Hiking is often disparaged by adrenaline addicts as a tame, tame experience compared to more adrenaline-producing activities like climbing or skiing. With these tough trails in mind, climbing one foot after the other might not be so easy.

If you want to undertake any of these famous hikes, you’ll need more than just guts. You need to be well-equipped, able to extract yourself from perilous situations, and willing to prepare for the worst if you want to hike one of these routes. Whether you want to try an English Lake District classic or an extreme hike in rural China, this list has what you need.

The Lake District And Striding Edge, England

The Lake District And Striding Edge, England
Image Source: Pinterest

The famously changeable weather in the Lake District can sometimes present even the most bucolic of strolls with a challenge. In this corner of England, however, Striding Edge, a sharp ridge leading to Helvellyn, the third highest peak in the Lake District National Park, stands out. There are paths that run along the side of the ridge that can be followed by hikers, but for thrill-seekers, the ridge itself is the place to be.

It was an exceptionally clear day and we were able to get views that stretched all the way to Scotland. This trail is not for the weak or timid; walkers need to be ready to scramble and have good climbing skills. You should also know how to navigate when the sky is overcast. Ice and snow make it risky to continue without preparation, so be ready to turn back if need be.

The Maze At Canyonlands, Utah, United States

Image Source: Pinterest

With regards to the Maze, the National Park Service cuts right to the chase. If you are thinking of hiking in this area, the book warns of slick rocks and high-rising it’s the most remote area of Canyonlands, so guests have to drive on dirt roads for hours before going into the deep gullies. It is a place where rockfalls and flash floods happen.

Visitors will have to bring plenty of water for multi-day trips. The park rangers insist that all visitors share their itineraries and stay in touch as often as possible. On their adventures, visitors will find landscapes that feel timeless and unlikely to encounter other people.

The City of HuaShan In China

The City of HuaShan In China
Image Source: BBC

According to Lonely Planet, this hike to the South Peak of HuaShan, one of China’s Five Great Mountains, is one of the most dangerous in the world, and with good reason. To climb this mountain’s 7,070 feet summit, you must scale uneven steps and a series of ladders and hook yourself to a chain using a harness and carabiners while walking on the plank of death.

This is as simple as it sounds — planks of wood bolted into a rock face that guides you both up and down the mountain. As with many other tourists, they came wearing sneakers and T-shirts. However, this is not a place to arrive unprepared. All you need to prepare for a hike are a decent pair of hiking boots, plenty of food and water, and a little degree of fitness.

It’s The Giro Del Sorapiss in Italy

It's The Giro Del Sorapiss in Italy
Image Source: in a Faraway Land

It is home to a series of stomach-churning via (literally, iron ways) hammered into the rock during World War I, when Italian and Austrian troops fought fierce battles across the region’s limestone peaks. Today, hikers in search of the thrill of climbing without the fear of falling flock to this area in the spring and summer.

As the biggest challenge of all the rides, the Giro del Sorapiss begins at Rifugio Vandelli, before heading high into the mountains along sheer rock faces and taking in three via ferratas. Harnesses are needed to clip into the lines, along with helmets and ideally a guide who can provide the necessary equipment and show the way.

The Drakensberg Grand Traverse in South Africa And Lesotho

The Drakensberg Grand Traverse in South Africa And Lesotho
Image Source: Hiking South Africa

A multi-day hike challenges the adventurer, from rapidly changing weather and the need to carry ample supplies, making for a real test of their skills. The Drakensberg Grand Traverse certainly qualifies. It is a 230-kilometer (143 miles) journey that can take up to two weeks to complete, which begins with a climb up a set of chain ladders to the Drakensberg Escarpment before crossing Lesotho’s border into South Africa.

This complicated route can be attempted by oneself, but it should be noted that the trail itself is more of a concept than a physical place. So any person considering coming here should possess all of the maps for KZN Wildlife Drakensberg, a GPS, and food and water for the entire journey. The best time to visit is in the spring or fall to avoid the long, lush grass of summer and the bitter cold of winter.

