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The ten Best Offbeat Hikes

Wouldn’t it be fantastic to leave all your troubles behind and journey to where no one knows you? ship-1578528__340.jpg Remove yourself from the routine grind and get close to the outdoors on some of the world’s most obscure hiking trails. Travel from Africa’s third tallest peak to the Australian deserts, or trek down to the most southerly point in Patagonia – you won’t be sorry.

And though they are isolated, it does not mean they are unachievable; there is a isolated path for every keen trekker.

Gokyo Lakes & Renjo La in Nepal

Duration: Approximately 17 days (13 days trekking)
Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging (6)
Ideal for: Active travelers who want to try a different trail to the popular Everest Base Camp trek
When to go: February to mid-May, End of September to December

Would you like to experience a much quieter trail in the Everest area? This path goes through Sherpa villages to the stunning turquoise Gokya Lakes and continues on through the Renjo La (5,400m). The route to the Everest region is believed to be one the grandest walking trails and gives one a view of the Himalaya’s 8000-meter crests.

As you climb up to Gokyo Ri, you will witness one of the top views of Everest and neighboring mountains, such as Cho Oyu in Tibet.

Larapinta Trail End to End in Australia

Duration: Approx. 14 days
Grading: Moderate to challenging (6)
Ideal for: Wilderness lovers and seasoned walkers after a challenge

When to go: Mid-April to August

An renowned walk in Australia, the complete traverse of the Larapinta follows the West MacDonnell range, over 223 kilometers in Central Australia.

Trek to remote ridges and canyons; gaze at the stars in the Outback; climb Mount Sonder, the Northern Territory’s highest peak, and revel in the glory of the sunrise.

Dientes Circuit on Navarino Island in Chile
Duration: Approx. 6 days (4 days trekking)

Grading: Challenging (7)

Ideal for: Experienced trekkers who want to get off the beaten track in Patagonia
When to go: December to March
Walk the world's most southerly trek to Dientes de Navarino Massif where you will get the sensation that you have come to the far reaches of the globe.

There will not be many other travelers throughout this 42-kilometer area at the fringe of South America. This hike has been characterized by Lonely Planet as some of Patagonia’s best hiking areas and is thought of the most isolated place to visit on earth.

K2 Base camp, Concordia & Gondogora La in Pakistan

Duration: Approx. 24 days (16 days trekking)
Grading: Entry level mountaineering/ exploratory trekking (8)
Ideal for: Those who are looking to get into mountaineering, or who are looking to take on a challenging trek

When to go: June to August

Rated as a first-rate picturesque route, it goes from the renowned Baltoro Glacier, to the “Throne Room of the Mountain Gods” and to the tip the earth’s 2nd greatest mountain range.

Pakistan’s renowned walk has impressed the likes of trekkers and mountaineers for many years, with a 360-degree view of 7,000 meter and 8,000-meter crests, incorporating the remarkable K2.

The Southern Alps in New Zealand
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Duration: Approx. 6 days

Grading: Moderate (5)

Ideal for: Anyone looking to head for heights
When to go: November to April

One of the best hiking (or “tramping” as it is known locally) experiences on Earth can be had in New Zealand’s Southern Alps, with its rolling hills, impressive glaciers, and turquoise lakes. Exploring the alpine tarns with unobscured vistas, this trek is considered a warm up for hiking in the Himalayas.

Mountains of the Moon in Uganda
Duration: Approx. 13 days (10 days trekking)

Grading: Entry level mountaineering/ exploratory trekking (8)
Ideal for: Those who have ticked off Mt Kilimanjaro from their bucket list and are looking for their next summit challenge
When to go: December to February, June to September
Tucked away and tranquil, the Rwenzori Mountains (or Mountains of the Moon) are Africa's best hidden secret.

Climbing Margherita Peak (5,109m), Africa’s third highest peak, can be a challenge for even the most experienced hiker.

