15 Dangerous Hiking Trials Across America


America has an abundance of natural wonders, from towering mountains to breathtaking canyons, offering adventurers an array of exhilarating hiking experiences. There are 15 high-risk hikes across America, where the excitement of exploration intertwines with the challenge of navigating treacherous terrains.

Half Dome

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Half Dome is an iconic granite formation in Yosemite National Park, attracting hikers seeking an adrenaline rush. The route to the summit involves scaling the “Cables Route,” a steep ascent aided by metal cables. The danger lies in the exposed sections and the potential for rockfall, especially during rough weather. 

Angels Landing


Offering panoramic views of Zion Canyon, Angels Landing is notorious for its narrow ridgeline with sheer drop-offs on both sides. Hikers negotiate steep switchbacks known as Walter’s Wiggles before facing the spine-tingling final ascent along the “Hogsback” to reach the summit. 

Camp Muir

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Camp Muir serves as a basecamp for climbers attempting to summit Mount Rainier, the tallest peak in the Cascade Range. The hike to Camp Muir involves navigating crevassed glaciers and unpredictable weather conditions. Altitude sickness, avalanches, and sudden storms pose significant risks, emphasizing the importance of proper preparation and mountaineering skills.

Kalalau Trail


Traversing along the rugged coastline of Kauai, Hawaii, the Kalalau Trail offers unparalleled views of dramatic cliffs and pristine beaches. However, its narrow paths, steep drop-offs, and exposure to flash floods and rockslides make it one of America’s most perilous hikes. Permits are required to access the trail, and hikers must exercise caution and respect the power of the ocean along this remote and challenging route.

Maze Overlook Trail


True to its name, the Maze Overlook Trail winds through the labyrinthine canyons of Canyonlands National Park. Remote and rugged, this hike demands expert navigation skills and self-reliance due to the lack of marked trails and limited access to water sources. Hikers must be prepared for extreme temperatures, challenging terrain, and the possibility of becoming lost in one of America’s most remote wilderness areas.

Bright Angel Trail


As it descends into the Grand Canyon, the Bright Angel Trail offers stunning views and a direct path to the Colorado River. However, its steep gradients and exposed sections present significant challenges, especially during the scorching summer when temperatures can soar above 100°F. Adequate hydration, proper footwear, and knowledge of heat-related illnesses are essential for those undertaking this arduous trek.

The Presidential Traverse

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The Presidential Traverse is a strenuous backpacking route in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Hikers face unpredictable weather conditions, including high winds and sudden storms, as they traverse alpine terrain above the treeline. Navigation skills and preparedness for the potential onset of hypothermia, even in summer months, are essential.

Huckleberry Lookout


Situated in the rugged backcountry of Glacier National Park, the Huckleberry Lookout trail rewards hikers with sweeping views of pristine wilderness and alpine meadows. However, its remote location and lack of maintained trails require careful route-finding skills and a tolerance for solitude. Grizzly bears and other wildlife inhabit this area, adding an element of danger.

The Notch Trail

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The Notch Trail includes a steep ladder climb and narrow ledges, heightening the sense of adventure. Extreme temperatures and the absence of shade make this hike particularly challenging, emphasizing the need for adequate water and sun protection.

Devil’s Path


Devil’s Path in the Catskill Mountains of New York presents a formidable challenge for experienced hikers. The trail spans six major peaks, including several steep rock scrambles and exposed sections. Erratic weather and limited cell phone reception add to the trail’s difficulty, requiring careful planning and self-reliance for those who dare to tackle it.

Mount Denali


Earlier known as Mount McKinley, Denali is the highest peak in North America and a coveted destination for mountaineers. Climbing Denali requires technical skill, extreme endurance, and the ability to withstand harsh arctic conditions. Severe weather, crevasses, and altitude sickness are hazards that climbers must contend with on this formidable peak.

Grinnell Glacier Trail

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This hike in Glacier National Park is as beautiful as it is treacherous. The trail traverses steep terrain and crosses unstable moraines, presenting hazards such as rockfall and glacier crevasses. Climate change has accelerated glacier melt in the park, increasing the risk of encountering unstable ice and hazardous conditions along the trail.

Rover’s Run

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Rover’s Run is located in the secluded backcountry of Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Hikers must contend with rugged terrain, dense vegetation, and inconsistent weather in this vast and untamed wilderness. Bears, moose, and other wildlife roam freely, adding to the sense of adventure and danger.

The Incline

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The Incline is a steep, punishing trail that ascends over 2,000 feet in less than a mile. Originally a cable car route for transporting materials to build pipelines, the Incline now attracts fitness enthusiasts seeking a grueling workout. The trail’s relentless gradient and uneven steps present a significant physical challenge, while the risk of injury and exhaustion adds to its reputation as one of America’s most demanding hikes.

Presidential Traverse

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Aptly named for its passage over several peaks named after U.S. presidents, the Presidential Traverse in New Hampshire’s White Mountains is an iconic hike. Hikers face rugged terrain, unpredictable weather, and significant elevation gain as they traverse the summits of Mounts Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Washington, and others. 


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