For Donald Dirren, hiking combines his passion for travel and exploration. Outside his work as a licensed financial advisor, he loves nothing more than exploring new hiking trails. The same is true whether at home in Phoenix, Arizona, or overseas traveling.
With that in mind, he’s always looking for new destinations. To demonstrate, the Phoenix-based financial advisor has put together a list of must-see places to visit. It contains some of the world’s top hiking trails to explore this year and beyond, starting with the spectacular Tongariro Alpine Crossing in New Zealand.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand
Don Dirren’s first hiking destination to consider in 2023 is the world-famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing. New Zealand’s Tongariro Alpine Crossing is widely regarded as the county’s best day hike. It’s also become famous worldwide since its appearance in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The point-to-point hike takes place on New Zealand’s North Island. It covers a mix of rocky terrain and cauldron-like hollows, even taking in views of an active volcano. That’s against a backdrop of the sort of lush greenery for which Tongariro National Park and much of the rest of New Zealand are most recognizable.
Rated as moderately difficult, Tongariro Alpine Crossing covers 19.4 kilometers and takes six to eight hours to complete.
Inca Trail, Peru
Dirren’s next pick among hiking destinations to explore in 2023 is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu in Peru is immediately recognizable, accessible via the four-day, 43-kilometer Inca Trail trek. However, there’s also a shorter day hike covering just the final leg of the trail. It’s this route that’s the hike of choice for this list.
Like the four-day Inca Trail trek, the shorter hike concludes at the Sun Gate. From the Sun Gate, hikers receive their first incredible glimpse of Machu Picchu. The trail also cuts through some of Peru’s most spectacular and lush rainforest-covered landscapes, taking in numerous Inca ruins, ancient stone steps, and countless other remarkable sights.
The Inca Trail day hike covers 15 kilometers. This version of the trail is moderately complex and takes most people around six hours.
And last but by no means least, Trolltunga in Norway. Donald Dirren’s list of the top hiking destinations to explore in 2023 ends with a famously demanding hike covering almost 30 kilometers of strenuous Norwegian terrain. Yet, despite its difficulty, it’s one of the Scandinavian nation’s best-loved and most popular trails, and with good reason.
The hike is also incredibly picturesque, concluding at the so-called troll’s tongue that gives Trolltunga its name. The troll’s tongue is a thin, rocky projection extending out over lake Ringedalsvatnet. Best visited in the summer months, Trolltunga becomes a more challenging hike in winter when conditions are often marshy and snow-covered.
The trail covers 28 kilometers and takes an average of ten hours to complete. Allow roughly eight hours in summer and 12 hours in winter to account for the more challenging conditions.