We love the great outdoors and experiencing all that nature has to offer. There is something particularly nourishing about ‘going back to basics’ when discovering new terrain, and what better way than getting a group of friends or family to complete your grounding experience. We thought we would offer you a few group-friendly and awe-inspiring hiking trails to whet your appetite and hopefully inspire some ideas for your next wild group holiday adventure!
Yellowstone National Park
Where? Wyoming (largely) U.S.A
Length: With more than 1,100 miles of hiking trails you can take your pick of length and difficulties
Duration: Anywhere from a one mile hike to 10 days
Best time: April to May and between September and November.
The Iconic Yellowstone National Park is truly a world wonder with its incredibly diverse landscape and wildlife. With literally thousands of kilometres of hiking trails ranging from day trips to over-nighters (take your fitness level pick!), and with overnight camping (permit permitted) Yellowstone is a fantastic opportunity for you and your friends to get intimate with nature. Nestled above a super volcano, Yellowstone has developed its own grand Canyon range and over 500 Geysers and geothermic pools, including the Norris Geyser Basin which is the largest reported spurt in the world getting as high as 400 feet – unfortunately, it’s a sporadic event with the last eruption being around 2005.
Lastly, Yellowstone might be best known for its abundance of beautiful wildlife, including the re-introduction of wolves, which have been used to help preserve certain areas of the National Park.
Where? The Inca Trail , Peru
Length: 82km (26 miles)
Duration: 4 days
Best time: May to June (Closed in February)
With over 1.2 million travellers per year, this has to be the most popular (or notarised) hike in the world – but all for good reasons! Hiram Binham discovered the ruins of Machu Picchu in 1911 on an exploration expedition. The mystical mountain citadel was unknowingly abandoned in the 16th century and holds the secrets of an extinct but once powerful Inca civilisation. The Inca Trail traces the same 4-day trek made by Binham and is done in guided groups hikes.
At an altitude peak of 4,224.53 metres (or 13,860 feet), this hike is not for the faint-hearted; however, its popularity means great group holiday packages and a trip of a lifetime!
Where? The Laugavegur trail, Iceland
Length: 55km (34miles)
Duration: 3 – 4 days
Best time: Mid-July to mid-September
‘Laugavegur’ translates to ‘Hot Spring Route’ which means you and your group might actually get a warm bath along the way thanks to Mother Nature and her trail of geothermic watering holes along this hike. Covering some of the most varied scenes in Iceland, this trail difficulty is rated at moderate and is considered rather accessible; the most difficult part is possibly predicting the weather, so pack the waterproofs! The Laugavegur trail also provides a decent hut system if you, or your group, don’t fancy camping book ahead to secure a reservation.
No permits necessary and bottles can be refilled in rivers. If all this beautiful terrain has you wanting more, The Laugavegur trail conveniently connects to the Fimmvörðuháls trail (if travelling north to south), which leads you towards three glaciers, two volcanoes and ends at the stunning Skógafoss waterfall!
Aoraki (aka Mount Cook) National Park
Where? Hooker Valley Track, New Zealand
Length: 10 km (6.2 miles) return route
Duration: 3 hours
Best time: All year
The Aoraki National Park encompasses beautiful glaciers and some 23 peaks reaching over 3000 metres high – the tallest peaks in New Zealand! With the choice of camping, use of National Park huts or the South Island travellers favourite camper vanning!
The great thing about the Hooker Valley Track is that it’s graded easy and has a flat gradient track, meaning accessibility to all fitness levels (and kids). You can experience the great glacier wonders of New Zealand’s south island without the alpinist training! With 3 swinging bridges this track leads you through the sacred Tōpuni area, starting with the view of the Mueller Glacier (it really is awe-inspiring) and ending with an iceberg-speckled Hooker Lake, which is overlooked by the Aoraki/Mount Cook and the Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o te Moana. This 3-hour return hike, alongside the all year stunning conditions, means this may be the most family-friendly group walk, with plenty of time at the end of the day to share a warm meal!
Where? Watkins Path, Wales
Length: 13 km (8 miles)
Duration: 7 hours
Best time: Anytime of year, weather dependent.
Snowdon is the largest peak in Wales, at 1015 metres, and holds a great deal hiking history. Its peak was originally used as a training site for Edmund Hillary in preparation for the first successful ascent on Mount Everest (alongside Tenzing Norgay, but I’m sure he had training peaks closer to his home in Nepal). Snowdon offers 7 great (dog-friendly) hiking trails, at differing skill levels, and even a steam train (you read correctly) for those less able bodies (or, er, who think taking a steam train up a massive peak is cool – it is!). But as fun as the steam train sounds it’s hard to go past the wonders of Watkin Path. One of the more difficult trails, you reap the benefits of your hard earned hike with a breathtaking ascend (in both senses) and a rewarding cool dip in one of the few natural waterfalls once you’ve completed the route. It does have a rather steep section towards the peak, but besides this Watkins Path is a well-rounded hike for groups.