Time Traveler

Hiking Alps Austria - overlooking cloud-shrouded valleySensational Hiking Destinations

Would you be interested in an ecologically sound pastime that’s mostly free of charge, adventurous and helps you lose kilos in the process?  Then get your boots on.  Hiking may smack of church camps or high school geography clubs, but vistas like that of Canada’s Kootenay Lake Forest, pictured, can be just the thing for restoring the jaded traveler’s sense of wonder.  Here are four other sensational hiking destinations.

KHAO YAI, THAILAND:
One of Asia’s largest untouched monsoon forests and designated a World Heritage site, Khao Yai National Park, dnp.go.th, covers over 2,000 sq km and is populated by bears, tigers and elephants.  Trails take between several hours and three days to complete, and offer splendid wildlife encounters.  Guides are advised.

THE TYROL, AUSTRIA:
Hiking in the Austrian Alps leaves you spoiled for choice.  There are 600 peaks topping the 3,000-m mark, 15,000 km of trails and hundreds of farmhouses and taverns for rest and relaxation (read flagons of beer and plates of hearty grub).  A favorite spot for meals and overnight accommodation is the Gruttenhutte, reached after a thrilling trek up the Wilder Kaiser.  Find out more at austria-tourism.at.

Hiking German Alps - passing waterfallNEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA:
The view of the Pacific Ocean from the 1,500-m Point Lookout platform is just one of the joys awaiting hikers in New England National Park, nationalparks.nsw.gov.au – an ecological wonderland of soaring cliffs and World Heritage rain forest.  If time is limited, the 2.5-km Eagle’s Nest circuit, along the edge of a sheer drop, offers adrenaline in a jiffy.

MAUI, HAWAII:
The 43 km of trails through Maui’s Haleakala National Park, nps.gov/hale, may seem a modest distance to experienced trekkers, but the varied and dramatic landscape will awe even the most seasoned veteran.  From the volcanic Haleakala crater and the lush Oheo Gulch to inviting pools, bamboo forests and the gorgeous 122-m Waimoku Falls, this is one to savor, step by starting step.