Guidebook

5 Iconic Week-Long Backpacking Routes

If you only have a week to go backpacking, these 5 iconic routes will provide more than enough fuel for your wanderlust.

Description

If you only have a week to go backpacking but you want to hike a truly epic, world-renowned route, these five backpacking routes of varying lengths will provide more than enough fuel to stoke your wanderlust fire. With routes ranging from Patagonia to Europe, North America to Tasmania, and even Nepal, just choose the corner of the planet that you want to visit and GO!

Each of the routes detailed here can be completed in a week of backpacking… but exactly how much ground you can cover in a week depends on many variables ranging from fitness to the difficulty of the terrain. Thankfully, the options presented here cover the entire spectrum.
Want to experience some beautiful terrain, but don’t want to push the mileage too hard? Try the Overland Track in Tasmania, with options ranging from 40 to 50 miles.

Or do you fancy a longer challenge? The Annapurna Circuit in Nepal runs for over 140 miles and climbs roughly 37,000 feet in elevation! But of course, the hardcore backpackers of the world could complete this route in just a couple of days. The question is, do YOU think you can do it in a week?

Annapurna Circuit
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Annapurna Circuit

1 day +
226.3 km
11,249 m
11,042 m
World-class trek linking remote Himalayan villages through gorges and over high passes of the Annapurna Range.
Difficult
Private
Torres del Paine O Circuit
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Torres del Paine O Circuit

1 day +
60.0 km
2,332 m
2,400 m
An extended version of the classic W Trek in Torres del Paine National Park that makes a full loop and includes the uncrowded backside of the range.
Difficult
Private
Torres del Paine W Trek
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Torres del Paine W Trek

1 day +
60.0 km
2,743 m
2,676 m
One of the world's best treks, the W links the three main valley of Torres del Paine National Park, among massive glaciers and giant granite towers.
Difficult
Private
Wonderland Trail
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Wonderland Trail

Mount Rainier National Park
1 day +
130.2 km
7,417 m
7,417 m
A 93 mile (150 kilometer) hiking trail that circumnavigates Mount Rainier, one of North America's most iconic peaks.
Difficult
Private
Overland Track
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Overland Track

1 day +
77.6 km
2,103 m
2,267 m
An incredible and varied journey through Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, part of Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Difficult
Private
Tour du Mont Blanc: Brévent to Merlet
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Tour du Mont Blanc: Brévent to Merlet

Chamonix
1 - 2 hrs
5.2 km
7 m
1,029 m
Day 1: A gentle downhill day on the sun-kissed south-facing slopes of the Brévent peak.
Moderate
Private
Tour du Mont Blanc: Bellevue to Contamines Mont Joie
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Tour du Mont Blanc: Bellevue to Contamines Mont Joie

Chamonix
3 - 4 hrs
10.9 km
633 m
1,276 m
Day 2: An excellent day taking in a huge variety of views, from alpine meadows to hanging glaciers and rocky ridges.
Difficult
Private
Tour du Mont Blanc: Les Contamines to Les Chapieux
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Tour du Mont Blanc: Les Contamines to Les Chapieux

Megeve - Les Contamines
5 - 6 hrs
19.0 km
1,364 m
975 m
Day 3: A long and wild day which leads to one of the most peaceful little settlements in the French Alps.
Difficult
Private
Tour du Mont Blanc: Les Chapieux to Courmayeur
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Tour du Mont Blanc: Les Chapieux to Courmayeur

7 - 8 hrs
30.1 km
1,143 m
1,472 m
Day 4: A long day with a gradual climb and an equally gradual descent which takes you on the first border crossing of the Tour du Mont Blanc, from France to Italy via the wide and bleak-feeling Col de la Seigne.
Difficult
Private
Tour du Mont Blanc: Courmayeur to Lavachey
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Tour du Mont Blanc: Courmayeur to Lavachey

4 - 5 hrs
13.8 km
1,242 m
772 m
Day 5: Although this day is more of a detour than anything, it is a wonderful one in good weather. If the weather is bad or you're pushed for time, get the bus from Courmayeur to Arp Nouva to join stage 6 and skip out this stage.
Difficult
Private
Tour du Mont Blanc: Lavancher to La Fouly
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Tour du Mont Blanc: Lavancher to La Fouly

4 - 5 hrs
17.5 km
871 m
962 m
Day 6: The second border crossing and the highest col on the main Tour du Mont Blanc route.
Difficult
Private
Tour du Mont Blanc: La Fouly to Champex
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Tour du Mont Blanc: La Fouly to Champex

3 - 4 hrs
14.8 km
506 m
636 m
Day 7: Comfortably the easiest day on the Tour du Mont Blanc, this is an opportunity to soak in the unique ambience of Swiss mountains valleys.
Moderate
Private
Tour du Mont Blanc: Champex to Col de la Forclaz
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Tour du Mont Blanc: Champex to Col de la Forclaz

3 - 4 hrs
13.4 km
807 m
750 m
Day 8: A long, winding traverse through alpine meadows perched high above the Rhône Valley.
Difficult
Private
Tour du Mont Blanc: Col de la Forclaz to Montroc
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Tour du Mont Blanc: Col de la Forclaz to Montroc

4 - 5 hrs
15.6 km
1,135 m
1,262 m
Day 9: The final border crossing of the Tour and the first time you'll have seen Chamonix for a week!
Severe
Private
Tour du Mont Blanc: Montroc to la Flégère
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Tour du Mont Blanc: Montroc to la Flégère

Chamonix
5 - 6 hrs
17.3 km
1,371 m
1,371 m
Day 10: The final day of the Tour and with expansive views across the Mont Blanc Massif, this is a fitting end to a great trip.
Difficult
Private