30 Best Urban Hikes Around the World

Woman hiking on a mountain overlooking a town

Finding a great day hike within easy reach of a major city isn’t always an easy task. However, escaping the hustle and bustle doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive! I’ve asked some expert travellers to share their favourite urban hikes from around the world that are in or are easily accessible from cities by car or public transport. They didn’t disappoint! From urban national parks and active volcanoes to hidden temples and abandoned bobsled tracks, these hiking trails provide an adventure around every corner!

Best Urban Hikes Around the World


Best Urban Hikes In Africa

Cape Town, South Africa – Cape Point Peninsula

Claudia from My Adventures Across the World

Length: 7km – Duration: 3 hours – Difficulty: Moderate

One of the nicest things to do in Cape Town is hiking, and this beautiful South African city offers easy access to a plethora of trails. The best ones – for variety, length – are in Cape Point National Park, located in Cape Point Peninsula and accessed via an easy drive from town.

There are several trails in the park, of various difficulty level. All of them are quite scenic, but the best views are those along the trail that takes from Cape of Good Hope to the New Cape Point Lighthouse. The walk takes no longer than 3 hours (there and back) walking at good pace, with several stops for photos, and it’s around 7 km long in total. The best views along the trail are those of Diaz Beach, a gorgeous cove of white sand and clear waters (though the current and the waves are very strong).

Depending on the season, you may be able to spot whales in the distance. Along the trail, mind the multitude of baboons which can turn out quite aggressive when looking for food. Make sure not to take any with you during the hike, as they can smell it from a distance!

Cliffs along the Cape Point Peninsula day hike

Best Urban Hikes in Asia

Almaty, Kazakhstan – Medeu and Shymbulak

Ellis from Backpack Adventures

Length: 8-14km – Duration: 4-7 hours – Difficulty: Easy to strenuous

Almaty is probably one of the best cities from which to make easy day hikes into the mountains. The snow-capped peaks of the Tien Shan watch over the city and are waiting to be explored. In less than an hour you can be in the middle of alpine landscapes with plenty of hiking opportunities. Bus number 12 leaves from the centre of Almaty to the ice skating ring in Medeu (45 minutes) from where you can take a cable car to Shymbulak. A ski resort in winter and mountain getaway in summer, Medeu and Shymbulak are the starting points of several hiking trails. The most accessible and easiest one is the 8 kilometer and 4 hour hike to the Butakovka waterfall. A more challenging hike is the 14 kilometer and 7 hour hike to Furmanov Peak.

Valley and mountains near Medeu and Shymbulak hiking trails

Busan, South Korea – Seokbulsa Temple

Nick from Spiritual Travels

Length: 3.5 km – Duration: 4.5 hours return (including a cable car ride) – Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Seokbulsa Temple is an off-the-beaten track temple in Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city. This one-of-a-kind temple conceals stunning 10-meter Buddha figures carved into cliffs walls of Geumjeongsan, the tallest mountain in Busan, making it an incredibly rewarding half-day hike from the city center. The trek to Seokbulsa begins with a ride on the Geumgang Park Ropeway, 20 minutes from Oncheonjang subway station on foot. Alighting from the cable car, the trail meanders through the forest before reaching Namun Gate, part of Geumjeong Mountain Fortress, the largest mountain fortress in South Korea. From there, the trails goes downhill along a creek before a final steep uphill ascent to Seokbulsa. The temple itself is small and partially built into the sandstone cliffs, while the mystical carvings and view down over Busan city are nothing short of breathtaking. See here for more information on hiking to Seokbulsa Temple.

Stone carvings of deities in Seokbulsa Temple, Busan

Kathmandu, Nepal – Champa Devi

Michelle from Full Time Explorer

Length: – Duration: 4-5 hours – Difficulty: Moderate

The Champa Devi hike is just a short one-hour drive from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. In order to get there, you can hop on a local bus from Ratna Park bus station and get off at Pahiro bus stop in Dakshinkali. The buses in Kathmandu don’t always yell out the bus stops, so it’s best to tell the driver where you are going when you get on. From here, it’s a short 10-minute walk to the beginning of the hike.

