Julie 10 Best 106 Comments

Where can you go to find that perfect day hike? The hike that leaves you breathless as you climb the summit of the mountain. The hike with the awe-inspiring views. The hike that is so enjoyable because the terrain and its views are always changing. The hike that has you saying “Wow!” over and over again. The hike that looks great in photos but is even better once you are actually there. The hike that you hope to do again someday. Here is our list of the best day hikes in the world.

Some are short, some are long, all of them are amazing. And all of these hikes take just a single day of your time.

The Best Day Hikes in the World


The Zion Narrows, Zion National Park

Tim in Zion Narrows

The Narrows is one of Zion’s most popular hikes, for good reason. This is the quintessential slot canyon hike. For miles, you hike in the North Fork of the Virgin River, surrounded by sheer rock walls and amazing beauty. It’s challenging, it’s unique, and it makes for a very memorable experience.

There are two different ways you can hike the Narrows as a day hike. The most popular way to hike the Narrows is from the bottom-up since you do not need a permit and you simply hike as far as you want to go. For an epic hiking experience, you can hike the entire Narrows from the top-down, a 16 mile unforgettable journey.

Zion Narrows

Hiking Zion Narrows

Distance: 25.7 km (16 miles) for the top-down route; 3 to 19 km (2 to 12 miles) for the bottom-up route
Length of Time:  up to 13 hours

Trolltunga, Norway


Norway Hiking

Trolltunga is one of Norway’s most popular hikes for good reason. It is an incredibly scenic hike, ending at the Troll’s tongue, a thin sliver of rock perfect for creative photographs. This is definitely a hike to add to your bucket list.

When traveling through Norway, getting to Trolltunga is a little out of the way, but if you are looking for an epic hike, this is worth the drive. It’s one of our absolute favorites. Posing on Trolltunga is a memorable moment, but the entire hike is stunning. 

Distance: 23 km (14.3 miles)
Length of Time: 8 to 10 hours

Angels Landing, Zion National Park

Angels Landing Hike

Angels Landing draws thrill-seekers from all around the world. With chain-assisted rock scrambling sections, stunning views, and vertigo-inducing heights, this is an exhilarating hike.

Angels Landing

Tim Rivenbark

The final half-mile to the top of Angels Landing is along a narrow spine of rock, with 1000 foot drop-offs on either side. Not for the faint of heart, this is definitely a bucket list hike.

Distance:  9 km (5.4 miles)
Length of Time: 3 to 5 hours

Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu

Inca Trail

On the Inca Trail

The one day hike to Machu Picchu is an awesome alternative to the very popular four day trek for those who do not have time in their schedule or for those with no desire to do a multi-day hike. A lot of people bash the one day hike, saying it’s just not worth it. We totally disagree.

The one day hike allows you to walk the last section of the famous Inca trail, ending at the Sun Gate in the afternoon, for your first views of Machu Picchu. It is so much more rewarding to arrive this way to Machu Picchu than to take the train and bus combo that shuttles you right up to Machu Picchu’s main entrance.

We loved this hike. We hiked through the Andes Mountains, visiting Inca ruins along the way, climbed ancient stone steps, walked through a rainforest, and viewed rainbows over the mountains. The hike culminates at the Sun Gate and its amazing view of Machu Picchu. Before heading down to Aguas Calientes for the night, you get to view Machu Picchu from its famous postcard point and still have the entire next day to explore Machu Picchu.

Don’t let other online reviews keep you from doing this hike. If you only have one day to spare, the one day Inca trail is an excellent alternative to its four day counterpart.

Distance: 15 km

Length of Time:  All day. A morning train will drop you off at km 104 of the Inca trail and it takes 4 to 5 hours to hike the trail, arriving at the Sun Gate in the afternoon. From the Sun Gate it is a 45 minute hike down to the Machu Picchu overlook. From here, you take a bus down to Aguas Calientes to spend the night.

The following morning, get up before dawn, take the bus back up to Machu Picchu and watch the sunrise. It’s spectacular!

Puez-Odle Altopiano, Dolomites, Italy


The Dolomites, Italy is one of our favorite spots in the world to go hiking. We did three hikes here and all of them were unforgettable experiences. Photos of the Dolomites, even the good ones, still don’t show you just how stunningly beautiful this area of the world is.

Puez Odle Altopiano

Best Day Hikes Italy

I had to pick just one of our hikes, a tough decision, but hiking the Puez-Odle Altopiano was our favorite in the Dolomites. It’s long, it involves a lot of climbing, but it is worth the effort. This hike takes you to some of the highest peaks in the area, giving you a bird’s eye view of the amazing mountains of the Dolomites. It is worth the effort for these awesome 360° views.

