Liang, China


The location of the next hike on my list of the Top Day Hikes for Adventure Travelers should be no stranger to anyone in the world, let along travel enthusiasts.  The Great Wall of China is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World and one of this world’s most amazing landmarks.  However, what many travelers aren’t aware of is that a certain section of the Great Wall of China is also considered one of the world’s premiere adventure hikes.  If you aren’t interested in hiking and just want to see a restored section of the Great Wall, then I would recommend just visiting the section of the wall at Mutianyu.  However, if hiking a large stretch of the wall and getting a true sense of the magnitude of the structure is something you are interested in, then hiking the section between Jiankou to Mutianyu is an adventure you will love.

This section of the Great Wall of China isn’t overly difficult to hike, but it is challenging in parts.  Hikers will need to be able to navigate switchbacks and steep climbs in sections, so you should plan plenty of time to complete the hike.  One positive is that you will encounter far fewer other visitors along the hike between Jiankou and Mutianyu than you will see when you get to Mutianyu.  If you are uncomfortable hiking the section on your own, you can also hire a guide to assist you in completing the hike.  However you decide to hike the Great Wall of China, it is a landmark that is deserving of the attention it receives and hiking along it is an experience you will never forget.

Route Type:Point-to-Point
Distance:3.2 miles (5.15 kilometers)
Elevation Gain:1,328 feet (405 meters)

6. Tiger’s Nest Hike

Taktsang Trail, Bhutan

Tiger's Nest

With some hikes, the trail is what makes the hike special.  It is either incredibly difficult or the views from the trail are incredibly beautiful, which is why the trail becomes popular.  With other hikes, the destination is what makes the hike.  The place at the end of the trail is so beautiful or so spectacular that it makes the hike to see it popular.  In the case of the hike to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Bhutan, you could say that both of these circumstances are true.  Not only is the destination one of the world’s most incredible structures, but the hike to get there offers some of the most stunning views you will find on a hike.

Perched 2,952 feet (or approximately 900 meters) off the ground, the Tiger’s Nest Monastery is a small collection of buildings located in the mountains near Paro, Bhutan.  The hike isn’t very long, but the elevation gain is rather substantial, which is why the hike is rated as moderate.  If you give yourself enough time, most people will be able to complete this hike.  There is a cafeteria rest stop halfway up the trail with some amazing views of the monastery, so if hiking the full trail seems like a bit much for you, there is always the option of turning back at the halfway point.  Regardless of how far along the trail you hike, setting eyes on the beautiful Tiger’s Nest Monastery is something that you will never forget.

Route Type:Out-and-Back
Distance:3.7 miles (5.95 kilometers)
Elevation Gain:1,948 feet (594 meters)

5. Torres del Paine Viewpoint

Torres Del Paine NP, Chile

Mirador Las Torres

There are some destinations in this world that are so incredibly beautiful and wild that almost every hike at those locations is worthy of mention on any list of the world’s best hikes.  Without a doubt, the Patagonia Region of South America is one of those locations.  One of the places in Patagonia where this beauty is on full display is the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile.  World renown for its vast plains, beautiful glacial-fed lakes, and spectacular mountain range, the Torres del Paine National Park has been captivating visitors for decades.

There are many amazing hikes that you can take within Torres del Paine, some of which are day hikes and some of which are multi-day hikes that take you further into the backcountry.  One of the most popular day hikes in the park is the out-and-back hike to the Torres del Paine viewpoint.  It’s a long and difficult hike with quite a bit of elevation gain, but if you are able to make it to the end you will be treated with one of the most incredible views you will find at the end of any hike.  You will be treated with an amazing view of the jagged peaks that make Torres del Paine National Park so popular around the world.  Make sure to bring a camera because you won’t want to forget this hike or the views you see along the way.

Route Type:Out-and-Back
Distance:10.6 miles (17.06 kilometers)
Elevation Gain:3,166 feet (965 meters)

4. Inca Trail – Wiñay Wayna to Machu Picchu

Cusco, Peru

Inca Trail-8584

When asked to name some of the most epic hikes in the world, my guess is that a good number of avid hikers would have the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru on their shortlist of hikes.  After all, with the majestic Andes Mountains as a backdrop and the beautiful ancient city of Machu Picchu as the reward at the end of the trek, it’s impossible to not put the legendary Inca Trail on your wishlist of hikes.  This is why hiking the Inca Trail has a position in the top 5 of my Top Day Hikes for Adventure Travelers.

