JANUARY 12, 2020
Several new long-distance, multi-day hikes have launched that promise visitors exclusive access to previously inaccessible areas.
Some provide a trek back in time through local history, while others take you through glacier-carved valleys and remote mountain passes that are welcoming some of their first human visitors.
Avid hikers should consider these seven long-distance hiking trails before word gets out.
The 3000km (1865-mile) trail will, when complete, follow the length of the Greater and Lesser Caucasus Mountains, uniting one of the most biologically, culturally and linguistically diverse regions.
Large stretches of the trail have just opened in Svaneti, Georgia (10 days), as well as in Dilijan National Park (5 days), the Gegham Mountains (6 days) and Vayots Dzor (7 days) in Armenia.
You can become a part of the ambitious project – and help define the future path – by signing up for the two-week trail building programs, which run in summer months.
Twenty-five years in the making, the 24,000km (14,912-mile) Great Trail became the largest recreational path in the world when completed in 2017.
Embodying the vastness of the Canada and the diversity of its people, the trail crosses 13 provinces and territories from the lighthouses of Nova Scotia to the wildlands of the Yukon Territory.
Even just crossing Canada from east (St John’s) to west (Victoria) would, averaging about 30km (19 miles) per day, take two years, two months and one week to complete!
Coast to Coast Trail
The densely packed city-state of Singapore shows off its greener side on the 36km (22-mile) Coast-to-Coast Trail, which debuted in April 2019.
The path stretches from Jurong Lake Gardens to Coney Island Park, all the while linking urban green spaces like Bukit Batok Nature Park, Singapore Botanic Gardens and MacRitchie Reservoir.
Download the trail’s mobile app and scan in at 10 checkpoints for an immersive experience replete with augmented reality creatures (we love Phil the leaf!).
For the first time in 25 years, New Zealand added a new trail to its list of Great Walks. The 55km (34-mile) one-way track snakes into the rainforests of the South Island near the famed Pancake Rocks.
The trail, which opened in December 2019, typically takes three days on foot – or two days on a mountain bike – with two well-appointed mountain huts breaking up the journey.
Along the way, you pass moss-clad river gorges and hilltop lookouts with expansive views over the turquoise Tasman Sea.
Liechtenstein celebrated its 300th birthday in 2019 by crafting a 75km (47-mile) walking path where citizens and visitors alike could explore three centuries of local history.
The Liechtenstein Trail twists over peaks and pastures on a route that takes in 147 sites in all 11 municipalities of this small principality, which is sandwiched between Austria and Switzerland.
The zigzagging north-south route takes about three days to complete with ascents of up to 2000m. Be sure to download the LIstory app before setting off for accompanying history lessons.
Red Sea Mountain Trail
Mainland Egypt’s first long-distance hiking path, this trail links a series of ancient trade routes into a single 170km (105-mile) circuit that takes an average of 10 days to complete.
It was local Bedouin of the Maaza tribe who created the project, which officially opened to the public in January 2019. Hikers usually head out with Bedouin guides and cameleers.
Trekkers in this remote wilderness will skirt vast plains, dip into gorges and summit barren peaks to visit crumbling Roman towns and prehistoric rock art. Smaller circuit trails are also possible.
Slovenia debuted the Juliana Trail in October 2019 in an attempt to get visitors to stay longer and visit more than just its capital Ljubljana and main tourist town of Bled.
The 270km (168-mile) route begins at the adventure hub of Kranjska Gora, near the Italian border, before looping around the Julian Alps past turquoise rivers and glacier-carved lakes.
Divided into 16 stages, you can choose a shorter adventure or tackle the entire trail, sleeping in charming alpine villages along the way.