There is hiking – and then there are the most dangerous hiking trails on the planet. These aren’t the relaxing strolls that many of us dream about. Oh no, they are hiking trails that push people further than ever before and really know how to get the heart racing.
El Caminito del Rey, Spain
There is a good reason that El Caminito del Ray was shut to the public: huge sections of the dangerous hiking trail are missing. That doesn’t stop people from trying it out for themselves as they climb hundreds of feet above Spain. The two-mile path was originally built from steel and concrete to help workers reach the hydroelectric plant. Now, adventure lovers can’t help but try their hand at the path, even though 10-foot chunks of the path have crumbled to nothing.
Aonach Eagach Ridge, Scotland
You need to head to the top of Glen Coe Valley if you want some of the best views on Scotland. Sadly, getting there isn’t always easy, thanks to the Aonach Eagach Ridge. The section of the hike is nothing more than a paper-thin ridge that’s surrounded by steep grassy slopes. One slip and you could tumble down faster than you ever imagined. Many people try to find shortcuts, which has made Aonach Eagach Ridge one of the most dangerous hiking trails.
Mount Hua Shan, China
Many centuries have seen hundreds of pilgrims climb their way to the top of Mount Hua Shan. However, there’s another way to the top: the plank trail. It’s often thought to be the most dangerous hiking trail in the world as it consists of nothing more than wooden planks bolted to the mountain. As if that wasn’t enough, all of this takes place thousands of feet above the ground, with some sections made up of nothing more than holes in the rock.
The Maze, Utah
So, dangerous hiking trails aren’t enough for you, eh? What about a dangerous hiking trail that could see you lost among miles of sheer cliffs as you’re stranded with no one around to help? Sound better? The Maze earned its name for a good reason. The trail is found in a remote part of Canyonlands National Park in Utah and is almost impossible to get to, let alone navigate around. Perhaps that’s why only 2,000 people try it a year?
Via Ferrata, Austria and Italy
Via Ferrata has been used for hundreds of years by everyone from local Europeans to soldiers in the First World War. Nowadays, the dangerous hiking trail is made a little safer thanks to the ropes and steel cables, but that hasn’t improved it by much. Anyone brave enough to take it on will have to deal with suspension bridges and plenty of heights along the way.
A look at the most dangerous hiking trails is enough for many of us to want to keep our feet on the ground – and get other people’s hearts racing as they wonder what it’s like to experience the thrill for themselves.