Machu Picchu's Inca Trail isn't the only scenic hike worth traveling and trekking up a mountain in order to document on Instagram. For anyone who considers hiking boots and a Lifestraw water bottle must-pack items in their carry-on, there are countless corners of the world that offer unparalleled views and an invigorating adrenaline rush-without the onslaught of tourists.
Hike a volcano in Indonesia
There are dozens of options to choose from, ranging in intensity from several-hour, beginner-level hikes to multi-day or overnight treks through active (sometimes, very active) volcanoes.
Mount Bromo in Java is arguably the most popular hike, though some visitors complain that tourists and cars crowd the summit. Alternatives include Mount Kerinci in Sumatra, which is the highest volcano in Indonesia (a three-day, two-night hike; intermediate level); and sunrise hiking either Mount Batur (easier) or Mount Agung (more challenging) in Bali. The hike itself is relatively beginner-level, although proper hiking boots are recommended.
Trek through the jungle in Central or South America
Meandering through Monteverde's Cloud Forest is the very epitome of Costa Rican relaxation.
Visitors can zip line, walk amongst the forest canopies via suspension bridge, and mingle with thousands of species of exotic birds, insects, orchids and other wildlife. Though the Cloud Forest itself is considered "touristy," the nearby Santa Elena Reserve contains eight miles of trails (of varying difficulty) with a fraction of the crowds. It's not possible to visit the ruins without the aid of a guided tour; it's also worth noting that the entrance to the city is only accessible via 1,200 stone steps through dense jungle.
Soak in the sights of the Norwegian Fjords
With 44 natural parks and hiking trails that range from easy, self-guided hikes to steep, practically vertical climbs, Norway has something for nearly every type of trekker. Beginner hikers will want to stick to day treks such as Preikestolen ("Pulpit Rock"), which takes around four hours; more advanced adventure-seekers might tackle glacier hikes and/or the 12-hour trek to Trolltunga ("Troll's Tongue"), a challenging ascent that's only accessible during Norway's short summer season.
Navigate the Narrows in Zion National Park
Trekking through the Narrows is a visually stunning experience featuring stark juxtaposition of teal waters and ochre canyon walls. Trekkers can choose from several options: a casual "bottom up" day hike; a more strenuous "top down" day hike; or a town-down, two-day backpacking trek through 16 miles of Zion's most famous canyon. All "top-down" hikes-read: anything above beginner-level-require Zion permits; the park is also typically closed between mid-March and late May.
Explore the “Mountains on the Moon” in Uganda
One of the longer and more rigorous hikes on this list, tackling the Rwenzoris is well worth it for serious adventure travelers-and it's a less crowded, less expensive option than Kilimanjaro, Africa's most famous and tallest peak. You may not think "ice" when envisioning Africa's multifarious landscapes, but the Rwenzoris contain not only the lush flora and fauna the continent is world-renowned for, but also equatorial glaciers and otherworldly mist. There are multiple routes through the Rwenzoris that range in intensity, as well as several organizations to help you plan a guided trek-the average hike takes around seven days to complete.
Knock Patagonia off your Bucket List
There are at least a dozen route options, most of which take between two and five days and range dramatically in difficulty. Either in addition to Fitzroy or in its stead, the Torres del Paine W Circuit is another hugely popular option among Patagonia-bound outdoors enthusiasts. The trail hits a number of highlights, including Los Torres, Los Cuernos, Valle Frances, Paine Grande and Glacier Grey; it takes five- to seven-days, and trekkers can expect to hike five to eight hours per day.