Lace up your SOMs, pack a map, and plot a course for one of the countless adventures outside your doorstep. From nature preserves to pilgrimage trails, walking vacations have surged in popularity, connecting travelers from across the globe to the footprints of their ancestors and the serenity of the natural world. Below, we have highlighted a few of the many epic walking trails waiting for SOM adventure.
Yuraygir Coastal Walk, Australia- 40 miles (65km)
If you're looking for a path that strips away the city and transports you into the footprints of natural-made wonders, then plot a course for Australia. Inside the Yuraygir National Park in New South Wales, Australia is a series of linked trails, beaches, and rock platforms that follow the steps of the coastal emu.
“This colossal signposted track traverses the coastline from Angourie to Red Rock. The scenery and views along the way are diverse and astounding. You’ll encounter wildlife and wildflowers as you walk past heathland plains, long sandy beaches, tranquil creeks, lagoons, rocky headlands and even a marine park.” (MyClarenceValley.com)
The walk will take travelers several days to complete, but with campgrounds, swimming, snorkeling, and whale watching along the way, there are plenty of spots to rest and enjoy the surrounding beauty. With the ocean beside you every step of the way, this walking trail is an excellent source for salt water breezes and wildlife watching.
Camino Frances, Europe- 500 Miles (790 km)
Heading to Europe for a longer expedition, the Camino Frances or, French Way, is an “ancient pilgrim path across the North of the Iberian Peninsula, starting by the red and white town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and finishing in the holy city of Santiago de Compostela.” (CaminoWays.com). It is a 500 mile walk through cities, vistas, medieval towns, and vineyards.
My uncle is currently making his way across this epic route, describing the foggy mountains as he climbed in elevation and the rocky terrain as he made his descent. Trekking poles were much needed for certain sections.
At the beginning of his journey, he received a Camino booklet at an office in town marked with a scallop shell; this shell symbol marks stops along the road to guide travelers. At each stop, the booklet is stamped and at the end of the pilgrimage, travelers receive a certification for completing the trek.
The mixture of sights and sounds keep the landscape changing, a pleasant distraction as the miles start to wear. New surprises lie around every hill and bend: an open plain where wild horses graze or a cozy village hidden amongst the trees. The Camino Frances trek is a beautiful way to reconnect with the souls of the past and walk along their history.
Appalachian Trail, USA- 2,190 miles (3,524.5 km)
One of the longest and most epic walking paths in America, the Appalachian Trail spans fourteen states and can take the average hiker six months to complete. According to AppalachianTrail.org, “Completing the entire 2,190+ miles of the Appalachian Trail in one trip is a mammoth undertaking. Each year, thousands of hikers attempt a thru-hike; only about one in four make it all the way.”
While the majority of visitors will tackle individual sections of this trail, its length is a testament to conservation and an example of how long some walking paths can stretch amidst the hustle and bustle of modern day congestion.
Many of us have heard of the Applachian Trail, but to see maps of just how far Trail’s winding path from state to state reminds us that beautiful places to walk are always within reach. From a public park to a private path that wraps around our neighborhood, the destination isn’t as critical as the fundamental gift outdoor treks provide: escape.
Find Your Escape
Escape is where walks take us–away from the noise and rushing of everyday routines and into a steady pace of collective clarity. Whether a path transports you to another time, surrounds you with wildlife, or wraps you under a forest canopy, the restorative effects found in a walk, no matter its distance, will last long after its over.
No matter where your feet take you, at home or abroad, trails etch our world in opportunities for adventure.
Share Your Adventure
Have you been on an epic adventure or have a trail we should feature on our next list? We will highlight a new set of three walking destinations in future blogs, so share your stories and pictures at firstname.lastname@example.org and they might feature in our next collection.