World's 10 Most Breathtaking Walks
These Ten Spectacular Walks Are Well Worth the Hike
By MARLEI MARTINEZ
April 20, 2010
Whether a trek on the wild side gets your blood rushing or a leisurely stroll through a metropolis is more your thing, ABC News has compiled a list of 10 walks around the world that every traveler can enjoy. It's time to lace up your best walking shoes.
1. Ben Nevis, Scotland
Standing tall among the hills and glens of the Scottish Highlands, Ben Nevis provides a magnificent journey for any walker, hiker or climber. Affectionately known as the 'Ben' by the local Fort William villagers, this monolithic mountain holds all the charms of pastoral beauty, from valleys glistening with freshly fallen snow in the winter to pristine waterfalls. Good ol' Ben stands at 4,406 feet, making it the highest mountain in the British Isles. For those wanting a leisurely walk, the west face of mountain has many walkable footpaths, while the north face is better suited for those craving an adventurous climb. During the journey, most travelers will enjoy the rural sights of grazing highland cattle. And if the magnificent height of the mountain doesn't take your breath away, the sights of the glassy Loch Eil will.
2. Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA
Dubbed as one of the seven "Natural Wonders of the World," the Grand Canyon is an experience worthy of the scrapbooks. This 277-mile stretch of jagged rocks, cliffs and valleys was carved by the ravaging waters of the Colorado River tens of millions of years ago. And today what's left is the wondrous outline of the red, orange and brown hues of raw nature. At the Grand Canyon National Park there are a wide variety of pre-marked trails, ranging from the moderate 13-mile hike from Pipe Creek Vista west to Hermits Rest to the more challenging and dangerous six-mile descent from Grandview Point into Horseshoe Mesa. Along this more challenging path, travelers can see blue copper ores and what remains of Pete Berry's mining location.
3. Great Wall, China
Although many sections of the wall are now in ruins, this 2,000-year-old treasure of the Orient keeps bringing in the tourists. Winding its way from East to West China, the Great Wall crosses through valleys, meadows, deserts and mountains. In its 5,500-mile stretch, many sections of the Wall have their own distinct personality of dynasties past. Mutianyu, for example, is known for its jaw-dropping scenery, while Jinshanling is known for its steep crags and wildlife. Resembling a mythical dragon in many ways with its magnificent formation, the Great Wall is an excellent walk for any world traveler.
4. Cajas National Park, Cuenca, Ecuador
The Cajas National Park on the western side of Cuenca, Ecuador, is a sight right out of the postcards. With its grassy hills filled with blossoming flowers and grazing goats, this park is worth the walk. Located at 4,450 meters above sea level, this is a walk for those used to high elevations and deal well with altitude. If able to muster up the breath, the abundance of scenery for taking photographs and the vast span of land and lakes for mountain biking, fishing and hiking will make this trek one of the best you've travelled.
5. Inca Trail, South America
Rich with its lush tropical forests, subtropical jungles and thousand-year-old ruins, this trail encompasses all that is beautiful in South America. Considered by many to be one of the top five treks in the world, this 26-mile trail is well worth the visit. Travellers start their journey in the grassy mountains above the Urubamba River, walk along the winding roads that lead to the legendary ruins of Machu Picchu. Here in the "Lost City of the Incas," travelers will catch a glimpse of the spectacular paved stones, relics and tunnels.
6. Kilimanjaro, Africa
A walk up Mount Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania is a feat not only worthy of the photo albums, but worthy of bragging rights as well. Not only is Kilimanjaro the tallest mountain in Africa (at a whopping 19,336 feet), it is one of the biggest volcanoes on the planet, but don't worry it's dormant. Rising above the Indian Ocean, Kilimanjaro has three volcanic cones -- Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. Just like the trek in Cajas National Park, this walk is best for those who can acclimate well to high altitudes. But the physical work is worth the workout. Along the six- to seven-day trek, you'll see the dormant craters, wild forests, gigantic rock formations and spectacular waterfalls.
7. Amazon Jungle, South America
If what you want out of a nice walk is an exotic world filled with wild animals, plants and fruit, the Amazon Jungle in South America is what you've been looking for. Depending on where in the jungle you venture to, you may be able to see howler monkeys, slinky jaguars, lazy sloths, buzzing hummingbirds and an assortment of colorful reptiles. But if travelling along any rivers, such as the Rio Negro, make sure to keep an eye out for alligators and piranhas. Some of the more adventurous travelers may also want to consider a night walk to see the truly wild side of the nocturnal jungle. But if you decide to venture out in the wild after nightfall, it's best to go with an experienced tour guide.
8. Biscoitos, Azores
This breath-taking waterhole is in an area unknown by many. Located off the Western coast of Portugal and smack in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Terceira Island in the Azores archipelago is a real treasure. Formed by underwater volcanoes, this waterhole offers not only a great place to swim but also a great place to walk. The cliffs surrounding the waterhole are peppered with lush blues, purples and pinks of the national hydrangea flower. From the groupings of rocks to the little nooks and caves found along the water's edge, Biscoitos makes for a wonderful place to stroll and catch a glimpse of the grand Atlantic.
9. South Bank, London
For those desiring a nice mix of nature, city and activity, the characteristic South Bank in Central London is the place to walk for you. Situated along the historic Thames River, the South Bank is home to street performers, food festivals and the London Eye. While the South Bank only extends for a short two-mile stretch, the vast variety of activities and the unique sights are abundant enough to last for a few hours' walk.
10. Central Park, NYC
For those who prefer a leisurely All-American kind of walk, Central Park is the place to go. Nestled in the heart of the Big Apple, this 843-acre plot of land (with 58 miles of paths) is big enough to walk through all-day long. With its quaint bridges, charming lakes, characteristic baseball fields and historic monuments, there's something for everyone to see at every leg of a Central Park trek. And the one great thing that Central Park has that the other walks do not are the New York style hotdog stands, the perfect treat for a weary traveler.
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