20 Stunning Mountaintop Views You Need To See Now

Armed with a pair of quality boots and some water, pretty much anyone can hike. It's not hard to find new appreciation for the outdoors when your boots are treading the ground on a mountain that formed long before your ancestors were born. The sweet smell of fresh air, an escape from the daily grind and the natural exercise are just some of the benefits. So, it's not surprising that most hikers—and sage elders—will tell you that it's all about the journey, but these stunning views firmly challenge that notion. [slideshow:993]

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, hiking has become more popular in recent years, steadily gaining participants each year since 2009. In 2012 the association estimated that more than 34 million Americans went hiking, which begs the question, were they in it for the hikes or the views?

It's impossible to say why people hike, but we do know that there's a lot to love about a spectacular view. If hiking isn't your favorite activity, some of these sights are accessible by car or gondola.

Related: The World's Ten Best Hikes

These scenes from all over the world may serve as inspiration to get out and explore a new place or a prompt to enjoy your favorite spot once again, or at the very least they would make awesome backgrounds for your desktop. Just remember when your next hike takes a challenging turn and granola bars and trail mix simply aren't enough to keep you going, the reward of these stellar views will make it worth the effort.

See Also: 30 Great American Hikes

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