Distance:  20 km (12.4 miles)
Length of Time:  6 to 8 hours

Fimmvörðuháls Hike, Iceland

The Fimmvörðuháls hike is Iceland’s best day hike. 26 waterfalls, 1 volcano, 2 glaciers, and 3 unique landscapes all combine for one of the most extraordinary hiking experiences on the planet.

Hike Iceland

Fimmvorduhals Hike

Best Day Hikes Iceland

Thorsmork Hike

This is a massive hike. It’s 25 km (15.5 miles) in length and done as a point-to-point hike from Skogafoss to Thórsmörk. The logistics can be challenging, but we have a great guide to help you plan your hike.

If you have plans to visit Iceland during the summer months and love hiking, this should be #1 on your Iceland bucket list.

Distance:  25 km (15.5 miles)
Length of Time: 8 to 10 hours

Highline Trail, Glacier National Park

The Highline Trail is one of Glacier National Park’s best day hikes. For almost 12 miles, this trail takes hikers high above Going-to-the-Sun Road, with stunning views of the park and a chance to see glaciers, alpine wildflowers, and wildlife.

Highline Trail Hike

Best Day Hikes Glacier

Hike Glacier NP

If you want to hike a trail with unbeatable alpine views without having to hike up a massive mountain, it’s hard to beat the Highline Trail.

Distance:  19 km (11.6 miles)
Length of Time: 5 to 7 hours

Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand


Labeled as the best single day hike in New Zealand, some people even consider this hike to be best single day hike in the world. 

Mt Doom

End of Tongariro

Located on the North Island of New Zealand, the volcanic terrain of Tongariro breaks up the lush, green scenery that is so prevalent in this country. Here is your chance to hike in the shadow of Mt. Doom, walk through an almost lunar landscape, and watch as semi-dormant volcanoes smoke not too far off in the distance.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is uniquely beautiful and another one of those hikes where the scenery is constantly changing.

Distance:  19.4 km (12 miles)
Length of Time:  6 to 8 hours

Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim

Awe-inspiring, challenging, exhausting, unforgettable…these are all words to describe the trek across the Grand Canyon. If you are up for a big adventure, hiking the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim is one for the bucket list.

Grand Canyon Rim to Rim

Colorado River Grand Canyon

Best Day Hikes Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Day Hike

This is the land of extremes. In the summer months, the temperature can fluctuate along the trail as much as 80 degrees in one day. You will descend nearly one mile to the Colorado River and then climb back up the other side.

Along the way, you will face heat, cold, fatigued legs, exhaustion, joy, and maybe even despair. You’ll rejoice at the jaw-dropping views, hike on steep, dusty trails, walk through narrow canyons and shady, lush oases, and thoroughly immerse yourself in one the United States most iconic landscapes.

Once you hike rim-to-rim, you will never look at the Grand Canyon the same way again.

Most people hike rim-to-rim on a two or three-day backpacking trip. If you are extremely fit and fast, it is possible to hike the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim in one day.

Distance: 38 km (23.5 miles)
Length of Time: One massive day hike or a 2 to 3-day backpacking trip

Love Valley, Cappadocia

This is a very quick hike, ending at these uniquely shaped spires that gives Love Valley its name.

Love Valley

There is more to the Love Valley Hike than the phallic-shaped rock formations at the end. The hike takes you through a very scenic valley with small climbs, caves, and unique vegetation. It is a beautiful hike and will leave you with quite an interesting collection of photographs.

Distance: 2.4 km (1.5 miles)
Length of Time: 1 to 1.5 hours

Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan

Tiger's Nest

The Tiger’s Nest is a Buddhist monastery perched on the side of a cliff, 900 meters off of the ground. It is a long climb to get here, but oh, what a view. Such a majestic building in a precarious position. Prayer flags are waving in the air and you can smell the incense and hear the Buddhist monks in prayer. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Distance: 6.4 km (4 miles)
Length of Time: 5 to 7 hours

Schynige Platte to Faulhorn to First, Switzerland

Schynige Platte Hike

Best Day Hikes Switzerland

The hike from Schynige Platte to Faulhorn to First is a big day hike in the Jungfrau region of Switzerland, but what a spectacular day. A scenic ride on a cogwheel train, alpine lakes, rustic mountain huts, snow-covered trails, cows and their musical bells, and some of the best views of Swiss Alps…these are just a few highlights of this thrilling hike.

With views of the Jungfrau massif, Lake Brienz, and numerous alpine lakes, this is often labeled as one of the best day hikes to do in the Jungfrau region.