While it is true that hiking the entirety of the Inca Trail will take you much longer than a day (it is actually a 3 to 5-day hike depending on where you start and how often you stop), you can hike part of this ancient trail to Machu Picchu in just one day’s worth of hiking.  Starting at the ruins at Wiñay Wayna, you can reach the ruins at Machu Picchu in just one solid day’s worth of hiking.   You will stop in the town of Aguas Calientes (nicknamed Machu Picchu Village), which is located right at the foot of Machu Picchu.

Once there, you can spend the night in a hotel or hostel and recharge your batteries for the final push up to Machu Picchu (it’s about a 2-3 hour hike from Aguas Calientes) or take a bus up to the ruins.  While this day hike may not be the same adventure as hiking the entire Inca Trail, it is an amazing enough hike to make my list of the best day hikes in the world.  For more information on hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, please check out my Ultimate Guide to Hiking the Inca Trail, which I linked to below.

Route Type:Point-to-Point
Distance:3 miles (4.8 kilometers)
Elevation Gain:1,105 feet (367 meters)

3. Trolltunga

Røldal, Norway


If you are a fan of hiking pictures on Instagram, I can think of no Instagram pictures that are more epic than the pictures you see of people standing on the rock ledge on the Trolltunga hike in Norway with the beautiful lake and mountains in the background.  If I didn’t know this place was real, I would have a hard time believing that these pictures weren’t conjured up with some sophisticated photo-editing software.  I mean seriously, that viewpoint looks way too amazing to be real.

In many ways, the Trolltunga could be the top hike on my list of the Top Day Hikes for Travel Adventurers.  It’s a lengthy and challenging trail with incredible views along the way.  It is also home to one of the most amazing photo spots you will find on any hike in this world.  The fact that it isn’t the top hike in this world on my list so say far more about the hikes ahead of it than it should say about the Trolltunga Track because this hike is out-of-this-world amazing.  If you ever get to experience this hike, I strongly suggest you take your time and enjoy it.  It is something you will want to cherish for the rest of your life.

Route Type:Out-and-Back
Distance:15.8 miles (25.4 kilometers)
Elevation Gain:3,979 feet (1,213 meters)

2. Angel’s Landing

Zion NP, Utah, USA

Zion National Park

Out of all of the hikes that I have done during my travels, none have terrified me as much as the Angel’s Landing hike in Zion National Park in the American Southwest state of Utah.  No hike that I have done in my life has been either as dangerous or as thrilling as this hike.  Not only are large sections of the trail extremely exposed with thousand-foot drops on both sides of the narrow trail, but you are actually scrambling up and over rocks on parts of the trail.  Not to mention, as an out-and-back trail, there is traffic on the trail going both ways.  If ever there was a trail designed for travel adventurers, the Angel’s Landing hike in Zion National Park is it.

Route Type:Out-and-Back
Distance:5.0 miles (8.04 kilometers)
Elevation Gain:1,630 feet (497 meters)
Difficulty:Very Difficult

Angel's Landing Trail

The trail itself isn’t very long or all that steep (except during a stretch where you climb a number of successive switchbacks known as Walter’s Wiggles).  If it weren’t for the extremely exposed sections of a narrow trail and precarious rock scrambling, the trail would likely be rated as moderate.  To make the trail safer, the US National Park Service has installed chains along the most dangerous stretches of the trail.  These chains have significantly increased the safety level of the trail, but it still claims the lives of hikers seemingly every year.

As long as you are careful and safety conscious, and know what you are getting into, the Angel’s Landing hike can be one of the most exhilarating hikes you’ll find in this world.  Not to mention, the views from the landing are absolutely out of this world beautiful.  If you plan on visiting Zion National Park and hiking the Angel’s Landing Trail, I have some additional recommendations on how to make the hike safer and more manageable.  For these tips and some other valuable information about visiting Zion National Park, please check out my Zion National Park Visitor Guide, which I have referenced below.

