Trail Tourism Disperses Travelers

Trail Tourism Disperses Travelers

Across Countries and Into Neighborhoods, Trail Tourism Disperses Travelers and Shares Local Lore

Posted on 01.11.2018

We’ve just completed our seventh day on the Alpe-Adria Trail. Over the past week, my husband and I have walked more than 110 kilometers (nearly 70 miles) up steep climbs, down into mountain valleys, through rocky gorges, and alongside a range of wildlife. My body has passed the point of soreness and fatigue — aching thighs, screaming knees, bruised hips. I’ve reached that comfortable cadence of rising in the morning, consuming as many calories and as much caffeine as possible, strapping on my backpack, and hitting the trail for another six to eight hours before reaching the day’s destination, a calorie-heavy dinner, and a good night’s rest before doing it all again …

From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, there are thousands of long-distance trails all around the world. They follow classic pilgrimage paths, trade routes, and mountain ridges. They wander through small towns, big cities, and deep into the backcountry. Some require tent camping, some lead to a series of huts serving as rudimentary sleeping quarters, and some allow travelers to eat and rest in fully furnished accommodations. Recently, an increasing number of destinations have started to realize the tourism potential of combining existing pathways to create long-distance corridors crossing vast portions of a country and even tying several countries together.

On the seventh evening of our hike, I write the following in my journal: “Some days it is tempting to ask ‘why bother?’ Why am I hiking this exceptionally long distance if all I’m doing is walking on a difficult path?

And then a hike like today’s hike comes along that is truly exceptional and your spirits are raised and you remember that this is why you sign up for and agree to challenging activities like this one.”

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