8 Scenic & Historic Mountain Trails

What better way to get some healthy exercise than exploring scenic mountain hikes. To inspire you to get out into the great outdoors, we’ve put together 8 truly scenic mountain hikes. Have a look and enjoy amazing images of snow capped mountains, frozen glaciers, and even lava flows.

Every one of these mountains is spectacular in its own right. Furthermore, most can be done in a day, if you are fit and daring. Regardless, enjoy the following photos, learn about intricacies of each destination, and then make your own plans to be in the great outdoors – whether it is seeing any of the featured destinations or a trail closer to home.

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Photo of Temple of the Sun, one of the most scenic mountain hikes
Temple of the Sun – Fabricio Guzmán

Machu Picchu, Peru 🇵🇪

History Evoking Hike recalling the Ancient Incas

The hike to Machu Picchu is probably the most recognisable of our scenic mountain hikes. Beyond that, it also constitutes one of the most epic pilgrimages. The trail is classified as moderate. Yet, the elevation exceeding 4K meters (13K feet) at times is not for the faint of heart. Especially, if you want to make the trip in a day. Notwithstanding, the rewards abound. To begin, the hike brings you through cloud forests high into the Andean mountains. Furthermore, history abounds as the trail passes ancient sites. Indeed, you get to see some of South America’s most famous archaeological site. For instance, Inti Punku, or Sun Gate, a breathtaking passage to the peak. Another great example is the Temple of the Sun shown above. It resides in the midst of the famous stone city of Machu Picchu, a special treat for those that make it to the top.

Photo showing how narrow Angel's Landing trail is and how close to the steep cliff edge this scenic hike is
Narrow & Steep Angel’s Landing Trail – Tony Crabtree

Angels Landing, Utah, USA 🇺🇸

Dizzying Hike to the Temple of Aeolus

Angels Landing, the destination of this hike formerly known as Temple of Aeolus, is located in Zion National Park in southwestern Utah. To start, the trail cuts deep into solid rock leading to a lofty summit. From there, it provides panoramic yet nerve-racking views of the Canyon below. The photo above shows just how vertical the relief is that dominates the hike, making it a thrilling adventure. In all, the trail is 2.5 miles (4.0 km) long with approximate 1,500 feet (460 m) elevation gain. Along the way, a chain railing adds an element of safety. This turns the challenging summit into a relatively compact, yet challenging day hike. But not to worry, once you reach the summit, you are rewarded by a beautiful 360-degree panorama. Rugged vistas beckoning include the formations of the Great White Throne and the entrance to The Narrows.

Accomplished climbers can also choose from six Climbing Routes to test their prowess:

  • Prodigal Son – V class 5.7 C2 – 9 pitches
  • Lowe Route – IV/V class 5.13 or 5.9 C3 – 13 pitches
  • Northeast Buttress – IV class 5.10+ – 8 pitches
  • South Face – II class 5.10 – 3 pitches
  • Ball and Chain – V class 5.12d A0 – 9 pitches
  • Angels Hair – V class 5.13a – 11 pitches

Photo showing Trolltunga on the left taken from above,  another one of the scenic mountain hike destinations
Trolltunga – Kallerna

Trolltunga, Odda, Norway 🇳🇴

Daring Hike to the Tip of Troll’s Tongue

The hike to Trolltunga affords visitors with one of Norway’s most toe tingling experiences. This is because the hike ends at a glacier-formed ledge called Troll’s Tongue. Most hikers get a kick out of climbing onto this rock formation, shown in the photo above, even though it sits about 1,100 m (3,600 ft) above sea level. this is why its ever increasing popularity eventually turned Trolltunga into a national icon. Of course, posing for photos on the Troll’s tongue is the highlight attracting daredevils and tourists alike. But from start to finish, the trail offers a beautiful journey. This is true mainly because the route leads through high mountain terrain where streams, boulders, and marshes delight. The season for guided trips with snowshoes or skis starts in March. For experienced hikers and guided groups, the trail becomes accessible between mid-June and mid-September.

Mount Fitz Roy, Los Glaciares National Park – Todor Bozhinov

Mount Fitz Roy, Patagonia, Argentina 🇦🇷

Challenging Hike between Two Countries

Fitz Roy allows for a spectacular trek through one of Patagonia’s best-known landmarks. As such, the Cordillera Paine mountain group offers some of the most dramatic vistas in the world, as showcased in the photo above. Indeed, trail shows off encompassing mountains full of the famous glaciers, lakes, and rivers of southern Patagonia. It lies in a transition area between the Magellanic subpolar forests and the Patagonian Steppes. For this reason, flora and fauna dominate the park landscape up front, while striking rock formations create a most spectacular scenic mountain hike backdrop. While the trail meanders between Argentina and Chile, the summit remains in Argentinian territory. This includes its famous peak, which cannot be accessed from the Chilean side.

