10 of the best long-distance trails for hikers around the world

Story highlights

At 4,500 kilometers, Nepal's Great Himalayan Trail is the longest and highest mountain trail in the world

The Grand Italian Trail takes considerable planning and roughly eight months to complete

Only 150 people attempt to thru-hike the Continental Divide Trail each year

CNN  — 

Long distance trails inspire contradictory tales of solitude and camaraderie, deserted river beds and mountain plateaus, pleasure and pain.

The idea of covering thousands of miles on foot is itself barely believable. Perhaps that’s what makes these adventures so memorable.

Cheryl Strayed’s memoir of her 1,000-mile trek along the U.S. Pacific Crest Trail was so enthralling it made it to Hollywood.

“Wild,” a film based on her account and starring Reese Witherspoon, was one of the most talked about releases at the end of 2014, with Witherspoon even nominated for a best actress award at the 2015 Golden Globes.

If you’d like a piece of that action, or simply crave dehydrated food, days without washing and multiple, life-threatening encounters, then here are 10 other epic hikes ripe for big screen treatment.

Who would play you?

1. The Appalachian (United States)

Distance: 3,510 kilometers (2,180 miles)

The Appalachian is the grand dame of long-distance trails.

One third of North America’s holy hiking trinity, the Triple Crown – the others being the Pacific Crest and Continental Divide trails – it’s the most iconic, famed for its “thru hikers” who attempt to complete it in a single season.

Its 5 million steps follow the Appalachian Mountains from Mount Springer, Georgia, to Mount Katahdin, Maine.

The range was once a natural border to the 13 colonies held by powerful Native American tribes like the Iroquois and Cherokee, before independence gave rise to westward expansion.

Among the highlights: the idyllic, overgrown tracks through Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina, North America’s most diverse forest.

More information at: Appalachiantrail.org