Distance:  16 km (10 miles)
Length of Time: 6 hours

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

Half Dome

Why is the hike to Half Dome so epic? For one thing, standing on top of Half Dome and looking out over Yosemite National Park is a breathtaking experience. But to get here, you first must climb the Half Dome cables. This thrilling journey involves climbing the steep, slippery granite rock of Half Dome, using the cables for support. It’s a long, challenging hike but it is an amazing journey from start to finish.

Half Dome Cables

Top of Half Dome

In order to do this hike, you must have a permit to climb the cables.

Distance: 27 km (17 miles)
Length of time: 10 to 14 hours

Jiankou to Mutianyu, Great Wall of China

Jiankou Great Wall

Hiking Great Wall

Walking on the Great Wall of China is an amazing experience. Sections of the wall are in perfect condition, having been restored, but there are sections of the wall, now crumbling and in disrepair, that still can be visited. The best part of the Great Wall are these decrepit, neglected sections, now overgrown with vegetation and even small trees, ancient sections of the wall not yet rebuilt or maintained.

Jiankou to Mutianyu

Walking on the Wall

Walking on the unrestored sections is a true adventure. Climb a rickety, wooden ladder to get on the wall, dodge huge potholes and sections crumbling down the mountainside, and look out over China from the watchtowers. The best part was sliding down the steep sections, laughing, falling, all the while being able to enjoy walking on this piece of ancient history.

Distance:  10 km (6.2 miles)
Time to Hike:  4 to 5 hours 

King’s Canyon Rim Walk, Australia

Kings Canyon Australia

At Kings Canyon

Hiking Kings Canyon

Hiking King’s Canyon is another hike that blew away our expectations. People travel to this area of Australia to visit Uluru. What most people are not aware of is that there is a great hike just a few hours away by car. Being a quick, relatively easy hike, King’s Canyon gives you the biggest bang for your buck in terms of scenery and fun.

Distance:  6 km (3.7 miles)
Time to Hike:  2 to 4 hours

Kjeragbolten, Norway


Hiking to Kjeragbolten, this giant boulder wedged between two cliffs, is one of our favorite hikes of all time. Why? It’s not just because you get the chance to do something absolutely crazy, stepping out onto the boulder, it’s also because this hike is just downright fun. From climbing sheer granite faces with the aids of chains, to descending down into valleys inhabited by sheep and their clanging bells, to views out over some of the most spectacular scenery in Norway, this hike is a pure joy.

Hiking Kjeragbolten

Tim Rivenbark

Once at the Kjeragbolten, do you dare step out onto it?

This boulder sits 1000 meters off of the ground. That’s a long way down. And what a cool collection of photographs you will have at the end of the day.

Distance: 12 km (7.4 miles)
Time to hike: 6 to 8 hours

Queens Garden and Navajo Loop, Bryce Canyon National Park

Best Day Hikes Utah

Hike Bryce Canyon

Best Day Hikes Bryce Canyon

Combine two of Bryce Canyon’s most thrilling trails into a loop for an amazing hiking experience. On these two trails, get up close with the hoodoos, see Thor’s Hammer, and walk through canyons, arches, and forests of pine trees.

This short, easy hike has a big wow factor. It’s great for hikers of all ages and ability levels and lets you see the highlights of Bryce Canyon in a short period of time.

Distance: 4.4 km (2.75 miles)
Length of Time: 2 to 3 hours

Landmannaugar, Iceland

Landmannalaugar is an area in Iceland that is famous for its colorful rhyolite mountains and epic day hikes. Geothermal hot springs, lava fields, and unique hiking trails attract adventurous travelers all summer long.


Best Hikes in the World

Best Day Hikes Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar is one of Iceland’s best areas for day hikes. Take your pick from short, easy trails or tougher climbs up ancient volcanos for panoramic views over the region.

Our favorite hike is the Blahnúkúr Brennisteinsalda Loop. Walk through the lava fields, past steaming fumaroles, and summit two peaks for unbelievable views over Landmannalaugar.

Robberg Peninsula, Garden Route, South Africa

Robberg Peninsula

For a hike with always changing terrain and views, this one is perfect. For us, this hike was unexpectedly awesome.

Located in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa, this is a round trip hike around the Robberg Peninsula. Along the way you will have views over the peninsula, watch (and smell) the seals playing by the water’s edge, hike along a rocky coastline, and then walk across a peninsula of sand. Your timing has to be right to walk out across the sand peninsula, since is gets swallowed up for a few hours by high tide.

