20 Best Hikes of a Lifetime 2020

By: Heather Howard

Heather Howard has a passion for travel writing and marketing and loves inspiring people to explore new places. She has laced up her boots for many rugged hikes, from the Scottish Highlands to Alaska, Provence to Peru. She loves the fun of group travel and her top US travel tip is to explore Idaho's River of No Return Wilderness.

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October 29, 2019 | Adventure Experts

Every year, MT Sobek’s adventure experts pick the very best hiking adventures for the season ahead. Blending classic hikes and new off-the-radar routes, our top 20 for 2020 includes everything from the iconic Tour du Mont Blanc and Everest Base Camp Trek to Hiking in Australia’s Kakadu National Park! New stand-out successes for 2020 include Hiking the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia and Hiking the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Whether a trendsetting new trail or an ancient pilgrimage route, you’ll be wowed by these incredible hikes. Which is next on your list?

1. Tour du Mont Blanc

Having led trips to the Alps for over four decades has given us more than our fair share of bias, but the Tour du Mont Blanc is one of our favorite itineraries. The 10-day classic circuit of the Mont Blanc massif includes two nights in Chamonix and is a “must-do” for every hiker! AFAR says: “MT Sobek ups the ante with its Tour du Mont Blanc experience, one of the adventure travel company’s most popular trips for over 40 years.” Total Days: 12 // Activity Level: 4

2. Pakistan K2 Base Camp Trek

Straddling the border between Pakistan and China, K2 stands at 28,251 feet, making it the second tallest mountain in the world. Looming over the western Himalayas in the Karakoram Range, it has been described as a formidable peak of ice, rock and sky – rising up to touch the heavens. Join legendary mountain guide Sergio Fitch Watkins on a trek to K2 Base Camp at 16,732 feet, for views coveted by trekkers around the world.

3. Everest Base Camp Trek

Trekking in the Himalaya is a lifelong dream for many avid hikers, and what could be better than a pilgrimage to its greatest mountain—Mount Everest, known locally as Chomolungma, the “Mother Goddess of the Snows.” This 19-day adventure is nothing short of a true quest and, with 50 years’ experience leading the pack in Nepal, MT Sobek is the best company to get you to Everest Base Camp at 17,600 feet elevation.

Total Days: 19 // Activity Level: 5

4. Hiker’s Patagonia Tour

This trip includes some of the most incredible day hikes in Patagonia. Take a path through the Ascenio Valley to the majestic slopes below Torres del Paine, hike beneath the jagged Cuernos del Paine massif, and take the cirque of the French Valley—all spectacular feats! Includes the best day hikes in Los Glaciares National Park (Argentina) and Torres del Paine National Park (Chile), including the famous “W” route.

Total Days: 14 // Activity Level: 4

5. Summit Kilimanjaro Trekking Tour

Experience the unforgettable moment of summitting Kilimanjaro on this epic mountain hike that combines smart scheduling with spectacular beauty. Beginning in the rain forest at 6,400 feet, you’ll climb through magnificent alpine scenery, gazing at the mountain’s southern glaciers from the hauntingly beautiful Great Barranco Valley, before making your summit bid to the “roof of Africa” at 19,340 feet. Total Days: 10 // Activity Level: 5

6. El Camino de Santiago Guided Hiking Tour

For over a thousand years, the faithful have journeyed across northern Spain to the shrine of St. James the Great in Santiago de Compostela. Known as the Camino de Santiago, this epic pilgrimage is an unforgettable adventure and among MT Sobek’s most popular.

Total Days: 11 // Activity Level: 4

7. Hiking the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia

Join us in UNESCO-listed Simien Mountain National Park for an epic lodge-to-lodge hike along rugged escarpments and through deep valleys—terrain that is home to rare wildlife such as the Gelada baboon, Simien fox and Walia ibex. As you journey through Ethiopia, you’ll also discover its ancient past as a “cradle of humanity” and be amazed by the castles of Gondar and Lalibela’s rock-hewn churches. Name a “best vacation for adventure seekers” in 2019 by Forbes!

