Most people don’t regard hiking as being a particularly dangerous activity. After all, millions of people go hiking on a regular basis, and most return home without even a hint of a harrowing tale to share with their friends and family. But depending on the destination, hiking can be a serious adventure, and even quite dangerous at times. With that in mind, Outside magazine has listed their selection for the 20 Most Dangerous Hikes, with some surprising trails making the list.
These 20 hikes are amongst some of the most amazing places to trek on the planet, and the locations range from Guatemala to China, to South Africa, and beyond. In fact, there are hikes on the list from just about every corner of the globe, although North America is particularly well represented.
Amongst the trails that make he cut are Huayna Picchu in Peru, a trail that wanders up an ancient staircase carved out of a mountain by Inca craftsmen 500 years ago. The route climbs more than 1000 feet (305 meters) in less than a mile (1.6 km), offering spectacular views Machu Picchu along the way. But the route is slippery, steep, and crumbling with age, which has earned it the nickname “the Hike of Death.”
With its narrow slot canyons, deep gorges, and remote location, The Maze in Canyonlands National Park is another dangerous hike. Just getting there can be quite an adventure, and Outside says that just 2000 people actually go on any given year. Those that do, find a series of twisting, confusing rock corridors that are a clear indication of how the place got its name. The potential for flash floods and rock falls only add to the danger, although thankfully no one has died in The Maze just yet.
Scotland’s Aonach Eagach Ridge also earns a spot on Outside’s list thanks to its narrow ridge trail, steep slopes, and unpredictable weather. The knife-edge approach to the top of the trails twin mountain peaks is very exposed, often leaving hikers feeling vertigo, and a deep desire to get off the route as quickly, and easily, as possible. Accidents often occur on the descent, as hikers pick the wrong line for their exit from the mountain.
These are just a few examples of the trails that Outside has put on their list. To read the entire collection, and find your next hiking challenge, click here.