Longest Hikes in the World

If you’ve ever wanted to really get away – a multi-week (or month) hiking adventure might be just what you are looking for. Some of these can take over a year to complete, and span thousands of miles across multiple countries.

You’ve likely heard of some in the United States, such as the Appalachian trail – but did you know this is actually part of a larger trail system? Some of these options will take you from Europe, to Asian, and beyond.

Read on to find 10 of the longest trails in the world – along with an estimate as to how long each of these might take you.

The Trans Canada Trail (14,996 miles)

Trans Canada Trail in Canmore, Alberta
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sam and Brian

By far the longest recreational hiking trail in the world extends across Canada from east to west and spans nearly 15,000 miles. Linking the Atlantic to the Pacific, this enchanting adventure will take you through the urban, rural, and absolutely remote parts of wild Canada.

This trail network, also known as The Great Trail, consists of over four hundred smaller trails of which many are owned, operated, and maintained by local authorities and conservation groups.

If you’re ready to traverse thirteen provinces and territories, keep in mind that only around 30% of this trail is off-road.

Expected travel time: 1 year and 4 months

The Great Western Loop (6,875 miles)

Arapaho Glacier Trail Crosses the Continental Divide Trail
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ryan DeBerardinis

This 6,875-mile stretch through the Western United States is well-known for its scenic beauty and natural attractions. The Great Western Loop links several other world-famous trails including the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Coast Trail.

Pack your best shoes and kick off your adventure at any point of the trail. That is if you’re ready to take on 12 national parks and more than 75 wilderness areas that will test your hiking skills.

Only a few hikers have completed this challenging trail since its creation in 2007.

Expected travel time: 8+ months

The American Discovery Trail (6,800 miles)

North Bend Rail Trail  as part of American Discovery Trail
Image Credit: Shutterstock / T H

Crossing 15 states and 6,800 miles is no easy task whether you’re a beginner or a veteran hiker. But that’s exactly what this iconic coast-to-coast trail through the center of the United States is all about.

Besides the countless magical sceneries that this route offers, its conquerors also have the chance to indulge in activities like horseback riding and biking on the way.

Connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific, this trail takes you through 15 states including Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California.

Expected travel time: 8+ months

E1 European Long Distance Path (4,960 miles)

Externsteine Stones along the E1 Trail
Image Credit: Shutterstock / teddiviscious

The longest hiking trail in Europe, the E1 European Long Distance Path stretches from the northernmost parts of Norway to Sicily, Italy. After setting off on your adventure in Norway, the trail will take you through Sweden, Finland, and Denmark. From there, you will face the ravines of Germany and the mountains of Switzerland before traversing Italy to reach its southernmost point.

Since this trip involves several nations, it’s a perfect choice for those looking to expand their cultural awareness and discover new horizons.

Expected travel time: 7+ months

The North Country Trail (4,800 miles)

North Country Trail in Hiawatha National Forest  in Michigan.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / ehrlif

Also known as the NCT, this scenic national trail authorized by the US Congress takes you from Middlebury in Vermont to Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota through eight states.

Along the way, you will encounter four national parks, ten national forest areas, and two national wildlife refuges. If you can’t resist vast forests, pristine waters, and never-ending plains, this is definitely the destination for you.

Expected travel time: 7+ months

The Eastern Continental Trail (4,400 miles)

Hiker on Appalachian Trail
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jonathan A. Mauer

Beginning in Key West, Florida, and ending in Cape Gaspé, Canada, the Eastern Continental Trail takes hikers on a journey of a lifetime through 16 states. The lengthy hike consists of several shorter, and yet iconic, trails such as the International Appalachian Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the Pinhoti Trail.

Whether by bike or on foot, completing this trail is far from an easy task. For your efforts, expect to be rewarded with breathtaking views of mountain chains, lakes, and rivers.

Expected travel time: 7+ months

The Grand Italian Trail (3,831 miles)

Corno Grande summit in Apennine Mountains in Gran Sasso National Park, Italy
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Milan Sommer.

Also known as the Sentiero Italia, this masterpiece of a trail encompasses the Mediterranean nation’s landmass while stretching from the Alpine ranges in the north to the coasts of Sicily and Sardinia.

Since the trail’s elevation rises to over 10,000 feet at some points, the challenger should be ready to brave cold mountain winds and slippery slopes. But worry not! Good food is always just around the corner.

Expected travel time: 7+ months

The Continental Divide Trail (3,100 miles)

Continental Divide Trail in San Luis New Mexico
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Robert Anthony Graham

Another worthy U.S. contester is the Continental Divide Trail which leads you through five states from the United States border with Mexico near Chihuahua to the northern border with Canada’s Alberta.

Often described as wild and raw, this trail leads its visitors through a variety of natural attractions including hot springs, waterfalls, forest areas, deserts, and more.

Are you ready for the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and the Chama River Canyon Wilderness in New Mexico? How about Idaho’s Chief Joseph Pass, Montana’s Scapegoat Wilderness, and Wyoming’s Two Ocean Pass?

Expected travel time: around 6 months

Via Alpina (3,100 miles)

Via Alpina in Julian Alps, Slovenia
Image credit: Shutterstock / Kseniya Shynkorenko

The entire Via Alpina Trail, named after the beautiful creation called the Alps, spans 3,100 miles and connects five smaller trails through eight European countries including Monaco, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, and Italy.

While this may not be the longest trail out there, it is known as one of the most challenging ones with elevations rising from 0 to over 10,000 feet.
Especially hard to navigate during the winter, this trail comes with 342 daily stages. On the good side, there are plenty of food and lodging options along the path to help you fill up your stomach and get some rest.

Expected travel time: 1 year

The Great Himalayan Trail (2,800 miles)

Mount Dhaulagiri on great himalayan trail in Nepal
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Daniel Prudek

The Great Himalayan Trail is one of many trails that exist in the vast Himalayas region. Combining multiple shorter hikes, this trail runs for an astounding 2,800 miles and links nations including Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet.

While traversing through vast plains and deep ravines, expect to come across picturesque mountain towns and villages offering great insight into local cultures and traditions. We hope you’re not afraid of heights – you’re going to be over 20,000 feet above sea level at the highest point of this trail.

Expected travel time: around 6 months


Trail in Trettachtal, Bavaria, Germany
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Drepicter

Whether you’re seeking peace of mind or looking to challenge your physical capabilities, embarking on one of the world’s longest hikes is a life-changing experience you’ll never forget. Before you set out on a long journey, you should plan ahead and prepare yourself for every possible scenario. Study safe trail hiking guidelines and ensure your equipment is in optimal condition.

With that being said, it’s time to choose your next destination. Would you prefer to traverse the wilderness of Canada or take on a scenic route through the United States? Perhaps, what you need is a long vacation in the Himalayas or a trip to several European nations in one hike.

Stop waiting, start living!

Author: Zan Kokalj


Zan Kokalj is a veteran content writer, copywriter, and author inspired by the impact of ink on paper.

Leave a Comment