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Hiking is perfect recreation for the eco-conscious: it’s an inexpensive activity with a relatively low environmental impact and provides exercise and enjoyment. Research even shows that spending time in nature improves mental health.

See the seven best hikes from around the world:

  • CNN says it's the best time to hike the trails of the Grand Canyon now that the crowds and the heat have both dissipated. If you're up for it, do the 44-mile rim-to-rim trail, which takes about 4-6 days to complete. Photo credit: Shutterstock

  • The Inca Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the world and with good reason. You'll pass through ruins, jungle and beautiful mountain scenery before ending at Machu Picchu. Photo credit: Shutterstock

  • At 19,340 feet above sea level, Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest peak. Its glaciers are shrinking due to global warming, so you should take them in before it's too late. Photo credit: Shutterstock

  • Plitvice Lakes are part of a national park in Croatia and are so stunningly beautiful they've been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is home to 16 emerald green and opal blue travertine lakes, more than 90 waterfalls and numerous caves. Photo credit: Shutterstock

  • Koh Phi Phi is an archipelago of six islands in Thailand that are breathtakingly beautiful. Unfortunately, the hordes of tourists that travel there every year have taken a toll on the islands' beaches and reefs. So, tread lightly as you explore this amazing place. Photo credit: Shutterstock

  • Volcanic peaks, glaciers and beautiful lakes. Need I say more? Patagonia is the stuff of legends among well-traveled hikers. I would recommend adding it to your bucket list. Photo credit: Shutterstock

  • "At 1,864 miles, Te Araroa is the Kiwi answer to the Appalachian Trail with bigger views and dramatic strolls amid huge dunes, lush subtropical rainforests, snow-crowned peaks and alpine lakes. Not to mention scores of native and endemic birds, like the kiwi, kea and the schizophrenic tui, that abound in all corners. From glacial river valleys to rolling grasslands, you’ll tread through every kind of ecosystem in New Zealand," says Outside Magazine. Photo credit: Te Araroa

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