Want to appreciate nature for more than a day hike, but don’t consider trekking with a 30-pound pack and sleeping in a tent a vacation? Hut-to-hut hiking is your answer.
Hut-to-Hut Hiking Trips for Outdoor Enthusiasts
Below are nine of the world’s best hut-to-hut hiking trips. Looking for a little more luxury? Some of them feature inns or hotels as well.
Sunshine Coast Trail, Canada
Hut-to-hut hiking doesn’t have to be expensive—Canada’s Sunshine Coast Trail, a more than 100-mile path from Sarah Point in Desolation Sound to Saltery Bay, in British Columbia has 14 huts that are free for public use. The only downside is that you should be prepared to sleep outside just in case, as the huts (which sleep up to 12 people) cannot be reserved, and are only available on a first-come, first-served, shared-use basis.
Ring of Kerry, Ireland
The famous Ring of Kerry, one of the most beautiful drives in the world, is considered a must-do on any Ireland itinerary. But instead of only seeing the spectacular vistas from a car window, why not walk it? The eight-day self-guided Ring of Kerry Hike from Ireland Walk Hike Bike takes you off the road and through cliffs, beaches, charming villages, peat bogs, and green fields. The hike includes luggage transfers, as well as a full Irish breakfast each day.
A quick ferry ride from Athens, the Greek island of Andros is off the main tourist track, especially if you’re exploring it by foot. The island has a network of ancient cobbled mule trails that have been expertly restored into walking paths, so you can easily travel between bed and breakfasts. Sign up for the Secret Andros tour with Inntravel and the company will transfer your luggage from stop to stop each night.
White Mountains, New Hampshire
The Appalachian Mountain Club’s (AMC) White Mountain Huts of New Hampshire offer a hut-to-hut hiking “lite” experience—you’ll be sleeping in “huts” that are more like basic (albeit off-the-grid) hotels. Each hut has cold running water and composting toilets, and all serve hot cooked dinners and breakfasts to guests. That means you can leave your tent and cooking equipment behind as you tackle the challenging White Mountains—just carry your sleep sack. Want to learn and hike while you socialize? The AMC offers guided hiking programs between the huts.
Laugavegur Trail, Iceland
See the secret side of Iceland on the Laugavegur Trail from Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork (don’t worry, you don’t have to be able to pronounce the trail’s name to hike it). You’ll travel through the Fjallabak Nature Reserve (the third largest geothermal area in the world), by colorful yellow rhyolite mountains, across black-sand deserts, and alongside glaciers. Each night, you’ll sleep in comfortably appointed huts, many of which are great vantage points for stargazing or northern lights viewing.
Adventure Life offers a five-day hut-to-hut hiking trip with an experienced guide.
South Luangwa, Zambia
Imagine a hut-to-hut hiking journey where the hut follows you. It’s almost like a cruise where you sleep in the same room every night in a new location, except your feet will be powering your journey. Robin Pope Safaris’ Mobile Walking Safari takes guests on a six-mile-per-day trek through the bush to observe wildlife in its natural environment. At the end of each day, the mobile camp is set up with walk-in tents, full bedding, and meals served under the night sky.
Mont Blanc Massif, Italy/France/Switzerland
Where else in the world can you hike three different countries in 10 days, while spending each night at a luxurious four-star hotel and dining on decadent meals? The Italians/French/Swiss sure know how to do trekking right, with the Mont Blanc Massif, a trail that winds through the Alpine regions of all three countries.
Mountain Travel Sobek’s Tour du Mont Blanc has been called “the world’s most luxurious hiking trip.” You’ll walk for around seven hours per day, spending each night at plush hotels in gorgeous towns.
Nakasendo Way, Japan
If you’re looking for a gentle, non-intimidating hike, Walk Japan’s Nakasendo Way tour is doable for anyone who can walk for more than three to four hours on a mostly flat surface. This 10-night tour follows Japan’s ancient Nakasendo highway, which runs from Kyoto to Tokyo, passing through quiet small towns. Along the way, you’ll stay in classic Japanese inns, and you can even opt to catch a ride between the accommodations if you need a break from walking.
Mount Everest Region, Nepal
Although summiting Mount Everest requires quite a bit of money, oxygen tanks, and some intense camping, you can hike to Everest Base Camp without having to sleep outside or train for years. You’ll get amazing views of some of the world’s highest peaks (including Mount Everest itself), but instead of sleeping in the snow, you can stay in the Yeti Mountain Home lodges along the trail. A tour with Remote Lands gets you a room in some of the world’s highest-altitude hotels (which even have electric blankets).
More from SmarterTravel:
- What to Pack for Hiking: 38 Essentials
- 10 Stylish Hiking Boots (That Don’t Look Like Hiking Boots)
- Essential Hiking Gear for Travelers
Caroline Morse Teel would like to take all of these hut-to-hut hiking trips. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline for photos from the summit.