Distance: 9.2 km (5.7 miles)
Length of Time: 4 to 5 hours

Aconcagua Base Camp, Argentina

Aconcagua Hike

Hike to Aconcagua

Mount Aconcagua is the tallest mountain in the world outside of Asia. Many people travel to Mendoza, Argentina, to go on mountaineering expeditions to summit Mt. Aconcagua (a journey that takes 18 to 20 days). For those who do not want to go mountaineering, there are shorter treks available to go hiking in the Andes mountains in Argentina. 

The shortest hike is the day hike to Confluencia, the first Aconcagua base camp. The hike out and back to Confluencia is gorgeous, with views of Aconcagua and the amazing Andes Mountains.

Distance:  16 km (10 miles)
Length of Time: 4 to 6 hours

Do you have a favorite day hike in the world that you did not see on this list? Leave a comment below and let us know about it!

Check out our Hiking Page for more awesome hiking trails from around the world.

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Comments 106

  1. Thanks for your terrific site and your detailed recommendations. After reading your description I definitely want to do the top-down Virgin River hike in Zion.
    If you haven’t done it already, I highly recommend you try the Alpine Circuit at Lake O’Hara in Yoho National Park in Canada. You can do this even if you can’t get a reservation for the bus up to Lake O’Hara; the six-mile hike up to the lake is easy and just adds a couple of hours to your day.
    I’ve done multiple Cappadocia hikes, Half Dome, Bryce Canyon, the four-day Inca Trail, and an old section of the Great Wall; Lake O’Hara ranks up there with those on my list of best hikes.

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  2. Hi!
    We are going to norway next year and I am trying to figure out if we want to do trolltunga. I know it is amazing but unsure of our ability. My wife and I have done the narrows at Zion, plain of 6 glacier hike in banff (which btw is also amazing) among others. She refused to do Angel’s landing so I did that on my own. Based on those three, do you think she would be able to manage trolltunga? Also sounds like we would need to plan for 12ish hours RT for that hike? Do you think we could do others after that or our legs will be too exhausted to do any more?

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      Hello Anish. If you did the Narrows top down (which is about 17 miles), then you should be fine for Trolltunga. Even though there are no hills in the Narrows, slogging through the water can be difficult. If you did the Narrows bottom-up, then it just depends on how far you went to compare this to Trolltunga. Basically, you need to be able to hike 17 miles (28 km) with some nice hills thrown in. However, you can shorten the hike, and eliminate the first climb, by parking at the upper parking lot or taking the shuttle. In advance, train for the hike and reserve your spot at the parking lot. This is a beautiful hike and well worth the effort. Plan to stay near the hike (for example, Tyssedal) so you don’t have to drive somewhere immediately after the hike. Cheers, Julie

  3. I would give an honorable mention to the Levada walks of Madeira Island, which probably provide the most variation in an easy day walk, including craggy peaks, UNESCO listed rainforest, spectacular canyons, waterfalls, massive sea views, most of which will be experienced whilst walking along a thin sliver of flat ground set into dizzyingly steep mountainsides.

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      Sounds wonderful! Madeira is very high on our list and hopefully we will be visiting within the next year. Thanks for the recommendation! Cheers, Julie

  4. Hi, just 2 of the thousands of hikes almost as beautiful as those 10: Los Cahorros de Monachil and La Vereda de La Estrella. In Spain near my home. Or one of those I posted in Wikiloc.

  5. Hi there
    We are travelling as a family in Patagonia so I was looking for recommendations and couldn’t see any in your list – perhaps because you did multi day treks there ?
    Also to be added to your bucket list : volcano Rinjani on Indonesia’s Lombok island!

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      Hello Thomas. We have not been to Patagonia yet, which is why you couldn’t find anything on our website about it. And yes, Lombok looks amazing!! Thanks for the recommendation. Cheers, Julie

  6. I read your posts about the trails in Europe.
    For more (long distance) hiking trails in Europe please visit: https://www.oranginas.nl/en
    This is not about the “classical” hikes – like Cinque Terre or “the Alps” – but the unknown and very beautiful walks in the real Europe. Hope you like it.
    Good luck you all!

  7. Don’t know if you’ve heard of them but the Kumano Kodo in Japan to Mt. Kota and the Salkantay trail in Peru are excellent alternatives to Mt. Fuji and Inca trail respectively. Much less travelled, more remote and beautiful scenery. Also if you ever get the opportunity to go to Iran I’d suggest Alamut Valley. Iran has some of the most pristine wilderness and hiking trails.

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      The Salkantay trail is very high on our list. In fact, our guide for the Inca Trail told us that Salkantay was by far his favorite trek in that area. Ever since hearing that I have wanted to do it. I would love to get to Iran someday…will look into Alamut Valley. Thanks for the suggestions! Cheers, Julie

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