Billings, MT – Avid walkers can explore some of the world’s iconic regions with Austin Adventures that for 2014 has introduced a Hiking Adventures dossier of 13 trips to be enjoyed on foot in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Australia.
“We’ve always had a day or two of hiking included in our week-long multisport trips but felt it was time to launch a dedicated trip series focused purely on hiking a selection of the world’s most breathtaking trails and paths,” says Dan Austin, Austin Adventures founder and president. “For us the ultimate hiking trip includes an element of surprise – an off-the-beaten-path picnic spot, a hidden waterfall, a chat with a village farmer. It also includes a variety of trails to choose from, breathtaking views and of course, the opportunity to pause – to take it all in!”
Among the new programs are mountain hiking adventures in the Canadian Rockies, Patagonia and Bavaria.
Alberta – Hiking the Canadian Rockies is a trekker’s dream beginning and ending in Calgary. A short shuttle takes guests to Kootenay National Park where home for three nights is Baker Creek Chalet while trekking Stanley and Athabasca glaciers (crampons included) in Jasper National Park. Here Summit Mountain and Sentinel Pass may yield sightings of wolves, elk and big horn sheep. Two nights follow at Banff Royal Canadian Lodge in Banff National Park that offers a hike at 7,500 feet while straddling the Continental Divide. Six day/five night packages are $2,898 per person, double ($780 single) with 2014 departures July 6 and Aug. 24.
Chile – Hiking Patagonia is a flexible itinerary that can span from five to nine days starting at $3,000 per person double ($1,000 single). Guests transfer from the airport in Punta Arenas to Hotel Salto Chico, the region’s only lodge with a privileged location in the center of Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. The lodge on the banks of Salto Chico waterfall affords an excellent view of the Paine Massif and two of the three impressive torres, or towers, which give the park its name. Guests can plan their own outings choosing from 20 different treks along glaciers, lakes and mountainous formations of magma and granite. Another option here is to become a guest gaucho, enjoying some of 14 different rides on horseback. One outing includes sailing along the face of an electric-blue glacier. Dining here introduces guests to the southern king crab and Magellanic lamb with Chilean wines. Departure dates are available upon request.
Germany – Hiking the Bavarian Alps is a seven-day, six-night program from $3,298 per person double ($780 single) that begins and ends in Munich. Departures are May 11, June 8 and Aug. 17. The journey begins in Grainau along Lake Eibsee where a cable car to the top of the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain at 8,724 feet, reveals panoramas of the High Alps of Tyrol. Two nights at Hotel Waxenstein access the twin Alpine villages of Garmisch/Parenkirchen for a woodland walk to the top of Eckbauer peak. After a transfer to Oberammergau guests enter the world of “Mad” King Ludwig II and Linderhof Castle, followed by Fussen, a magical town of old burgher houses and a stroll through shady forests to Lake Alpsee and Ludwig’s childhood home at Hoenschwangau Castle. Two nights are spent at Hotel Hirsch. Oberstdorf and Lake Freibergsee offer a cable car and chairlift to Nebelhorn peak for splendid views to the Appenzell Alps and as far as the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland. From Parkhotel Frank an exhilarating cable car ride places guests in Austria for a descent on footpaths through the Kleinwalsertal Valley and the Breitachklamm Gorge.
Other walking itineraries include