Champa Devi is the name of the small temple at the top of the hill which is 2,285 m (7,496 ft) high. The hike starts around 1,600 m (5,249 ft) and has a steep ascent. Luckily, it’s a well-maintained hiking route with stone steps installed. I recommend reaching the top before 10 am because the chances of seeing the Himalayan mountains is always better in the morning. The view on a clear day is spectacular and you can see most of the Kathmandu Valley.

Kuala Lumpur – Bukit Tabur

Pashmina from The Gone Goat

Length: 14 km – Duration: 3-4 hours – Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous

The brazen humid weather and scorching year-long sunshine does not stop travellers from visiting Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, one of South-East Asia’s non-touristy summer destinations. It is the ease of accessing offbeat places such as Borneo and nearby islands that attracts visitors, but what stands out is the plethora of hiking trails near the city centre itself.

One famous trail is Bukit Tabur in Taman Melawati, Gombak, just 30 minutes away from the city centre. This rare geological site is said to be the largest quartz ridge in the world. The sharp ridge, angled like a backbone, measures 14km in length and is only a few metres wide in places!

There are trails leading to five different peaks of Bukit Tabur: Tabur West, East, Far East, Extreme and Extra with different access points for each. Despite the variety, these are not hikes for the inexperienced. They can be completed in 3 to 4 hours but require some rock climbing and scrambling using ropes and chains tethered to rocks.

Taking public transport can be a hassle so your best option is to use the ‘Grab’ taxi app or you could take the train to Wangsa Maju and get a Grab taxi from the station.

View of lakes and forests from the Bukit Tabur hiking trail near Kuala Lumpur

Seoul – Bukhansan National Park

Alexei from Travel Lexx

Length: 10km Duration: Half Day – Difficulty: Easy

Bukhansan National Park has miles and miles of top hiking trails just a stone’s throw away from central Seoul. Easily reachable by public transport, it  even holds a Guiness World Record for the most visitors to a national park per square foot. Don’t let that put you off though! It’s easy to get off the beaten path and there are trails for all ages and abilities. Explore traditional Buddhist temples, trace ancient fortress walls and climb up the park’s numerous peaks for incredible views of Seoul. Left your hiking gear at home? Don’t worry, there are plenty of stores outside the entrance to the park where you can stock up on essentials!  Bukhansan National Park has some of my favourite hikes in South Korea – you won’t be disappointed!

To get here, take the subway to Gupabal Station, take Exit No. 1 and catch the 704 bus bound for Bukhansanseong Fortress and get off at the Bukhansan Mountain entrance bus stop.

A man standing on a rocky outcrop overlooking a city of Seoul

Singapore – Southern Ridges Trail

Aaron from AaronTeoh.Com

Length: 10km Duration: Half Day – Difficulty: Easy

The Southern Ridges trail in Singapore is the perfect escape for those looking to get in touch with nature right in the city. Starting near HarbourFront, the trail follows a ridgeline in the southwest of Singapore through forests, hills and historical points of interest. There are a couple of scenic spots along the way where breaks in the foliage provide panoramic views of the city, such as on Henderson Waves, the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore, and on the top of Telok Blangah hill. Elevated walkways through parts of the forest brings you closer to canopy and is great for spotting plants and animals found in the nature reserve. The 10km long trail has multiple connections with the transit system, with easy access to HarbourFront, Labrador Park, Pasir Panjang and Kent Ridge MRT stations along the way. Slopes are gentle and the entire way is paved, so completing the trail is relatively easy and can be done in half a day.

The view of Singapore buildings and a verdant forest from the Henderson Waves pedestrian bridge along the Southern Ridges hiking trail

Best Urban Hikes in Europe

Athens, Greece – Parnitha National Park

Helena from Just For One Summer

Length: About 15km – Duration: 6 hours – Difficulty: Moderate

Mount Parnitha National Park, starting at the northern suburbs of Athens, is the best choice for a quick, easy and budget-friendly escape from the Greek capital. Its forested slopes, deep gorges and impressive cliffs offer perfect conditions for all sorts of outdoor adventures like hiking, mountain biking or rock climbing.

