Each year, nearly 50 million Americans go hiking making it one of the most popular activities for backpackers. Even those of low to moderate fitness can wander into the mountains and take in the spectacular views. However, if you really want to connect with the beauty of nature, then you may be better off avoiding the most popular routes. Find a path that lets you be away from the crowds and alone with Mother Earth.
Hiking is an experience that can take you deep into nature, without requiring much in the way of experience or specialist equipment. All you need is to pack a lightweight backpack that can hold all your stuff. Bring a solid pair of hiking boots, plenty of water and high energy food. This will sustain you for the duration of your trek.
Lares: The Alternative Route to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is one of the most iconic backpacking hotspots on Earth, with a strict limit of 5000 visitors a day being necessary to protect this ancient wonder. Many travelers choose to follow the Inca Trail, taking several days to finally reach the site after trekking through the Andes. However, there’s one lesser-known and unspoilt trail you can take.
You’ll begin in the Sacred Valley, visiting Inca fortresses before setting off on the path less traveled. There are less ancient sites, but the scenery is arguably more impressive and brings you away from the tourists and closer to the locals. You’ll be taken deeper into the wilderness, making it a more difficult, but ultimately more fulfilling trek.
Forget Everest: Check Out Upper Mustang, Nepal
It is on most serious hikers’ bucket lists to explore the trails around Everest base camp, but there is another spot nearby which may have some advantages. Located in the Himalayas, Upper Mustang has some of the most spectacular views imaginable. However, travelers have only been allowed to visit since the 1990s. For this reason, it is given the nickname “The Last Forbidden Kingdom”.
This makes it one of the least spoilt paths in the region and will take you to places where few have been before. You really get a sense of how the ancient Indian sages experienced the landscape when you keep away from the crowds and take your own journey. This can add a spiritual dimension that you wouldn’t otherwise experience.
Alaska’s Hidden Creek Trail
The USA is full of incredible hikes, from the Grand Canyon to Yellowstone National Park. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, then Alaska could be the perfect location to take you out of your comfort zone and deep into nature. The aptly named Hidden Creek Trail is a short and not particularly well known trail. It takes you to the Hidden Creek, which lies in the foreground of the stunning Kenai mountains. It can be a remote getaway to camp and fish, far from civilization.
Hiking is a chance to escape from your normal world and experience the true beauty that the natural world has to offer. While many trails are popular for a reason, they can lose some of their magic due to overcrowding. Finding those hidden gems can take a great hike and make it something truly special and unforgettable. So take yourself off the beaten path in search of something new.