West Coast Trail in Canada
Duration: Approx. 8 days (7-day full-pack trek)

Grading: Moderate to challenging (6)
Ideal for: Active walkers who love coastal walks and want to combine it with an exhilarating forest trek and wildlife spotting

When to go: August
Tour the Strait of Georgia by ferryboat, head to the northerly trailhead of Vancouver Island to begin your travels, with the possibility of seeing Orca whales, sea lions, eagles, and bears near the shoreline. On the list of top 10 hikes, you can appreciate long shoreline strolls on the shelf, if scheduled correctly.

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Snowman Trek in Bhutan
Duration: Approx. 27 days (23 days trekking)
Grading: Exploratory trekking (8)

Ideal for: Anyone looking for a very challenging trek that ventures far off the beaten track
When to go: September to November
Visit the ultimate traverse of Bhutan comprising 11 elevated passes over 4,500 meters through the remote Lunana district.

This coveted walk explores the splendid Paro Valley where you will unearth an area of tiny Buddhist monasteries and isolated villages that are hidden from the world most days of the year.

Pamir Fann Mountains in Tajikstan
Duration: Approx.14 days (5 days trekking)
Grading: Moderate (5)

Ideal for: Those wanting to take their bush walking adventures up a notch while incorporating historical and architectural sightseeing
When to go: June to September
Popular for its unique mountain landscapes and its strikingly beautiful alpine lakes this untouched area of Pamir enters deep valleys with clear lakes and flowering meadows. You could potentially spot the summer camps of the Tijiki shepherds.

Tavan Bogd in Mongolia

Duration: Approx. 11 days (4 days trekking)
Grading: Moderate (5)
Ideal for: Anyone seeking to explore untracked wilderness and authentic nomadic culture
When to go: June to August

Geographically, this is the most remote portion of Mongolia, and is rich with breathtaking nature, wild animals and engaging cultural heritage. You will also discover local herders, bactrian camels, Kazakh eagle hunters and throat-singing Tuvan natives, and study the roaming people which are native to this land.

International Escapes: A Hop, Skip and Jump Away

Perhaps you think you cannot go international for a quick weekend trip. Guess again.

It’s really quite easy to find an awesome weekend getaway doable in three days. Below are places perfect for an exceptional long weekend you won’t soon forget.

Montreal, Quebec
Old-world elegance is front and center in this second major Canadian city after Toronto. In the Vieux Montreal section, you can stroll cobblestone streets lined with boutiques and eateries.

The famous Mount Royal Park is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon if the weather permits, as you can hike, rent a bicycle, or find a lovely spot for a tasty picnic.

If you can take the cold temperatures, you can also go snowshoeing, ice skate, or do a variety of other winter sports in the park area.

Bermuda
Bermuda is a great destination for tourists from the US, as it is just a two-hour flight from many cities and offers beautiful beaches where you can enjoy the sand and the sun. You don’t have to like beaches to adore Bermuda; history buffs will be fascinated by the old military forts complete with cannon installations, classic colonial buildings, and enchanting cobblestone streets.

If you like a little heart-pounding adrenaline, rent a jet ski and head over to the notorious Bermuda Triangle.

Baja California Sur, Mexico
Baja California Sur, Mexico is a trendy destination easily do-able in a three-day weekend for anyone searching for fun and relaxation in a fabulous beach setting. Cabo San Lucas, at the southern tip of the Baja peninsula, is home to many high-end resorts and upscale eateries that serve savory local cuisine like smoked marlin as well as offering an entertaining party scene.

Adventurers and water sports devotees will also enjoy Lover’s Beach for its dazzling blue waters, fascinating caves to explore, and spectacular rock formations.

Costa Rica

Exotic Costa Rica is a hop, skip, and a jump away from many U.S. cities and is a wonderful weekend getaway. cruise-ship-1108961__340.jpg It boasts an amazing 800 miles of breathtaking coastal areas complete with very beautiful beaches. If you like adventure, head over to the Arenal Volcano to get your heart pumping by zip-lining through the beautiful rain forest, hiking in the lush jungle, rappelling down a roaring waterfall, watching exotic jungle animals such as sloths and monkeys, and finally relaxing in a hot spring fed by the volcano itself.

