Masar Ibrahim, Palestinian territories
From the city of Jenin, north of the Palestine Hills, the evocative Masar Ibrahim al-Khalil (Abraham’s Path) trail edges southwards for 200 miles to Beit Mirsim, just south of Hebron. The path passes through desert-meets-sea landscapes and offers the chance to stay in Bedouin camps. Taking around 22 days to complete, the trail is best followed in spring or early autumn to avoid the burning Levantine summers.
Via Dinarica, Balkans
A European odyssey, the Via Dinarica runs like a rocky backbone along the Western Balkans. It starts in the peaks of northern Albania, winding its way through five countries before ending in Slovenia. The challenging White Trail is already beckoning — at 782 miles, it takes in some of the highest summits, with a combined ascent of nearly 170,000ft. Take a tent, or check-in at highland huts and farm-stays.
The Great Trail, Canada
The Great Trail firmly holds the title of the world’s longest recreational route, offering the chance to hike, bike, ride, paddle and even snowmobile along its 14,912 miles. Unveiled for the country’s 150th anniversary in 2017, it takes in all of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories: the spectacular coast-to-coast trail loops from Vancouver Island up to the Yukon through Alberta, before snaking southeast, finishing on Newfoundland’s eastern coast. The route is nearly 100% connected, and a fitting tribute to Canada’s sheer size and diversity.
Old Ghost Road, New Zealand
Weaving across the South Island’s northwestern tip, this new 53-mile trail follows a revived miner’s road that dates back to the 1870s. Nowadays, mountain bikers come for a fierce challenge on this two-to-three-day ride. Even experienced riders will find it a challenge, with narrow and craggy paths scaling steep peaks. Start the route at Lyell Historic Reserve, where the elevation is lower, gradually rising to the more trying ascents and descents on the approach northwards to Seddonville.
Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail, Australia
This five-day, 38-mile trek, launched in late 2016, is accessible via a 30-minute flight from Adelaide. This is Australia at its most rugged and remote. There are designated campsites dotted along the trail, where self-guided hikers can sleep beneath the stars or opt to bed down in private accommodation. Don’t just turn up — hikers must book online before setting off.
Top 3: Bucket list classics
The Pacific Crest Trail, USA
Be it a section or the whole hog at 2,650 miles, this iconic hiking route from Mexico to Canada is also particularly good for those looking to enjoy it on horseback.
Camino de Santiago, Spain, France & Portugal
Of the pilgrimage trails, the most popular is the 478-mile Camino Francés, from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the French Pyrenees down to Santiago de Compostela.
Kumano Kodo, Japan
Linking the key sacred sites in the Kansai region, the Kodo paths offer varying degrees of difficulty, from the accessible Nakahechi route to the tricky twists and turns of the Omine-Okugake trail.
Published in the Adventure Travel guide, free with with the Jan/Feb 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)