Hiking is the best way to reconnect with nature and keep your body and soul healthy. Along with getting in shape, you'll discover some incredible places and enjoy nature. Moreover, high altitudes bring more fresh air into your lungs, massively benefiting your health. Yet, some hikes are very demanding and require you to be in great shape. Moreover, many trails are hazardous and even deadly, resembling extreme sports. However, the risk can be avoided if you follow the safety measures. Hence, it's easy to be safe, so don't jeopardize your life to get an authentic selfie for social media. Now let's check the most dangerous and challenging hiking trails in our top ten list!
10. Kalalau Trail, Hawaii
The steep volcanic slopes, isolated jungle, and the stunning beach at the end make the Kalalau Trail so spectacular. The beautiful 11-mile (18 km) trail along Na Pali Coast in Hawaii crosses five lush valleys and towering sea cliffs.
However, this paradise hike bears its share of risk, as it can be unsafe during the rain. The narrow trail traverses few streams, as the three major ones can be hazardous during heavy rain, causing a flash flood. Moreover, the rocks might be slippery from the water, causing cliffs to collapse. The main danger around waterfalls comes from falling rocks.
9. Aonach Eagach, Scotland
Scotland is famous for its exquisite landscapes, and is there a better way to explore it than by hiking? Aonach Eagach is one of Scotland's most iconic Highland climbs, followed by beautiful scenery. This four-mile path crosses two mountains along the Glen Coe Valley. The slopes are treacherous, with steep grass and scree slopes hiding even more abrupt ascends.
The central part of the route requires a bit of rock climbing, so you must be well prepared. At this point, the ridge is so narrow and exposed that once you're up, there's no easy way down. Thus, you must follow the route to the end.
8. West Coast Trail (Vancouver Island, Canada)
West Coast Trail in British Columbia on Vancouver Island is a unique experience only fit for some. This 47 miles (75 km) long trail requires a hiking background and some nature survival skills. Therefore, the adventurers will face obstacles during their six to seven days of hiking. This includes rugged terrain, ladders, cable cars, suspension bridges, and mud pools.
Yet, throughout the hike, beautiful landscapes will appear in front of you. The trail leads through the old forest, down the streams and rivers, and to the coastline with gorgeous sandy and rocky beaches. The hikers pass the surreal flora and fauna along the way and meet hospitable locals.
7. Rim to Rim (Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona)
The beauty of the Grand Canyon is surreal, scenic, and unforgettable. Hiking Rim to Rim is even more appealing but still quite challenging. The trail has three high elevations, crosses the mighty Colorado River, and peaks at 5760 feet. Moreover, as the track is 23 miles (37 km) long, you must be in excellent shape.
Temperatures vary with altitude change, another factor making this a challenging trail. However, it's worth it, as you'll pass by some geological and historical wonders along the way. This includes gorgeous waterfalls, spectacular rock formations, and ancient ruins.
6. The Maze, Utah, USA
The Maze is the most isolated segment of Canyonlands National Park in Utah. The scenery is absolutely stunning and totally worth the trouble. The most demanding part is to stay aware of the labyrinth of dead-ends full of narrow passageways and interconnecting canyons.
The danger of rockfalls follows a 40-mile (64 km) track on exposed alpine terrain. The path is demanding, as the shaky chain ladders get the hikers to the ridge, followed by rock climbing and navigation through the stone labyrinth. Hence, the Maze track isn't in high demand due to its remote location. Furthermore, it's a big challenge even for experienced hikers.
5. Half Dome Cable Route (Yosemite National Park, California)
Yosemite National Park in California is well known for its beauty, and the magnificent landscapes are something you must see. Half Dome is a part of the park, as a rock formation shaped like a dome cut in half. However, besides the incredible view, it's well known for the Cable Route to the top.
The hiking trail lures many visitors to climb it, as it's an 8.2 miles (13 km) trail with an elevation of 4800 feet (1.45 km). The last 400 feet (120 m) is a steep climb up the rock using two steel cables as handholds. This is demanding and a bit terrifying but worth the trouble once you look at Yosemite Valley from the top of the Half Dome.
4. Drakensberg Grand Traverse, South Africa
This one is for experienced and fit hikers, as the Drakensberg Grand Traverse is around 150 miles (240 km) long, taking between 12 to 15 days to complete. There are no stores or hotels along the way, so the hikers must have some wilderness experience to survive this thrilling trail. Along the way, it's possible to encounter some wild animals, and rock scrambles don't make the track easier.
Moreover, it includes Drakensberg's five peaks and a few river crossings. However, according to the passionate hikers who have completed the trail, the magnificent views make it the most beautiful route and the one for the bucket list.
3. Angel's Landing, United States Zion Park
Angel's Landing hiking trail is located in Zion National Park in Utah. The path is almost 2.5 miles (4 km) long, the most challenging being the final half-mile (800 m). The narrow and steep ridge includes dangerous drop-offs, as the only safety is chains and guardrails. In the end, you will need to ascend a steep stone stair fit for just one person supported by chains, so there is no passing by.
On the top of Angel's Landing is an exposed platform with the most picturesque views imaginable. However, this is where most accidents happen. The people enchanted with the landscape get careless and don't watch their steps.
2. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu - Huayna Picchu, Peru
The Inca Trail is among the most exciting in the world, leading to the ancient Inca site Machu Picchu. Huayna Picchu, or Hike of Death, is a part of the track made of stairs carved into granite. Moreover, when you add that the climb is about 1000 feet in less than a mile (1.5 km) on slippery stairs, you'll get the explanation for the infamous title Stairs of Death.
The trail contains slippery stones, rotting, crumbling rocks, and exposed corners. Furthermore, you need to cling to old steel cables at some points. However, the hike is worth the trouble because of the gorgeous views of Machu Picchu from above.
1. HuaShan Trail, China
Mount HuaShan is among five sacred mountains in China, consisting of five peaks with beautiful views. The way up to the mountain tops is notoriously known as the most dangerous hiking trail in the world, initially made for the pilgrims to access the high-altitude temples.
You'll need to pass the narrow wooden platforms, iron handrails, and unsafe chains on the hiking trail. Well, add to that almost vertical stairs, and at some point, just small steps carved into the rock, and you'll get the idea why this is such a dangerous path. We must mention that this is a two-way trail, so you'll pass by other people at 7000 feet (2100 m). Nonetheless, there's no need to worry, as you'll have your carabiners for safety.
Here's a tip: If you search the internet for the most dangerous hikes, you'll come upon El Caminito del Rey in Spain. However, this was a dangerous place before being transformed into a totally safe and beautiful area to explore, surrounded by gorgeous scenery. Therefore, it doesn't qualify for our top ten list. To conclude, good hiking means you must be prepared, be in good shape, and, most of all, follow the safety instructions.
Do you enjoy hiking? Would you dare to go on the HuaShan Trail? Please write to us in the comment section, as we would like to hear your thoughts.