The Cascade Saddle in New Zealand

The Cascade Saddle in New Zealand
Image Source: YouTube

At the base of Mount Aspiring National Park on New Zealand’s South Island, Cascade Saddle offers some of the most awe-inspiring mountain views in the world. But having seen a number of deaths earlier this century due to slippery rocks and treacherous conditions, the country’s conservation department is keen to emphasize that this is a route “only for people with navigation and high-level backcountry skills and experience,” warning those who do come to be prepared to turn back if things get hairy.

This is a two-day excursion with choices to either camp or stay in mountain huts along the way. Hikes over ankle-cracking tussocky grass and crossing difficult terrain are also to be expected. The reward is more beautiful vistas, including Mount Aspiring and its Maori name of Tititea.

The Kalalau Trail, in Hawaii

The Kalalau Trail, in Hawaii
Image Source: Hawaii Travel Guide

This trail is a 22-mile round trip on the Na Pali Coast of Kauai and the riskiest hike in all of Hawaii. The jungle trail descends, staying next to the coast, as the raging Pacific ocean can be seen below. In order to camp in the valley or at Kalalau Beach, you’ll need a permit to go beyond Hanakapiai Beach to Hanakoa Valley.

All that’s to say, the three creek crossings can be a challenge, but when water levels are high after heavy rain, the crossings are difficult. If you decide to add Crawler’s Ledge to the plan, disaster is inevitable for novice climbers. Only those with proper outdoor smarts should apply.

Huayna Picchu in Peru

Huayna Picchu in Peru
Image Source: Intrepid Travel

Anyone who’s seen a photograph of Peru’s Machu Picchu will have seen Huayna Picchu. Instagram and postcards from South America feature the majestic peak that sits behind the Incas’ famed lost city. Climbing to the top, however, entails going through the simply-named ‘stairs of death, a section of 500-year-old steps with vertigo-inducing drops down to the valley below. There are some paths lined with enormous ladder structures and it is not for people who do not like heights.

 Many people arrive unprepared, but hiking boots and a local guide are highly recommended. Although it might seem challenging, the view of the citadel below will make your journey well worth it.

The C in Papua New Guinea

The Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea
Image Source: Escape

In 96 kilometers (around 60 miles), the Kokoda Track traces a route from Port Moresby to Kokoda, crossing the Owen Stanley Range. The trek is remote and can take up to two weeks to complete, due to afternoon deluges, raging torrents, and conditions that can become treacherously slippery due to ankle-deep mud and tree roots that grow slippery in the tropical heat.

After 13 Australians died flying to the track in a light aircraft in 2009, authorities have taken measures to make access to the track safer. To help local communities profit from tourism, permits are required and all visitors must walk with a licensed operator. Organizers recommend athletes train up to a year to prepare for the stifling days and freezing nights this corner of the world has to offer. The reason to be mindful of the war as you explore this lush and wild terrain is that it was the site of savage battles during World War II, between Japanese and Allied Australian and Papuan forces.

The Daikiretto Traverse, Located in Japan

The Daikiretto Traverse, Located in Japan
Image Source: Es Una Buena Vida

Japan’s the Northern Alps deliver arguably the best and without a doubt the most challenging, hiking in the country. It is undoubtedly the route to try if you are seeking a real adventure — one that is technically challenging without the need for ropes. Despite being just two miles in length, this journey may take hours to complete and is best completed in a guided, extended tour of this beautiful mountain range.

 Along the traverse is a thin trail using ladders and chains to maintain a thin, rocky ridge. The drops go over a hundred meters deep on either side. To enjoy it you should be very physically fit and at ease with heights. A helmet and gloves make traversing more bearable, and I would advise not doing it alone, especially in winter.

Mount Washington, New Hampshire, The United States

Mount Washington, New Hampshire, The United States
Image Source: The Boston Globe

The Mount Washington Observatory claims that Mount Washington is home to the world’s worst weather. Temperatures have gone as low as -47o F (-44oC) and set a world record for the fastest wind, just shy of 231 mph (372 kph) in 1934. This feat was matched at the same site only twelve years later in 1996. All in all, hiking here is challenging, with bad weather changing in an instant. In order to prepare, you should carry clothes for cold temperatures, even when the weather is warm.

The climb is no small feat, and any prospective hikers will need to be in great shape to finish. It’s true, that driving or taking the cog train up to the summit is possible, but anyone well-prepared and looking for a challenge should get their boots on, pack up, and do it on foot.