6 Iconic Hikes You Should Do Before You Die

I’ve come to realize a long time ago that hiking from a fun and healthy hobby quickly transforms into a lifestyle and once you get into it, there’s no turning back. For many people, hiking seems like too much work, when in reality it helps you understand that our everyday lives seriously need a pause button from time to time and this is one of the best ways to hit it.

Throughout the years, as my passion for hiking and trekking grew, I found myself exploring new exciting trails all over the world and a bucket list started to form. I’ve had the pleasure to witness the wild beauty that numerous hikes around the planet have to offer but somehow, the list of places I want to see only grows. Here are six of the most memorable hikes that every formidable hiker should conquer if they get the chance to do it.

1.     Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

hikes1

You’ve seen it everywhere – on posters, movies, and commercials, but still, witnessing the vastness of Grand Canyon isn’t something anyone can describe, you have to live it. Even if you’re quite new in the world of hiking, there are trails in the canyon you can try out without any fear you’ll overestimate yourself – Bright Angel Point Trail that only takes about half an hour is a good example. If you’re in for more of a challenge, then give Widforss Trail a shot and be prepared to be amazed at the variety of scenery you’ll come across. This round trip trail is 10 mi. long and it takes about six hours to explore it fully, but you will definitely have stories to tell after you come back. Don’t forget to bring your camera because one thing’s for certain – Grand Canyon has nothing if not mesmerizing views and you will definitely want to capture that.

2.     Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

hikes2

I strongly believe that traveling to Africa is a life-altering experience, not just because the culture and life are so different there, but because the spirit of this continent seeps into your bones. When you become confident enough and decide to get to the highest peak of Africa, know that you will need 7-9 days for the climb, depending on which route you take, as well as your stamina and fitness. While Kilimanjaro is known as a “walk-up mountain”, you still need plenty of time to get used to different climates and ecosystems you’ll go through on your way to Uhuru Peak. You will see everything from rainforests and moorland to cultivated land and snow as you reach the summit. Wild animals, never-ending skies and pilgrimage-like feeling of the hike will stay with you long after you return to civilization.

3.     Mount Fuji, Japan

hikes3

Here’s a mountain that has inspired artists from all over the world and today it remains an incredibly famous site only 60 miles from Tokyo. This mountain is made up of three active volcanoes and surrounded by five lakes, and as you approach it, you can’t help but feel the awe. If you’ve got thirst for Japanese culture and hiking, then taking on Fuji is the best “killing two birds with one stone” moment. You can climb this sacred mountain only during July and August every year unless you want to face harsh and unwelcoming weather conditions that can easily threaten your life. Don’t take this hike for granted though, as there are some quite demanding parts, no matter which course you take. Make sure to come prepared, with plenty of hiking food and equipment, though you’ll have plenty of stops along the way, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

4.     Mont Blanc in the Alps, France and Switzerland

hikes4

They say that Mont Blanc is one of the deadliest mountains in the world and many wholeheartedly agree with this notion. There’s an unyielding allure to places that are notorious for taking lives and King of the Alps is definitely one of those spots, which is why you need to be very, very prepared before you head out into this adventure. The weather is treacherous even during the hiking season from June to September, and you need to be prepared when it comes to hiking and climbing gear. Your fitness levels and agility will also be tested because the White Mountain with its peak at almost 16,000 feet will challenge you in every way possible, but the hikes that lead you through Italy, France and Switzerland will show you the sights and astonishing beauty that can’t be found anywhere else.

5.     Mount Elbrus, Russia

hikes5

The Russian Caucasus Mountains hide the highest peak of Europe in their little-explored areas and if you want to reach it, you have to hike and climb your way through Mount Elbrus first. This inactive volcano has been the dream of many ambitious hikers for decades, though more because of the glory of conquering the tallest mountain of the Old Continent. The hike in itself isn’t very difficult, especially because there’s a cable car system that works very well and will take you to 12,500 feet. From there you can take the Standard Route that is quickest and most secure and will take you to the southern slopes of Elbrus, all the way to the top. If you want to explore Elbrus and give it your best to get to the very top, going anytime from May to September is the wisest decision.