Total Days: 10 // Activity Level: 3

8. England Coast to Coast Hiking Tour

There are few treks as satisfying to serious hikers as England’s classic 192-mile “Coast-to-Coast” trail. Beginning at the Irish Sea and ending at the North Sea, you’ll cross the dramatic landscapes of the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, and North Yorkshire Moors. Total Days: 16 // Activity Level: 4

9. The John Muir Trail

Tracing the spine of the Sierra Nevada, the long-distance John Muir Trail is nearly as celebrated at the naturalist himself! The two best ways to tackle the John Muir Trail are via routes northbound to Yosemite National Park or southbound to Mount Whitney—both are unforgettable ultimate challenge hikes.  Days: 13 // Activity Level: 5 (northbound) and Days: 17 // Activity Level: 5 (southbound)

10. Machu Picchu Inn-to-Inn Trek

Our popular Inn-to-Inn itinerary, following the Salkantay route, lets you experience Peru’s most famous sites and was selected as one of National Geographic Traveler’s “Tours of a Lifetime.” Enjoy the challenge of a high-altitude trek with the comfort of well-appointed lodges. Days: 10 // Activity Level: 4

11. The Chomolhari Trek in Bhutan

This memorable trek is one of our few ultimate challenges. Set in the magical kingdom of Bhutan, you’ll immerse yourself in Buddhist culture by visiting its famous dzongs (citadels) and monasteries, like the “Tiger’s Nest” and “The Temple of the White Dove.” Days: 14 // Activity Level: 5

12. Across the Pyrenees Hiking Tour

Join expert MT Sobek guide Erik Perez for an unforgettable adventure from Bilbao to Barcelona, through Aragon and Catalonia. Hike through the dramatic landscapes of the Pyrenees, including Ordesa National Park, known as the “Spanish Grand Canyon.” Days: 9 // Activity Level: 4

13. Hiking the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco

Spend five days on an extraordinary trek through Morocco’s majestic High Atlas range, camping in comfortable mobile camps in the mountains. Climb the imposing Mount M’goun, Morocco’s second highest peak at 13,356′ feet, and discover lush oases, age-old kasbahs, and traditional Berber villages. Total Days: 9 // Activity Level: 4

14. Walking Japan

On the age-old Nakasendo trail, you’ll walk on undulating forested paths through the misty landscapes of the Kiso Valley, and enjoy the serenity of the route as it weaves its way beside rice fields and through pretty villages. Days: 11 // Activity Level: 3

15. Hiking Wild Scotland

Experience the raw wildness of the Outer Hebrides and the gorgeous, windswept terrain of Cairngorms National Park on this exclusive itinerary full of heart-pumping hikes. Find yourself amid Scotland’s wildest, most beautiful and most far-flung corners. Days: 9 // Activity Level: 3

16. Trekking in Chile’s Lake District

With its freshwater lakes, temperate rainforests, active volcanoes, and ancient forests of ‘monkey puzzle’ conifers, La Araucania region is one of Chile’s most stunning yet off-the-radar wilderness areas. Discover central Chile’s adventure playground, the scenic town of Pucon, and set out to hike two national parks—Villarrica and Huerquehue—and the private nature reserve of El Cañi. Total Days: 9 // Activity Level: 4

17. Hiking New Zealand’s South Island

With its glorious fjords, glaciers, mountains, lakes, rivers, and tracks that crisscross it all, New Zealand’s rugged South Island is a trekker’s dream. On this amazing journey, hike in Abel Tasman, Paparoa, and Fiordland National Parks, along the famous Queen Charlotte Track, to Franz Josef Glacier, and sections of two Great Walks. Explore the remote, beautiful Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area by helicopter, hiking, and jetboat—and get a taste of world-class wine along the way! Total Days: 13 // Activity Level: 3

18. Trekking the Pamir Mountains in China

Ancient Silk Road outposts and truly authentic cultural experiences await you in Xinjiang’s Pamir Mountains, located in China’s remote western corner. Over 13 days, with 8 on the trail, you’ll enjoy challenging high-altitude hikes and wilderness camping—supported by a team of guides and camel drivers. Experience striking mountain scenery, massive glaciers, and beautiful grasslands. Total Days: 13 // Activity Level: 4

19. Trekking in the Heart of Colombia

Discover the Colombia few travelers ever witness on this 12-day journey from Bogota to the towering mountain peaks of Los Nevados National Park – 37,000 square miles of spectacular alpine and tropical scenery and home to mountain tapirs, spectacled bears, and exotic bird life ranging from tiny hummingbirds to the world’s largest bird, the condor. Hike among ice-capped volcanoes, breathtaking mountain passes, and lush green valleys. Total Days: 12 // Activity Level: 4

20. Hiking Australia’s Kakadu National Park

Experience the magic of UNESCO-listed Kakadu National Park on this brand-new active journey. Take sunset cruises along croc-filled billabongs, experience incredible ancient Aboriginal rock art,  share a meal and stories with an Aboriginal elder, and cool off in natural swimming holes, and go on a two-day wilderness hike to spectacular falls and gorges. Immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Australia’s Northern Territory. Total Days: 9 // Activity Level: 3

Interested in any of these hikes? Click on the images to learn more!