Seven of the scariest treks on the planet

While some of us are satisfied with a relaxing beach holiday or a leisurely city break, others prefer chasing an adrenaline kick on their vacation. And if you’re that way inclined, read on.

Beware: these breath-stoppingly dangerous treks are not for the faint-hearted.

Chen could tell the people above were scared, because his girlfriend's jacket had been white when they set off | Image: newsonline

Mount Hua Shin, China

Named as the most dangerous hiking trail in the world, this is not a trip for those with a nervous disposition. Centuries ago, pilgrims and monks built a small pathway around the mountain out of planks and chains.

The mountain has a reputation for fatal falls, but it is still popular among thrill-seekers. Some 2,000 meters above ground, on the top of the mountain, you can enjoy a cup of Chinese tea, making the struggle just about worth it(!)


Pictured: danger, yesterday | Image: Kitty Terwolbeck

Sarek National Park, Sweden

This national park is one of the oldest in Europe, and fairly popular among hikers and mountaineers. Beginners are not advised to hike here however... probably because there are no marked trails, no accommodation and only two adequate bridges in the district. It is also the rainiest area in the whole of Sweden, meaning innocuous streams can turn perilous when they flood.

If that wasn’t enough to contend with, you might also stumble across the odd brown bear or Eurasian lynx. Despite all this, the awesome scenery is equal to the risks: The delta of the Papa River is considered one of Europe's prettiest, and it's also home to around 100 glaciers.


John could tell the peyote had kicked in when Tesco's car park started looking like this | Image: Justin Jensen

Atacama Desert, Chile

Considered to be the driest place on the planet, this barren expanse has often been compared to Mars (with one hotel even being reserved for astronomers). The intimidating Licancabur volcano also stands above it all at a staggering 5950m, and you’ll also experience an array of flamingo-filled lagoons and many mysterious looking geological formations. Spooky.


'One peak looks a bit like a woman wearing a blue top,' quipped the tour guide | Image: Ben Swing

Devil's Path, New York

The Devil’s Path is a hiking trail in the Greene County section of the Catskill Mountains of New York, often described as the toughest and most dangerous hiking trail in the Eastern United States. Spanning perilously across the mountain range and then over three other peaks to the west, it offers those brave enough the exciting opportunity to reach the summits of five of the thirty-five Catskill High Peaks. Hikers are so exposed at points, that they are required to cling onto wet chutes to keep upright.


Witty captions on a postcard to the usual address... | Image: Kelsie DiPerna

Kailua, Hawaii

This is a beautiful hike that allows you to soak up the wild and natural Hawaii. ... But fortunes can easily turn with this trail, particularly if the weather takes a turn for the worst. Vast precipitation makes it difficult to negotiate the streams and the potential for falling rocks adds to the danger. Complete the daunting trek though, and beautiful stretches of sand and crystal blue water greets you.

... However, swimming off the remote beaches can be dangerous too, and the indigenous population are not always welcoming to outsiders. Enjoy your walk(!)


'One peak looks a bit like a woman...' Oh, forget it. | Image: Dave Waddell

Cascade Saddle, New Zealand

This trip will certainly be tempting to any Lord of the Rings fan: with epic mountains and beautiful surroundings, it is definitely a hike to remember. However, this is one of the most dangerous treks in the country. While the rest of the Aspiring National Park is pretty safe, this two-day trek has seen a lot of people injure themselves due to super-slippery rocks and remarkably rough terrain. It is advisable that you travel with a certified guide – don't say we didn't warn you.


When Dobbin signed up to do donkey work, he had no idea how much his employers would take the Mick | Image: Grand Canyon National Park

Bright Angel Trail, Arizona

If you're not comfortable with a bit of warm weather, this is one hike you should probably stay away from. Even though this Grand Canyon trail is one of the few that includes rest stations with water sources, about 200 people a year are rescued from the mountain due to heat-related issues.

Other hazards the hikers could face include sudden rainstorms, flash flooding, loose footing, and encounters with wildlife. Mountain lions, you're thinking, right? Coyotes? Black bears, huh? Well, sure – all of the above... But be particularly aware of the squirrels, yeah guys? A lot of hikers get injured by squirrel bites. M'kay?


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