The 11 Best New Hiking Trails From Around the World

Woman standing on top of Roy's Peak in New Zealand

Tripsavvy / Lauren Breedlove

We’re dedicating our May features to the outdoors and adventure. In 2020, we saw more people get outside, eager for a breath of fresh air after challenging spring, taking up new activities and blazing new trails. Now, in 2021, read our features to learn more about 15 outdoor skills you should masterthe best state parks across the country, a new trend of hotels opening near formerly remote national parks, and one person’s quest to make outdoor experiences accessible for all.

For outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers, there are few things better than a truly great hiking trail. Whether it is a beautiful day hike or a week-long journey on one of the world's top long-distance treks, wandering through the remote wilderness can be a memorable, exhilarating, and sometimes life-changing experience.

There are literally tens of thousands of hiking trails across the globe, all of which have varying lengths and levels of difficulty. Like the Camino de Santiago and the Great Stone Way, some of those hikes have been around for centuries and remain incredibly popular. Some are relatively new, having officially opened within the last couple of years. Still, others have yet to be complete, but welcome travelers to trek certain sections before fully opening in the months and years ahead. Despite their recent arrival on the world's hiking stage, however, many of these new routes are quickly earning themselves a reputation for being among the best treks on the planet.

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Paparoa Track (New Zealand)

A hiking trail passes through the dense rainforest in New Zealand.

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In a country known for its Great Walks, the new Paparoa Track in New Zealand still manages to stand out. The route officially opened in December of 2019, marking the first new trail—or "track"—to be commissioned by the Department of Conservation in more than 25 years. The trail covers 34 miles in one direction, passing through rainforest, over mountain ridges, and past limestone karst in the amazing Pororari River Gorge. As you would expect, the scenery is gorgeous, and the trail is well marked and maintained. This is a moderately challenging trek, requiring about three days to walk end to end, or two days if you travel by mountain bike. There are three excellent mountain huts to sleep in while en route, provided you make reservations in advance. Fees run $45 a person per night. Be sure to book early, as the Paparoa Track is expected to be a popular one for years to come.

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Liechtenstein Trail (Liechtenstein)

A trail stretches off into the distance with snowcapped peaks on the horizon.

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In celebration of its 300th birthday back in 2019, Liechtenstein unveiled a new trail specifically designed to highlight its history, culture, and natural beauty. The 47-mile long Liechtenstein Trail takes hikers through all 11 of the country's municipalities and encompasses 147 sites of interest—all of which are well documented in the LIstory smartphone app. Wandering through alpine meadows, quaint villages, and along mountain ridges, the hike takes about three or four days to complete, depending on how much time you spend exploring the various locales. And while it is well-marked and easy to follow, some rolling sections of the trail will test your legs, particularly when climbing above 6,500 feet in altitude.

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Red Sea Mountain Trail (Egypt)

Hikers walk down a trail into the Egyptian arid desert near the Red Sea.

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This is a walk into an ancient land unlike any other: When it opened in 2019, Egypt's Red Sea Mountain Trail was the first long-distance hiking route in the entire country. The main circuit covers roughly 105 miles, beginning and ending near the resort city of Hurghada. The path itself wanders deep into the wilderness, leaving behind all trappings of modern society. Most trekkers are advised to hire a local Bedouin guide to assist them on the walk, which takes about 10 days to complete. Due to the dry, often warm weather found in this region, the hike can be quite challenging, particularly when you factor in the rolling terrain. But it rewards intrepid travelers with sweeping vistas of wide-open plains from atop rocky peaks before dipping into narrow, twisty gorges. Six individual hiking hubs provide access at various points along the route, giving visitors the chance to sample smaller sections if they choose.

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Empire State Trail (New York)

The Adirondack Mountains line the horizon from a New York state hiking trail.

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Completed in December 2020, the 750-mile Empire State Trail is a mixed-use path designed to highlight all of the great outdoor environments that New York has to offer. The route takes hikers and cyclists through the state's urban centers, beginning in the Hudson River Valley. It follows the Erie Canal and turns north towards the Champlain Valley and eventually the Adirondacks. Those who walk its entire length will experience a stunning diversity of landscapes that range from flat and pastoral to mountainous and wild. Hiking the entire trail in one go is a major commitment, but there are plenty of places to start and stop along its length. Closer to the urban centers, the path is frequently busy but wander away from the cities and towns, and it quickly becomes a tranquil refuge from those bustling environments.

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El Camino del Anillo (Spain)

A thick forest with rocky peaks reaching into a blue sky.

Yaroslav Hryvnak / EyeEm/Getty

Wander just an hour outside Madrid, and you'll find a hiking trail that is quickly becoming one of the top new trekking routes in all of Europe, if not the world. Opened in 2020, the Camino del Anillo—which translates to "The Ring Road"—is luring trekkers thanks to its stunning scenery and locales that resemble places depicted in J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Some of the highlights include a village that is reminiscent of the elven stronghold of Rivendell and a white tree that looks like the one found in Gondor. The route is broken into eight different sections, allowing hikers to take it in smaller pieces if they like. But if you're looking for an adventure fit for a hobbit, the 76-mile trail requires a week or more to explore it to its fullest. Accommodations can be found along the path, although independent travelers can pitch their tent at various points, too. After all, how many times will you get the opportunity to go camping in Middle Earth?

