hiking

Hiking the Path of the Gods

One major item we had on our Italy wedding and honeymoon bucket list was to hike the famed Path of the Gods trail. Also known as Il Sentiero degli Dei in Italian, this hiking trail promises stunning scenery with magnificent views of the Amalfi Coast. With views like this, it's easy to see why the Path of the Gods is considered one of the best hikes in Italy. At 7.8 kilometers long, it's not terribly long or difficult, so it's a must-do when visiting the Amalfi Coast. Here's a quick guide on where to find the Path of the Gods and how to access it, along with hiking tips in Italy.

What is the Path of the Gods?

  • Starts in the towns of either Agerola or Praiano
  • Ends in the town of Nocelle (just above Positano)
  • Length: About 7.8 kilometers; it will take about 2-3 hours depending on your pace. We were told it would take 3 hours long, but we easily completed the route in just under 2 hours.
  • Difficulty: Moderate; experienced hikers will find this trail a breeze. Beginning or inexperienced hikers shouldn't have a hard time. Not recommended if you suffer from vertigo or a fear of heights. Also, note that there are long flights of steep stairs at the end of this trail.
Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy
Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy

How to get to the trailhead

The typical route for the Path of the Gods begins in the town of Agerola. This is one of the only places along the trail where you can stock up on bottled water and food and use the restroom. From here on out, you'll have to wait until the hike's terminating point in Nocelle to find facilities.

You can reach Agerola by public bus or private taxi transfer. From Positano, take the bus to Amalfi, and then transfer to a bus to Agerola (this will take about 2 hours). A taxi ride is much faster but will cost a hefty amount. Given the popularity of this hike, it's often best to try and find other interested hikers staying in your hotel and share the cost of taking a private van to the trailhead.

Alternate starting point

There's also a way to start the Path of the Gods from the town of Praiano, but be warned. This route will start off with a long, steep set of stairs that will force you to climb 580 meters above sea level. If you choose to start in Praiano, climb the stairs until you reach the Colle Serra Pass, where the Path of the Gods begins (or terminates if you're coming from the opposite direction).

Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy
Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy

Hiking the Path of the Gods

Once you start your hike, follow the route's markers, which are red and white signs with the numbers 02 on them. The path is pretty straightforward without any big detours or forks. So it's relatively easy to stay on the right path as long as you keep your eyes open for the markers. Along the way, note the drastically changing scenery. From Agerola, the hike starts out with very rural, mountainous hills. You might find grazing sheep and goats along the way. Towards the end of the hike, the scenery shifts to a decidedly more Mediterranean seascape as you get closer to the beach view.

Speaking of the view, that iconic Positano view can be seen fairly early on in the hike once you start the ascent uphill. Once you spot the view, you'll have many more opportunities to snap photos of the view from different vantage points as the trail gets you closer and closer to Positano. In the sense of iconic photos, there's really only one main shot that you're looking for on this trail, and you'll see it sooner rather than later.

Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy
Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy

Ending the Path of the Gods

The path terminates in the town of Nocelle, in the upper part of Positano. From here, you'll have ample opportunities to buy food and refreshments to refuel and use the restroom. On your way out, you have several choices. You can walk the remaining 1,500 steps downhill to reach the center of Positano. Or you can walk just part of the staircase to a bus stop where you can bus to the towns of Positano or Amalfi.

Hiking Tips

This is a fairly easy hike, but you'll definitely want to come prepared. Proper hiking or walking shoes are recommended, as much of this path is unpaved. Since there are some steep staircases and tall rocks that you'll have to clamber over, hiking poles are helpful for those who need extra stability. These ultra-portable folding hiking poles are our favorites! Parts of this hike are also very hot and sunny with no places to rest in the shade. Be sure to wear ample sunscreen and a hiking hat. Also, pack plenty of water and snacks as there are no places to stop and refuel along the way.

Have you hiked the Path of the Gods or any other iconic hiking trails in Italy? Share your stories, tips, and photos in the comments below! 

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Path of the gods
Path of the gods
Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy
Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy
Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy
Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy

Underrated Hikes of Oahu - Go Off the Beaten Path

If you're traveling to Oahu with the goal of hiking in mind, you might end up disappointed. Many of the island's popular hiking trails are so crowded with tourists that they can be hard to enjoy. If you're seeking solitude and opportunities to really bond with Hawaii's unique nature, we recommend traveling off the beaten path. Explore some these underrated, lesser-known hiking trails that are more likely to be populated with locals, if anyone at all.

