The World's 100 Best Walks

William Mackesy is on a long quest to identify the world's 100 best walks. He is hoping to tackle and assess all the walks himself, and has so far done more than 40% of the likely Top 100 (listed on our about page). His planned book on these walks is provisionally titled "Fat Man Walking: a Good Wheeze". But, as he is over 50 and his knees are in decline, he suspects his ambitions may have to be reduced at some point.

Identifying the best walks requires a system as well as stamina: but what are the essential ingredients of a great walk? See our approach and our walks assessment system.

See William's personal favourites walks.

See our all walks list. And see the countries with the highest concentration of great walks

Here is our (currently preliminary) list of the world’s Top 100 walks, created as part of William Mackesy’s research for his planned book on the World’s Best Walks. See our Walks Assessment System.

The Top 100 is a distillation: some walks on our All Walks list have been combined for creating a definitive Top 100 that avoids inappropriate duplication. (See the footnote below for further explanation.)

See below for some "near misses" from the Top 100.

The rating of walks marked * is currently provisional.

The Top 100

Rank  Walk Name Country Region Beauty Natural Interest Human Interest Charisma Negative Points Total
                   
1 Mount Kailash Kora China Tibet 35 16 18 38 (7) 100
2 Inca Trails * Peru Cuzco/Inca Heartlands Area 34 15 18 35 (3) 99
3 Mustang Nepal Annapurna & Mustang 32.5 17 16.5 34 (2) 98
4= Grand Canyon USA SW: Grand Canyon 38 18 5 38 (3) 96
4= The Dolomites Italy Dolomites 37 17 8 36 (2) 96
6= Manaslu Circuit * Nepal 34 17 14 34 (4) 95
6= Utah's Canyon Lands USA Southwest 37 18 4 38 (2) 95
8 Petra Area Jordan Petra 31.5 15 19 36 (7) 94.5
9= Drakensberg Escarpment South Africa Drakensberg 35 17 6 36 (0) 94
9= Garwhal, Kumaon Himalaya * India NW: Uttarakhand 36 17 12 34 (5) 94
9= Mt Everest Region * Nepal Everest Region 38 19 6 38 (7) 94
12= Annapurna Region * Nepal Annapurna & Mustang Region 36 17 10 37 (7) 93
12= Madeira * Portugal Madeira 34 17 8 34 (0) 93
12= Torajaland Indonesia Sulawesi 31 14 17 31 (0) 93
15= Hajar Mountains Oman 31 16 13 32.5 (0) 92.5
15= Q'adisha Valley * Lebanon 31 14.5 16 33 (2) 92.5
15= Source of the Ganges and Above India NW: Uttarakhand/Garwhal 35 16.5 12 34 (5) 92.5
18= Cappadocia Turkey Cappadocia 31 17.5 14.5 33 (4) 92
18= Gemmi Pass * Switzerland 34 15 10 33 (0) 92
18= Great Wall China 31 13 18 34 (4) 92
18= Hadrian's Wall Path United Kingdom England 31 14 18 34 (5) 92
18= Himalayan Far North * Myanmar 32 16 12 32 (0) 92
18= Lofoten Islands Norway 35 17 7 33 (0) 92
18= Mount Kenya Kenya Mount Kenya 35 19 5 36 (3) 92
18= Mt Meru Tanzania 35 20 3 36 (2) 92
18= Torres del Paine / Fitz Roy Massif * Chile/Argentina Patagonia 37 18 2 36 (1) 92
18= Wollo Highlands * Ethiopia 31 14.5 15 31.5 (0) 92
28= Mount Athos Greece 31 13.5 15 32 (0) 91.5
28= South East Asian Hill Tribe Walks Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam 30 14.5 16 31 (0) 91.5
28= Taygetus and the Mani Greece Peloponnese: Taygetus range and the Mani 31 14.5 14 32 (0) 91.5
31= Above Nurenberger Hut: Mairspitze, Wilder Freiger Austria Stubai Alps 35 16 6 34 (0) 91
31= French Pyrenees France Pyrenees 34 17 5 35 (0) 91
31= Jebel Toubkal Area Morocco High Atlas 33 16 10 32 (0) 91
31= Julian Alps Slovenia Julian Alps 34 17 8 32 (0) 91
31= Picos de Europa Spain Picos de Europa 34 17 6 34 (0) 91
31= The Caucasus * Georgia Caucasus Mts 34 15 10 32 (0) 91
31= Tibet's Monastery Koras China Tibet 30 15 18 32 (4) 91
38= Accursed Mountains (Albanian Alps) * Albania 32.5 14 12 32 (0) 90.5
38= Huangshan China Eastern 36 17 12.5 35 (10) 90.5
38= Japan's Pilgrimage Routes Japan 30.5 13 18 31 (2) 90.5
38= Lake District United Kingdom England, Lake District 33 15.5 9 33 (0) 90.5
38= The Amalfi Coast * Italy Amalfi Coast 32 14.5 15 32 (3) 90.5
43= Avenue of the Volcanoes Ecuador Central Andes 35 19 3 34 (1) 90
43= Copper Canyon * Mexico 33 18 5 34 (0) 90
43= Corsica Walking France Corsica 33 17 8 32 (0) 90
43= Cotahuasi and Colca Canyons * Peru 34 17 8 34 (3) 90
43= Gran Paradiso * Italy Alps: Gran Paradiso 35 17 4 34 (0) 90
43= Jomolhari trek Bhutan 36 17 8 34 (5) 90
43= Kangchenjunga / Singalila India/Nepal Sikkim / E Nepal 37 17 6 35 (5) 90
43= Markha Valley * India Ladakh 34 15 10 34 (3) 90
43= Mont Blanc Area France Alps 36 16 6 35 (3) 90
