New to hiking? Or may be you are just looking for easy hiking trails for whatever reason. Here are eight places to hike with gentle slopes and overnight stay options. These are also good hiking trails for kids to accompany you on.
What to Find Here
- Why Do It?
- How to Prepare
- 8 Easy Trails
- Frazer Island, Australia
- Hadrian’s Wall Path, UK
- Kruger National Park, SA
- Abel Tasman Coast Track, NZ
- Hollyford Track, NZ
- Malta and Gozo Coasts
- Yoho National Park, Canada
- Cinque Terri, Italy Easy Walking Trails
- More Options
Why Do Walking Trails?
Why go hiking? Walking is the easiest and healthiest way to explore the world, capturing outstanding views, and there are the incidental health and well-being benefits.
The incidental benefits include:
- Feeling great
- Keeping fit
Exercise. Walking provides a well-paced exercise. Walking is great for getting oxygen to the brain. Science tells us that walking produces retrograde wave-like pressure pulses from foot impacts that dynamically improve blood circulation¹ – a type of hydraulic effect that benefits our brain.
- Staying young
Anti-aging. Benefits of walking include firming up glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, shins, and foot muscles. Improving fitness levels.
Space to reflect, and allow intuitive and creative thought. Escape from internal worries and hectic work or home life. Find inner peace and well-being.
- New friendships
New friends and new perspectives. Belonging to a group of enthusiasts with common interests.
- Cultural awareness
Finding out about new cultures and stimulating places.
- Enhanced exploration and sight seeing
Seeing sights that are impossible to see from a vehicle by day and dark night skies you would never see within city limits. See my article about lightweight telescopes you can take travelling.
- Making a difference
Making a difference through charity walks, e.g. Fred Hollows Foundation raising funds through Coastrek for restoring sight to millions of needlessly blind people
With all this in mind, to get the most gain, it’s important to be prepared, with the right gear etc.
How to Prepare for a Trekking Trip
If you are planning on doing a trekking trip, hiking expedition, trekking trail, or tramping (other names for hiking) whether it’s short or long, you need to do some preparation.
Also important in preparing for trekking trips: Make sure you have the right gear. For example, the right boots, backpacks, or walking poles. I once suffered from painful black toenails after a short trek because I didn’t research about walking downhill and the right fitting shoes for this. I have an article here that looks at what to wear hiking.
Apart from making sure you have the right hiking gear, you should also try to focus on improving your walking durability leading up to your adventure.
The movie ‘Wild’ is about one woman’s reason to embark upon a great walk. Her experiences, her struggles, and her self-realization through this very experience are captured by this movie. It’s worth viewing if you’re considering walking and camping along trails.
There are heaps of magnificent places which are tough going because of high altitude and steep slopes. Some of these are quite long hiking trails.
To prepare for such long distance walks, you might want to start with something easy so you can last the duration. The best hiking trails in this case means nothing too strenuous or too harsh, and mostly gentle grading.
You can start by gradually getting into a routine of walking 3 miles a day and increasing that to walking 5 miles a day, and so on.
But, it’s a good idea to go walk, especially brisk walking to build up endurance and to wear those walking boots in so that you don’t experience blisters or black toe nails on your long distance walks when you eventually go trekking overseas or on walking holidays at home.
8 Walking Trails Suited to Those New to Hiking
So where to hike as a beginner? The following lists eight places suited to hiking for beginners. These places would also be good hiking trails for kids if you are looking for a family experience.
This list of where to go hiking ranges from England walking trails to tramping in New Zealand to hiking in Canada. There’s even a trek with wild animals in Africa and a coastal hike through fishing villages of Italy.
Features: nature trail through sub-tropical forest, crystal-clear lakes, colored sands, and vast sand dunes. The round trip will take 6–8 days walking up to 90 km. There are camping areas for overnight stay.
2. Hadrian’s Wall Path in the UK – a Walkopedia favorite walk
Features: villages, Roman temples, ‘Robin Hood Tree’, and more. There are 5 day to 11 day hikes covering 44 – 137 km. You can also join a tour for these easy hikes. There are Bed and Breakfast lodgings (B&Bs) and Inns for overnight stays.