Photo showing the 2nd fissure on Fimmvörðuháls, as lava flows down, turning snow into steam.
Fimmvörðuháls in Iceland – Boaworm

Fimmvörðuháls, Iceland 🇮🇸

Fiery Hike along Icy Five Cairns Pass

Fimmvörðuháls trail takes you through some of the most dramatic scenery Iceland has to offer. And since we are talking Iceland, this means some of the most unique vistas in the world. Impressively in and of themselves, thundering canyon waterfalls alternate with eerie volcanic moonscapes. Topping it all, there is fire & ice to behold at the top of the trail. This is because, if you are lucky, you may end up seeing actual lava flow turning snow into steam. An effect of a recent eruption is shown in the award winning photo above. No matter what, the hike offers an unusually wide diversity of landscapes that can be visited within a single day. Essentially, you start right at the ocean. From there you walk past 26 waterfalls and grassy tundra. Until you reach the volcanic plateau.

Photo showing snow on Mt. Erciyes, one of the inspiring scenic mountain hikes
Erciyes Dagi – Dosseman

Mt. Erciyes, Turkey 🇹🇷

Cool Hike up Kayseri’s Majestic Volcano

Mount Erciyes, also known as Argaeus, is a massive 3,917m (12,854-foot) volcano as well as the 6th tallest mountain in Turkey. It is also the highest mountain and most voluminous volcano in Central Anatolian. Fortunately, the volcano as shown in the photo above is inactive. In fact, the last eruption occurred during the early Holocene. At the time, it may have shot ash as far as Palestine. As a result, the area around the volcano is full of startling vents and lava domes also called fairy chimney formations in nearby Cappadocia. Besides being a spot frequented by mountain climbers, it is also a popular winter-sport destination. From the top of the mountain, stunning views of an area stretching from Cappadocia all the way to the Taurus Mountains are the best reward on clear days.

Photo showing Mount Kailash as seen from Barkha Plain with a snow capped top
Mount Kailash from Barkha Plain – Jean-Marie Hullot

Mount Kailash, Tibet ༀ

Sacred Hike up a Holy Mountain

Many believe Mount Kailash grew out of four life-giving rivers. Indeed, the sources of four major Asian rivers are located in the surrounding area. Those are the Indus, Brahmaputra, Sutlej and Karnali. From there, possibly the most demanding pilgrimage in Tibet starts, the famous Kailash Kora Trek. It is important to mention that this trek is not for the faint-hearted. In fact, it should not be done alone or undertaken by untrained trekkers due to the extremely high altitude. In fact, the hike around the mountain takes you up to elevations as high as 5,630m (18471 ft), even though you never summit. Notwithstanding, the photo above shows that the scenery actually makes it one of the most breathtaking hikes in the world for pilgrims primarily from Tibet, Nepal, and India.

Photo showing Schloss Neuschwanstein with Lake Alpsee in the Background
Schloss Neuschwanstein with Lake Alpsee in the Background – Schwangau TIS

Alpsee, Germany 🇩🇪

Romantic Hike around two Fairytale Castles

Last but not least, the Alpsee Trail in Bavaria is perhaps the best kept secret of all, especially among those of us who delight in romantic vistas. Indeed, what makes the hike unique is its close proximity to not one but two world famous castles – Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. The former, King Ludwig II of Bavaria inherited from his parents. The later, Ludwig commissioned himself to glorify the bygone absolutism of the Bourbon Kings of France. Not fully completed after the king’s death, Neuschwanstein quickly become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Nowadays, it welcomes almost 1.5 million visitors a year and is always extremely crowded. For this reason, one of the more romantic ways to see both castles is from the trail around lake Alpsee. To give you a sense, the photo above shows a spectacular view of Schloss Neuschwanstein with the lake in the background.

We hope we could inspire you. After all, there’s nothing like getting out and getting some fresh air on a gorgeous hike. So dust off your hiking boots and hit the trails.

To help you organise your own trip(s), we would like to share the following list of the best 2023 hiking apps courtesy of Atlas & Boots:

  • Best free hiking app: AllTrails (iOS, Android)
  • Best long-distance hiking app: Guthook Guides (iOS, Android)
  • Best app for hiking in the UK: OS Maps (iOS, Android)
  • Best app for mountain identification: PeakVisor (iOS, Android)
  • Best hiking app for safety: Cairn (iOS, Android)
  • Best app for US national parks: NPS Official (iOS, Android)
  • Coolest hiking app: SpyGlass (iOS, Android)
  • Best weather app: Weather Live (iOS, Android)

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