Nature is very beautiful, but it can also be very dangerous. In fact, sometimes the most beautiful parts of nature are the most dangerous, which has resulted in some exhilarating and daunting hiking routes.
This may not fit in with the popular view that hiking is a relaxing sport, but it is true. While some hiking paths are relaxing and simple, there are other hiking routes that are seriously terrifying.
If you like the idea of a wild hike that is filled with danger, from overwhelming heat to unstable routes, here are five of the most terrifying hikes in the world. Though we feel the need to warn you, hike at your own risk.
The Maze, Utah
The Maze is in one of the most remote sections of Utah’s Canyonlands National Park, and it receives only around 2,000 visitors each year. This isn’t because the place isn’t worth visiting; the rocky area is breathtakingly beautiful, but it is difficult to reach and even harder to navigate due to the amount of dead ends. There is also the risk of flash floods and rock fall, which are both potentially life threatening.
If you decide to visit The Maze you should go with a detailed itinerary and map, as well as lots of water and a fully charged phone. You should also be an expert hiker, rather than a beginner!
The Kalalau trail is one of the most beautiful trails in the world, featuring isolated lush jungle, volcanoes and an untouched beach at the end. However the 22 mile trip is no walk in the park, as there is a risk of flooding and falling rock throughout the trail. There is also a dangerous area called Crawler’s Ledge, which is an open ledge that is particularly risky when raining.
Maroon Bells South Ridge, Colorado
The Maroon Bells is a wide area with a few different hiking routes, and the most dangerous is the Maroon Bells South Ridge. This 12 mile hike is a tip to the summit of the South Ridge, and on the way hikers encounter steep paths, risky gullies, loose rock fields and the possibility of getting lost in the vast terrain.
If you visit you will see a sign from the U.S. Forest Service that reads; “The beautiful Maroon Bells have claimed many lives in the past few years. They are not extreme technical climbs, but they are unbelievably deceptive. The rock is down sloping, rotten, loose, and unstable. It kills without warning. The snowfields are treacherous, poorly consolidated, and no place for a novice climber. Expert climbers who did not know the proper routes have died on these peaks.” Definitely one of the most terrifying hikes out there!
El Caminito Del Rey, Spain
El Caminito Del Ray (which is also known as the King’s Little Pathway) is a 1,200 meter long trail that covers the steep walls of the El Chorro gorge in Malaga. The trail was initially built to help workers build nearby hydroelectric plants, and although the route is closed now every year hikers risk the route using climbing gear and harnesses. There is even an Indiana Jones-esque part of the tail that features a rickety, old wooden plank bridge and damaged steel rails!
Huayna Picchu, Peru
The Inca Trail in Peru is one of the most famous trails in the world. This is because the scenic trail is home to a few casualties every year, but the section known as Huayna Picchu (or the “Hike of Death”) is unquestionably the most dangerous part. The ancient staircase climbs over 1,000 feet in under a mile, and the rocks are rotted and crumbling. This can be very dangerous, especially when you factor clouds and mist into the equation. The route back down can be even worse due to the steepness of the steps; many hikers have to sit down when they look down at the view! This is certainly one of the most terrifying hikes when it comes to the view.