Mount Parnitha is usually accessed from Thrakomakedones, reachable either by car or bus number 504. From there, multiple trails ascend the mountain usually ending in one of Parnitha’s mountain huts, Mpafi or Flabouri. The trails are quite well marked but to explore the area to its full potential I recommend bringing a hiking map.

My favourite hike ascents from Thrakomakedones to Mpafi through the beautiful Houni Gorge, traverses the forested slopes of the mountain to Flabouri and drops back to Athens on the other side of the Flabouri ridge.

On its upper parts, it offers amazing views across Athens while the two cozy mountain huts provide tasty home-style meals. What’s more, if you come in winter and are really, really lucky you may even find Mount Parnitha at its most beautiful: covered by a thick blanket of snow!

Snow covered slopes and ridges of Mount Parnitha, a day hike destination near city of Athens

Brighton, England – South Downs Way

Danielle from Live in 10 Countries

Length: Various – Duration: Various  – Difficulty: Easy to moderate

The first thought for many when it comes to towns on England’s Sussex Coast, is of vibrant Brighton’s lesbian and gay bars. But the city isn’t just an indoor urban kind of place – it’s actually perfect for outdoor fans too, thanks to the incredible South Downs National Park.

Along the Sussex coastline runs the South Downs Way, which is over 60 miles of well cared for, beautifully maintained pathway. Of course, there’s no need to take on the whole stretch, with most preferring to break it into short 5 – 10 mile day hikes. And your reward is open green meadows, fresh clean air and great views.

You can join it by bus from Brighton (no car needed) and you won’t want to miss the white cliffs and stunning viewpoint at Beachy Head, near Eastbourne.

Yellow flower fields and rolling hills along the South Downs Way near Brighton, UK

Cagliari, Italy – Sella del Diavolo

Hanna from Solar Powered Blonde

Length: 4 km – Duration: 0.5-2 hours  – Difficulty: Easy to moderate

One of my favourite recent hikes was at Sella Del Diavolo in Sardinia. This hike is easily accessible from Cagliari by bus or by car. There are multiple buses from Cagliari, and depending on which one you take, the journey is between 30 minutes to an hour. The starting point is Calamosca beach, which is also a good ending point after a sweaty hike! The hike took us about 30 minutes to get to the top, it is 4km in length, and really depends on how long you spend at each view point as to how long it takes as a round trip. From the top, the view is over the whole of Cagliari, and the bright blue sea below. It is really breath taking, and as well as the view, there are a few old military pill boxes to explore at the top.

A woman raising her arms and looking out over the city of Cagliari, Sardinia from the cliffs along the Sella del Diavolo hiking trail

Dublin, Ireland – Bray to Greystones

Ann from Eco Conscious Traveller

Length: 7 km – Duration: 1.5 hours– Difficulty: Easy to moderate

The hike from Bray to Greystones is a must if you’re heading to Dublin for a few days or more. Travellers who are only planning to hit Ireland’s capital city generally miss out on the scenery and 30 shades of green that’s common around the rest of the country. However, adding this hike to your itinerary is a great way to get an idea of what the beautiful Irish countryside and coast are really like.

A lot of beautiful spots aren’t that easily accessible by public transport in Ireland and it’s best to have a car but for this hike that isn’t a problem. Trains from Dublin Connolly Station take only 40 minutes to reach Bray. Once there you take the coastal route to Greystones (you can also do the hike in reverse). The hike involves walking along a well-maintained path from which you can look down along the rocky cliff edges and out to the incredible Irish Sea. The hike takes approximately an hour and a half and is easy enough for all ages and levels of fitness.

A train track entering a tunnel above the sea between Bray and Greystones in Ireland

Innsbruck, Austria – Zirbenweg Trail

Linda from Travel Tyrol

Length: Around 7km – Duration: 4-6 hours (including cable car trips and stops) – Difficulty: Easy to moderate

The Zirbenweg Trail is one of the prettiest day hikes close to a major city in the Alps. Innsbruck is the capital of Tyrol in Austria and a great European hiking destination. The Zirbenweg is one of the best day hikes overlooking the city and the Inn Valley.

