5 Long Distance Hiking Trails That Will Change Your Life

Photo Credit: Toomas Tartes on Unsplash

Long distance hiking will change your life. Whether you have extensive backpacking experience, want to take your first solo adventure, or are brand new at spending time on the trails, these long-distance hikes are routes to add to your bucket list.

How Long Distance Hiking Can Change You

An extended hiking trip can be a totally transformative experience. Spending day after day living out of a backpack has a way of reducing life to the basics–and somehow at the same time revealing what matters most in life. Long distance hikes can help you:

  • Build self-confidence
  • Get in touch with your authentic self
  • Learn self-care, camping, and important safety and survival skills (useful for everyday life and also life on trails or in the backcountry)
  • Improve your health; long distance walking offers health benefits, like reduced risk of heart disease and improved cardiovascular function
  • Find clarity, purpose, or greater meaning, including helping you heal from past traumas (e.g., relationships, breakups, loss)
  • Develop greater self-awareness + self-reliance
  • Discover your future direction and unveil dreams or goals

5 Popular Long Distance Hikes

1. The Appalachian Trail, USA (2,200 Miles)

This Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) thru-hike takes an average of five to seven months to complete. Barbarian Utopia is a documentary about the AT Trail.

2. The Long Trail, USA (272 Miles)

Vermont’s Long Trail extends from the border with Massachusetts to Canada. This hiking route passes by ponds, hardwood forest, streams, and beautiful mountain vistas. Here’s a documentary (Finding Traction) of a speed attempt on Vermont’s Long Trail.

hiking st. cuthbert's way with kids children scotland to holy island

3. Saint Cuthbert’s Way, Scotland-England (62 Miles)

St. Cuthbert’s Way is the 100k hiking route that crosses from Scotland to Holy Island, England. I hiked this route solo with my four children in 2019.

4. The Pacific Crest Trail, USA (2,650 Miles)

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), which runs from California to the US/ Canada border, takes on average 2-5 months to complete, and most thru-hikers start the route in April-May. You can learn more about the hike in the film Wild.

hiking the camino do santiago with kids

5. The Camino de Santiago, France to Spain (500 Miles)

The Camino de Santiago features many starting points, but a classic route extends from France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. I hiked this long distance route with my family, when my children were 2, 5, 7, 9. You can watch the movie, The Way, to learn more about this route.

Learn more about designing a lifestyle of your dreams, including worldschooling, digital nomad living, and slow travel with Live Your Truth Coaching.

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