Cartagena, Columbia
Located on the northern coastline of Columbia facing the Caribbean, in Cartagena you’ll find stunning blue waters with coral reefs that edge white powdery beaches.

The 500-year-old coral stone fortifications and much of the walled city are admirably intact and present some of the finest examples of civil and military architecture of Spanish colonial times.

Toronto
Toronto is as cosmopolitan a city as they come.

More than 50% of its inhabitants were not born there, making it a very diversified city in terms of people and culture.

With Greektown, Little Italy, Koreatown and Chinatown all inside city limits, visitors might feel as if they've seen more than a couple of countries after a trip to Toronto.

Whether you are looking for extreme adventure, lounging on the beach with a cold drink, or something in between, there is an international weekend getaway ideal for you. Everything you want – love, adventure, culinary delights, history – can be yours.

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Close-to-Home Weekend Getaways

Life is short – fit in some enjoyable weekend getaways every now and then, to chill out, have a good time, and get away from your day-to-day routine. However, choosing which destination to travel to can be hard when you are only going to have a few days free. Below are just some of the countless options for your special weekend away.

New York City
New York City is a transportation hub, and depending on where you are traveling from, you might drive, fly, or travel by train. Don’t let weather stop you; indoor activities like famous museums or Broadway shows are plentiful, while outdoor activities such as the High Line and Central Park can also be lovely even in the winter. History buffs can head to Ellis Island via ferry to visit the first stop of many immigrants in days past or climb to the top of the famous Statue of Liberty.

San Francisco
There is much to appreciate about San Francisco: the iconic cable cars you can ride through city streets, the colorful hilly neighborhoods, the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge, and of course the lovely weather. AT&T Park is a fabulous place to enjoy the scenery while taking in a baseball game, as the stadium overlooks the lovely San Francisco Bay.
Washington, D.C.

The U.S. capital is not only a lovely city, it also has a good deal to do and see, with numerous popular sights free of charge: the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and so many more, all within walking distance of each other on the National Mall. The weekend brunch scene is especially great here, but be sure to get reservations ahead of time.

New Orleans

New Orleans has so many things to do it’s impossible to fit it all into a single weekend, so pick carefully. If you are from a cold-weather place and just want to enjoy some fresh air, head over to City Park for some open-air activities; history lovers can check out The National WWII Museum. Of course, if you have a weekend in New Orleans, you must walk around the legendary French Quarter and sample the traditional beignets.

Nashville, NC
If you are looking for a weekend of fresh mountain air and sunshine followed by delicious artisanal hand-crafted beer from a craft brewery, Nashville, NC is the perfect weekend getaway.

For beautiful jaw-dropping views, check out the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest, or if you prefer to be more active, hike a section of the iconic Appalachian Trail that passes through. More than a hundred terrific craft beers await you at local breweries, so venture on over once you are ready to kick back and relax.

Chicago

Chicago is recognized for its great food, iconic architecture, and fun things to do, making it an exceptional weekend getaway. Temperature-permitting, take a cruise through the city on the Chicago River to see the architectural works of art, then take a stroll to Millennium Park to see the famous sculpture nicknamed “The Bean” for its iconic shape.

If you go in the frigid winter months, you might choose to visit the fantastic local museums like the Art Institute of Chicago or the Field Museum.

Seattle
This jewel of the Pacific Northwest features iconic sights like Pike Place Market, the original Starbucks and the Space Needle, all of which you can enjoy in a matter of days. For anyone who wants a good workout, go for a hike in the picturesque Discovery Park, or for courageous adventurers, head over to Mount St. Helens, an active volcano whose last major eruption was in 1980. Be sure to bring an umbrella, as it does rain frequently in Seattle, though it’s normally more of a light mist.

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