Anyone can walk the Zirbenweg – all you need is good hiking shoes and a rain jacket in case of bad weather. The trail starts at the mountain station of the Patscherkofel cable car, which is reached in around 20 minutes by Bus J from Innsbruck.

For about 7 km you’ll follow the treeline of Europe’s oldest and largest stone pine population before reaching the Tulfeinalm, your destination. From here, it’s another cable car ride down to the town of Tulfes, from where you take Bus 4134 back to Innsbruck. If you want to, you can also start here and end at Patscherkofel.

A young boy looking into a binoculars on a mountain trail overlooking a valley near Innsbruck, Austria

Krakow, Poland – Beskid Wyspowy

Joanna from Overhere

Length: 10 km – Duration: 3 – 4 hours – Difficulty: Easy

When you visit Krakow and want to get away from big city hustle and bustle, the best place to go to is Beskid Wyspowy. This picturesque mountain range is just 1.5 hour by bus from Krakow city centre.

The best hike is Mogielica – the highest mountain in Beskid Wyspowy. It reaches 1171 metres. There is a wooden 20-metre high lookout tower on the peak from which hikers get to admire the amazing view on the area, and when the weather is favourable, a panorama of Tatra mountains.

There are many trails leading to Mogielica but the best option is to start in Jurkow village on the blue trail. The hike is easy, it is 10-kilometre long and it takes about 3-4 hours to complete.

There are direct buses going to Jurkow village from Krakow main bus station. The best option is to use private forwarders like Szwagropol. Their buses are clearly marked with the destination.

Hills and forests in the region of Beskid Wyspowy in Poland

London, UK – Seven Sisters Cliffs

Roshni from The Wanderlust Within

Length: 22.3 km – Duration: 6-7 hours  – Difficulty: Moderate

One of my favourites hikes from London is the Seven Sisters cliff walk on the South East coast. It’s a wonderful break from the city and easily doable as a day trip. You’ll walk between coastal towns and along lush rolling hills and pebble beaches. The views along the way are of the turquoise waves crashing against the tall white cliffs that are famous in the region, as well as the picture-perfect lighthouse at sea. Travel time is 1.5 hours from Victoria to Seaford (changing at Lewes). Once you have hiked to Eastbourne you can then get the train back to London from there.

A group of hikers walking along a path towards the sea and white Seven Sisters cliffs in the distance near London

Marseille, France – Calanques National Park

Alexei from Travel Lexx

Length: Various – Duration: Various – Difficulty: Easy to strenuous

Calanques National Park, only a few kilometres from Marseille, is a fantastic way to escape the city. A series of natural inlets flanked by high cliffs are the highlight of this beautiful part of the Mediterranean coast. Hiking in the area is popular with locals and there are a number of trails for all abilities. Some of the trails require navigating a via ferrata via a series of metal ropes and steps. One of my favourite trails traces the high limestone cliffs around stunning Calanque de Sugiton, passing small beaches and coves along the way. If you have time, take a short detour to Calanque de Morgiou for some incredible views. If you are tired of walking, another great way to see the area is by hiring a kayak and exploring the hard-to-reach beaches.

Calanque de Sugiton is one of the easiest parts of the park to reach by public transport – take the 21 or 24 bus to Luminy – it’s the last stop! The trailhead is just a few hundred metres away!

Trees growing out of cliffs along one of Marseille's best urban hikes - Calanque de Sugiton

Paris, France – La Vallee de la Chavreuse

Elisa from World in Paris

Length: 18-20 km – Duration: all day – Difficulty: Easy-moderate

La Vallée de la Chevreuse is one of the best day trips from Paris for nature lovers which combines beautiful nature with cultural heritage. La Vallée de la Chevreuse is located in Ile de France Region, only 28 km south west of Paris, and is very easy to reach by train from central Paris.

Our favorite hike in the area is the 18-20 km path which connects the towns of La Verriere and Chevreuse.  The walk takes us all day because we do different stops for lunch and to admire the landscape and its main sights. Along the way, hikers can see forests, the valley itself, a lake, an abandoned medieval abbey, a fortified castle on the top of a hill and a couple of small towns. The hike ends at La Chevreuse, a cute small town which is still home to its picturesque ancient tanneries along one of the legs of Yvette River. After the hike, we like to relax with a cold beer before taking the train back to Paris.

