6 Multi-Day Hikes You Can “Backpack” Without the Pack

There is something incredible about stepping foot into the wilderness and not returning for days. The only problem with these journeys, however, is the need to carry your own food and shelter. For many, the added weight is enough of a discouragement to keep them from backpacking altogether. If you’re looking to take your love of hiking to the next level, but aren’t quite ready to commit to the baggage, one of these ventures might be just what you’re after. Here are six multi-day hikes around the world with access to meals and lodging along the way. Grab yourself a good pair of hiking boots and a daypack, and you’re ready to hit the trail!

Tour de Mont Blanc—France, Italy & Switzerland

Distance: 110 miles
Time: 4-12 days
Starts/Ends: Les Houches, France
Season: Mid June to Mid September

Imagine hiking amongst the Alp’s most breathtaking scenery, pausing only for a rich pot of fondue or pain au chocolat, en route to a warm bed and hot shower. On this multi-day, three-country traverse, you’ll be far from roughing it! The Tour de Mont Blanc is a 110-mile loop around the peak it’s named for, and is one of the most popular long distance walks in Europe. Refugios, or mountain huts, dot the trail at frequent intervals, so you can cover as little or as much ground each day as you choose. Scramble across snowy peaks and stunning valleys. Dine on coq au vin and spaghetti alla Bolognese. Quench your thirst with panache (a blend of beer and lemonade) and genièvre (a juniper-flavored liqueur only found in the Alps). You may not come home any more fit, but you will be pretty darn happy. Make sure to take the cable car from Chamonix to Mont Blanc’s peak when you’re through to admire a panoramic view of your accomplishment.

W Trek—Torres Del Paine, Chile

Distance: About 60 miles
Time: 4-7 days
Starts/Ends: Puerto Natales, Chile
Season: October – April

Chilean Patagonia is one of the most breathtaking and challenging environments on planet earth. Extreme, experienced outdoorsmen flock to this area in droves, but that doesn’t mean a new backpacker can’t enjoy its rugged nature as well. In Torres Del Paine National Park, the “W Loop” is a popular trail for those who aren’t willing to face the harsh and unpredictable conditions in a tent alone. Eight refugios along the way offer dorm-style rooms, meals, and showers, and also have shops selling snacks, wine, and beer. When you’re done conquering Patagonia on foot, book a room at fancy Hotel Las Torres to unwind from your trek.

Yosemite High Sierra Camp—California, United States

Distance: 49 miles
Time: 6 days
Starts/Ends: Tuolumne Meadows
Season: June – September

Many people know that Yosemite National Park offers some of the best hiking, camping, and backpacking in the country. But not many are aware that cozy tent cabins with beds, restrooms, and showers are hidden high up in the wilderness. Yosemite High Sierra Camp consists of five camps spaced 6-10 miles apart, serving family-style breakfast and dinner daily for up to 40 people. Purchase the optional sack lunch each morning for trailside picnics in some of the park’s most remote and spectacular scenery. As with everything in Yosemite, demand exceeds supply, so the camps are reserved via a lottery system in September and October for the following year. All of that advance planning is worth it to warm up beside a wood-fired stove at the end of a long day of hiking.

Great Ocean Walk—Victoria, Australia

Distance: 150 miles
Time: 8 days
Starts: Apollo Bay
Ends: Twelve Apostles
Season: Year-round

If long walks are your thing, but getting lost in the wilderness isn’t, consider the Great Ocean Walk in southeastern Australia. Hugging the stunning coastline, this trail has more types of overnight options than you can shake a walking stick at. You’ll encounter everything from primitive camping pods to seaside cottages, contemporary apartments, forest lodges, rural retreats and peaceful B&Bs. Personalize the trip to be as rustic or luxurious as you’d like in one of the nation’s most beautiful landscapes. There is even an audio tour app that you can download to accompany you on your journey.

El Camino De Santiago—France & Spain

Distance: 500 miles
Time: About 1 month
Starts: Saint Jean Pied de Port, France
Ends: Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Season: Year-round (however late spring/early fall is best)

El Camino de Santiago, also known as St. James’s Path, was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages of the Middle Ages. It was a journey historically taken for religions penance, and while nowadays its been popularized as a tourist activity, many still complete it for spiritual reasons. While the entire trail covers 500 long miles, it is common to begin anywhere along the route that suits your available time and particular interests. Participants purchase a “pilgrim’s passport” for a few Euros at the start of their journey, which grants them access to inexpensive or free accommodations along the route and also serves as a record of each place they visit along the way. If you are making the pilgrimage for religious purposes and wish to receive a compostela (certificate of completion) at the end, make sure your walk covers at least 100 km of the official route (and get the stamps to prove it).

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu—Peru

Distance: 26 miles
Time: 4 days
Starts: Near Cusco
Ends: Machu Picchu
Season: Year-round except February

Okay. Technically, you do camp on the infamous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. However, it would be remiss to exclude one of the top five treks in the world. And, luckily, it is customary for porters to carry the burden for you on this highly sough-after journey. Each guided group is accompanied by a skilled crew that transports hikers’ belongings, sets up camp, and cooks all meals. Nothing is better than waking up to steaming hot tea delivered to your sleeping bag at sunrise. In the evenings, you can look forward to getting to know your group over deliciously prepared meals, before crawling into a tent that has been set up for you. It’s advised to do your research, and choose a company that pays and treats their porters well. And don’t forget to tip generously! These guys definitely deserve it.

Know any other great hikes to add to this list? Share with us in the comments.

About the Authorsabrina-hoverkamp

Sabrina was born and raised in Los Angeles, and began her love affair with travel while studying abroad in London. A commercial producer by trade, she’s managed to convince her art director husband to quit their jobs and travel around the world for a year - twice! The two enjoy life on the road so much, they’ve just moved into their renovated retro RV to explore the US indefinitely. Follow along with their upcoming adventures at yeskamp.com and on Instagram @yes_kamp.

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