Where Hikers Dare: The World’s Most Dangerous Trails
If you’re an adventure-seeker with total disregard for the meaning of acrophobia (extreme fear of heights) then you need to visit these hiking trails. They’ll get your blood pumping, test your nerves and separate the brave from the faint of heart.
You’ll need to be sure of foot and have a head for heights though. But if you’re up to the challenge and able to traverse some of the steepest, most treacherous and spine-tingling hiking trails in the world, you’ll be treated to breathtaking and captivating views.
MOUNT HUASHAN, CHINA
Mount Huashan, close to the city of Huayin, is one of the most incredible places on earth and will no doubt get your adrenaline flowing. First you’ll be challenged by a steep stairway to a cable car ride which takes you through incredible scenery. This is followed by a path along wooden boards bolted into the side of a cliff, with a drop of 2,000 feet below.
Need to know: The final climb up the mountain reaches a Taoist temple which has been converted into a teahouse. You might need something harder to drink though after this terrifying yet beautiful journey.
MACHU PICCHU, PERU
The trail on the legendary site of Machu Picchu, a citadel of cut stone from the urban Inca Empire, is narrow, steep and so complex that it’s closed for much of the rainy season. The ancient staircase is carved out of granite and has a climb of approximately 1,000 feet in less than a mile. It is regularly referred to as the ‘Hike of Death’.
Need to know: If you thought the ascent was tough, just wait for the climb down. A spectacular view of Machu Picchu makes it all worthwhile though.
The trail in Utah is known as the ‘Maze’ as it is extremely difficult to navigate, full of dead-end gullies and one of the remotest sections of the Canyonlands. If the precarious and confusing track doesn’t put you off, then you should know that the red rock labyrinth is prone to rock falls and even flash floods.
Need to know: The drops may not be as sheer as other trails, but this is one where, if you’re not ready for the isolation and dangers of the ‘Maze’, accidents and even death can occur.
Morocco is home to some extremely rough terrain but it doesn’t get much more terrifying than the Taghia trail, which is part of a large circumnavigation of the mountain Oujdad. The path includes a trail of stacked rocks and logs used by the local Berber natives to herd sheep and goats. It will seriously test your sure footedness; one wrongly placed foot can end in a steep fall.
Need to know: If you have the chance to take a breath, it will be taken away by the views of an amazing landscape and incredible contrasting colors.
AONACH EAGACH RIDGE, SCOTLAND
The trail is on the top of a ridge and thin to the extreme with steep gravel and grassy slopes on either side. The landscape proves unpredictable as you take the four-mile route through Glen Coe Valley and cross two mountains.
You can’t stop halfway to the end though; you need to make the peak of Sgorr nam Fiannaidh to reach the easiest place to descend.
Need to know: Dancing with death is worth it as you’ll be treated to some wonderful sights of the Highlands.