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Coast to Coast Trail (Singapore)

Sunset over a wetland preserve in Singapore

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The thoroughly modern and vibrant metropolis of Singapore seems like an unlikely destination for a great hiking trail. Since it opened in March 2019, the Coast to Coast Trail looks to change that, giving locals and visitors a 22-mile-long hiking route that stretches across the entire length of the island. The path connects several greenways and parks throughout the city, starting at the Jurong Lake Gardens in the west and ending at Coney Island Park in the east. Taking travelers to several nature preserves and green corridors en route, the terrain is mostly flat and very easy to walk.

But what makes the C2C trail so enjoyable is that it offers a wonderful respite from the often frenetic Singapore streets and markets. While it isn't necessarily meant to be walked end to end in a single day, industrious hikers can probably accomplish that feat. And since there is easy access to restaurants, convenience stores, coffee shops, and pubs along the way, it is easy to grab a refreshment whenever necessary. Best of all, when you've wrapped up your exploration of the greener side of Singapore, you can end the day in a comfortable hotel with plenty of modern amenities.

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England Coast Path (United Kingdom)

A man and woman hike along a coastal trail with backpacks strapped to their backs.

Mike Harrington/Getty

The England Coast Path is the British answer to the famous long-distance hiking trails found in the U.S. and other countries. When all of the sections are fully open in 2021, the route will run a staggering 2,700 miles, making it longer than both the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. The route consists of 66 individual legs spread out across four different regions: the North East, North West, South East, and South West. The goal is to create one continuous trail that follows the entire coastline of England, rarely venturing very far from the water at any given time. Most of the trail is already done and fully plotted, but there are a few remaining connections between the individual routes that need to be completed. As with all long-distance hiking routes, the difficulty and terrain vary widely depending on the location. Travelers can expect a lot of rolling hills and wide-open countryside.

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Sentiero Dei Parchi (Italy)

A backpacker hikes a trail in northern Italy with the rocky Dolomite Mountains in the background.

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Another hiking trail that isn't quite finished yet is Italy's Sentiero Dei Parchi, or "Path of the Parks." Expanding on the existing Sentiero Italia ("Italy Trail"), the route will eventually cover 4,275 miles and be divided into 400 unique sections. Traversing 20 different regions throughout the country and linking up 25 national parks, the path will cross through the Dolomites and Alps in the north to Italy's rocky and steep coastlines in the south. Even parts of the trails are found on Sicily and Santorini, requiring ferry rides to reach. Of course, this being Italy, there will be plenty of culture and history to be found, and hikers will seldom be more than 10 or 15 miles away from a village. Due to its incredible length and often difficult terrain, a full-through hike is expected to take about eight months to complete.

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Juliana Trail (Slovenia)

A couple hikes along a trail in the Juliana Alps of Slovenia

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Boasting some of Eastern Europe's most beautiful landscapes—not to mention a lot of untapped potential for trekking, mountain biking, and paddling—Slovenia has become an increasingly popular destination for adventure travelers. To lure more visitors, the Slovenian government opened in October 2019 the Juliana Trail, a 168-mile route that slices through the heart of the Juliana Alps. Divided into 16 sections, the trail can be taken in smaller sections or completed end-to-end in a single push. Expect it to take upwards of two weeks to walk the entire length, with stunning scenery abounding throughout. Mountain villages are frequently found along the trail, meaning accommodation and fine food are easy to find. This largely still unknown gem of a hiking route provides plenty of seclusion throughout its length, making this a good option for the well-traveled trekker looking to get away from it all.

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The Great Trail (Canada)

A hiker uses trekking poles to descend a steep mountain trail in Canada

Suzanne Stroeer / Aurora Photos/Getty

The product of more than 25 years of planning and building, "epic" doesn't even begin to describe Canada's Great Trail. The route runs for more than 16,000 miles, crossing the country east to west and north to south. The GT touches all 13 Canadian provinces and territories, starting on Cape Spear in Newfoundland and stretching to Vancouver Island in British Columbia. In between, hikers (and bikers, and cross-country skiers, and paddlers) will find nearly every type of terrain imaginable, including open plains, snowcapped peaks, river and lakes, rainforests, and tundra. In terms of length, natural beauty, wildlife, and diversity of landscapes, the Great Trail is now the gold standard by which all other long-distance hiking trails will be judged.

While it opened in 2017, the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) recently partnered with the Canadian Paralympic Committee and AccessNow to increase the GT's accessibility for people with disabilities. To that end, Canadian Paralympians and Para athletes are mapping 13 sections of the trail across 10 provinces and one territory, with the results being used to inform TCT how to improve the GT. Accessibility information will be available on the AccessNow app this spring,

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National Famine Way (Ireland)

Ireland Daily Life 2020
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Opened in September 2020, this 102-mile route is the same as the one undertaken by 1,490 emigrants trying to escape to the U.S. and Canada during the Irish Famine in 1847. Running from Strokestown Park House & Gardens in Roscommon to Custom House Quay in Dublin, the multi-use trail crosses six counties along the Royal Canal. A Passport/Guide with an OSI map (available for purchase at the National Famine Museum in Strokestown) provides insight into local history and landmarks, and 30-plus bronze sculptures of 19th-century children's shoes along the route pay tribute to one of the emigrants, 12-year-old Daniel Tighe. Travelers can get their passports stamped at 27 sites on the trail, and those who collect all 27 are rewarded with a certificate of completion at Dublin's EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum. The trail is mostly flat and paved and can be done in sections or end to end.

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