A walking path alongside a canal and trees in the La Vallée de la Chevreuse near Paris, France

Rome, Italy – Lake Martignano

Annalisa from Travel Connect Experience

Length: 10 km – Duration: 2-3 hours  – Difficulty: Moderate

A moderate hike will take you in just a couple of hours from the town of Anguillara Sabazia (north of Rome, Italy), to the picturesque Lake Martignano. Thousands of years ago, Lake Martignano was a volcano, but now it is a clear, unpolluted lake hidden among green valleys just a 30 minutes train ride from Rome. The starting point of the hike is the intersection between “Via Anguillarese” Street and “Via della Mola Vecchia” Street. From there, keep walking for one and a half hours (about 5 km) in the direction of the Lake Martignano, which is now part of the Lake Bracciano Natural Reserve. Once you reach the lake, you might want to swim, sunbathe, and have a picnic: bring plenty of water, food, and sunscreen for the day, because there are no shops in the area. There are nice trees on the beach that provide enough shade during the hot summer days.

How to reach the starting point of the hike from Rome: get on a train to Anguillara Sabazia town (trains depart from Roma Ostiense or Valle Aurelia stations, one way ticket is about € 2,30) and then get on the public transport “Schiaffini” bus. Get off the bus at “Chiesa della Santissima Trinità” church and start walking. This hike can be the perfect occasion to take a relaxing day-trip from Rome into nature and silence.

Sunset above the waters of Lake Martignano near Rome, Italy

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina – Mount Trebevic

Gemma from Two Scots Abroad

Length: 7.2km from city centre – Duration: 2 hrs 10 mins from city centre, 1 hr 35 mins from bottom of mountain – Difficulty: Moderate

A hike up Mount Trebevic in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital city is one of the top things to do in Sarajevo.

It is a rewarding hike for three reasons. Firstly, the incline is bloody tough, especially after lots of burek. You can expect to hike at a 30 degrees incline through neighborhoods, guys washing their cars and kids kicking a football about. This section takes around 1 hour 15 minutes. Use these coordinates to get started:   43°50′28″N 18°26′32″E.  Then, moving away from the paved trek, the remaining scenic section takes about 20 minutes. Secondly, the views at the top are incredible. Sarajevo is built in a valley so the city sits in a bowl surrounded by lush mountains and you are now standing on top of one looking down. As did the soldiers…

The final reason is related to Sarajevo’s history. In the 1990s Sarajevo endured intense fighting and troops used this mountain as a base. Snipers pointed their guns down and into the city, killing thousands of innocent civilians. You also pass a shelled house which is covered in street art. Including a mural of Mr Chat, the world-renowned happy cat. At the top of the mountain is a surprise – an abandoned 1984 winter Olympics bobsled track! You can walk around the track, checking out the graffiti. The hike is a bit of an endurance test for tourists who have overdone it on partying but is well worth it. Don’t want to hike? Just take the city’s cable car!

A colourful mural of a cat on an urban hike to Mount Trebevic near the city of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Best Urban Hikes in North America

Las Vegas, USA – Red Rock Canyon

Sierra from The Daily Impressions

Length: Various – Duration: 1-5 hours  – Difficulty: Various

Sure, Las Vegas is known for the entertainment and party atmosphere but did you know some of the best hikes and scenic views can be found near Las Vegas. The Red Rock Canyon Conservation area is just a few miles west of Las Vegas and the scenic views do not disappoint. There are 26 hikes and trails in the national park and you can find both self-led or guided tours for each. The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation website labels all 26 hikes and trails in order according to their location on the train map and each hike is from 1-1.5 hours (easy) to 2-3 (moderate) to 2-5 hours (Strenuous) . For more information, visit https://www.redrockcanyonlv.org/lasvegas/hikes-trails/

