We all know the benefits of spending time in nature. From physical activity to stress-management, it’s no wonder millions of outdoor enthusiasts escape to the mountains each year.
But not everyone is looking for a peaceful walk in the woods. If steep cliffs, 1000 foot drop-offs, and rickety cliffside platforms are your idea of a day in the park, then check out our list of the most dangerous hiking trails in the world where blisters are the least of the worries.
5. The Maze, Utah
The Maze is one of the most dangerous hikes in terms of navigation. The trail is located in a remote area outside Canyonlands National Park. Its series of connecting canyons, dead ends, and narrow passages make The Maze one of the most confusing and disorienting hikes in the world. Each year countless visitors lose their way and require rescue assistance. A detailed map, reliable compass, and plenty of provisions are required for this 3-7 day hiking expedition.
4. Drakensberg Traverse, South Africa
Drakensberg Traverse is located in the Natal National Park. The mountain range is rugged, isolated, and the hike lacks a definitive trail. Hikers will follow footpaths and animal trails to make their way across the over 140-foot long trail. The beginning of the trail is the most challenging with chain ladders that must be scaled before ever even starting the excursion. Hikers must arrive fully prepared and self-sufficient as there are no checkpoints or campgrounds along the 15-day adventure.
3. Angels Landing, Utah
Angels Landing is one of the most popular hiking trails in Zion National Park. This 2.5-mile trek is one of the shortest adventure hikes to experience. The path is mostly a moderate hike up until Scouts Landing, where the adventure begins. Hikers will walk a steep narrow ridge with a 1000 foot drop-off on either side. The outlook provides some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the world.
2. El Caminito del Ray, Spain
El Caminito del Rey or The King’s Little Pathway was named for Spain’s King Alfonso XIII after he hiked the trail during its official opening in 1921. Located in the remote corner of Andalusia, El Caminito del Rey tops the list of those seeking the most thrilling hiking excursions in the world. Trekkers walk a 350-foot steep limestone cliff across a bolted steel and concrete platform.
The century-old trail was originally constructed for workers to reach the hydroelectric dam for maintenance. During that time, villagers used the trail as a short cut around the mountain, and even children walked the dangerous path to school. In 2015, after realizing the tourism potential, the trail underwent reconstruction to make the hike - somewhat - less dangerous.
1. Mount Huashan, China
Mount Huashan is the birthplace of Chinese civilization. The mountain range encompasses five peaks, each offering visitors their own unique attractions. Hikers will have to navigate across a plank wall of narrow wooden boards secured to the side of a rock wall. The only means of support is an old rusty chain. The payoff is viewing some of the most picturesque scenery, breathtaking sunrises, and peaceful sunsets. The peak of the summit offers an added bonus, a centuries-old temple to explore.