There are many beautiful mountain ranges around the world with every continent having their own mighty hills to admire but although all of them are stunning, many are simply inaccessible without specialist training, equipment or a whole lot of money so here we look at some of the bet mountains around the world which are also perfect for hiking.
That’s not to say you won’t need to be prepared to see these awesome monuments of nature but the possibility of exploration is open.
1. Wengen – Switzerland
Wengen is built around the very beginnings of Swiss tourism where they opened themselves up to hikers and explorers looking to find their own glorious patch of mountain air. Traditional timber houses and car-free streets will also transport you to a postcard image of Switzerland, overlooking the stunning scenery of the Lauterbrunnen Valley.
In winter the place is awash with skiers but come summer, the snow has melted away and it is ideal for hikers to come and explore the surrounding terrain including the impressive Jungfrau.
2. Sierra Madre de Oaxaca – Mexico
Predominantly confined to the Oaxaca region of Mexico but stretching into both Puebla and Veracruz, this mountain range includes the tallest Mexican peak in Pico de Orizaba. Despite most of the peaks being very high and ranging from 8,200 feet and 9,800 feet above sea level, accessibility isn’t too hard for any competent hiker.
The views across the stunning Mexican landscape are also well worth the trek up to the top.
3. Crested Butte – USA
The American state of Colorado is surrounded by far reaching forests, national parks and glorious mountain ranges but tucked away in amongst these is Crested Butte, a town that transforms from lush greenery to snow-capped mountainside between summer and winter. With many annual festivals, there is plenty to do up here in the wilds.
Now well-known for a wide range of activities including cross-country skiing, extreme skiing, mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, kayaking and white water rafting it is the perfect getaway for any adventure seeker.
4. Aonach Eagach – Scotland
It’s Southerly neighbor Glen Coe may be better known for its skiing and snowboarding options but the 10-kilometer ridge of Aonach Eagach makes it ideal for a rough, rocky adventure albeit a slightly perilous one where the views well outweigh the risk.
The slopes can be tricky and a little dangerous but those who are prepared and go in the right season will be rewarded with stunning sights of the water and rolling landscape far below.
5. Zion Narrows – USA
Part of the Zion National park in Utah, the Zion Narrows sit in a section of the North Fork of the Virgin River, where the canyon walls close in, and the river becomes your trail. Amazing trails through shallow pools will take you past the sheer walls of red rock that tower above you on both sides and right up to Big Springs.
Soe of the more challenging hikes along the rocky precipices may take longer and a bit more skill but there’s plenty of walks to suit all abilities here.
6. Kaikoura Ranges – New Zealand
Kaikoura is a few hours drive North of Christchurch and is a beautiful seaside town perfect for whale watching and beach excursions but head further inland and you’ll be greeted by the stunning mountain range that overlooks the coastline and peers out onto the ocean.
The eco-friendly attitude of the town and its rich Maori heritage makes it a great place to visit whether you intend to head into the hills or not.
7. Caminito Del Rey – Spain
A sheer cliff face with a mountain path jutting out from its walls, it was once considered the most dangerous hikes in the world due to its disrepair and missing sections of pathway but refurbishment has put an end to that title as it now has hand rails, bridges and stairs in the renovated walk which reopened in 2015.
The trail is approximately 7.7 kilometers long and takes around four hours to complete.
8. North Dome, Sierra Nevada – USA
The famed icon of Yosemite National Park is the half dome but rather than heading to the Western end of the park to trek up it, take the magnificent, yet far easier, hike up the North Dome that is across the valley and you can get even better views of Half Dome after a robust walk up its impressive trail.
Despite being challenging in parts anyone in decent shape should be able to manage this hike.
9. Banff National Park – Canada
The Alberta Rocky Mountains are undeniably stunning and Banff National Park takes in this magnificent mountain range and is part of UNESCO’s Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. Pine forests, mountainous terrain, glacier-fed lakes and Canada’s largest cave system are all part of the glories to discover in the park.
A range of walks for a range of abilities are available but kayaking, cycling, and in-line skating are also popular activities for those wanting to try out something else.
10. Snowdonia – Wales
Snowdonia National Park is famous for its mountains and attracts hikers, day trippers, mountain bikers and tourists to its verdant and rocky scenery with plenty of peaks, including Munt Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, at an elevation of 1,085 metres (3,560 ft) above sea level, and the highest point in the British Isles outside the Scottish Highlands.
Of course, should you not fancy the hike, there is always the Snowdon Mountain Railway or Pony trekking as an option.
11. Glendalough – Ireland
20,000 hectares of protected land make up the Wicklow Mountains National Park that sit just South of Dublin, where the monuments, lakes and many of the trails are accessible all year round, whatever the weather. Not just home to stunning scenery but also jaw-dropping history and archaeology that runs through the park in a rich seam.
Known as ‘the valley of the two lakes’, it is an awesome place to behold.
12. Cradle Mountain, Tasmania – Australia
The island of Tasmania sits just South of mainland Australia and the sights and trails of Cradle Mountain National Park have long been associated with the stunning imagery of this magnificent island. Wombats and wallabies are found amongst the native flora and fauna as you hike these heavy going trails that offer up justified reward.
The world-famous Overland Track that takes you right up to Lake St Clair but will take 5-6 days to complete and is not for the casual walker.
13. Krkonoše National Park – Czech Republic
Th Czech Republic’s highest mountain range, the tallest peak being Sněžka, sits in this magnificent national park that encompasses alpine meadows, moorland and tundra. The park was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1992, the hiking trails offer auspicious views of stunning natural beauty.
However, a far more relaxing option may be the cable car to the top of the scenic valley of Obří Důl, where panoramic views of both the Czech Republic and Poland can be taken in.