43= Piatra Craiulai National Park * Romania Carpathian Mountains 32 16 12 30 (0) 90
43= Pindos/Vikos Circuit Greece 32.5 16 8.5 33 (0) 90
43= Reunion Island * France Indian Ocean 32 18 6 34 (0) 90
43= Royal Trek * Nepal Annapurna & Mustang Region 32 14 12 32 (0) 90
43= Spanish Pyrenees Spain Pyrenees 34 17 2 37 (0) 90
57= Alpine Pass Route * Switzerland 36 16.5 4 34 (1) 89.5
57= Cockpit Country * Jamaica 30 16.5 12 31 (0) 89.5
57= Matterhorn Circuit * Switzerland 34 15 7.5 35 (2) 89.5
60= Blyde River Canyon * South Africa 32 18 5 34 (0) 89
60= Cairngorms United Kingdom Scotland, Cairngorms 33 16 6 34 (0) 89
60= Camino de Santiago * Spain 31 15 16 31 (4) 89
60= Dingle Way Ireland Kerry, Dingle Peninsula 32 19 8 32 (2) 89
60= Dogon Country * Mali 31 14 14 30 (0) 89
60= Eiger Trail * Switzerland 35 16 8 32 (2) 89
60= Monte Rosa Circuit * Switzerland/Italy Alps 36 16 6 32 (1) 89
60= Mount Rinjani * Indonesia Lombok 36 19 2 34 (2) 89
60= Otavalo Area * Ecuador Northern Andes: Otavalo Area 34 17 5 33 (0) 89
60= Simien Mountains * Ethiopia 34 16 8 33 (2) 89
60= The Cotswolds United Kingdom England, Cotswolds 30 14 14 31 (0) 89
60= The Dachstein * Austria The Dachstein 35 17 3 34 (0) 89
60= Tongariro Alpine Crossing New Zealand North Island 34 19 2 36 (2) 89
60= Upper Humla Valley Nepal Western Nepal 33 15 12 31 (2) 89
74= Altai Mountains Mongolia 33 14.5 8 33 (0) 88.5
74= Ireland's SW Peninsulas Ireland Kerry/Cork 34 15.5 8 33 (2) 88.5
74= Kunisaki Peninsula * Japan Kyushu 31 12 15.5 30 (0) 88.5
74= Tash Rabat Kyrgyzstan 33 15 10 31.5 (1) 88.5
74= Walkers Haute Route (Chamonix to Zermatt) * France/Switzerland 35 16.5 5 34 (2) 88.5
79= Assynt Peninsula United Kingdom Scotland, Northern Highlands/Assynt 34 18 3 34 (1) 88
79= Bias Kund and Friendship Peak * India NW:Himachal Pradesh 34 16 5 33 (0) 88
79= Burgess Highline Trail * Canada BC/Yoho 34 19 3 32 (0) 88
79= Easter Island * Chile 30 13 12 33 (0) 88
79= Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming * USA Western: Grand Teton NP 35 17 2 34 (0) 88
79= Great Volcanic Ridge Spain Canary Islands: La Palma 32 19 3 34 (0) 88
79= Iceberg/Hooker Glacier Lake * New Zealand South Island 35 16 5 32 (0) 88
79= Illampu Circuit * Bolivia 36 17 3 34 (2) 88
79= Kullu Valley * India NW:Himachal Pradesh 34 16 5 33 (0) 88
79= Las Canadas and El Tiede Spain Canary Islands: Tenerife 33 18 3 34 (0) 88
79= Mount Sinai * Egypt 30 14 15 32 (3) 88
79= Odessa Lake * USA Western/Rocky Mountain NP 36 17 2 33 (0) 88
79= Orkney Islands United Kingdom Scotland, Orkney Islands 32 17 8 32 (1) 88
79= Overland Track Australia Tasmania 34 18 3 34 (1) 88
79= St Paul Trail * Turkey 32 16 8 32 (0) 88
79= The Fugitives' Trail, Isandlwana to the Buffalo River South Africa 28 13 15 32 (0) 88
79= Tiger Leaping Gorge China Yunnan 33 17 6 34 (2) 88
79= Volcan Villarrica * Chile Patagonia: Villarrica NP 36 18 0 34 (0) 88
79= Wadi Rum Jordan Wadi Rum 32 17 5 34 (0) 88
79= Wind River Mountains * USA Western: Wind River Mts 36 17 0 36 (1) 88
79= Wulingyuan * China 34 19 5 36 (6) 88
79= Yorkshire Dales United Kingdom England, Yorkshire Dales 31 15 10 32 (0) 88

Near Misses

And here are some superb "near misses" that merit special recognition:

Walk Name Continent Country Beauty Natural Interest Human Interest Charisma Negative Points Total
                 
Chemin St Jacques Europe France 28 15 15 28 (0) 86
Hua Shan Asia China 32 15 14 32 (8) 85
M'goun Massif Africa Morocco 32 15 8 30 (0) 85
Atacama Desert South America Chile 32 18 0 34 (0) 84
Mount Fuji Ascent Asia Japan 30 17 8 34 (5) 84

Footnote:

In the distillation process some walks in the All Walks list have been combined when creating the Top 100 walks

  • Some may be separate sections of one longer trail, so, while perhaps meriting separate listings in the All Walks list, they should be treated as one walk for establshing the Top 100.
  • While individually superb, some are sufficiently similar or close to each other (e.g. similar landscapes in the same mountain chain, similar "slot" canyons in the US, or different walks in the same national park) to make it pointless to include them separately in the Top 100 walks: people would be likely to want to walk one but not both of them, or giving over-similar or neighbouring walks such prominence would reduce the diversity and interest of the list. Further, the inclusion of both walks separately may detract from the estimation of them both as a result of their similarity.

 

 

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