10 Craziest Hiking Trails in the World

Imagine you’re outdoors. The wind is blowing freely through your hair and you can hear the sound of dirt crunching beneath your boots. To your left you’ve you have enviable views of China. To your right your hands are gripping to a handrail for dear life.

This is just one possible scenario you may encounter on the craziest hiking trails found across the world. These trails are death-defying and out of this world. Some might say one would have to be downright crazy to attempt to hike here. Yet thousands of us still travel to these trails to check them off our bucket list each year. Let’s take a closer look at the 10 craziest hikes you’ll ever take.

Mount Pinatubo, Philippines

Hiking up to Mount Pinatubo’s crater lake is a gamble in itself. There’s the off-chance the volcano may erupt at any moment, but that doesn’t stop people from hiking here each day. After 400 years of dormancy, the volcano erupted suddenly in 1991, killing 800 people. It erupted once again in 1992, taking 72 lives this time around. While the hike is easy to complete, adventurers run the risk of a possible, untimely eruption.

The Maze, United States

Remember the movie 127 Hours with James Franco? We can hardly get the image out of our mind of being stuck beneath a rock fall for days on end with little hope. This took place in a desolate region of Canyonlands National Park in a section known as the Maze, a labyrinth where even the best navigators can get easily lost. There are no sources of food or water nearby, and risk of flash floods, falling rocks, and blistering heat are all dangers hiking the Maze presents.

Mount Huashan, China

No absolutely insane hikes list would be complete without mentioning Mount Huashan in China. Mount Huashan is the pinnacle of crazy and considered to be one of the most dangerous hikes in the entire world. The trails up to the tea house feature staircases, vertical ascents, and praying a wood plank trail holds your weight from thousands of feet above ground. Nonetheless, many adventurers take on the challenge and choose to hike Mount Huashan each year.

Maroon Bells a.k.a. “The Deadly Bells”, United States

The Maroon Bells in Colorado offer some of the most gorgeous views in the United States, let alone Colorado. The 6-mile hike to the South Ridge summit is a well sought-after hike, however it is also rife with dangers. From steep ascents, to loose rocks, and twists and turns that will have you scratching your head, this 12-mile roundtrip hike is challenging even for the most experienced hiker. The Maroon Bells are strongly correlated with danger, which is where the nickname “The Deadly Bells” comes from.

Cascade Saddle Trail, New Zealand

There are few places in the world as awe-spring as New Zealand. The vistas are incredible, the national parks are endless, and it’s a true hikers’ paradise if you can afford the cross-continent trek. One of the most beautiful treks in the country is the Cascade Saddle found at Mt. Aspiring National Park on South Island. Over the years several people have lost their lives in the saddle, largely due to slipping when the rock is wet and slippery. If you do hike here, use caution when crossing the saddle or simply avoid it.

Huayana Picchu Trail, Peru

One person wrote “It was a scary experience trying to get up and down that mountain without accident” on Trip Advisor.  This is an accurate portrayal of what it’s like to climb to the top of Huayna Picchu in the Cusco region of Peru. The trail is a steep, a hard climb, and all around dangerous to reach the top. For those that have climbed this mountain, they likely have no desire to do it again.

The Mist Trail, United States

Each year, people seek after a highly coveted permit to hike to the top of Half Dome. Despite its inherent risks a hiker assumes while hiking the Mist Trail, most hikers complete the tricky cables section and don’t slip from the wet trail every day. According to the national park’s website, more people die on the Mist Trail than any other trail in Yosemite, largely due to the current. When hikers fall into the water, they find it too strong to overcome. Unless you’re a mermaid, you’ve been warned.

Dolomites Via Ferrata, Italy

Who wouldn’t want to see traces of World War I in a foreign country. The via ferrata is the perfect way to explore the Dolomites and take in the surrounding beauty of the European Alps, all while gaining a bit of history. But all this glory comes at a price. Hikers must traverse across bridges, climb ladders, and use ropes to hike to the Dolomites, a long and crazy hike to say the least.

El Caminito del Rey, Spain

Don’t look down when you’re hiking El Caminito del Rey in Spain. If so, you might find yourself fearing for your life. Hikers must walk across a rusty steel beam at one point that dangles hundreds of feet above a rushing river. While the trail went through a massive restoration process in 2014 to make it safer for tourists, we will all remember the days when rock climbers and adrenaline-seekers alike used to hike to this remote destination to test fate.

Angels Landing, United States

The 5-mile Angels Landing hiking trail found in Zion National Park in Utah, is not for those with a fear of heights. The trail takes hikers along a narrow cliff side where one could fall off either sides. For balance, there are handrails to help guide hikers to arguably the most scenic overlook in the entire world. Since I’ve personally completed this hike, I will confidently say it’s not for the faint of heart.

Think we missed a hike that should be on this craziest hike list? Leave the name of the trail in the comments below!

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