5 Star Global Hiking Trips
Though his words are more than a century old, there's a decidedly 2017 ring to John Muir's proclamation that "going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity ... useful not only as fountains of timber but as fountains of life.” Back-to-nature adventures are a big highlight of this year's Luxe Report, an annual trend forecast from the travel specialists at Virtuoso, whose clients ranked hiking first among all active pursuits.
Also noticing the pattern is Travis Katz, co-founder and chief executive officer of Trip.com, a travel-planning platform that lets users join "tribes" to find personalized travel recommendations. "Our Outdoor Enthusiasts and Adventure tribes have each grown by nearly 35 percent since the beginning of 2016." Beyond the collective need to unplug and detox, "all the recent reporting on how dangerous our sedentary lives are has really started to take hold among travelers," says Betty Jo Currie, a Virtuoso adviser and founder of Currie & Co.
Whether you're motivated by health, screen time saturation, or plain old spring fever, you're in luck. And while the five-star stunners offer a full array of trekking to suit any fitness level, we've picked their most iconic routes to establish a ranking order: novice-friendly, intermediate terrain, and brag-worthy challenges.
Easy Does It
Monastero Santa Rosa, Conca dei Marini, Italy
Its setting alone—a solitary cliff that soars over the Amalfi Coast—would suggest that this 17th-century monastery turned boutique hotel offers some seriously stunning walking trails.
Blackberry Farm, Eastern Tennessee
The foothills cuisine of the American South earned Blackberry Farm a rep as one of the world’s great foodie retreats.
L’Auberge de Sedona, Northern Arizona
Consider the psychedelic red rocks that surround this creek-side retreat your invitation to hit the local trails. And if you feel a tingling sensation as you hike, there’s a reason for that: The Bell Rock vortex, a spot where mystics say energy swirls out of the earth’s surface, is located about a third of a mile from the trail head.
Ananda, Himalayan Foothills, India
Once a Maharaja’s palace, and now an Ayurvedic retreat with a sprawling spa, Ananda might be the plushest place to hike the Himalayan foothills.Despite its approachable altitude (4,500 feet), you’ll still get views of the area’s signature snowcapped peaks from the three- to four-hour Kunjapuri Temple Trek that leads to an intimate, incense-filled shrine to Shakti and Shiva.
Canyon Ranch, Lenox, Mass.
The 19th-century Bellefontaine Mansion, said to have been modeled after the Petit Trianon at Versailles, anchors this healthy-living hideaway in the Berkshires.
Kasbah Tamadot, Atlas Mountains, Morocco
Nearby Mount Toubkal is North Africa’s highest peak—you’ll see it from your three-hour trek to the Anfa lookout in Toubkal National Park.
Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, Australia
Australia’s third-largest island is a known hiking hotspot—all coastal cliffs, outsize rock formations, and wildlife-rich bushland—but the recently inaugurated Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail has taken that rep to new heights.
Aranwa Pueblito Encantado del Colca, Peru
Thankfully, Aranwa piles on the creature comforts: water features that massage your neck and shoulders in the pool, blazing fireplaces in the chalets, and a craft cocktail menu to rival Lima’s best. From $166 per night.
Badrutt’s Palace, St. Moritz, Switzerland
As much as schussing down the slopes of the fabled Engadin Valley is a must-do for skiers, trekking up those same slopes is a must-do for hikers.