I am excited to bring you 1001 Walks You Must Take Before You Die by Barry Stone, Universe Publishing, 2015. This impressive hard cover edition features 960 pages with 800 color illustrations and is scheduled for release today. Travel writer Barry Stone has compiled an impressive guide to the best hikes and walks the globe has to offer so lace up your favorite pair of walking shoes and join me for a tour.
Broken down into 5 distinct sections, there is sure to be a hike or walk that will appeal to anyone. Personally, I've always been partial to hikes in the woods and the beauty of this book is that it opened my eyes to a wide variety of different options that I clearly had never considered before. The sections are as follows:
- Overland trails will vary from a few hours to several months and you can decide if you want to camp out and what level of isolation you prefer.
- Urban walks will take you through cities and towns, as well as renovated railroads, riverside paths and town centers steeped in history.
- Mountain inspired treks will appeal to both lovers of high altitude ridge lines and summits as well as those who prefer lower level circuits around the base of a mountain.
- Heritage trails will take you on journeys that explore burial mounds and battlefields, petroglyphs and canalways or even a monastery or two.
- Coastal & Shoreline walks will have you exploring sand dunes and cliffs that may occasionally test your mettle with their ascents and descents.
Each section of 1001 Walks is then further broken down by hike. Every hike has pertinent information such as the distance, the approximate time it takes to hike, the grade, type of hike and an on-line url which I found most helpful. Almost every hike is accompanied by a page long description and a gorgeous color photo. The description of each hike usually includes a bit of history - for example, The Perseverance National Recreation Trail in Alaska provides access to Perseverance Mine, which was once the richest gold mine in the world and you'll get to see old stamp mills, remnants of mining sites and the 1000 ft. deep hole where the gold was taken. This trail also provides access to additional trails that will take you past waterfalls and alpine lakes and perhaps you'll spy a black bear or two along the way. Are you intrigued yet?
The trails vary in length with the shortest being a medieval stone bridge called Ponte Vecchio in Tuscany, Italy and it spans a mere 295 feet. Or perhaps I can interest you in a 2-3 year long experience as you explore the world's longest network of trails. Scheduled for completion in 2017, the Trans-Canada Trail will keep you busy with its distance of 14,000 miles. Whether you enjoy rolling hills, scenic meadows, cascading waterfalls, wild life, 1600 year old redwoods, vistas, meadows exploding with wild flowers, crashing waves or history frozen in time, I promise there is something here to catch your eye and sense of adventure. Join me on a quick tour of some of the walks this book has to offer.
- Joshua Tree in California has trails that will lead you to gold mines as well as through cholla cacti.
- Buckskin Gulch in Utah is said to be the longest slot canyon in the world and begins with a 2 ft wide pass that you have to squeeze through to enter. Once inside, the rock walls are so high that sunlight rarely reaches the bottom.
- The Narrows of Zion in Utah offer sandstone walls that tower 1300 ft. For an interesting change of pace, two-thirds of your walk is done while immersed in the Virgin River.
- Grand Canyon Rim in Arizona offers panoramic views from multiple vantage points and is a must see just after sunrise and just before sunset in order to truly appreciate the splendid reds and oranges of the canyon.
- Flint Hills in Kansas takes hikers through one of the few tallgrass prairies that remain in the US.
- Tunnel Hill in Illinois is just that - an old, narrow railway tunnel that dates to 1872.
- Laurel Highlands in Pennsylvania not only offers you the string like Laurel Ridge, but also Frank Lloyd Wrights "Fallingwater."
- The Appalachian Trail that spans from Georgia to Maine is world famous hiking destination.
- Valley of the Moon in Chile will give you desert hiking and is best experienced during a full moon when it's properly bathed in moonlight.
- Devil's Throat Boardwalk in Argentina features one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world and you'll travel through rain forest as you are lead to the very edge of the Devil's Throat.
- Pennine Way in Scotland is not a trail for the novice as it leads you across more than 200 bridges, through 300 gates and past more than 450 waymarkers so you can experience outcrops of limestone.
- Fish River in Namibia is the second largest canyon in the world, second only to the Grand Canyon. This hike can only be made from May to September, and there is a hot water spa resort to entice you after your journey.
- Wadi Rum in Jordan has red granite sandstone and granite rocks as well as several rock bridges that link formations and petroglyphs.
- Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces of China will stun you with their beauty whether you view them covered in frost and snow of winter, green shoots in spring and summer, or golden rice in the fall.
- Golden Gate National Recreation Area in California will overwhelm you with the wide variety of choices. Whale spotting, lighthouses, migratory birds, Alcatraz and redwoods. What's not to like?
- Chicago Lakefront Trail in Chicago is one of the most heavily visited walks in North America. Check out Lincoln Park, Grant Park, the Art Institute and must see Jackson Park where buildings still remain from the 1893 World's Fair.