6.     Laugavegur Trail, Iceland

hikes6

Iceland has been tucked away on the edge of the world map for a very long time, but more and more tourists discover its unexpected and completely unique beauty all the time. Laugavegur Trail is one of the most popular things to in Iceland, which is why hikers from all over the world come here. This scenic trail has it all, including ice caves, hot springs and a lavish waterfall at the end of your hiking experience as a reward. Very few places on Earth have such astounding variety of landscapes on such a small distance, which is why Laugavegur is so attractive even to non-hikers. You can either camp out or book accommodation, which is quite affordable, but no matter what you decide, while you’re exploring Laugavegur Trail, you will feel like you’re in another world.

There are many other iconic hikes to talk about and only a book would suffice to write about them, but this list is a good start. Depending on your preferences and hiking experience, you can pick and choose where you want to go and make memories. The sky is not the limit, and that is never as clear as the moment you get to a mountain’s peak and reach for the clouds. – Tyler Michaelson

 

Tyler is a man of adventure. Loves spending time outside, and “luring” others to do so as well. Besides that, his main hobbies are writing, working out, photography and movie nights. He is also one of the main contributors to prosurvivalist.com.

hikes7

Top 3 Routes to Suit Every Biker’s Needs

image 1 (3)

Whether you have recently retired and decided to live out your childhood dream, or you’ve always wanted to go on a longer adventure but never had the time – the biker culture can win the hearts and minds of everyone. However, it’s not enough to simply own a bike – much of your experience as a biker will come from the routes you take and the way you perceive them. But how do you know which ones to take?

image 2

The slow and classic

Some people ride their bikes to clear their mind and think through whatever issues they have at that moment. For those kinds of people, the long Route 66, the mother of all roads, is a perfect choice. The long straight road will leave you plenty of time and space to relax and enjoy the ride. Stop by the local diners and talk to the locals about the place, or take a moment to enjoy the feeling of timelessness and tranquility that comes with this open road. It’s a great road for traveling alone or in good company, just make sure not to rush through it without taking it all in.

image 3 (1)

The scenic
However, if you are looking for something more soothing for the eyes, with a picture-perfect view around every corner, then why not hit the Transalpine road? It’s not as peaceful, since there are plenty of 180-degree turns at every corner, but the sights are breathtaking and you will find yourself lost in its wonders. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the magnificent Stelvio for a bit of a challenge, and enjoy the fresh mountain air. Stretching through the mountains from France to Italy, it’s a great road for riders who want a bit of thrill, while still having enough time to enjoy the beauty of the scenery around them.

image 4

The adrenalin-packed
Lastly, if you are someone who likes to go on paths that pack your body full of adrenaline and get all of your senses involved in every turn, then you might want to check out the German Nordschleife, nicknamed the green hell by the F1 racer Jackie Stewart. It’s known to be one of the trickiest and most demanding race circuits in the world, so if you want an adventure – look no further. It was built around the historic castle of Nurburg. It stretches 12.8 miles and it has over 1000 feet of elevation range. If you start feeling lightheaded, you might want to take a break, because this ride will definitely get you feeling all kinds of dizzy.

Rules for every biker

While on the road, your bike is your lifeline, so you must make sure that everything is in top shape before setting off. Also, make sure you are well stocked on everything else: off road riding gear, water, essential spare parts, and anything else you might need for your trip because you never know when you are going to need it. If you are traveling in a group, you might not have to double up, so make a plan about who should be bringing what. Having a safe bike and all the essential items is crucial to having a safe and memorable journey.

image 5

There truly is nothing like an open road and the feeling of freedom it evokes. There is always something new to see around the corner, and it doesn’t get much better than experiencing it all on your bike. No matter which route (or routes) you choose, there is no ranking and there is no competition. Pick the one that interests you the most and you can be sure that the trip will be forever remembered and the road forever marked by your tires.

 

*** WIN a full one-year membership of the GPSmyCity app with access to ALL the GPSmyCity content – over 6,500 self-guided city walks and travel articles worth over $7,000!!! You are automatically entered yo won this great prize – simply subscribe to Mark’s Travel Journal and you’ll receive all new blog posts AND you may win the GPSmyCity membership!