Popular Oahu Hikes

First, let's address some of those popular hiking trails that you might want to avoid if you want to dodge crowds:

Kaena Point Beach and Hike on Oahu, Hawaii
Kaena Point Beach and Hike on Oahu, Hawaii

Lesser Known Oahu Hiking Trails

Kaena Point Trail

Located along the westernmost point of Oahu, this trail will take you to the Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve. This reserve is home to native plants and seabirds, namely albatross that come here to mate and hatch chicks. Hawaiian monk seals can also be seen here. It's a long-ish hike of about 5 miles roundtrip, but the terrain is very flat and relatively easy to walk on. Those seeking a hardcore hiking experience won't find this one a challenge in terms of terrain. There is no shade or protection from the sun, so sunscreen, hats, and plenty of water should be packed. The path winds along the coast offering beautiful ocean views, but high surf and winds can be treacherous, so mind any weather warnings. Pets are not allowed on this trail to ensure the safety of the seabirds at the nature reserve.

It's also important to note that Kaena Point Trail has two different starting points: the Waianae route and the Mokuleia route. The Waianae route can be accessed from Honolulu by taking the H1 freeway west until it turns into Farrington Highway (Route 93). Keep following the road until it terminates; park here and start your hike. From Mokuleia, drive on H-2 to Kaukonahua Road (Route 903) to Farrington Highway (Route 930). Following the road past Waialua and Camp Erdman; the trailhead begins where the paved road ends.

Makiki Valley Loop Trail

This hiking trail is probably lesser known because it doesn't offer any stunning views or particularly Instagram-worthy material. What it does offer is a chance to get your cardio on and also experience Hawaii nature in the raw. The Makiki Valley Loop starts at the Hawaii Nature Center, which also offers nature excursions and activities. But this loop can be done as a self-guided hike. The loop is comprised of three trails: Makiki Valley Trail, Kanealole Trail, and Maunalaha Trail. All in all, it's a 2.5-mile round trip that is fairly easy to navigate if you pay attention to trail markers. Pets are welcome on this trail.

Start at the Hawaii Nature Center and step onto the clearly marked Makiki Valley Loop Trail. From here, you have a choice. Hiking counterclockwise on the Maunalaha Trail gives you the challenge up front. This steep ascent is littered with lots of tree roots and rocks. It sounds challenging, but even inexperienced hikers can handle the terrain with some extra care and attention. Once you reach the top, there are benches that let you take a breather. From here, head down Kanealole Trail, which is significantly easier with nice sounds of chirping birds and a gently flowing stream.

Aiea Loop Trail

If you're looking for a simple, easy Oahu hike, Aiea Loop Trail is worth exploring. This 4.8-mile hike takes you along the west side of Halawa Valley, offering views of Diamond Head, Pearl Harbor, and the picturesque Ko'olau Mountains. It's also mostly shaded so you can stay relatively cool. Since the path is a loop, directions are easy once you get started, and you get unique views from every stop. This hike starts at the Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area, a 384-acre park with lots of parking and restrooms for a pit stop.

Kalauao Trail

Want to toughen up the Aiea Loop Trail? Look for an S-shaped curve at the trail junction and head down the Kalauao Trail. It's a 4-mile, mostly downhill trail that leads to many swimming holes and a waterfall. Just prepare for the strenuous uphill hike back.

Lanikai Pillbox Oahu Hiking Trail
Lanikai Pillbox Oahu Hiking Trail

West Oahu Pillbox Hike (Pu'u O Hulu Kai)

You've probably heard of the popular Lanikai Pillbox hike on Oahu's windward side. If you want a similar, less crowded hike, head to the west side of Oahu and seek out the Pink Pillbox Hike (Pu'u O Hulu Kai). This short 2-mile hike takes you up a ridge between the Nanakuli and Maili suburbs. The trail starts at Kaukama Road after the 9th light pole on the ride side of the road. There are a couple of different route options that lead to the top.

The shortest route is also the most challenging as it is a steep ascent. Only attempt this if you're an experienced hiker up for a challenge. The other route is an easier but longer zigzag path. When you get to the top, be sure to mind the rocky edges.

Wondering what the Lanikai Pillbox hike is like? Check out this first-person hyperlapse video below that takes you through the trail!

