12 Virtual Walking Trails Around the World That You Can Experience Right Now (Video)
In a matter of weeks, the terms shelter in place, self-isolation, and quarantine have become buzzwords, giving definition to many people’s new reality: staying home. Zoom happy hours have replaced post-work drinks and once-neglected home projects are finally getting finished.
But there are only so many Zoom calls to arrange and tasks around the house to complete. When your home begins to feel more like a cell and less like a refuge, it might be time to make an escape. And while you may not be able to hop in your car and head to the nearest state park, virtual walking routes can provide a mental escape from the norm. Plus, according to Psychology Today, “Studies suggest that viewing even an image of a tree or a forest canopy bolsters the parasympathetic division of the central nervous system that naturally induces calm.”
And in today’s world, an added sense of calm is essential.
These virtual walking routes and trails deliver new landscapes, fresh perspectives, and plenty of calm-inducing flora while transporting you all over the world. You can enjoy the view from your exercise bike or at-home treadmill, or cozy up on your couch and allow yourself to be whisked away to the mountains of Switzerland or the rugged Oregon coastline.
1. Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
If a visit to Banff National Park isn’t on your bucket list, it should be. But why wait for quarantine to lift before witnessing the bright blue waters of Moraine Lake? This glacially fed lake is situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks in Banff National Park. It’s the sort of place you’ll never forget, and you can experience it virtually right now.
2. Indian Beach Trail, Oregon
This virtual hike takes you along the rugged Oregon coast on a perfectly sunny day, showing off stunning ocean views, rocky beaches, and plenty of lush, green forest. The popular trail travels through Ecola State Park, delivering jaw-dropping vistas every step of the way.
3. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
This walking route takes you to another world — one of sandy terrain dotted with looming pyramids. This well-shot walking tour starts at the Mortuary Temple of Khafre, passing by the pyramids of Khafre, Khufu, and Menkaure, before ending at the iconic sphinx.
4. Havasu Falls, Arizona
You must have a reservation to enter the Havasupai tribal lands, where the stunning turquoise-green Havasu Falls can be found. Located in the Grand Canyon, this virtual tour winds between mesas, taking you through stunning red-rock desert as you near the powerful falls.
5. Tunnel of Love, Ukraine
If you’re looking for a hearty dose of green, head to Klevan, Ukraine, home of the lush Tunnel of Love. After spending three hours virtually walking on this abandoned train track that’s surrounded on all sides by bright green foliage and chirping birds, it’s near-impossible to feel anything but relaxed.
6. James Irvine Trail in Redwood National Park, California
It doesn’t get more relaxing than walking amongst the giant redwoods on a calm summer day. Paired with soothing music, this virtual walking route instills an immediate sense of peace the moment the camera starts rolling.
7. Village of Positano, Italy
If you’re up for experiencing a new culture — in addition to enjoying a virtual hike — this tour of Positano, a cliffside village on the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy, is hard to beat. You’ll pass through steep, narrow streets lined with boutiques and cafes as you head down toward the beaches and waters below.
8. Wailea Beach Path, Hawaii
With its year-round tropical climate and never-ending ribbon of beaches, Hawaii is a top destination for many Americans. But thanks to this virtual experience, you don’t have to fly across the ocean to get a feel for the islands. The tour takes you from the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort to the Fairmont Kea Lani and along the Wailea Beach Path.
9. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
For a complete change of scenery, head to the red rocks of Utah, where you can virtually slink through narrow canyons and wind along high-desert paths. The view only gets more stunning when you enter into the trail’s wooded areas. Here, the red rock and dirt pop against the greens and browns.
10. Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park, Washington
The moss-covered trees and neon green foliage seen along this trail are so vibrant that it feels like you’re walking on another planet. This special bit of nature is arguably just as stunning in this 4K-resolution virtual hiking experience as it is in real life.
11. Panorama Trail, Switzerland
This virtual walking trail starts at Männlichen, then takes you on a beautiful and easy downhill walk to Kleine Scheidegg, a mountain pass between the Eiger and Lauberhorn mountain peaks. Along the way, enjoy meeting (albeit virtually) some Swiss cows before descending amidst stunning mountain views.