A scenic view of Red Rock Canyon in Nevada

San Francisco, USA – Pacifica Coastal Trail

Tatiana from Family Road Trip Guru

Length: 11.3 km return – Duration: All day  – Difficulty: Easy to moderate

One of the best day hikes near San Francisco is the Coastal Trail in the charming town of Pacifica. The trail consists of several portions – some easy, some moderate. The trail starts from Pacifica Municipal Pier (free street parking available) and goes south along the beach till Mori Point. This portion is called the Promenade (paved, easy) ~0.6 miles. Then Coastal Trail goes up the Mori point for some magnificent views and continues through Mori Bluff trail South and then down the bluff towards Rockaway Beach (unpaved, moderate) ~ 1.2 miles. Then you walk along the Rockaway beach to its southern tip to connect with Rockaway Point trail that goes up the bluff and then down to Pacifica State Beach (paved/unpaved, easy/moderate) ~ 1.7 miles. You can rest at the beach and then return. The time to completion depends on how long you are going to stay at each scenic point. Allocate the whole day. To get to Pacifica from San Francisco, take buses 110 or 112.

Waves of the Pacific Ocean lapping against the cliffs along the Pacifica Coastal Trail hiking path

Vancouver, Canada – Panorama Ridge

Erica from Erika’s Travels

Length: 21 miles/33km – Duration: 10 hours  – Difficulty: Moderate

The hike to Panorama Ridge is a 21 mile round trip haul that affords stunning views of Garibaldi Lake in British Columbia. The Panorama Ridge Trailhead sits an hour and a half north of Vancouver by car. The drive from Vancouver to Rubble Creek railhead follows Highway 99 and affords stunning views over the Howe Sound.

Due to the length of the hike, day-trippers should try to arrive at the trailhead by sunrise. Alternatively, there are various campsites along the path for those who wish to spend multiple days in the area. The path to Panorama Ridge climbs 2,133 meters from base to summit. The trail travels through dense pine-laden forest for its first five miles. Once past Taylor Meadow, it levels out and affords sweeping views of craggy mountain peaks and glistening lakes. At its summit, the views of Garibaldi Lake are spectacular.

A woman standing at the top of Panorama Ridge hiking trail looking out over Garibaldi Lake

Best Urban Hikes in South America

Cali, Colombia – El Cerro de las Tres Cruces

Daniel from Layer Culture

Length: 2.4 mile/3.86 km loop – Duration: 2-3 hours  – Difficulty: Strenuous

If in Colombia and looking for a day hike that’ll keep you fit and entertained, check out El Cerro de las Tres Cruces in Cali. Rated by many locals, this hike is famously steep and offers a great challenge. The mountain has two access points located on most tourist maps and it is best to start the hike as early as possible.

Not only will you feel a sense of achievement once you reach the top and see the 3 crosses, but there are various viewpoints on the way that give you a spectacular view of Cali. If you’re worried about safety, it is recommended that you avoid starting this hike in the evening. You’ll also need to ensure that you’ve got some decent hiking shoes to give you a good grip on the way up. You’ll even encounter vendors during the hike so you can grab a fresh juice to get a natural energy boost.

A view of crosses atop a hill on the El Cerro de las Tres Cruces day hike near the city of Cali in Colombia

Medellin, Colombia – Metrocable Loop, Parque Arvi

Art from The Broke Backpacker

Length: 6.4 km – Duration: 1,5 km  – Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Parque Arví is located just over the hill from Medellín, but you won’t be walking there or taking the bus. The park is connected to the city Metro by a 30 minute Metrocable ride, which you can grab from the Acevedo station of the city Metro.

All the hikes in Arví are light and meant for casual day trippers and picnickers, but they range from educational trails to well-trodden picnic spots to undisturbed forest. Pick up a map and talk to a guide at the Metrocable. We recommend visiting around 10 in the morning and taking a loop trail that starts just up the road from the Metrocable with the La Flora trail. Switch to El Arroyuelo after about 1.3km and follow that back around to the Scout School, with a beautiful stream and picnic area nearby.