Hiking Safety Tips

All of these hikes mentioned above are free without cost or the need for a permit or license. Many also do not have an official opening or closing times, but it's always best to finish your hike before sunset. In many cases, drastic weather such as heavy rains or high surf can affect the hiking trail terrain. Be sure to check local websites for any official closures or warning signs.

More Oahu Hiking Guides

- Best Oahu Hikes: http://bit.ly/best-oahu-hikes

- Underrated Oahu Hikes: http://bit.ly/underrated-oahu-hikes

- Lanikai Pillbox Hike: http://bit.ly/lanikai-pillboxes

- Koko Crater Trail Hike: http://bit.ly/koko-crater-trail

Lesser-Known Oahu Hiking Trails Map

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underrated hawaii hiking
underrated hawaii hiking

Easy Hike in Deer Valley, Utah

Easy Hike in Deer Valley, Utah

When you think of Park City, Utah, you probably think snow and winter. That's a fair connection considering the 2002 Winter Olympics were hosted here. But there's so much more to Park City than its superb snow sports conditions.  Here are some easy hiking trail ideas for your next trip to Utah!

Things to Do in Hong Kong

Hong-Kong-Attractions.jpg

Despite the relative expensiveness of Hong Kong, there are plenty of cheap or free things to do in Hong Kong. In fact, taking a long walk around the city with no particular destination in mind often led to beautiful parks and gardens, and even a free zoo and aviary. Many of the city's sightseeing attractions are free, and getting to them via a taxi or the metro is very affordable.

Getting Around Hong Kong

Between the MRT metro and incredibly cheap local taxis, Hong Kong is can be traversed very easily and affordably. There are also many walkways and paths throughout the city, so it is easy to traverse by foot. Perhaps the biggest initial challenge is getting from the Hong Kong International Airport to the city center (Central) since they are located about 25 miles apart.

The quickest cheapest way to get into Hong Kong from the airport is to take the Airport Express train. It leaves directly from inside the airport and connects to Hong Kong's larger metro station layout. It's about $100  Hong Kong dollars ($12 USD) for a one-way ticket, and trains run every 10 minutes. Another option is to catch a taxi from the airport to your final destination, which can cost $200-300 Hong Kong dollars ($25-39 USD).

9 Things to Do in Hong Kong

  1. Ride the world's longest elevator
  2. Party on a Friday night at Lan Kwai Fong
  3. Eat your heart out in SoHo
  4. Take a ride on the Hong Kong Observation Wheel
  5. Photograph Hong Kong's skyline at Victoria park
  6. See the birds at Edward Youde Aviary
  7. Take a day trip to Kowloon
  8. Escape to the beach at Repulse Bay
  9. Go for a hike

Things to do in Hong Kong

1) Ride the world's longest outdoor escalator

Spanning 2,600 feet at an elevation of 443 feet from top to bottom, the Central-Mid-Levels escalator in Hong Kong is the world's longest outdoor covered escalator. It was constructed in 1993 with the intent of helping commuters get around the city. Today it is also a tourist attraction and a practical solution for traversing some of the incredibly steep hills.

Mid-Levels Escalator in Hong Kong.

2) Party on a Friday night at Lan Kwai Fong

Hong Kong's loud party zone is Lan Kwai Fong. Located in the heart of the Central Business District, Lan Kwai Fong's roads are blocked off and locals and tourists alike emerge to party the night away. The busiest nights by far are Friday and Saturday. Featuring cobble-stoned streets, the area is full of trendy restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, surrounded by the city's nearby skyscrapers. While bars will charge quite a bit for cocktails and booze, it's perfectly acceptable to get cheap drinks at 7-Eleven and drink in the streets. In fact, that's probably one of the cheapest and easiest ways to socialize and really experience the full party scene at Lan Kwai Fong.

Lan Kwai Fong Hong Kong

3) Eat your heart out in Soho

Located next to Lan Kwai Fong, Soho is the main entertainment district of Hong Kong, featuring an array of hip and diverse eateries and bars, all contained within colonial architecture. It's also the hipster area of town, full of Western food and drink options including craft beer from Oregon! Curious about other foodie hotspots in town? Check out the Hong Kong Food Guide for ideas and recommendations.

hong kong restaurants

4) Take a ride on the Hong Kong Observation Wheel

A very distinct marker on the harborfront is the flashy ferris wheel. Fun to take photos of and a ride as well if you're willing to shell out for the ticket.

