Best hikes for 2017: Spectacular must-do new walks opening in 2017

Nature might be timeless, but the ways to play in it are continually evolving. New hiking trails, adventure activities and national parks have opened up a natural world of fresh possibilities for 2017.

THE GREAT TRAIL, CANADA

The world's longest recreational trail has been in construction for 25 years, but will finally be completed in 2017. The Great Trail will stretch for 24,000 kilometres across Canada, as well as striking north to the Arctic Ocean through the Yukon and Northwest Territories. More than 3000 kilometres of trail remains to be constructed, but the plan is to have it finished in time to mark the 150th anniversary of Canada's confederation in 2017. thegreattrail.ca

HOSSA NATIONAL PARK, FINLAND

Finland will get its 40th national park in 2017. Resting against the Russian border, Hossa will encompass a quintessentially Finnish landscape of lakes, rivers and pine forest. There will be 100 kilometres of hiking trails, as well as 60 kilometres of canoeing routes. The park will also incorporate one of Finland's largest Stone Age rock art sites. nationalparks.fi/hossa

WILD PEDDER, TASMANIA

Tasmania's portfolio of adventure activities continues to grow, with the launch this summer of Wild Pedder. This new company will take you into the World Heritage-listed south-west for a four-day exploration around and on Lake Pedder. The trip includes hikes in Mount Field National Park and the Upper Florentine Valley, a day kayaking on Lake Pedder, and a steep climb to Mount Eliza for the classic view over the lake and beyond. wildpedder.com.au

OLD GHOST ROAD, NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand's ever-growing cycling network now includes this wonderful multi-day mountain-biking route. The 85-kilometre Old Ghost Road is the country's longest single-track ride, following the course of a rediscovered gold miners' road in the South Island's north-west corner. There's an 800-metre climb to kick things off, and four huts along the way in which to recover. oldghostroad.org.nz

LOCARNESE NATIONAL PARK, SWITZERLAND

More than 100 years after creating its first national park, Switzerland looks set to get its second in 2017. The proposed Locarnese National Park will cover a wild mountain region in southerly Ticino. It'll be a park with a difference, encompassing 13 villages as well as 500 kilometres of walking trails in its quest to preserve both cultural and natural values. parconazionale.ch

KANGAROO ISLAND WILDERNESS TRAIL, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Australia's newest trail is fresh out of the pouch, with the first hikers setting out on this five-day, 66-kilometre walk on October 1. The hike is a Kangaroo Island highlights package on foot, taking in the Cape du Couedic lighthouse, the fur seal colony at Admirals Arch, Remarkable Rocks and the bone-white beach at Hanson Bay. kangarooislandwildernesstrail.sa.gov.au

TULE SPRINGS FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT, USA

Las Vegas just got a whole lot more interesting, with one of the world's newest national parks now sitting at its edge. Tule Springs Fossil Beds covers a barren piece of desert – unremarkable really, except for its treasury of Ice Age fossils. Here you can find traces of mammoth tusks, giant sloths and the extinct American lion. No visitor facilities have yet been established, so it's a case of walk and explore at leisure. nps.gov/tusk

MURRAY RIVER WALK, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

The latest addition to Australia's collection of luxury guided walks combines houseboat cruising with a series of hikes along the banks of Australia's longest river. All up, you'll walk about 40 kilometres across the four days, exploring the likes of river cliffs, red gum forests and wetlands. Nights are spent aboard the houseboat, which shuttles you between walks. The 2017 season begins in May. murrayriverwalk.com.au

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ENGLAND COAST PATH

While this 4500-kilometre path around the entire English coastline won't be completed until 2020, it's a work in progress, with sections now beginning to open. In July, a pair of 100-kilometre-long sections were launched – one passing through Scarborough, Whitby and Middlesbrough on the north-east coast; the other along the Kent coast through Dover and Folkestone. nationaltrail.co.uk/england-coast-path

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