You struggle to gain traction, the world as you know it gets smaller and smaller, and there is nowhere to go but up.
Hiking is an exhilarating experience that novices and aces alike have found supreme satisfaction in conquering.
You may have thought you were testing your endurance and skill when you completed the Appalachian Trail, but there are some hikes that will challenge you beyond your limits – physically and mentally.
Here are some of the most dangerous hikes known to man.
And who knows? You could be the next to conquer the unimaginable.
1. The Maze, Canyonlands, Utah
The Maze in Canyonlands National Park is a treacherous hike that excites the adventure seeker.
It is incredibly remote. The Hans Flat Ranger Station is hours from the main highway, and then you have to travel 2.5 hours through winding trails in a high-clearance SUV just to get to the mouth of The Maze where the real challenge begins.
There are gullies, dead ends, and an unforgiving terrain to navigate, often causing many hikers to venture off-path, even when using GPS. A map is highly recommended.
2. Drakensberg Traverse, South Africa
The Culture Trip reports:
“The Drakensberg Traverse, a 300km (186mi) trail, is known as Dragon Mountains by Afrikaners and as the Barrier of Spears in Zulu.”
The exhilarating hike begins by testing your balance, bravery, and bravado as you climb a rickety old rope ladder on the side of a cliff.
Assuming you don’t fall on the rocky bed below, enjoy the rest of this challenging trail to the top of the cliff’s edge and add another proud accomplishment to your hiking repertoire.
3. El Caminito del Rey, Spain
The King’s Path – or El Caminito del Rey in Spanish – is Spain’s most advanced hike for the avid thrill seeker.
You have to walk at least a mile and a half through a small tunnel in the mountain before arriving where the path actually begins.
It used to be that you’d have to walk on a crumbling structure along the cliff’s edge over a 350 foot drop into a river, but recent renovations have made your footing more secure.
But that doesn’t mean it’s less of an adventure – and you still get great views of the diverse landscape around gorges and protruding jagged rocks.
4. Kokoda Track, Papua New Guinea
This experienced hike is not your weekend mountain excursion.
It takes an average of twelve days for trekkers to complete the tumultuous journey, that will ultimately cause you to “set new boundaries, gain greater self-awareness, while joining a select group of individuals who have achieved something uniquely special,” as the Kokoda Track Authority reveals.
The heat, mosquitoes, and slippery terrain is only bearable if you’ve prepared both mentally and physically to conquer one of your greatest achievements.
So tackle this 60 mile trek with all the gear and gusto you have!
5. Cascade Saddle, New Zealand
The Culture Trip shares how the Cascade Saddle trail, between the West Matukituki and Dart Valleys, “includes a huge amount of slippery, unstable ground underfoot, making it one of the world’s most dangerous hikes.”
Sadly, many have lost their lives on this alpine crossing, so this several-days hike is for the experienced only and best suited during the summer.
So why do hikers continue to seek out the treacherous terrain?
The view of Mt. Aspiring above the clouds is breathtaking and New Zealand’s landscape is inspirational.
Those who have survived the nearly 30 mile trek rave about its beauty and excitement, making it popular among hiking enthusiasts.
Knowing when to book your summer trek is key to finding great deals and enjoying a perfect itinerary.
Hiking allows you to see the world while challenging yourself in new ways. But taking on any of these dangerous trails offers a level of adventure to aspire to – if you dare.