The classic treks have plenty of scenery, culture, and wildlife, but they also have hundreds or thousands of yearly visitors you have to share it with. And once the dust settles and the vitamin D-deprived masses hit the trail, those very classics will be the most trafficked. Try one of these lesser-known trails for equal natural beauty—and even better chances of wildlife spotting—in blissful solitude.
Instead of the West Highland Way, Scotland, try Glyndŵr’s Way, Wales
Follow in the footsteps of Owain Glyndŵr, the Welsh prince who led Wales’ unsuccessful final war of independence against England in the early 15th century, on this 135-mile trek through one of the least-inhabited regions of Britain. Tracing the marching path of Glyndŵr’s troops through moors, forests and rolling hills, this route passes the ruins of Cwmhir Abbey before climbing past Llyn Clywedog—an artificial reservoir—to the trail’s high point, 1,530-foot Foel Fadian. From Foel Fadian hikers drop back into the Dyfnant Forest before reaching the migratory bird haven of Lake Vyrnwy, where you can spot peregrine falcons and siskins (see them year-round) beneath mountain slopes and tumbling waterfalls. Finish at 13th-century Powis Castle in Welshpool, then hit up one of the several local pubs for a celebratory post-hike meal of Welsh rarebit.
Contact National Trails: Glynŵr’s Way Length 9 days, 134.8 miles