- Brooklyn Bridge in New York showcases New York's skyline and was once the largest suspension bridge in the world.
- Atlantic City Boardwalk in New Jersey is the grand daddy of all boardwalks and is steeped in history.
- Fort Jefferson in Florida is actually located 68 miles due west from the Florida Keys and is the smallest national park in the US. Ft. Jefferson is a coastal fortress and you can access it by day ferry or seaplane.
(Fort Jefferson Florida Credit Visit Florida)
- Mont Saint Michel in France is a monastery atop an island and is best accessed across the sand dunes at low tide. Once there, check out the abbey and church, underground chapels and crypts.
- Left Bank in France is a must see location. Take in museums, the Eiffel Tower, french military history, the riverbank, an art gallery, the oldest bridge in Paris, and Notre-Dame.
- Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia was completed in 1932 and is an engineering feat that gives you a unique perspective of the worlds largest harbor. Did I mention that you actually get to climb, via walkways and harnesses, up the arches to the actual top of the bridge? Accessible only with a specialized tour group, this one is on my bucket list!
(Sydney Harbour Bridge Credit Sydney Bridge Climb)
- Goat Trail in Alaska requires a bush flight in order to reach the beginning of the trail that will lead you through unmarked tundra as you explore a 100 year old prospectors path.
- Grouse Grind in Canada is Vancouver's most popular trail and will test your strength and endurance. A mere 1.8 miles, this beauty may have you considering an about-face before you complete the first quarter mark. Once at the top, take a gondola ride back down.
- Brewster Glacier Skywalk in Canada has interpretative stops along the way with your final destination being a 1640 ft. long boardwalk and a glass viewing platform that extends 100 ft over the Sunwapta Valley, which is 918 ft. below.
- Hidden Lake Trail in Washington is a 2 day hike that will take you past boulders, outcrops, and snowfields and end with an 800 ft. rough-boulder scramble that leads to a 1931 restored mountain hut. Sit back and drink in the view!
- Ciudad Perdida Trek in Colombia is accessible only if you hire a pricey tour operator to take you on the 3 day trip, but it will probably be worth it. Visit the lost city of Teyuna, hidden in the jungle, that consists of 169 circular terraces carved into the mountainside.
- Kaieteur Falls in Guyana is 4 times higher than Niagara Falls and begins with a boat ride, has you spending the night in a hammock and then you get to go on an 8 hour hike to the bottom of the falls. But wait, you still have a 4 hour climb to the top of the falls. Takers??
- Huayna Picchu in Peru is accessible by walking from Machu Picchu on the "Hike of Death." You'll get to walk up stone stairs and go down the hair raising walk to the Templo de la Luna, (which is the Temple of the Moon) and is carved into a network of caves.
- Shackleton Crossing of South George Island is where you can retrace the footsteps of explorer Ernest Shackleton. Your four day journey begins with a 2500 ft ascent and from there you will ski, walk and toboggan your way from one end of the island to the other.
- Laugavegurinn Hiking Trail in Iceland will take you past waterfalls and a volcano, across glacial rivers and near ice caves.
- Tetlis Cliff Walk in Switzerland is actually a bridge. But you need nerves of steel to attempt it - 1640 feet above ground, at 328 ft long and 3.3 ft wide, this is the highest suspension bridge in Europe and is on the list of the 10 scariest bridges in the world.. What a super place to view the Alps!
- Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland is Europe's longest glacier. Once roped to your group, you descend onto the glacial field and spend the night in the Konkordia Hut. Get a good nights sleep because you'll be eating breakfast at 5:30 am before heading back out onto the glacier.
(Aletsch Glacier Credit Switzerland Tourism)
- Dachstein Ice Cave in Austria is one of the world's largest ice caves. Fed by icy waters, you will view gigantic icicles and ice sculptures. For a real treat, catch an Ice Sound concert. How many times in your life will you go to a concert in an ice cave?
- El Caminito del Rey in Spain is a concrete pathway that is 300 ft. high and pinned into the walls using steel rods. Recently restored, there are now glass floor panels to add to your thrill.
- Mount Sinai Summit in Egypt is considered to be the biblical Mount Sinai. There's a monastery at the base and a Greek Orthodox chapel at the summit. Feel free to spend the night at the summit and enjoy the sunrise before heading back down.
- Everest Base Camp in Nepal may not be the summit, but at 17,590 ft above sea level, it's still impressive.
- Mount Hua Plank Walk in China is the world's most dangerous walk and there is a Taoist Temple at the summit. Plank walkways extend out from the vertical wall face and are mere feet wide. Chains and handholds are chiseled into the rock and you can harness yourself in for extra safety. Even so, my hands were sweating just reading about this walk.
- Kepler Track in New Zealand is where you will experience a glacier, fjord, lake, and rain forest while on your walk. You will also see the Waiau River which doubled as the river Anduin in the Lord of the Rings movies.
