It’s one of the oldest symbols in recorded history: the physical act of walking represents the spiritual journey within. Christians have long sought to involve their body in prayer through walking with purpose, which is why these five Christian hikes have become such beloved traditions.
Combining an invigorating trek with gorgeous views and religious history is a recipe for an impactful faith-based experience. Touring groups may not want to follow the full-length of these long distance trails, but even a short hike at a key location will leave a lasting memory on these popular Christian hikes.
1.) Jesus Trail, Israel
The ultimate pilgrimage for Christian lies in the place Jesus ministered in Israel, which is where this 40-mile hike traverses. The path traces the route Jesus may have walked by connecting many sites from his life and ministry. Trailblazers on this route will walk through Nazareth, Cana, Capernaum and the Mount of Beatitudes.
2.) Camino de Santiago, Spain
Depicted in the recent film “The Way,” the Camino de Santiago (the Way of Saint James) follows a well-known pilgrim route from the Pyrenees Mountains in southwestern France and ends at a cathedral in Santiago de Compostella in northwestern Spain. The route remains well trodden today, which means it has plenty of places to sleep, eat and visit along the way through Spain’s countryside.
3.) The Luther Trail, Germany
Hikers pass by old churches, castles and museums important to the Reformation along the 745-miles Luther Trail. Following in the footsteps of the famous reformer Martin Luther, the route traverses by Wartburg Castle, Luther’s House, Erfurt, Luther’s birthplace and Wittenberg, where Luther nailed his 95 theses.
4.) St. Paul Trail, Turkey
The route Saint Paul took on his first missionary journey to Anatolia has been preserved in this long-distance footpath in Turkey. Church groups can walk part or all of this 310-mile-long route that beings in Perge and ends in Yalvac. These ancient Roman roads stood the test of time, so modern travelers can know exactly where Paul stood on his conversion journey.
5.) Pilgrim’s Way, England
Though the Pilgrim’s Way dates back to 500 B.C., the route began attracting Christians during the Middle Ages around the time of the murder of Thomas Beckett in 1170. Christians follow the walking path to Canterbury to pay Beckett tribute, since many believe the religious figure lies buried at Canterbury Cathedral. The full 153-mile trek, which follows the North Downs Way, a well-maintained national trail, takes two weeks through rolling hills and picturesque villages.