There's something about walking about in nature that lifts the heart. It's no wonder, therefore, that hiking is one of the best-loved pastimes in the entire world. There are a great variety of environments that people choose for their hiking outings. And, regardless of the specific details, there is one unifying factor in most situations: mountains. Following in no particular order are five of the most popular ones.
1). The Rockies
this mountain range makes up the western spine of much of North America. Stretching from the southern parts of the United States up to the northernmost parts of Canada. The length of the range gives the Rockies a wide and diverse spectrum of terrain and climate types. The southern parts of the range have a dry, arid terrain, while the northern parts are usually heavily forested and lusher than the southern parts. In addition to being one of the longest ranges in the world, the Rockies also contain some of the most well-known parks in North America, like Yellowstone National Park in the state of Wyoming and Banf National Park in Alberta, Canada.
2). The Alps
There probably isn't a more poetic mountainous destination than the Alps. Home to a thousand ghost stories and some of the finest sights in the world, the Alps stretch out over several European countries, including Germany, Italy and Switzerland. In addition to the culture that can be found in the shadow of these mountains, there are also some extremely good hiking spots. One of the best examples of these is the Tyrol area of Austria, famous for its alpine pastures and magnificent vistas.
3). The Himalayas
These mountains are home to the world's tallest mountain peaks, like K2 and the famed Mount Everest. Given these alpine challenges, it's not surprising that droves of mountaineers flock to the mountain range every year. If you're not as adventurous as these brave souls, there are still plenty of hiking opportunities to be had. There is a good deal of trails in these mountains, but it's probably best to get a guide, as these are some of the most dangerous mountains in the entire world. Fortunately, there are a good number of local guides that are available for economical prices.
4). The Andes
These mountains make up the world's longest mountain range. Stretching from the top to the bottom of South America, the Andes are home to some of the most spectacular sights in the entire world. In addition, there is a good deal of tourist sights in these mountains, the most famous of which is the abandoned Incan city of Macchu Picchu. You can hire guides and pack animals that can take supplies and equipment on extended hikes, if desired.
5). The Pyrenees
Located on the border between France and Spain, these mountains are lesser-known than some of their other European cousins. They are, however, an excellent choice for anyone looking for a good, scenic hike. The Pyrenees have an over-abundance of waterfalls, which make for the possibility of a positively idyllic walk in the wilderness. As a barrier between France and Spain, you are only hours away from the cultural landmarks of both those countries. A package deal, really.
Regardless of your particular preferences, it's entirely possible that you can find a place nearby that will suit your hiking preferences. And you don't necessarily have to go halfway around the world to find a place that will suit your needs. Many countries have their own mountain ranges, and many times they are extremely good for trekking or hiking - in addition to being cheaper to vacation at.
Diane Magruder is a hotel and resort reviewer for lakecomo.org.uk where you can find loads of information about beautiful Lake Como, Italy - the banks of which are the home of the city Bellagio.