 

Family Road Trip in France: 6 Must-See Sights

Visitors to France might focus their trips on the large cities of Paris and Nice, but to miss the Alsace region and its major cities of Strasbourg and Colmar, is truly a mistake. The region lies approximately five hours by car to the east of Paris and is easily seen by car. It offers something not found in other parts of France, German influence, as it was once part of Germany and retains quite a bit of its former heritage. This makes for a fascinating place explore and we have several suggestions for must see attractions in Strasbourg and Colmar as well as the surrounding region.

Strausbourg

The Cathedral of Notre-Dame

This magnificent cathedral rivals its Parisian counterpart in every way. Construction of this Romanesque cathedral began in 1015, but only the crypt and original footprint remain. The crowning glory is its Gothic spire that was completed in 1439. Until the 19th century it the largest cathedral in Christendom. The rose color sandstone changes color with the light of day and the beautiful stained glass windows are not to be missed. An astronomical clock is one of the main attractions, giving a performance once a day with parading apostles exiting and entering the clockworks. Visitors can climb to an outdoor viewing platform for a spectacular view of the city when the weather is good. This is the crown jewel of Strasbourg.

Explore Strasbourg by boat

One of the best ways to get an overview of Strasbourg is to take a boat tour. This allows visitors to see the must-see attractions of the Alsatian capital, including the Petite France quarter with its 16th and 17th century houses, the covered bridges, the Vauban dam, the German quarter, and the major European government buildings (Strasbourg is the home of the European parliament). Once visitors have a lay of the land they can head off on foot to explore on their own.

Haut-Koenigsberg Castle

Located 40 minutes south west of Strasbourg, this magnificent fortress has an interesting history. It was built in the 12th century to watch over trade routes, but was destroyed by Swedes during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). Left in ruins for centuries, Kaiser Wilhelm II decided to rebuild it in 1899, wanting to make it a museum that would symbolize Alsace’s return to Germany. Although built in modern times, the castle reflects the architecture and art of the medieval times and those who didn’t know the story might believe it was the original castle.

Colmar

Explore Colmar on foot

The best way to see the sights in Colmar is on foot. Once you’ve parked the car, head for the town center and start exploring. Whether on your own or with a guided tour, you’ll want to look for the Dominican Church (it is massive and hard to miss), Little Venice (charming area of town where colorful houses line the canals), the Unterlinden Museum (a former monastery converted to a museum known for its Issenheim Altarpiece), and the Bartholdi museum (home of Bartholdi, creator of the Statue of Liberty). Strolling the quaint town and sampling some tarte flambé is a delightful way to spend the day.

Neuf-Brisach

Approximately 20 minutes southeast of Colmar is the fortified town of Neuf-Brisach. Built in 1699 for Louix XIV, the fortress is unique as it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the most accomplished defense system of the 17th century. Guided tours are offered or visitors can explore on their own by walking around the outer ramparts.

Alsatian Heritage Museum

Located in Ungersheim, about 25 minutes south of Colmar is the Alsatian Heritage Museum (Ecomusée d’Alsace). This is an outdoor museum made up of over 75 houses and buildings brought from throughout the region to this one location. This living museum is one of the largest in Europe, covering over 100 hectares of land. Here you can find craftsmen demonstrating their skills, sample Alsatian cuisine, and learn about Alsatian culture through the centuries. A wonderful way to learn about locals and the story of the people in this region.


Should you desire to go further afield, Freiburg, Germany and Basel, Switzerland are only an hour away. Alsace also has wonderful vineyards, plenty of roads for cycling, rivers for kayaking, and forest trails for hiking. Whatever adventure your seeking, Alsace can make it a reality and having an automobile makes everything accessible.

 

This guest post written by Kirsten Maxwell of Kids Are A Trip, a family travel blog. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. Kirsten is a wife and mom to 3 over-scheduled kids & a rambunctious pup. She loves sharing her family’s travel adventures and tips, including the challenges of traveling with a child with food allergies. Find inspiration for your next family trip.