Hike It Out: Multi-Day Treks for Digital Detox

Sometimes you just need to escape digital reality and take a long walk in the woods, to breathe in the serenity of the natural world and shake off the stress. Whether it’s an overnight trek to the bottom of the Grand Canyon or walking across the entire country of Jordan, these multi-day treks and thru-hikes are the perfect antidote to modern life. So go ahead and lace up your boots, book a few days vacation, and let yourself hike it out.

Warumbul Rd, Royal National Park NSW 2233, Australia
Carved by ocean inlets that meet vertical cliffs, Sydney is a city that’s defined by nature. And in less than an hour, travelers can visit Royal National Park to the south, the world’s second oldest national park, established in 1879. “The Royal,” or “Nasho” as its sometimes called, is most famous for its 16-mile Coast Track, which undulates up rugged bluffs and down to rocky coves from Bundeena to Otford. Veteran trekkers can accomplish the hike in a single day, but most people divide the journey into a two-day backpacking trip with an overnight at North Era campground. Whales migrate along the coast from June to November, and swimming spots like Figure 8 Pool and the waterfall-fed Wattamolla lagoon beckon hikers in summer.
The Inca Trail is perhaps the most famous trek in Peru. This is the road to Machu Picchu, an ancient route that leads from the Sacred Valley into the heart of the Andes. You must obtain a permit and hire an official guide in order to hike the Inca Trail proper. There are plenty of tour operators in Cusco that offer trips up to Machu Picchu, so you should definitely look at reviews before you choose. For better or for worse, the tours are all-inclusive. The local tour operators employ porters to carry your packs and set up a camp. A team of local chefs will prepare three meals a day, and many hikers come back raving about the delicious meals. Keep in mind that the trek can be tough, especially in the first few days. The trail is often narrow, and it flirts with formidable heights. The mountains in this part of the Andes can rise well over 13,000 feet, and many hikers find themselves suffering from altitude sickness. Make sure to take a few days (in Cusco or the Sacred Valley) to acclimatize before you begin the journey. Finally: make sure to plan ahead! The Peruvian government limits trail access to 500 people per day, including porters. This regulation protects the local ecosystem and the delicate ruins, and it ensures that the trail won’t be too crowded. However, it also means that permits for the peak summer season sell out months in advance. If you aren’t able to get a permit for the classic Inca Trail, never fear: there are various other trails that lead to Machu Picchu.
San Fuego 70, Santa Cruz, Aruba
Among the 20 percent of Aruba that’s protected land, Arikok National Park boasts lava fields, limestone terrain, and a small beach, all crisscrossed with picturesque hiking trails. Paths lead to gold mine ruins, former plantations, and paintings by the island’s native Arawak people, making for an exciting place to visit. Explore the park by mountain bike, horseback, or car, or take a free walking tour with a park ranger (reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance). You’re likely to see snakes, owls, bats, lizards, and myriad birds, as well as goats and the local donkeys.
N Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023, USA
It may look a little like your childhood summer camp, but Phantom Ranch feels like the Ritz by the time you make it to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, whether by foot—a steep 10-mile hike—mule, or boat down the Colorado River. Set near a creek in the shade of a cottonwood grove, the lodge is the only property located beneath the rim of the canyon, making it an extremely popular destination. Book early; the concession uses a lottery system for reservations beginning 14 months in advance. There are two lodging options: log cabins that sleep up to 10 people and are furnished with cold water sinks and toilets (there are common shower facilities), and four dormitories—two each for men and women—that sleep 10 in five bunk beds. Linens are provided and, thankfully, all of the buildings have air-conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter. Also be sure to reserve meals ahead of time. Seating in the canteen is limited, and the steak and meat-stew dinners, served family style, are surprisingly tasty.
1 Dolfor House Capel Deunant Road, Aberdaron, Pwllheli LL53 8BP, UK
The new 870-mile Wales Coast Path knits coastal wilds with the northern highlands and the eastern hill country that borders England. Here are three standout sections: The 30-mile Llyn Peninsula in northwest Wales (above) drew streams of pilgrims in the Middle Ages on their way to Bardsey Island, where Christian saints are buried. The outfitter Edge of Wales Walk arranges trips. edgeofwaleswalk.co.uk. Ocean-bashed cliffs and sandy coves define southwest Wales’s Pembrokeshire County. With Dragon Trails, guests can visit Iron Age sites, then come home to a Georgian estate complete with a croquet lawn. dragontrails.com. Even before Prince William and Duchess Kate moved in, Anglesey island held its own as a beach and cultural destination. Anglesey Walking Holidays can guide you to giant stone burial chambers. angleseywalkingholidays.com.
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AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
National Parks