- Bodie Ghost Town in California is the largest ghost town west of the Mississippi and still contains old hitching posts and boardwalks, as well as 170 buildings.
- Sloan Caynon Petroglyphs in Nevada is referred to as the "Sistene Chapel of Native American rock art" and is located near Las Vegas. Consider this is a day trip destination as camping is not allowed.
- Old Croton Aqueduct Trail in New York is over 160 years old and this is one of New York's best kept secrets.
- Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield Hike in Virginia is the location of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Walk the battlefield where there were more than 32,000 casualties.
- High Bridge Trail in Virginia stands 125 ft high and 2400 ft long. Having once been set afire by the retreating Confederacy, it has been restored and now offers a host of multi-uses such as walking, cycling and horseback riding.
(High Bridge trail Credit Virginia Dept of Conservation & Recreation)
- Mayan Trails at Chichen Itza in Mexico is a long abandoned Mayan city. View temples, ancient ball courts and El Castillo - the serpent god.
- Cueva de las Manos in Argentina is where you will follow a narrow trail to the "Cave of Hands" where you will view 5,000 year old stencils of hands.
- Clyde Walkway in Scotland is a showcase of Britain's' bridges with one dating to 1695.
- Paris Catacombs in France may not be for the faint of heart. They contain the remains of over 6 million former residents of the capital and are stacked in neat and orderly rows with entire walls being formed out of skulls and thighbones.
- Bastogne Historic Walk in Belgium begins at the Bastogne War Museum and then you do the 5 mile loop that connects 3 of the villages that were key during the WW2 engagement.
- Berlin Wall Trail in Germany has 22 historical points of interest to view as you trace the relics of the 100 mile wall that stood from 1961 until 1989.
- Bregenrzerwald Cheese Road in Austria - I can't pronounce it, but I'd love to check it out. Start at the Mountain Cheese Factory and sample the local cheeses as you go. Many farms along the way will invite you for a tour and demonstrate cheese production.
- Pompeii Walking Tour in Italy will provide you with a glimpse of the town that was buried in volcanic ash. The remains of 1150 Pompeii citizens have been perfectly preserved by ash and show them in the final minutes of their lives.
- Mungo National Park Fossil Trails in Australia is a 16 mile long series of sand dunes that rise above the dry lake floor of Lake Mungo. View more than 450 fossilized footprints that are dated at 20,000 years old.
Coastal & Shoreline
- Oregon Coast Trail in Oregon runs the entire length of the state and has stunning features like Haystack Rock and the largest expanse of coastal dunes anywhere in the US.
- Tillamook Head Trail in Oregon is another walk on my personal bucket list. This was the westernmost point on the journey of explorers Lewis and Clark and aside from the spectacular view, you will go past cliffs, a lighthouse and stand at this world famous location.
- Golden Gate Bridge in California is perhaps best viewed from the shoreline of Marina Green Park. Stroll through Crissy Field, past Torpedo Wharf and head towards Fort Point under the bridge. Take time to climb up on the magnificent bridge itself.
- Bayfield Sea and Ice Caves of Wisconsin may be beautiful most of the year, but to truly experience them, one must approach them on foot during winter, when walking across the ice is possible.
- Hana-Waianapanapa Coastal Trail in Hawaii will lead you over lava fields, past lush vegetation and blue seas, and be sure not to miss the Heiau, a Hawaiian temple site.
- Isla del Sol in Bolivia features more than 180 ruins that date from the Inca period as well as slabs that were used for sacrificial purposes and the Rock of the Puma, from which the lake there gets its name.
- D-Day Beaches in France will give you a glimpse into the battles that began on June 6, 1944 - Juno, Utah and Omaha Beaches are not to be missed.
- GR21 Alabaster Coast Trail in France will lead you to a white, chalky coastline of cliffs and arches as well as the famous rock needle - Aiguille de Belval.
- Green Lake in Austria can be considered both a lake and a meadow, depending on what time of year you are visiting In the winter it is a park, but when the snow begins to melt, the area fills with water so the newly formed lake is deep enough for scuba diving.
- Otter Trail in South Africa will have you scrambling over cliff tops as well as exploring caves, hiking through coastal forests, walking next to the sea, crossing a river at low tide and enjoying waterfalls.
What is it about a trail, leading around the distant bend, that quickens my heart and fills me with joy? Is it the sense of adventure, the unknown, the promise of something new and different to see and experience? The hikes, trails and walks depicted in 1001 Walks You Must Take Before You Die promise to do just that, and more. This massive book has trails for everyone whether it's something calm and tranquil, terrifying, adrenalin filled, a simple stroll in the woods or a hair raising experience. It includes locations from around the globe and more hikes that most people can do in a lifetime. Pick up the book, dog ear the hikes you plan on doing and then fuel your dreams by reading about the rest. You won't be sorry. Explore our world, one walk at a time.
(I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Images are the property of the publisher and cannot be reproduced without consent.)