At Holland America Line, we’re not sure why telling someone to “take a hike” is a bad thing. In fact, we respond with “we’d love to” – especially on Take a Hike Day! And we bet you would too if you were taking any one of our incredible hiking shore excursions around the world.
Active tours like hiking, biking, kayaking and walking are a great way to stay in shape while cruising. For guests who want to focus on their health while on vacation, these tours are excellent options ashore. Onboard, Holland America Line has state-of-the-art fitness centers with a variety of classes, and menus always offer healthy options. The Lido has an incredible selection of fresh fruit, salads and lighter fare, as well. And after your hike, you can feel guilt-free while indulging on that chocolate cake or baked Alaska!
To celebrate Take a Hike Day, we compiled some of our best hiking tours that take guests around the world – from Alaska to Hawaii to New Zealand, then on to Norway, Canada, South America and back up to Puerto Rico … no matter where you are you can see some of the most spectacular scenery on foot.
So if trekking or stepping sounds like your thing, make sure to check out one of these tours on your next cruise.
DENVER VALLEY HIKE & WHITE PASS RAIL
The Denver Valley Hike & White Pass Rail tour at Skagway, Alaska, combines an impressive 27-mile rail journey on the “Scenic Railway of the World” and a five-mile wilderness hike. The adventure begins with a drive up the Klondike Highway to Fraser, BC. From here you’ll board the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, complete with waterfalls, rushing rivers, trestles and tunnels to see along the way to your trailhead. Your hike is lead by a knowledgeable guide who will take you through the glacially carved valley full of dense, temperate, rain forest. The trail traces the raging East Fork of the Skagway River.
Of course, this is Alaska, so there will be plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife along the way. This valley is home to bears, moose and mountain goats. You’ll also hike through the pristine Tongass National Forest, which will leave you in awe of the thousand-year-old trees!
DIAMOND HEAD CRATER HIKE
You can visit the world-famous Diamond Head Crater during a call at Honolulu, Hawaii. You’ll set out with a guide on a walk to the 763-foot summit of Diamond Head, stopping at several points along the way for breathtaking photo opportunities. You’ll enter a dark 200-foot tunnel and climb a spiral staircase, imparting a sense of adventure! Upon reaching the summit you will have an incredible view of famous Waikiki Beach, emerald green mountains and the sparkling aquamarine water of the Pacific Ocean.
ShuShu from Massachusetts gave the tour five stars on the Holland America website and left with a sense of accomplishment!
What an experience, wonderful views of Waikiki Beach and we’re thrilled that we accomplished the hike!!!!
GUIDED WALK TO MOUNT CARGILL & THE ORGAN PIPES
Port Chalmers, Dunedin, New Zealand
Outdoorsy types will love the hike on Mount Cargill — Dunedin, New Zealand’s, most prominent peak. This adventure offers a look at the natural wonders of southern New Zealand, the amazing Organ Pipes. Your hike starts at the Mount Cargill Walkway. You’ll climb through a forest and get views of Otago Harbour, Mihiwaka, Mount Kettle, Blueskin Bay and Silver Peaks. Nature lovers will enjoy seeing Mount Cargill’s native bush including broadleaf, pepperwood, mountain cedar and many lush ferns. You’ll make your way to the Organ Pipes, 10-million-year-old basalt formations created during the volcanic activity that also formed Otago Harbour.
Afterward you’ll continue on until you emerge at Buttars Peak, at an elevation of more than 2,000 feet above sea level, where you will be awed by the panoramic views around you.
PULPIT ROCK HIKE
If you’re headed to Stavanger, Norway, don’t miss hiking the world-famous Pulpit Rock! You’ll set out from the pier to the local ferry landing for a scenic crossing to Tau. Then it’s a half-hour ride through picturesque scenery toward Preikestolhytta where your hike will begin. You’ll hike for two hours to reach Pulpit Rock through a variety of landscapes including mountains, forests and marshland, passing lovely ponds along the way. The journey ends with a bang as the last 600 yards are the most spectacular, walking along narrow paths with steep cliffs on one side and Lysefjord far below on the other. Your arrival at Pulpit Rock is nothing short of amazing.
HIKE TO UISAGE BAN FALLS
Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
If you’re taking a Canada and New England cruise, be sure to opt for the Hike to Uisage Ban Falls tour at Sydney, Nova Scotia. This tour begins with a drive along the Trans-Canada Highway to discover the picturesque resort village of Baddeck, situated on the shores of the stunning Bras d’Or Lakes. The route is incredible beautiful with views of Boulanderie Island, the Seal Island Bridge, the Great Bras d’Or Channel, Kelly’s Mountain and St. Ann’s Bay.
From Baddeck, you’ll head to the Uisage Ban (White Waters) Falls Trail. The hike to the falls is about three miles long and will take you through some of the oldest forests in the province — with 200-year-old birch and maple trees as your side. You’ll be impressed by the 50-foot falls the second you reach them!
TREKKING IN USHUAIA
If you’re looking for adventure during a call at Ushuaia, Argentina, the Trekking in Ushuaia tour is a must! From the pier you will head to the Tierra Mayor Valley to Nunatak to begin your trek. The drive alone is wonderful, as you pass stunning mountain scenery along the way. Your hike will feature a splendid view of the thick forest of Lengas — the typical tree of the region where a great variety of birds make their homes — as you make your way toward the Alvear Mountains. You’ll see the Five Cascades waterfalls, learn about how beavers work at building their dams and get to walk along a peat bog.
EL YUNQUE RAIN FOREST DAY HIKE
San Juan, Puerto Rico
The U.S. National Forest system has only one tropical rain forest and you can hike it during a call at San Juan, Puerto Rico. El Yunque Rain Forest is one of the smallest in size yet also one of the most biologically diverse offering plenty of opportunities to discover different animals and plant species. You’ll walk with a guide through the wilderness of the rain forest for about two hours, enjoying the views of this tropical woodland. You’ll even get to cool off with a swim at the base of one of the forest’s most beautiful waterfalls, so don’t forget a swimsuit!
Warren from North Carolina gave the tour five stars on the Holland America website and called it a delightful experience.
“For those wanting to see the outskirts of San Juan and its beautiful mountainous terrain, this is the excursion for you … I strongly recommend this trip for those seeking a unique excursion experience. El Yunque is the only rain forest in U.S. territory so it is a must see.”
Remember, tours can be pre-booked before you cruise so you get your top choices.
Do you enjoy hiking? Are there any other hiking tours you think should be on this list? Tell us in the comments below.
December 2015 UPDATE: Take Advantage of View & Verandah
We want to make your dream cruise even dreamier with our new View & Verandah promotion. We’re offering stateroom upgrades, up to 10 percent off shore excursions and up to 25 percent off Collectors’ Voyages on 2016-2017 sailings when booked by Feb. 29, 2016. Check out the offer to see if you dream cruise is included and book now!