Trailblazers Only: 14 Deadly USA Hikes That Test Your Courage

Hiker girl looking at Vernal Falls at Yosemite National Park in California

Gorgeous hiking trails are found all over the globe, but some really do test your courage. Read on for 14 deadly treks in the USA. With danger laced in every step, would you brave these paths?

1. Capitol Peak, Colorado

Hiking North Cascades

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Capitol Peak’s closeness to Denver has resulted in popularity, but don’t let that fool you – this is one Colorado fourteener you may wish to sleep on. In 2017, the peak claimed five lives in just six weeks.

The trail’s most dangerous section is known as the “Knife Ridge.” 150 feet in length, it tests even experienced hikers with a 1,000 feet drop in both directions. Tread wisely, adventurers. 

2. Huckleberry Trail, Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park Highline Trail

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If only this hike was as sweet as the fruit it’s named after. But it’s for this same reason that you should beware. According to one study, the park is home to almost 600 grizzly bears. They frequent the trail to munch on the huckleberries that grow along the mountain’s slopes.

The Huckleberry Trail even closes at times during peak berry season. For added safety, make sure to carry bear spray when braving this rugged path.

3. Angel’s Landing, Utah

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The scariest part of Angel’s Landing is in the final moments of the trek. The hike is a five-mile roundtrip journey filled with cliff dropoffs and switchbacks, and the last few hundred feet require hikers to move along a narrow passageway with the assistance of a metal chain.

One misstep and a nasty fall awaits. After conquering the narrow pathway and anxiety-inducing ascent, marvel at the majestic view of Zion Canyon. A permit is required to hike here.

4. Mount Rainier, Washington

Washington, USA: Fall colors at Paradise area at Mount Rainier National Park

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To summit Mount Rainier is not for beginners. The view makes the trudge worth it to many. Other factors contributing to the danger of the hike include hypothermia, avalanches, slippery rocks, and falls. A guiding service is recommended, and the popular route to take is called “The Disappointment Cleaver” or “DC” route.

5. Kalalau Trail, Hawaii

Young man hiking along a trail with the ocean, a beach and steep cliffs in the distance on a sunny day. Shot on the Kalalau Trail in the Na Pali Coast State Park in Kauai, Hawaii USA.

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The Kalalau Trail in Hawaii offers a 22-mile hike for interested participants. The worst part of the hike is Crawler’s Ledge, a slim ledge averaging one to two feet for hikers to wriggle through while watching the Pacific Ocean’s waves lap the sides of the mountain. Hikers must climb up an upright rock wall and shuffle on the side of the cliff to complete the hike.

6. Mount Washington, New Hampshire

Mount Washington Summit New Hampshire

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Hiking aficionados practice hiking for Mount Everest on this mountain. Hypothermia is a significant risk on Mount Washington, considering the wind velocity can reach up to 200 mph, and the temperature drops forty degrees from the base to the summit.

7. The Maze, Utah

The deep red rock of the chocolate drops formation stands out prominently, as it overlooks the opposite side of the Maze Overlook abyss, in the Canyonlands National Park in Utah.

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Trekkers navigating The Maze in Canyonlands National Park should worry about flash floods, dehydration, and falling rocks while traversing through the area. The hikes in the area live up to their name – only experienced hikers should hike here.

8. Bright Angel Trail, Arizona

A female person hiking alone the Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon, USA

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Bright Angel Trail, located in Grand Canyon National Park, is not for those who react poorly to sun exposure. The hike doesn’t have a lot of shade, but it does have many switchbacks. The first half of the hike brings participants deep down into the cave, distorting their sense of elevation, meaning on the way out, many hikers realize the ascent will be difficult.

9. Precipice Trail, Maine

Precipice Trail, Acadia National Park, Maine, U.S.

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Whatever you do, do not hike the Precipice Trail if it is raining. The steep and narrow pathway hugs the side of the mountain, and hikers must scale the side of the mountain via the metal rungs protruding from the cliff. You will spend a good portion of this hike scaling the mountain and climbing, resulting in a spectacular view of Chaplain Mountain.

