From towering mountains with treacherous cliffs to dark forests without marked paths, these are some of the most hazardous hikes in the world. Read on for more information about why you should steer clear of certain extreme locations and what steps you can take if nature’s wonders still pull at your soul!

The Most Dangerous Hiking Trails on Earth – Not For the Faint of Heart

Kalalau Trail, Hawaii

Only experienced hikers set their sights on the Kalalau Trail in Hawaii. 22 miles of “out and back” along the breathtaking Na Pali Coast of Kauai, this hike is without a doubt one of the most dangerous and lethal hikes in the entire United States. While most hikes shy away from danger, the Kalalau Trail embraces it; from intense stream crossings to an intense path along Crawler’s Ledge. Although it sounds like paradise, only avid hikers with proper outdoor smarts have any chance of surviving this one.

Striding Edge, Lake District, England

Striding Edge, located in the Lake District of England, is no walk in the park. This dangerous route boasts sensational views on a clear day and can even stretch all the way to Scotland for truly adventurous hikers – that is, if they’re brave enough to take on this sharp arête leading to Helvellyn’s summit! Of course, navigation skills and proper preparation are key here, especially if they want to make it to the peak safely – unless you’re an experienced climber, this is one hike you should probably avoid.

The Maze, Canyonlands, Utah, United States

The Maze in Canyonlands, Utah isn’t a place of mild adventures. It’s an area that the National Park Service deems ‘very challenging’, warning travelers of dangerous obstacles like slippery rocks and steep drops. It’s one of the most remote areas of the park and can only be reached by dirt road. Its desolation adds to its beauty, with few visitors able to make it up (or down) the trails.

Huayna Picchu, Peru

For those feeling a little daunted by Peru’s famous Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu may feel like a daunting prospect. Rising from the landscape behind with its aptly named ‘Stairs of Death’, this peak requires both determination and preparation. Hiking boots are an absolute must.  For a safe and enriching experience, hire a local guide to provide expertise and ensure your safety when navigating vertiginous ladder sections. It’s not for the faint of heart, but those who make it to the top can experience three hours of awe-inspiring views as they look down on one of the world’s most iconic lost cities in all its glory.

The Most Dangerous Hiking Trails on Earth – Not For the Faint of Heart

Cascade Saddle, New Zealand

Any traveler hiking the trails of Cascade Saddle, situated in New Zealand’s stunning Mount Aspiring National Park, should take caution and savor every moment. The track winds its way up to the summit, which sits at an impressive 3,250 meters above sea level, this two-day journey has a bit of everything: wild scrambles, rocky outcrops, and hikes over tussocky grass (or Tititea, as known by its Maori name). Although the views are unparalleled, it’s important to be prepared when attempting a hike at Cascade Saddle – for despite its allure, it has seen some fatalities due to slippery rocks and treacherous conditions. The New Zealand Conservation Department recommends that only experienced trekkers with navigation and high-level backcountry skills attempt this route.

Mount Huashan, China

Mount Huashan in China offers some of the most dangerous hiking trails you’ll ever encounter. Originally meant for pilgrims going to its temples, the route is now popularly sought out by thrill seekers who have heard of its notorious ‘plank walk in the sky.’ If you are afraid of heights, this trail is certainly not the activity for you. This hike meanders through narrow wooden planks attached to a sheer vertical wall! Hikers must take their first steps up a steep staircase dug into solidly-rocked walls and aided only by rusty chains. In some parts, the wooden planks have altogether disappeared, leaving nothing but crude foot supports carved into the rock.

Drakensberg Grand Traverse, South Africa

The Drakensberg Grand Traverse is not the ideal choice for a casual hiker; it takes strength, determination, and skill to conquer this challenging trek. This 230 kilometers (143 miles) route is truly a challenge for the intrepid, with changing weather and plenty of supplies to carry in tow. The journey starts with a climb up chain ladders to the Drakensberg Escarpment and takes you over the border into Lesotho before eventually winding back into South Africa―and all within two weeks, if you’re lucky! Set your GPS and load up your maps because this hike is not for beginners; it’s an unmarked adventure designed for only the most advanced hikers.

El Caminito Del Rey, Spain

A hike fit for a king, the danger of El Caminito Del Rey is real. Hiking trails don’t get much more extreme than El Caminito del Rey in Spain – aptly translated to ‘The King’s Path’ – where narrow wooden paths cross limestone cliffs at 100 meters above the ground. Built over a century ago to link a hydroelectric plant, the two-mile trail was closed for 14 years after five hikers fell victim to the treacherous sections of the route. After an extensive renovation and installation of fences along the path, it reopened in 2015, making it considerably safer while maintaining its striking scenery of blue rivers and spectacular valleys.

There you have it, the main elements you need to consider if you’re looking for a hiking trail that suits your style. Don’t take unnecessary risks; have the right tools and supplies with you, research the area and terrain, ask local hikers or rangers for advice (if needed), and make sure your safety comes first at all times. Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that there is something for everyone when it comes to hiking – so grab your gear and get exploring! So go out there and find your trail – just don’t forget to enjoy yourself too! With research, preparation, and common sense, there’s nothing stopping you from having an amazing outdoor experience.

Have fun & stay safe on the trails!

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