Is your New Year’s resolution to work on your health? Getting back to nature and exploring it by foot can be a great way to spend a weekend, or even an extended period of time. A lot of people ask me about multi-day hiking and how they can get into it- especially as a solo walker.
As someone who has done a bit of solo-hiking, I often consider my physical ability, safety and the resources that I need to travel alone in this way for over a day. In many cases, there are good ways to ease yourself into walking for multiple days or getting used to carrying a lot of gear with you.
I have put together a list of my top 7 hikes that are great ways to ease yourself into multi-day hiking. In many, you can engage a guide or take part in a guided tour (in the case of Mount Kinabalu, you need to have a guide,) but most are very intuitive to navigate with moderate foot-traffic, so something that you can attempt on your own.
Here they are:
Distance: 26km one-way
Time: 1-2 days
Great for entry level multi-day hiking because:You can access via public transport and while it is possible to it all in one day, you can do it in two- a nice introduction to carrying overnight camping gear.
Highlights: Walking on the clifftops overlooking the Pacific Ocean and walking through coastal forest peppered with Gymea lillies.
Route: Ronny Creek (Cradle Mountain)- Cynthia Bay (Lake St Clair), Cradle Mountain National Park- Lake St Clair National Park
Distance: 65km (If taking the ferry from Narcissus Bay to Cynthia Bay) or 81km if walking from Narcissus Bay to Cynthia Bay (one-way)
Time: Typically the hike is 6 days (for 65km) or 7 nights (for 81km). It’s possible to do ‘double-days’ if you’re short on time- I ended up doing the 81km (plus a couple of side trips) in 5 days (and I put a rest day near the end)
Great for entry level multi-day hiking because: It’s a popular route during peak season, with many walkers along the way (and rangers patrolling as well). There are also rainwater tanks along the way to help reduce the load.
Highlights: The gorgeous mountains an alpine flora (and if you have perfect conditions, a side trip to the summit of Mount Ossa is well worth it for the gorgeous view! )
Route: Katoomba to Jenolan Caves (or Jenolan Caves to Katoomba)
Distance: 44.8km (one-way)
Time: Typically the hike is 3 days, 2 nights however you can do it in less.
Great for entry level multi-day hiking because: It’s short and possible to access by public transport/bus transfers. There are also day visitors in some areas of the walk which makes it not too isolated.
Highlights: The amazing Blue Mountains and the first glimpse of Jenolan Caves toward the end of the walk.
Route: The Peak to Shek O Beach
Distance: 50km (one-way)
Time: I completed it in two days but you can really take as long as you like and most sections are easy to access by car/taxi or public transport.
Great for entry level multi-day hiking because: This trail is a great way to ease into multi-day hiking as you are so close to civilisation that you just need a day pack with some basic supplies to get you through the day. The walk is split into eight sections which makes it easy to leave at various points of the walk if you decide you want to push on, or make a quicker escape!
Highlights: Realising that there is some much greenery and nature in the world’s most densely populated city.
Route: Timpohon Trail, Kinabalu National Park (1866m) to Low’s Peak (4095m), return
Distance: 17.5km (Return)
Time: This trek must be down with an registered guide and it is usually done on a 2 day and 1 night tour but there is a limit of 100 permits (and places to sleep) each day. I actually completed the return hike in one day (at the time, in 2011 they allowed 4 people to do this each day). Since reopening after the 2015 earthquake, you need to book a 2D1N tour and you can choose to return in the same day.
Great for entry level multi-day hiking because: You need to book a tour with this hike, which allows you plenty of time to scale this incredible mountain.
Highlights: Either sunrise (for the two day, one night tour ) or solitude (for the one day return trip) at the top.
Route: Chamonix to Notre Dame de La Gorge (to Chamonix)
Distance: 90- 170km
Time: 7-12 days
Great for entry level multi-day hiking because: This can be a lighter weight multi-day hike as it is peppered with villages and streams along the way so you don’t need to carry much in terms of food supplies and water (and you can choose to stay in refuges rather than camping along the way).
Highlights: Walking amongst the Alps of three countries, experiencing the regional cuisines of various areas, and the marmots!
Route: Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork (or in the opposite direction)
Time: 7-12 days
Great for entry level multi-day hiking because: The route is pretty intuitive and flat in many parts. Doing this in the Icelandic summer means that there are walkers around (but not too many) and you have almost 24 hours of sunlight- so plenty of time to take it easy.
Highlights: The contrast of rhyolite, volcanic rock and alpine vegetation makes this walk so diverse and incredibly beautiful.
So what are you waiting for? Go on, take a hike!