How about this for a new year’s resolution? Walk at least one new trail in 2019. And if you make it one of these, then all the better.
- Tre Cime di Laveredo /Drei Zinnen – Dolomites, Italy
Three giant towers reach skyward with imposing grandness. The grey and honey-coloured limestone contrasts against the vivid blue sky. Jagged Dolomite peaks surround you. This is Tre Cime di Laveredo – as striking in its abruptness as the sheer walls of Yosemite in California. These spires form the centrepiece of the Drei Zinnen/Tre Cime Nature Park. At almost 12,000 hectares there are plenty of walking paths to choose from, all of different grades and lengths. But for pure simplicity we’re recommending the 10km trail that circumnavigates the towers. It’s relatively easy, with just a few steep-ish climbs, and boasts views to die for. There are huts along the way, but they can get busy so we recommend taking your own picnic. And go in May or September when the trails are quieter.
Start: drive up to the carpark near Rifugio Auronzo and begin your walk, clockwise or counter-clockwise, from there.
time: 3 hours
- Dove Lake Circuit & Cradle Mountain – Tasmania, Australia
Tasmania’s highest mountain looks like a stegosaurus’s back and it appears as if out of nowhere. The surrounding landscape is mostly flat, grassy bog. The mountain itself has been battered by rough, salty winds from the Southern Ocean and is more like a pile of gigantic lose boulders than a coherent mountain. Together with surroundings of ancient lakes and unique flora and fauna, Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park feels otherworldly or like stepping back in time – well worth the effort of getting all the way there.
Start: Dove Lake Car Park (or Ronny Creek Car Park if there’s no space – a shuttle bus runs between the two)
Route: Follow the well-trodden Overland Track from Dove Lake until you reach the summit path (by Kitchen Hut). Once you’ve summited, retrace your steps back to the fork then take the Hanson’s Peak and Twisted Lakes route back to Dove Lake.
time: 7 hours
- Lulworth Cove-St. Catherine’s by-the-Sea – Jurassic Coast Walk, England
185 million years in the making, the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast in southern England is a stunning stretch of cliffs, coves, sea stacks, arches and headlands dotted with reminders of ancient history running 153km from Old Harry Rocks to Exmouth. The stretch from C-shaped Lulworth Cove past iconic Durdle Door and on to Burning Cliff at St. Catherine’s is one of the most picturesque. We advise visiting in September to avoid the summer crowds and make the most of the still-bearable sea temperature for a refreshing dip in Lulworth Cove.
Start: begin at Lulworth Cove Visitor Centre Car Park, then walk to Lulworth Cove and follow the coastal path westwards towards St. Catherine’s by-the-Sea and back again.
Time: 3½ hours
- Mirador Las Torres – Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile
Like Tre Cime in its namesake national park, the highlight of the Torres del Paine National Park is three sky-scrapping stone towers. The difference, however, is not in size or scale; it’s in pure exposure. Patagonia is battered by intense winds almost year-round, which adds a certain sense of drama (and challenge) to any walk here. The Mirador Las Torres walk offers full-frontal viewing of the cathedral-like towers but the way there is steep and rough under foot. It’s well worth it though, particularly if you dare to venture there at dawn or dusk on a clear day – alpenglow can be outstanding here.
Start: begin at Hotel Las Torres then follow the Mirador path to Laguna and Las Torres. The last part is very step, which is rather challenging on the way back if it’s a bit wet. This is an out-and-back route.
Time: 7-8 hours
- Cascade Canyon Trail to Lake Solitude – Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA
Grand Teton National Park is appropriately named; with vast plains, shimmering mirror lakes and 4,000m peaks it is unquestionably grand. The walk through Cascade Canyon brings you face-to-face with the grandest of them all: Grand Teton. Fields of wildflower, forests of alpine trees and, of course, snow-topped peaks and abrupt rock faces offer a multi-faceted vista of nature at its best.
Start: at Jenny Lake Visitor Centre jump on the ferry for a short-cut to the top of the lake. Begin walking (steeply) from here, through the canyon and onto Lake Solitude. Then retrace your steps back to the ferry and the car park.
Distance: 23km (including boat trip)
time: 7-8 hours
Images & Text: Sarah Benton