These Are the 12 Most Dangerous Treks in the World

Mist Trail to Half Dome

All over the world, many challenging and strenuous treks can get your blood pumping. But which of these hikes are the world’s most treacherous and unpredictable, suitable only for the daredevils among us? Users of an inquisitive online forum sounded off about which hikes tested the human spirit and strength the most.

1. Angels Landing, Zion National Park, Utah

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Considered one of the most dangerous and deadly hikes in the world, Zion National Park’s infamous Angels Landing trail is high on the list. With upwards of 17-20 deaths confirmed, the park now requires a permit to hike this epic trail.

Unfortunately, it’s not for the faint of heart. It has switchbacks, a significant elevation gain, and chains at the top to assist your climb. So if you don’t care for heights, skip this trail next time you visit Zion.

2. 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.

3. Mount Huashan, Shaanxi China

Mount Huashan, Shaanxi China

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Mount Huashan in China is the world’s most dangerous hike. While various parts of the climb to the five sacred peaks on Mount Huashan are all nearly vertical or on the side of cliffs thousands of feet above the ground, The Plank Walk is the most dangerous and frightening part of the hike and over seven hundred years old.

The wooden planks are on the side of a cliff over a seven thousand foot drop with only wires and chains to hold onto. The planks are just under a foot wide. Hikers are issued a harness to clip to the wire, but still, it is a death-defying climb. All you have to do is watch footage from climbers who dared the trek to see how terrifying it is. It is rumored that around one hundred people lose their life hiking on Mount Huashan each year.

4. Huayna Picchu, Peru

Huayna Picchu, Peru

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Climbing Huayna Picchu in Peru means that you must climb “The Stairs of Death,” so named even though no one has ever lost their life while climbing them. It takes an hour and a half to climb near vertical, crumbling 600-year-old stairs built by the Incas to the summit at 8,935 feet. Only 400 hikers are allowed to climb it daily.

While watching a video of a hiker climbing the stairs, I saw that some of the stairs were maybe a couple of feet wide. They were passable only by one person at a time, and the views from the mountain immediately triggered my fear of heights even though I wasn’t there.

5. The Maze, Utah

The Maze, Canyonlands Utah

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It truly is a maze. This hike is so intimidating that only a few dare to risk the trek with no visible trail during 110-degree days, 100 miles from nowhere. The areas within the Maze are so remote that a rescue party would take three days to arrive.

Even park rangers must file itineraries and check in at pre-determined points of the day via satellite phone, although phone service is spotty. Amazingly, there have been no deaths in these canyons, the most isolated part of Canyonlands National Park, possibly because the Maze’s reputation scares people away.

6. Mount Washington Summit, New Hampshire

Mount Washington Summit, New Hampshire

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Mount Washington in New Hampshire is considered the most dangerous small mountain in the world; reportedly, 161 people have died from causes related to the mountain since 1849. The danger with Mount Washington is mainly associated with its unpredictable and harsh weather.

Yes, weather. Winds can frequently whip up past hurricane force, over 75 miles per hour, and the highest recorded wind speed was 231 miles per hour in 1934. Temperatures as low as negative 50 degrees Fahrenheit have been recorded, with snowfall of 281 feet per year and 40 foot drifts.

7. Daikiretto Traverse, Japan

Hiking in Japan Alps

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The Daikiretto Traverse, or The Big Cut, is a gap between two mountains in the Northern Japanese Alps in the Hotaka ridgeline with a steep 300-foot descent and ascent. The Daikiretto can be reached as part of the Kamikochi-Yari-Hotaka Circuit or Okuhotakadake–Nishihotakadake Traverse.

Trails, such as they are, are marked with spraypainted Xs, known as a bad idea. Os are known hilariously among hikers as “a slightly less bad idea,” and arrows.

There are chains to help in some parts of the traverse, but while viewing a video of the climb through the Daikiretto up to Hasegawa Peak, just watching it made me feel like yelling at the guy in the video to be careful. A pea soup fog covered the mountains around him, which was anxiety-inducing.

8. Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

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The danger in Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica isn’t the altitude or knife-edge cliffs. The hike takes place around sea level, but the peril of getting lost in the thick jungle, with deadly native animals, and the windstorms compel the country’s government only to allow visitors to enter the park with a trained escort and guide.

Big cats like pumas and jaguars, crocodiles, and the Fer de Lance viper, one of the most lethal snakes in the world, roam the remote park.

9. Drakensberg Traverse, Lesotho, South Africa

Lesotho, South Africa

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The Drakensberg Traverse in the Kingdom of Lesotho is a 125-mile, 14 day hike that can reach nearly 10,000 feet of altitude in an isolated area. The hike has no markers or signs, only sheep herding trails.

Because of these facts, the hike is considered one of the hardest in the world. The government realizes the trek’s difficulties because the national park fee includes the cost of a helicopter rescue if needed. GPS and a full complement of maps are recommended.

