Your Guide to Natural Highs: 9 Must-See Panoramic Treks

There’s a reason why we seek out summits to climb. Whether the route meanders gracefully and is a pleasure in itself or if you need a bit more grit and determination to reach that peak, the reward of a stunning panoramic view at the top makes all the effort worth it. And with that view, there is a sense of freedom, accomplishment and wonder. Below we share our guide to these natural highs found on 9 of Exodus' must-see panoramic treks.

Kilimanjaro Climb

Imagine standing on top of the world’s largest freestanding mountain as dawn breaks and the sun’s rays highlight the vibrant colours of the East African plains. The view from the summit of Kilimanjaro is simply awe-inspiring; and rumoured to be the only place on land where you can clearly see the curvature of the Earth! We always look to go off the beaten track on our tours, so both of our treks take lesser known routes to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro. Our Kilimanjaro Climb Rongai Route approaches from the north, through farmlands, forest and alpine moorlands to offer a more gentle gradient. While our Kilimanjaro Climb - Lemosho Route, advances from the west, crossing the caldera of Shira Volcano. Both routes are graded as challenging, however, with plenty of time for acclimatisation, the chances of reaching the summit are very good.

Walking the Great Wall

A trek along the sections of the Great Wall provides contrasting panoramic views as you progress along its path. Our Walking the Great Wall tour takes in the quieter, lesser-explored parts of the Great Wall, trekking alongside the picturesque lake and flower-laden mountains at Huanhuacheng. Standing in wonder at the seven-metre high stretch at Jinshanling, which dates from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and incorporates an impressive sixty-seven watchtowers, we can step back in time on this journey, to absorb this remarkable feat of engineering that was achieved over 2,000 years ago at an original section of the Wall at Gubeikou's Panlongshan. This trek is graded as moderate/challenging and although the altitude is low, there are steep climbs in places.

Mont Blanc

Walking and trekking in the Alps has been enjoyed since Victorian times. They ‘invented’ this pastime as they thought it was beneficial for their health. However, for the most part, the popularity of trekking in the Alps today is down to its stunning alpine landscape. Climb Western Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc, for the most impressive views looking down across the snow-capped peaks. Our Mont Blanc Ascent trip includes crampon and ice axe tuition to ensure the best chance of reaching the summit over this 2-day, extremely challenging trek. The Alps can still be fully enjoyed at a more moderate level of challenge. The Mont Blanc Highlights tour takes in the most scenic sections of the Mont Blanc Circuit.  Expect dramatic mountain scenery, glaciers merging into sparkling rushing waters and verdant alpine forests and meadows.

Machu Picchu

Following the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu delivers those moments of awe, well before this architectural marvel is even in sight. From the snow-capped Nevado Veronica to gazing down towards the spectacular valley of the Pacamayo River at the highest point on the trail on Dead Woman's Pass (4215m), our Inca Trail tour will create unforgettable memories for years to come. This route is relatively accessible, graded as moderate, however, if you’re seeking something more adventurous, taking The Moonstone Trek (graded as moderate/challenging) takes you off the beaten track through seldom‐visited Andean villages, Inca and pre‐Inca ruins and onto a beautiful altiplano plateau surrounded by glaciated peaks. Whichever option chosen, the arrival at Machu Picchu will not disappoint. This intricate labyrinth of stone temples and palaces on brilliant green terraces is cradled between two dramatic peaks and surrounded by the all-consuming beauty of the Andes. Visiting this ancient Inca city, lost for centuries, until rediscovered in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham is utterly captivating.

Mount Everest

A close-up view of five of the six highest mountains in the world delivers an appreciation of just how magnificent our planet really is. As well as Mount Everest, our Mera Peak Climb showcases the beauty of Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu. Summiting Nepal’s highest trekking peak, Mera Peak, at 6461m, should not be underestimated. Although it is a non-technical climb, it is one of our toughest. However, take it on and the vista across these wild mountain peaks and down to the vibrant rhododendron forests is breath-taking.

If the iconic trek to Everest Base Camp is on your bucket list, then embarking on our Everest Base Camp Trek will be your guide to an extraordinary experience. Graded as challenging, but perhaps surprisingly less so than Mera Peak Climb, the trek takes in Sherpa country, its cultivated fields and small villages up to the remarkable hilltop monastery at Thyangboche, before following the trails alongside glaciers until basecamp is finally reached. Seeing the huge towers of ice that make up Khumbu Ice Fall reveals how extreme an expedition to the summit of Everest really is.

With Exodus as your guide to natural highs all across the world, you can experience some of the most stunning panoramic vistas and capture that feeling of freedom away from the modern-day grind. Aside from this it will also undoubtably give you that true feeling of accomplishment while taking in the sheer beauty of our environment.

For more inspiration on what walking and trekking trails you could take on in 2020, click here.

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