A view of Quito from the cable car heading up the mountain to local hiking trails

Quito, Ecuador – Rucu Pichincha (Pichincha Volcano)

John from Roaming Around The World

Length: 10 km round trip – Duration: 5 hours  – Difficulty: Moderate-strenuous due to high elevation

Quito’s trek up the Pichincha Volcano is definitely one of the best day hikes to take from a major city. This active volcano looms right over Quito, as Ecuador’s capital city even wraps around the volcano’s eastern slopes. The trailhead is easily reached by taking an 18-minute ride on a cable car directly from the sprawling metropolis. The 10-kilometer (6-mile) roundtrip hike then ascends rocky terrain to summit the lower of the volcano’s two peaks.

This high-altitude hike begins on a well-defined trail that steadily increases in gradient until transitioning into a tough rock scramble towards the summit. The views from atop the 4,696-meter (15,407-foot) peak are both literally and figuratively breathtaking. Another interesting aspect about this hike is that it’s one of the few places in the world near the equator that receives snow. The equator line is only 11 miles away. Yet given Pichincha’s high altitude, it’s not unusual to encounter snow towards the top. This intermediate trek takes approximately five hours to complete and should only be pursued by those who are acclimated to the high elevation. It’s all pretty incredible to experience such a rugged trekking adventure right from this big capital city!

A collage of photos showing Pichincha Volcano, a couple posing with a sign and a hiking trail on the mountain

Best Urban Hikes in Australia and New Zealand

Hobart, Australia – Mount Wellington

Christina from Travel 2 Next

Length: 9.4 km return – Duration: 4-6 hours   – Difficulty: Moderate

Getting There: 

Tasmania’s beautiful capital, Hobart, has a beautiful harbour with picturesque historic precincts.  A popular activity for outdoor enthusiasts visiting Hobart is to visit its highest peak, Mount Wellington, which is 1271 m (4166ft). Although you can get to Mount Wellington’s scenic viewpoints by road and take short hikes from the top, spending the day hiking up the mountain is much more challenging and rewarding. The Wellington Falls Track starts from Fern Tree Park and takes you all the way to the top and offers fantastic views across the valley to Cathedral Rock and Montague Thumbs.

How to get there: Take the bus from Hobart’s Franklin Square to Fern Tree or if you’re feeling super energetic, there’s a historic trail called the Pipeline Track that starts from Waterworks Reserve and passes through several reserves to reach Wellington Park.

The Wellington Falls Track is 4.7 km one way from Fern Tree Park to the summit. The Pipeline Track combined with Wellington Falls Lookout Track is about 6 hours return.

Big vertical rocks at the summit of Mount Wellington overlooking the city of Hobart, Tasmania - one of Australia's best urban hikes

Melbourne, Australia – Pinnacle Walk, Grampians National Park

Danny from What’s Danny Doing?

Length: 2.1 to 9.6 km (depending on starting point) – Duration: 2-5 hours (depending on starting point)   – Difficulty: Easy to moderate

The Grampians National Park is an absolute haven for all hikers. Now, at 3 hours north-west of Melbourne you might think it’s too far to travel for a hike. But this is Australia! By Aussies standards that’s literally nothing. It’s definitely worth taking a daytrip out of town to go hiking here.

The Grampians are an incredible range of peaks, tracks and native Aussie forest, filled to the brim with awesome views, spectacular wildlife, and fun for the whole family.

One of the best hikes has to be the Pinnacle Walk, up to the famous lookout at the top. It’s a stunning track, taking you through awesome bushland, with immense views over the surrounding area. It’s a popular place though, so expect to share the trail with lots of other people!

There are different ways to do this hike to suit your fitness and interest. The hardest route begins at Halls Gap Caravan Park. This makes it a 9.6km walk with some steep ascents. The easiest, and most suitable for families, begins at Sundial Car Park. This is only a 2.1km walk. Whichever you do you’ll need the right gear, such as good footwear and enough water to stay hydrated.

The easiest way to get to the Grampians is obviously by car. However, for public transport, you can also take a coach (V/Line coach takes you direct from Southern Cross Station) to Halls Gap, or a combination of train and bus. Check train times here.