10. Maroon Bells South Ridge, Colorado

Maroon Bells, Colorado

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Maroon Bells South Ridge in Colorado is a strenuous trek because the mountain’s maroon shale rock tends to crumble. Goats climb the trails and will sometimes kick shale on people’s heads inadvertently. It is also easy to get lost in the gullies and steep paths.

The further you get off the beaten path, the more dangerous it gets. A sign put up by the U.S. Forest Service warns, “The rock is downsloping, rotten, loose, and unstable. It can kill without warning. Expert climbers who did not know the proper routes have lost their life on these peaks.” The south ridge of the mountain gained this reputation after 8 people died.

11. Kokoda Track, Papua New Guinea

Hiking in Papua New Guinea

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Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea is a serious 59 mile trek reaching altitudes of nearly 8,000 feet through an intensely hot jungle. The hike can take four to 12 days and is referred to as a “StairMaster in a steam room.”

Most of the trail is remote and inaccessible to helicopters, and it is recommended that hikers should already have been on multiple-day treks before attempting it. The Kokoda Track Authority rules state that a licensed tour operator must guide any groups, and members of groups have full medical and travel insurance.

12. 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.

From the bottom, it is a steep climb on rock stairs with a metal handrail that can become slippery when wet. A hiker, Zane Lamprey, referred to the stairs in a YouTube video as “steeply stacked rocks.” You must obtain a permit from the National Park Service before attempting the 14 mile hike that takes about 12 hours round trip.

The last part of the ascent, up Half Dome itself, requires hikers to “climb the cables.” The cable section of the hike to the summit of Half Dome is a vertical climb that is much harder to go down than to ascend. It is not recommended for people who fear heights or are not in good physical condition.

It is recommended not to complete the climb or to get off Half Dome itself if storm clouds are overhead because rain makes the cables and rock very slick, and there is a danger of lightning strikes.

Have you done any of these dangerous treks around the world?

This thread inspired this post.

Featured Image Credit: kjoe99/


Once is Enough: The Top 10 Travel Destinations People Won’t Return To

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

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The “10 Most Popular Tropical Travel Locations” lists are so played out. Let’s flip the script. So how about 10 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.

Once is Enough: The Top 10 Travel Destinations People Won’t Return To

Top 15 Most Visited National Parks in the USA According to the Park Service

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With such a large list of parks, how do you decide which is the best? We’ve got you covered with a list of the most visited national parks, why you need to visit, and what to expect when you do!

Top 15 Most Visited National Parks in the USA

27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip

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We’ve rounded up the best national parks in the USA from travel experts who share the top things to see and do at each destination. Read on to start planning your next national park road adventure.

27 Best National Parks in the USA For Your Next Road Trip

10 of the World’s Most Dangerous Cities: Where Crime Rates Are Off the Charts

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA street cars.

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There are many ways to measure the danger of any given city—robberies, physical assaults, and even the number of fatal work accidents. However, there is one universally-accepted metric for gauging danger: the homicide rate. Based on the most recent statistics, Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa have a disproportionate number of high-violence cities. We’ll limit this list to one city per country to avoid piling on.

10 of the World’s Most Dangerous Cities: Where Crime Rates Are Off the Charts

Top 15 Things Non-Americans Said Surprised Them Most When Visiting the USA

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Recently, in an online travel forum, a traveler asked non-Americans what surprised them most when visiting America. Here are things we do differently in the U.S. from other countries worldwide.

Top 15 Things Non-Americans Said Surprised Them Most When Visiting the USA

Best Things to See and Do in Buffalo National River Arkansas

Buffalo National River

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Tucked in the rugged wilderness of the Ozark Mountains, Buffalo National River is the perfect place for those who like floating, hiking, and camping in the backcountry. Come see why this national park is a local favorite and treasure of “The Natural State.”

Best Things to See and Do in Buffalo National River

Colorado Maroon Bells: How to Visit & Best Trails to Hike

Maroon Bells, Colorado

Image Credit: Joshua_Woroniecki/

The Maroon Bells are some of the most iconic mountains in the Colorado Rockies and a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re looking to visit these beautiful peaks, here is everything you need to know. We’ve got you covered from how to get there, what to do, and where to stay!

Colorado Maroon Bells: How to Visit & Best Trails to Hike

This article was produced and syndicated by The Happiness Function.

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Dolores Quintana

Dolores Quintana is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles. She has bylines at Fangoria, Alternative Press, Nightmarish Conjurings, Recording Academy, The Advocate, Buddyhead,, The Theatre @ Boston Court, The Mirror Media Group, What Now Media, We Like LA, and The Shudder Blog. She has a successful YouTube channel and podcast called Burnt Orange Dreams, where she interviews actors, writers, and directors.
She works as an actor in independent film and both immersive and traditional theatre with Alone: an Existential Haunting, Screenshot Productions, and Native Voices at The Autry.


  1. Burt Randall on April 15, 2023 at 4:58 pm

    These hikes scare me to death! What about you guys ?

    • Ashlee Fechino on April 15, 2023 at 7:23 pm

      They are not for the faint of heart. The ultimate adventures. There are a few we wouldn’t do!

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