Hiking is a blissful experience, especially when the challenge treats you to a rewarding, scenic view. For those who enjoy a heart-pumping experience and international scenery, these trails feature nothing but stimulation for the senses.
Skyline Trail Loop
Location: Mount Rainer National Park | Paradise, WA
Length: 6.0 Miles (Round-trip)
Elevation Gain: 1,400 feet
Most easily accessible from the Nisqually Entrance of the park, this trail meanders amongst rivers, meadows and of course, a stunning view of Mount Rainer. The highest point, 6,800 feet, is located at Panorama Point, which allows you to view Mount Adams, Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens on a clear day. Wildflower season occurs between late July – early September.
Hikers have the option to hike the first section of the trail on foot up the steep hill, or take the gondola up 1,476 feet to the Skyline Chalet. This trail features amazing views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. Trekking further along this trail as it levels off you get views of mountains north and south of your location. Once you reach the Ben Lomond Saddle, a 360-degree view of lakes, mountains and possibly Mount Aspiring can be seen on a clear day. Located in the Southern Hemisphere, the best time to hike is during the summer and fall months between November – April.
Location: Napali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii
Length: 11 miles (One-Way)
Elevation Gain: 500 feet
This tropical, rugged trail features stunning aquatic views while hiking through lush rainforests. Conditioned backpackers can hike the 11 miles in one day. Day hikers can still enjoy the hike with trekking approximately four to five miles each way. Kalalau Valley stretches more than 4,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean. Get ready to get wet as part of the trail includes hiking through a river where there is a rope to assist with balance support. This trail was originally built in the 1800’s and part of this trail winds amongst jagged cliffs. Also, the trail lowers to sea level to the beaches of Hanakapi’ai and Kalalau. Swimming is recommended for individuals who are knowledgeable about sea conditions as the rip tide maybe strong.
The trailhead is located adjacent to the Denali National Park Visitor Center. With steady elevation gain, this hikes starts following a small creek through spruce and aspen and leads to Alaskan range mountain views. The switchback trail leads to the summit of Mount Healy, which features more dramatic views of snow-capped, jagged peaks.
Wedgemount Lake Trail
Location: Between Pemberton and Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
Length: 8 miles (Round-trip)
Elevation Gain: 3,805 feet
The trail meanders amongst second-generation growth forest. Pack appropriate gear for this strenuous, steep hike, which leads to the peak where hikers must scramble over rocks to the most scenic viewpoint. It is recommended to have climbing skills and knowledge on how to get back to the trail, as the rocks are free standing and not part of the trail. The view includes a panoramic view of snow-capped mountains and the glacier-blue Wedgemount Lake. Bring adequate clothing, as the wind is strong and chilly.
Although short, this vertical trail leads you to a rewarding tropical vista of oceanic blues and exotic islands. Similar to hiking in a steam room, bring plenty of liquids. To beat the heat and photograph an amazing sunrise, it is recommended to start trekking at 5:00AM. The path switches from concrete to wooden paths consistently, but once at the top you can choose between three viewpoints overlooking the Andaman Sea.
Cory Pass Loop Trail
Location: Banff National Park | Banff, Alberta, Canada
Length: 8.4 miles (Round-trip)
Elevation Gain: 3,200 feet
Trekking amongst tough, arduous and craggy peaks makes for an awesome reward of stunning views including vertical slabs on Mount Louis. Watch for trail markers as various sections of the trail are challenging to follow. It is recommended to hike during the summer months to allow for a clear view of the trail. On a lucky day, you may find sheep passing through the trail to say hello.