Hong Kong things to do5) Photograph Hong Kong's skyline at Victoria Peak

Hike up by foot for free, or pay to get up quicker via tram. Go up for sunset and stick around until around 7:00 pm to see the city come alive with the nightly light show. Word of caution: if the weather is overly foggy, hold off and visit on a clear day. The whole point of Victoria Peak is to enjoy the expansive city view, so a foggy day will be a waste.

Victoria Peak Hong Kong skyline

6) See the birds at Edward Youde Aviary

Nestled in the south corner of Hong Kong Park, is a large 32,000 square foot walk-through aviary. Free to the public, the aviary houses 600 birds that are indigenous to Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and New Guinea. Named after one of the city's late governors, Edward Youde Aviary is considered the largest aviary in Southeast Asia.

Edward Youde bird aviary7) Take a day trip to Kowloon

Located on the peninsula north of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon is one of the most densely populated places in the world. However, compared to Soho and the rest of "downtown" Hong Kong, Kowloon feels less chaotic and much more livable. Two key areas of Kowloon include the budget hotel district of Tsim Sha Tsui and the shopping markets of Mong Kok.

hong kong food guide

8) Escape to the beach at Repulse Bay

Hop aboard a public bus or take a taxi about 30 minutes south of downtown Hong Kong and you'll find yourself in a cluster of urban beaches. This urban retreat features modern shopping malls and dining facilities. There are also outdoor recreation areas including a designated swim areas and even an outdoor golf course.

Repulse Bay

9) Go for a hike

While Hong Kong is indeed a crazy concrete jungle, it also has its fair share of nature hikes. One of the most scenic and relatively easy hikes begins at Parkview and ends at Wilson Trail Stage One. It's an incredibly scenic hike with stunning views of Hong Kong and Repulse Bay. Unfortunately, the weather was foggy on the day of our hike, so we did not get a clear view. To get to Parkview, take bus 6 or 61 from Exchange Square Terminus in Central to Wong Nai Chung Gap. Or you can simply take a taxi directly to Parkview.

Hong Kong hikingOver To You

Share your favorite things to do in Hong Kong in the comments below!

Overnight Hiking Trip to Eightmile Lake

One of the most beautiful and quite accessible hikes in Washington State is Eightmile Lake in the Central Cascades of Leavenworth. This was our destination for our annual 4th of July road trip, in homage to our very first trip in 2012 to Glacier National Park.

Why the Central Cascades Are Amazing

When most people travel to Seattle for the first time, they spend a day or two in the city before quickly moving on. Very few travelers venture east of Seattle to experience the impressive nature of Washington State. The Central Cascades, in particular, are a hiker and outdoor enthusiast's paradise. There are tons of hiking trails to suit all fitness levels. A popular part of the region is the Enchantments, an impressive yet rugged alpine paradise for hikers and backpackers. While getting into the core Enchantments can be difficult due to the necessary permit and skills, an easy way to access part of the area is through Eightmile Lake.

A major part of this region is the fairytale town of Leavenworth, which is modeled after a Bavarian village. Drive about 15-minutes south of Leavenworth, and you'll arrive at the trailhead of the Eightmile Lake hike, where we begin our adventure.

Eightmile Lake Hiking Camping-3

Eightmile Campground

It's important to note that this blog on Eightmile Lake is not about Eightmile Campground. The campground is a separate large site equipped with picnic tables, campfire rings, running water and facilities for up to 70 people and 25 vehicles. More information on Eightmile Campground.

Eightmile Lake Hiking Details

Length: 6.6 miles roundtrip (3.3 miles one-way)

Elevation: 1,300 feet

Highest point: 4650 feet

Difficulty level: Moderate

Entry pass or fee? Yes; Northwest Forest Pass needed. Overnight camping at the lake is by permit only from June 15-October 15th. Get more information about the permit lottery.

Eightmile Lake Hiking Camping-3

3 Day Backpacking Itinerary

Day 1

Drive from Seattle to Leavenworth. Stop in the village for a famous housemade sausage at Visconti's. Drive to Eightmile Lake trailhead and hike 3.3 miles to the campsite and set up tents for the night.

Day 2

Wake up at our campsite and do a day hike to nearby Lake Caroline. More on this below in the Activities section. Hike back to Eightmile Lake campsite and spend the night.

Day 3

Pack up camping gear and hike back to the Eightmile Lake trailhead. Drive back to Leavenworth for lunch, and then drive back home to Seattle.

