Just one nation contains just about all of the longest hiking trails in the world. That country is the United States of America.
But a significant consolation prize goes to Canada. It holds what tourism industry observers agree is the No. 1 longest formally identified hiking trail on the planet. So let’s start our look at some of the longest trails with that one.
The Great Trail
Best known for Trans Canada, this hiking trail is an incredible 16,777 miles long. Of course, in Canada, that’s measured in kilometers making The Great Trail 27,000 km. It stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific and combines interconnected smaller hiking trails that include roadways, greenways, and waterways.
The start of Trans Canada is at the Railway Coastal Museum in St. John’s, Newfoundland. It heads out west to British Columbia and then turns north, taking the intrepid hiker into the wilds of the Yukon Territory.
The world’s second-longest trial is in Canada’s neighbor to the south. It is:
The Great Western Loop
This route in the western U.S. links five long-distance trails. All together, they comprise 6,875 miles. This includes the Great Western Loop and the Pacific Crest Trail. The first man to complete the Great Western Loop in its entirety is professional backpacker Andrew Skurka. His accomplishment landed him National Geographic’s prestigious “Adventurer of the Year” honor. Skurka made the journey on foot in 208 days ticking off an average of 33 miles per day.
Next up is:
American Discovery Trail
Comprising 6,800 miles, this trail is bookended by Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware and ends at the Limantour Beach Point in Reyes Station, California. That’s in Marin County in the northern part of the Golden State. The American Discovery Trails takes you straight down the center of the U.S., across the Great Plains, and winds its way through the vast farmlands of the Midwest.
The No.4 longest trail is:
This incredible journey has been described as a “beast of a hike” by the nature-loving Sierra Club officials. The Eastern Continental takes you from the former home site of Ernest Hemingway in Key West, Florida, up to Canada, where it ends at Cape Gaspé, Quebec. It traverses 16 American states. Part of this monster’s 5,400-mile hikes included a portion of the famous Appalachian Trail and the 170-mile Pinhoti Trail of Alabama.