If you’re into hiking for the thrill of it, you must have a keen sense of adventure that needs to be quenched periodically. But planning your next trip into the great outdoors isn’t easy unless you have some good ideas to start you off. And that’s what we’ll tackle in this article: 5 of the most terrific hiking destinations for thrill-seeking adrenaline lovers.
Huayna Picchu, Peru
People around the world venture each year to Machu Picchu following the danger-imbued Inca Trail. This is a perilous path that’s been known to claim a few sacrifices each year, just like the Incas used to when they inhabited this territory.
And this is definitely not a journey for those faint of heart, though it’s filled with such beauties you can never forget. But if you want an even more risky trail, you have to venture off beyond the legendary Machu Picchu and climb higher towards Huyana Picchu.
You’ll need to know how to dry clothes fast because the Hike of Death will certainly make you sweat with excitement and effort. The strenuous climb means you’ll go up 1,000 feet on a granite staircase carved by the Incas, and all that in the length of just a mile.
The hike will take you through slippery terrain and rocky ground, even decomposing soil. Some corners don’t have anything to hold on to, so you should really be careful about taking the proper equipment. But when you get to the destination, you can marvel at the Machu Picchu that stretches beneath your eyes, and get the chance to dry your clothes before they get all wet again on the way down since that’s really the hardest part.
Mount Hua Shan, China
This holy mountain of China harbors ancient temples filled with awe-inspiring silence and guarded by stone cliffs. You can imagine how the monks got there and how this monumental solitude makes their hearts tremble in search of a greater spirituality.
The pilgrims that hike on the five spires are not just courageous beings, they’re also inspired by the same spiritual feeling that’s hard to describe. They have to use vertical stairs, with narrow steps that are easy to miss and slippery handholds where you find any.
But there’s still some degree of support getting up to the temples. If you’re planning to get to the south part of Hua Shan using the plank trail, you’ll have to walk on platforms made from wood, which are set up right in the mountain’s wall.
These iffy platforms are at a height of over 160 stories, which should really start your heart pumping. Now imagine you only have a few iron chains to hold on to, but only up to a certain point, where both the platforms and the chains are replaced by small hand holds.
Drakensberg Traverse, South Africa
An alpine terrain filled with numerous landforms, vegetation and fauna that makes you want to never go back to the civilized world, the Drakensberg traverse will have your knees tremble, not just your heart. There are many people who have actually died doing this hike because it’s such an exposed trek.
But the Natal National Park where this hike takes you through is definitely worth visiting. The Drakensberg escarpment forms a ridge at more than 9,000 feet made from volcanic basalt that’s hundred of millions of years old. These ancient formations are filled with gorges and plains, ridges and canyons, lush vegetation and delicate wildflowers.
You can admire all that by hiking the sandstone paths but don’t expect to find proper trails in the Dragon Mountains of Africa. You’ll use animal trails and rough ground, though you’ll love the waxing and waning way up through basalt cliffs that require the use of chain ladders too.
These are just at the beginning, and they’re as flimsy as can be, but getting up to the Amphitheater, a huge rock cliff, is definitely worthwhile.
If walking through an alpine ground isn’t your cup of tea, why not try one through the jungle of Hawaii? This trail is set on the Na Pali Coast and harbors a volcanic landscape with abrupt slopes and virgin beaches. The whole hike rounds on about 20 miles both ways, and you’ll walk through streams and waterfalls, tackling slippery rocks and narrow crossings.
That’s even more difficult to do when the weather turns bad, especially when it’s raining. You already have to be extremely careful where you’re stepping on the rocky streams, so the crossing is even more treacherous with rain. Besides, there are plenty of waterfalls here that are one of nature’s true marvels, although their beauty is somewhat overshadowed by the danger of falling rocks.
Combine rain, risky stream crosses with falling rocks and you get the perfect recipe for danger on this trail that’s taken its fair share of human tolls. But if you choose to swim on the way, it’s even more dangerous. The locals aren’t that friendly either, and you’ll be traveling through isolated territories, so you’d better watch your back.
Maroon Bells South Ridge, Colorado
If scenic views are what tickle you pink, you have to put Maroon Bells on your bucket list. Besides, we’ve thought we’d end up our top 5 with a safer route that still has plenty of amazing landscapes, even if the hike to the South Ridge is on rough ground. The way down isn’t a piece of cake, and you’ll end up hiking more than 10 miles on the abrupt ground with falling rock and gullies.
The weather isn’t your friend either, considering how hot and dry it is. This will make your journey even more difficult since you’ll have to watch each step on the flimsy, unstable rocks while the snow fields aren’t reinforced at all.
Where will you go?
With so many adventurous hikes to choose from, we hope our selection is what you were looking for. So whether you end up going on one of these trails or not, leave us a message and tell us what that is!