Rocks along the Pinnacle Walk in Grampians National Park

Sydney, Australia – Manly to Spit Bridge hike

Dave from Jones Around The World

Length: 5.7 km – Duration: 4-5 hours (depending on starting point)   – Difficulty: Moderate

Sydney is arguably one of the best urban cities in the world for outdoorsy & active people, because there really is an abundant amount of activities/hikes in a beautiful setting!  One of the most popular (and my personal favourite) is the hike between the scenic Manly beach to Spit Bridge.  While it’s no easy feat (as it does take 4-5 hours), the hike isn’t actually that strenuous, and will provide some truly epic views of Sydney Harbour in all its glory!!  My recommendation would be to take the ferry from Circular Quay over to Manly, and then simply follow the signs for the Spit Bridge walk!  It’s one of my favourite things to recommend on my Sydney Itinerary, and can guarantee anyone who does it will love the experience!

Boats moored in a bay with crystal clear water along the hike from Manly beach to Spit Bridge in Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia – Valley of the Waters

Margarita from The Wildlife Diaries

Length: 5.6 km – Duration: 4-5 hours   – Difficulty: Strenuous

Just an hour-and-a-half drive from the centre of Sydney, Blue Mountains National Park is a spectacular wilderness escape. There are plenty of walking trails in the park, but none are quite as strikingly picturesque as the Valley of the Waters hike.

This epic hike starts with the panoramic views of the Jamison Valley, then takes you from the top of the three-tiered Wentworth Falls, down the steep stairs carved into the face of the cliff to the lush valley 185 meters below.

It is a challenging hike, graded as ‘Hard’ by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services, mainly due to the steep descent down the cliff. It takes 4-5 hours to complete, although you might like to allow more time for the multiple photo stops. The valley is a nature photographer’s dream, with at least 5 different waterfalls and multiples cascades along the Jamison creek.

A waterfall cascading down rocks in the Valley of the Waters in Blue Mountains National Park

Wanaka, New Zealand – Roys Peak

Yen from Swing Abroad

Length: 16 km – Duration: 2-3 hours one way   – Difficulty: Moderate

A trip to Wanaka, New Zealand is never complete without standing on the top of Roys Peak, the most famous hike in the city. It’s arguably one of the best day hikes in New Zealand, which brings you all the way to 1578m altitude, with a stunning 360-degree panoramic view over the surrounding snow mountains and lakes.

From the entrance at the car park at the bottom of the hill, it will take around 2-3 hours to hike all the way to the top of Roys Peak. The trail brings you through several farmlands, so expect a lot of sheep poo along the track!

Hiking along this trail during the winter can also grant you several views. At first, you’ll be hiking on the grassland, where everything seems tropical. And eventually, you’ll be taken all the way to the one-meter-thick snow at the peak.

For the difficulty level, I would rate it two out of five. Even though it’s very physically demanding, due to the non-stop slope hiking, it doesn’t require any technical skills like climbing etc. All you need is a strong willpower and enough water to drink.

To get to the parking lot, you can either drive there or even walk there from your hostel. It’s really not that far from the city centre. The weather will make your walk much more pleasant!

Visiting New Zealand soon? Check out these 27 amazing things to do in New Zealand South Island here!

A small hut at the snow-covered summit of Roys Peak - a popular day hike near the city of Wanaka in New Zealand

Wellington, New Zealand – Paekakariki Escarpment Track

Jub from Tiki Touring Kiwi

Length: 10 km one way – Duration: 2.5-4 hours (depending on starting point)   – Difficulty: Moderate

Wellington has a number of awesome day hikes (it is New Zealand after all!), but one you should put on top of your list is the Paekakariki Escarpment Track. For those who are hiking one way, the 43-minute journey by train from Wellington Train Station to Pukerua Bay Station (Kapiti Line) makes this a super easy hike to access. The trail starts next to the train station as you begin the 10km walk above the Centennial Highway. Nicknamed the Stairway to Heaven, there are a few hundred stairs to navigate in the middle of the walk, but with sweeping views of the Tasman Sea out to Kapiti Island, you won’t be complaining.

A view of the sea and green-covered slopes along the Paekakariki Escarpment Track hiking trail

Have you tried any of these urban hikes? Do you have any others you’ve done? Share them!


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