World's Scariest Hikes

His left hand clutching rock, a foot searching for purchase on an icy plank below, Robin Esrock looked down from his precipitous position on China’s Mount Huashan. A spiraling fall, hundreds of feet to a canyon floor, would be the result of any misstep. “This is the moment where I’ve officially lost my mind,” he said.

Thus begins my article this month on Travel+Leisure, where I cover 10 of the planet’s most treacherous and scariest hikes. From China and the Mount Huashan trail, to Yosemite’s Half Dome, this story includes the details on a handful of epic hikes around the globe.

West Coast Trail, Vancouver Island, Canada.jpg

West Coast Trail, Vancouver Island, Canada

Risking your life to go for a hike may seem extreme. But around the world, thousands of travelers boot up and take a gamble for a walk in a magical place like Mount Huashan, the Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala, or Papua New Guinea’s remote Kokoda Track.

My list is below. Go here for the full story, videos, and a slideshow of each hike:

Kalalau Trail, Kauai.jpg

Kalalau Trail, Kauai

World’s Scariest Hikes
1. Half Dome’s Cable Route, Yosemite National Park
2. West Coast Trail, Vancouver Island, Canada
3. Mount Huashan Trail, China
4. Rover’s Run, Anchorage, Alaska
5. El Caminito del Rey, Spain
6. Devils Path, NY
7. Peekaboo Gulch, Utah
8. Kalalau Trail, Kauai
9. Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala
10. Kokoda Track, Papua New Guinea

—Stephen Regenold

Posted by Tom Watson - 08/02/2010 01:20 PM

No mention of the Inca Trail heading out and over from Macchu Picchu? Breaks in trail where you have to cross on logs, narrow, muddy 2’ wide trail with 1,ooo foot drop to river? ????????

Posted by Larry Hardie - 08/02/2010 04:52 PM

What about the King’s Road in Spain? Don’t even know if you could even call it a trail any more. Looks like you’d have to rope up to be safe at all. See it on You Tube.

Posted by Editor - 08/02/2010 08:26 PM

The King’s Road in Spain is indeed on the list. #5: “El Caminito del Rey, Spain”

Posted by fibropacker - 08/03/2010 04:33 AM

You should try the GR92 in Spain, if you want cliff face coastal walking, not for the faint hearted.

Posted by Melania - 08/03/2010 10:02 AM

LOL Rover’s Run! I guess that’s on here because of all the bear attacks. It’s a great running, mountain biking and xc skiing trail, when the bear’s aren’t around.

Posted by whiskers - 08/04/2010 02:42 PM

the El Caminito del Rey path was originally for hydroelectric power plant workers. It has three-foot-wide walkways hundreds of feet off the ground. Concrete sections have collapsed, leaving steel beams and rotting ledges exposed. Old cables bolted to the cliff provide some grip as trespassing hikers make their way along the route.

So it’s mostly an abandoned industrial pathway up in the mountains, the danger being mostly from the rotting man-made structures. Meh.

Posted by Mountain Jack - 08/19/2010 11:02 AM

You are missing Huntington Ravine in Mt Washington in New Hampshire. Mt Washington is the 8th most dangerous mountain in the world right behind Everest.

Posted by Marko - 12/14/2010 04:37 PM

Please send pictures of Mt.Huashan if you have to, they would be included there with your link.

Posted by Steve - 08/12/2011 11:02 AM

Is 1 (Half Dome) or 10 (Kokoda Track) the scariest?

Posted by David yap - 08/07/2012 11:50 PM

Try mount Kinabalu. Better not come back with frost bite

Posted by Luke - 08/08/2012 01:55 PM

No mention of any Tasmanian tracks where you have to wade through leech infested swamps and chest deep mud?

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