10. Barr Trail, Colorado

Mountain scenery on the Barr Trail, leading up to Pikes Peak in Colorado

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Barr Trail spans 12 miles and includes a nearly 8,000-foot altitude fluctuation, which can threaten a hiker’s stability. The weather poses a major risk to hikers’ safety. Snow may fall on the mountain, melt, refreeze, and cause hikers to slip and fall along the path. Summer storms also serve as a risk.

11. Devil’s Path, New York

The motion-blurred waters of Diamond Notch Falls on the West Kill along Devil's Path in the Catskill Mountains of New York, is a welcoming site for hikers who climb the moderately difficult trail.

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The Devil’s Path trail is about 25 miles through the Catskill Mountains. The elevation level shifts frequently, making the hike a mental challenge as well as a physical one. Hikers must pay attention to tree roots and fallen rocks throughout the walk. You must grasp the tree roots near the trail’s peak and yank yourself above the cliff to continue to the summit.

12. Denali, Alaska

Early morning view of Mount Denali, the tallest peak in continental North America. One of those rare moments when the peak is not covered in clouds.

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To scale Denali Mountain, you need to know how to crampon, climb rope, and navigate around glaciers. Pay attention to switchbacks, dropoffs, and any weather warnings like avalanches, earthquakes, or glacier runoff. You may run into wildlife like moose and bears while hiking.

13. Abrams Falls, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

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Located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Abrams Falls is a famous trail locals love. However, it is listed as one of the most dangerous treks in the world because swimming at the base of the falls is extremely dangerous, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited national parks in America. The currents are strong, and the National Park Service says people have drowned here.

14. Mist Trail to Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California

Mist Trail to Half Dome

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The Mist Trail to Half Dome in Yosemite National Park has claimed 13 lives in 15 years. The “Mist” is the spray from Vernal Falls, the first waterfall on the trail, which is said to occasionally be more like a “firehose” than mist at specific points in the year.

Roads of Doom: These Are the 12 Most Dangerous Roads in the World

Colorful truck in Pakistan

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We are fortunate in the West that we get to drive on roads with good road markings, traffic circles, lights, and road signs. However, not all countries have features designed to keep people safe. Here are some of the most dangerous roads you would be best avoiding around the world.

Roads of Doom: These Are the 12 Most Dangerous Roads in the World

12 Most Underrated Small-Midsize Cities in the United States

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Wondering where to go for your next U.S. escape? New York, Los Angeles and Chicago are all great, but not everyone fancies the rush of big cities. Nor do they want complete remoteness. So where does that leave us? Goldilocks said it best – the following 12 small-mid sized American cities are “just right.” 

12 Most Underrated Small-Midsize Cities in the United States

“Once Is Enough!” 12 Travel Destinations Travelers Don’t Want To Return To

Tourist man with hat riding on camel background pyramid of Egyptian Giza, sunset Cairo, Egypt.

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The “Most Popular Tropical Travel Locations” lists are so played out. Let’s flip the script. How about travel destinations frequently serving as a visitor’s final destination? These are the one-hitter quitters of tourist spots, leaving a sour enough taste in enough travelers’ mouths to discourage any return trips.

While many of these locations attract millions of tourists yearly, you rarely hear about the poor experiences. When evaluating potential vacation spots, the harsh reviews are as critical as the glowing ones. Here they are according to some travel stories (in no particular order).

“Once Is Enough!” 12 Travel Destinations Travelers Don’t Want To Return To

Sun, Sand, and Splendor: Discover the 10 Best Beaches in the USA

family florida beach

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Nothing says summer like a day at the beach. But with so many options, where do you plan your next trip? Dr. Beach has rounded up 10 of the best beaches to visit, and we can’t wait to sink our feet in the water and lay out on the sand.

Sun, Sand, and Splendor: Discover the 10 Best Beaches in the USA

15 of the Weirdest Things People Have Ever Eaten While Traveling

shocked woman stunned wow

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There are many weird and wonderful things to experience while traveling, especially regarding food.

It’s always good to try something new, and below are 15 foods that travelers have tried and tested.

15 of the Weirdest Things People Have Ever Eaten While Traveling

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Gabrielle Reeder

1 Comment

  1. Burt Randall on June 22, 2023 at 6:59 pm

    Too scary for me; Im afraid of heights and falling….

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