Trekking is usually a long journey on non-designated paths which could last several days and could be challenging. It is more intense and energetic than hiking. Trekking is popular in the Himalayas foothills in Nepal, India and Bhutan. The Andes in South America is also popular trekking destination. Hiking is more of a leisure activity while trekking is more challenging. Trekking is also known as backpacking but should not be confused with mountaineering.
Hiking is such a popular activity that there are numerous hiking organizations worldwide. When planning a hiking holiday a good starting point is to contact the local hiking organization and ask for information or maps of the various hiking trails and to inquire about what kind of terrain to expect and how challenging the different hiking trails are. They may also be able to give advice of any special equipment needed and what the weather conditions are usually like at different times of the year. Sometimes they may also give advice on accommodation options.
Worldwide there are many popular hiking destinations. Among the best known are: The Appalachian Trail in the U.S. It is more than 2,150 miles long and passes through 14 states. While fewer than 500 people successfully hike the trail in its entirety each year, as many as 3 million people complete a portion of it. The El Camino de Santiago Trail starts in France and ends in Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain, it was once a popular religious expedition and today this 484-mile hike has become a huge attraction for anyone - young, old, athletic, out-of-shape, religious or not - looking for a challenge. Spend your days winding through the quiet towns of France and Spain, and stay at a friendly Pilgrim Hostel, sleep in a comfy bed and enjoy a hot shower.
Some only walk smaller parts of the route and return next year to walk some more parts, others walk for several weeks. Patagonia has always been a destination sought after by adventure travelers and the like because of its dramatic and challenging terrain, breathtaking views and abundance of wildlife. The 62-mile Paine Circuit travels through the Torres del Paine National Park winding between Magellanic forests, glacial lakes, ice fields and the occasional makeshift bridge. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru attracts travelers from all over the world trying to catch a glimpse of Inca life thousands of years ago. Most visitors opt for train service to Machu Picchu, but the adventure traveler will appreciate a guided four-day hike along the Inca Trail.
The trekking destinations are usually much challenging but also more rewarding as one can enjoy the views of rarely charted regions and virgin areas. Treks usually requires more and better equipment than hikes like for instance a backpack, tent and sleeping bag for camping, fire lighting tools either flint or matches, food, water, survival kit, water purifying tablets, a compass, flashlight, map, insect repellent, a trekking pole which looks like ski poles can be used in challenging treks.
Among the most popular trekking destinations are: The Himalayan mountain range where most common places to start your trekking expedition are Bhutan and Nepal. Both of these countries offer a unique approach to the mountains and each make for an exciting destination. Patagonia is the most southern region of South America. Patagonia is full of breath-taking views of beautiful green forests, snow-capped mountain peaks and crystal blue glacier fed lakes, and it's one of the last pristine landscapes on Earth. Summers here feature exceptionally long 18 hour days which are perfect for long haul trekking.