The Six Most Dangerous Hikes in America

The Six Most Dangerous Hikes in America

For normal people, a hike involves walking a trail for less than an hour, and the hardest part is stepping over a felled tree that crosses the trail. For others, the more intense and death-defying feats are just right. You certainly have plenty of both to choose from in the U.S. From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream Waters, we have a rich offering of pretty, leisurely walks and rugged, outrageous challenges. This article presents the six most dangerous hikes in America, all to satisfy you “less-normal” people.

1. Mist Trail. Yosemite National Park, California has a family-friendly reputation with something for everyone, including waiting in long lines; however, it also possesses the notorious Mist Trail—a seven-mile round trip that reaches a spectacular view of Nevada Falls. Its final stretch is equipped with steel cables to keep you from disaster. Also, weather can be harsh and cause slippery footing and cold temperatures. Over 60 people have met their doom on the half-dome, so be careful.

2. The Bright Angel Trail of the Grand Canyon takes you through 9.5 miles of sun-scorched, rocky slope, which will if you’re not prepared, dehydrate you and leave you flirting with heat exhaustion. Common summer temperatures hover around 110 degrees F. This hike runs between the North and South rims of the canyon and has earned deployment of a special rescue team for the fatigued and dried out.

3. America’s deadliest hike is Mount Ranier in Washington State. It has claimed over 400 deaths. Anything but a “walk in the park,” Mount Ranier features extreme and fast weather changes, avalanches, falling rocks, and an unpredictable volcano. Hypothermia is common, along with broken bones, drowning, and heat stroke. Take a professional guide with you, and be prepared with a first-aid kit, nutrition, weather-proof clothing, and your prayer token. Mount Ranier is definitely one of the six most dangerous hikes in America.

4. Angel’s Landing of Zion National Park in Southern Utah goes from “This is nice” to “Why the hell did I do this?” Set amid the red rock “Martian” landscape, the hike to Angels’ Landing is about five miles round trip. It has 21 switchbacks, tight squeezes through carved rock, narrow ridges, and a climax in the trail where if you aren’t grasping the support chains, you may become scraps for vultures. Here there is no tolerance or laughter for pushing or tickling. It’s the occasional “horsing around” that makes Angel’s Landing one of the six most dangerous hikes in America. The view at the top is breath-taking.

5. Mount McKinley of Alaska is America’s highest peak. This one is not for families or beginners; it’s for tough people who have experience in the wilderness. You need to know how to use a machete to cut through the bush, rugged snow boots, and knives to defend yourself from the local citizens—grizzly bears, moose, and other unpredictable creatures. At over 20,000 feet elevation, altitude sickness is fairly common, and the winds bluster up at times to blow you off your feet. If you’re not hardcore, train to be before you tackle Mount McKinley (Denali).

6. Maroon Bells Trail of White River National Forest in Colorado features perhaps the most photographed mountains in North America. They are stunning, but don’t let beauty lull to sleep about the treacherous “Deadly Bells.” No place for the novice climber, The Deadly Bells qualifies as one of the six most dangerous hikes in America because of its hazardous terrain in the form of loose, unstable footing, steep slopes, and extreme weather.

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The Six Most Dangerous Hikes in America


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