Activities

Driving from Seattle to Leavenworth

Since the initial drive to Leavenworth from Seattle takes about 2.5 hours one-way, that is definitely a big part of our adventure. That might seem like a long time to spend in a car, but the drive through impressive mountains is so scenic that you probably won't mind. Also, keep in mind that while there are other ways to reach Leavenworth that don't involve a car, you will need a vehicle to reach most hiking trailheads.

Eightmile Lake Hiking Camping-3

Hiking to Eightmile Lake

One of the best parts of the Eightmile Lake hike is that you don't have to camp or spend the night. The 6.6-mile trail can easily be done as a day hike if you would rather spend the night in a hotel or bed and breakfast in Leavenworth. In fact, this may be your only option if you didn't win the permit lottery.

The hike itself is considered moderate. While you gain 1,300 feet of elevation, this happens over the course of 3.3 miles. There's a steep hill at the very beginning, but it levels out considerably after that first climb. Thanks to the Washington Trails Association, the hiking path is generally very well maintained and it's difficult to get lost. There is a split in the trail within the first mile, so stick to the left on your way in. When you reach the beginning of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, you'll know it since there is a big wooden sign.

Eightmile Lake Hiking Camping-3

Another thing to note is that there are two lakes on this trail. The first one is the marshy Little Eightmile Lake, which you'll reach in 2.8 miles. Enjoy a water break here, but keep going. If you reach another signed junction, stay straight on the main trail, unless you want to detour to Lake Caroline and Windy Pass (do this on the second day). Hike until you reach a small field of boulders. Beyond these boulders is your real destination: Eightmile Lake.

Camping at Eightmile Lake

As we mentioned earlier, you need a permit to legally camp overnight at Eightmile Lake. Part of the reason for the permit system is because there are a limited amount of camping spots at the lake, as we found out. Since we detoured in Leavenworth and got a late start to our hike, we found that most ideal camp spots had already been claimed by families and large groups. This is where our lightweight camping gear came in handy. We didn't need a ton of space, so we literally squeezed into a small campsite ideally positioned right next to the Eightmile Lake.

Eightmile Lake Hiking Camping-3

Food, Water, Campfires, and the Call of Nature

There are a few things to bear in mind about the Eightmile Lake campsite. First, it is truly rustic, and there is no running water. The bathroom is a literal hole in the ground, so be sure to bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer. You also need to bring food and cooking supplies if needed. There are also no trash bins, so you will need to pack up and carry your garbage out with you, so bring a sealable trash bag and some rope to hang it in the trees to keep bears away. Also, bring a portable water filter and water bottle. The water at Eightmile Lake is pretty clean and pure, so we didn't hesitate to drink it after running it through a portable water filter. This was our first time testing out the Life Straw personal water filter, and we were pleased with the results as well as its portability.

One final note is that campfires are not allowed in Eightmile campsites. While some campers ignore the rule, there are forest rangers that regularly patrol the campsite to check for valid permits and fine violators. But we recommend sticking to the rules. Think of it as being a guest in nature's home.

Photo Tip: Day Hike to Lake Caroline

If you're up for a real adventure with stellar eagle-eye views of Eightmile Lake and the surrounding area, you must do the Lake Caroline hike. At 11.5 miles round trip with a 3,100-foot elevation gain, this isn't an easy hike. But you do reach 6,300 feet in elevation, which gives you one-of-a-kind photo opportunities. Lake Caroline itself is a hidden gem, largely because few people are up for the challenge. The lake is set high in a basin between two impressive mountains: Eightmile Mountain (7,996 feet high) and Cashmere Mountain (8,501 feet high). Let's get to the nitty gritty of the hiking trail itself.

Eightmile Lake Hiking Camping-3

There are quite a few switchbacks with some steep grades. However, the terrain is stunning and diverse. You'll traipse through paths overgrown brush that will lead to a series of dreamy meadows that look like something straight out of Bambi. Speaking of, it's not unheard of to spot a deer or two, in addition to tons of birds. There is also a grove of recovering trees stained silver from the large forest fire of 1994. All of this terrain is incredibly picturesque, so be sure to bring a camera.

In Conclusion

The Central Cascades of Washington offer a natural wonderland full of photo opportunities. Whether you're venturing out to Eightmile Lake for a day hike or overnight camping trip, you'll find your peace with nature.

Have you hiked or camped at Eightmile Lake? Share your photos, stories, and tips in the comments below!

Eightmile Lake Hiking Camping-3