August 1st is National Mountain Climbing Day and even if you’ve never actually climbed a mountain, or ever really thought about doing so, it’s a great day to go for a hike. Hiking is one of the best all-round forms of exercise on the planet and while its great for your body, it can also be a terrific way of raising funds for your favorite cause.
Charity trekking is catching on all over the world and you can find a ton of not-for-profit hikes on every continent. Join a group or gather your own sponsors and head for the hills with a purpose this National Mountain Climbing Day. Here are 10 ideas to get you started:
The Grand Canyon – USA
With a ton of different hiking trails, this wonder of the natural world has something for every fitness level and for the most part, it’s like reverse mountain climbing because you’ll be starting at the rim and working your way down the canyon.
Ben Nevis – Scotland
This is the highest peak in the United Kingdom and promises fantastic views of the Scottish Highlands. You can do this one over a weekend and reward yourself with a tour of Glasgow’s famous pubs.
The Camino de Santiago – Spain/France
This pilgrimage begins on the French side of the Pyrenees and ends in Santiago de Compostela on the west coast of Spain. You can hike the whole route, just follow part of it, or even cycle the Camino. Unplug, unwind and support your cause with an epic journey like no other.
Landmannalaugar – Iceland
Hike through the lava fields of Iceland on an adventure you’ll never forget. Everything from easy one-day hikes to four-day treks through breathtaking scenery filled with ravines, volcanoes, thermal rivers and colorful peaks.
The Great Wall – China
The Great Wall of China runs for over 3,700 miles through the country’s mountains, valleys, cities and villages. Much of its length is peppered with hiking trails that will give you a unique combination of outdoor challenges and cultural highlights. Give yourself extra time to stop and explore the ancient wonders you’ll pass along the way.
The Sahara – Morocco
Trekking up the Chigaga Dunes or the huge mountains of sand at Erg Chebbi will have you feeling like you’re climbing Mount Everest, but the amazing scenery won’t let you forget that you’re hiking in the world’s most famous desert. Chebbi is more remote but both are accessible to anyone looking for a very different way to hike for a cause.
The Routeburn Track – New Zealand
The Routeburn is one of New Zealand’s many “Great Walks” and takes about three days to complete. You’ll be hiking through forests, mountain peaks, waterfalls and isolated lakes in a land that was shaped by glaciers and remains among the most scenic places on earth.
Everest Base Camp – Nepal
Just getting to the base camp at the foot of Mount Everest is a worthy challenge that will require you to become acclimatized to high altitudes as you climb to 17,500 feet above sea level. Beginning in the town of Lukla, this is one of the most popular trekking routes in the Himalayas and you won’t soon forget your first glimpse of the world’s highest mountain.
Chilkoot Trail – USA/Canada
Hiking the Chilkoot is a demanding and unforgettable journey through the history of the Yukon goldfields, a thirty-three-mile trek that takes climbers from Dyea in Alaska to Bennet Lake in British Columbia. The trail was used by prospectors during the Klondike gold rush, who could only begin their trek if they had at least one ton of gear which equaled the supplies they would need for their first year in the wilderness.
The Path of the Incas – Peru
Peru has numerous hiking trails that lead to ancient Incan cities including the 15th century citadel of Machu Picchu. Climbing through the mountains to the UNESCO World Heritage Site will have you walking in the footsteps of one of the world’s most storied ancient civilizations.
No matter where you decide to head on National Mountain Climbing Day, go there with a purpose. The satisfaction of not only accomplishing a personal challenge but doing so in a way that benefits others is truly inspiring. And all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other…