Features: walking safari style, the raw wilderness of Kruger National Park. Check availability for 3 – 4 days guided hiking trips of around 42 km. Overnight stays in a camp/hut accommodation
Features: golden sand beaches, Cleopatra’s Pool, a beautiful inlet to Falls River, and a 47-m suspension bridge + fur seals/kekeno. This easy hike of 3 – 5 days covers up to 60 km. Overnight stays include 4 huts and 19 campsites.
Features: diverse landscapes, vegetation, and wildlife, captivating stories of the original Māori and early pioneers. One of NZ’s good hiking trails for beautiful mountain views. Take a 3 day guided walk of 44 km. Overnight stay in lodge accommodation.
Features: historical, cultural, landscape and environmental of these islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Choose between 2 – 35 miles of easy walking – self-guided over 1 – 8 days. Overnight stay in hotels and guest houses.
Features: Burgess Shale fossil beds – Trilobites, the stilt-walking Hallucigenia, lake trail, falls, rock formations. Walks of 1 – 2 days up to 55 km. Overnight stay in rooms at Tea House, private camping, guest houses, or luxury lodges.
Features: centuries-old seaside villages, vineyards, sanctuaries, sweeping sea vistas. Choose hikes of one to several days, with the stretch from Manarola to Corniglia (2 km) the easiest to hike. The path network is up to 120 km with varying degrees of ease. You can choose just an easy day walk or a multiple day hike. Overnight stay in village accommodation.
More Great Walks
1001 Walks You Must Do Before You Die
Julia Bradbury and Barry Stone generously illustrate and feature 1,001 scenic walks throughout the world in both natural and urban settings in this huge reference, which includes walks that you can do at your own pace so as to savor local sights. There is an increasing number of trails converted from former canal towpaths and railway lines, like New York’s High Line, into mixed-use walkways. It covers numerous routes from coastal to historic trails to those of natural charm, including California’s John Muir Trail, the Miami Beach Art Deco walk, Hadrian’s Wall and Offa’s Dyke paths in England, the Italian lakes.
The range of walks varies from easy jaunts to more rugged hikes. Each entry provides essential details, including start and finish points, overall distance, difficulty rating, maps, and likely duration.
The Website Live Once Live Wild provides Complete Guides on the National Parks of Northern America with a list of trails and natural sights to see. It offers information on “off the beaten path backpacking trips, to hidden waterfalls that no one knows about, part of the wonder of exploring our national parks is finding places and treasures that are uniquely your own.” See more here.
What’s your favorite walk, be it big or small?
Let me know in the comments below.
- Summer Survival: Getting Outdoors
- Winter Survival: Getting Outdoors
- Connect to the Wild Earth: Capture Inspiring Shots
- Experimental Biology 2017. “How walking benefits the brain: Researchers show that foot’s impact helps control, increase the amount of blood sent to the brain.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2017. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170424141340.htm
Dwyer T, Pezic A, Sun C, Cochrane J, Venn A, Srikanth V, et al. (2015) Objectively Measured Daily Steps and Subsequent Long Term All-Cause Mortality: The Tasped Prospective Cohort Study. PLoS ONE 10(11): e0141274. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141274
Amy A. Hakim, et. al. “Effects of Walking on Mortality among Nonsmoking Retired Men.” New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 338:94-99, January 8, 1998, Number 2.
Tang R, Wang JY, Lo SK, Hsieh LL. “Physical activity, water intake and risk of colorectal cancer in Taiwan: a hospital-based case-control study. International Journal of Cancer. 1999 Aug 12;82(4):484-9.
Rozenn N. Lemaitre; David S. Siscovick; Trivellore E. Raghunathan; Sheila Weinmann; Patrick Arbogast; Dan-Yu Lin. “Leisure-Time Physical Activity and the Risk of Primary Cardiac Arrest.” Archives of Internal Medicine, 1999; 159:686-690