1. Roy’s Peak Hike

Wanaka, New Zealand

Roy's Peak

There are a lot of amazing hikes on this list of the Top Day Hikes for Travel Adventurers, but the top hike on my list is so revered by hiking enthusiasts around the world that I would argue it is almost in a league of its own in terms of epic day hikes.  There are many, if any, hiking tracks in this world that have as many amazing vistas as the Roy’s Peak Track on New Zealand’s South Island.  From the summit of Roy’s Peak, hikers are gifted with the mind-bogglingly beautiful view of Lake Wanaka, Lake Hawea, and the breathtaking peaks of the Southern Alps, all in one view.  If heaven were a view from a trail, it would be located at Roy’s Peak outside the town of Wanaka in New Zealand.

Route Type:Out-and-Back
Distance:9.7 miles (15.6 kilometers)
Elevation Gain:4,104 feet (1,251 meters)

This hike is so revered by die-hard hikers that I know several travelers who have planned their entire trip to New Zealand around this hike.  If you plan on visiting New Zealand’s South Island and would like to hike the Roy’s Peak Track, please be aware that the track is typically closed from October 1st until November 10th each year for the lambing season.  If you want to hike the track during your visit, you will need to plan your trip outside of that window.  If you would like to learn more about how to hike Roy’s Peak, please read my Wanaka, New Zealand Visitor’s Guide, which I linked to below.

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  1. Ok, Im on a roll, I have done 8 of these. And they have all been spectacular!

  2. Definitely bookmarking this for after Corona season!
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. This was a bittersweet read for me. Yesterday I cancelled my solo hiking trip to Sedona, which was set for a few weeks from now. I was so looking forward to hiking during the day and chilling at a lovely hotel in the evenings. Ah well, it’s not to be. Hopefully I can reschedule some day. Also, there are others out there who have it much worse than me. Perspective…

    A great post, Josh.

    • I hear ya. I had to cancel a trip because of the pandemic as well. Such a bummer, but like you said, others have it much worse. Hope you and the hubby are staying safe!

      • Oh no! Where to, may I ask?

      • Southern Florida. Was planning on visiting the three national parks in the Miami area. Also, Disney with nieces and nephews.

      • Drat. I’ll bet your nieces and nephews are crushed.

        Now, when I think of cancelled travel, I can’t help thinking of ruined blog posts as well! 🙁

      • Yeah, they are pretty bummed. Harder to put things into perspective when you’re young.

        Totally agree on the lost blog posts. So much travel planned for this year. Not sure if any of it will happen 🙁

      • For us, too. July’s Spain/France is definitely questionable at this point. I guess my Adventures in Pet Parenting and Travel Inspired Baking categories will get a workout. (Harder to predict about the Metablogging and Random Musings categories – those usually just come to me in a whoosh. I can’t really plan those.) Oh, I just realized that yet another blog post is probably ruined. I was supposed to meet a blog buddy from the Carolinas who was coming here for a race this summer. Oh wait! Even Pam from I Choose This was potentially coming here to meet a friend and we talked about meeting up. Oh no!! 🙁

      • UHG!!! So much uncertainty. I hope at least some of your plans come to fruition. It is going to be a rough summer if we can’t travel 😔

      • Indeed. At least I have my garden??

      • That’s something to look forward too! 😄

  4. Great post. As a former Grand Canyon ranger, though, the one addition to the Grand Canyon hike that I would make is not only should the grueling nature of the hike be considered, but the temperature. There is no shade on South Kaibab or the Tonto Trails, and it is 10 degrees warmer on the Tonto Platform than it is on the rim. The intensity of the sun will add to that, and the first water source is at Indian Garden. Departure time, time of year, and knowledge of proper thermoregulation techniques are crucial.

    Cedar Ridge or Ooo Aah Point are good substitutes in summer, but it is still key to get an early start. During spring and fall, Skeleton Point is a good extension for those who don’t want to go all the way. Winter is a good time to hike too, and can bring great isolation, but it’s key to carry YakTrax or microspikes to handle ice on the top of the trails.

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