16 Ultra-Dangerous Hikes Around the World

Even the most experienced trekkers sometimes avoid certain hikes. From unfriendly wildlife to high altitude sickness and narrow footpaths, you might be happy you’re reading this from the comfort of your home or office. 

Fodor’s put together this list of the most dangerous hikes on the planet. They have an extensive team of writers and editors who work on their recommendations.

1: Everest Base Camp

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It may come as little surprise that Everest Base Camp is the most dangerous trek in the world. Between three and 15 people pass away each year from hiking on this Himalayan trek. Landing on many thrill seekers’ bucket lists, hiking Everest is relatively easy; it’s the duration and lack of oxygen at such high elevations that often get people.

2: Drakensberg Grand Traverse

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Drakensberg Grand Traverse is the second most dangerous trek in the world. It’s an undeniably extreme hike, regardless of skill level. The remote South African multi-day hike has a dangerous history of hikers becoming hyperthermic and folks falling from poorly-made chain ladders. In 1985, the 130-mile trail had seen 55 fatalities, and since then, the government has stopped counting the number of fatalities altogether.

3: Kalalau Trail

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While hikers trek through muddy, slippery paths to traverse on Kalalau Trail, that’s not what makes it one of the deadliest hikes in the US. An official signpost on the trail suggests the beach’s unpredictable riptide can sweep hikers away; more than 85 people have fallen victim to such circumstances. There’s even a spot called “Crawler’s Ledge” that has claimed the lives of unprepared hikers. Kauai now requires a permit to hike the 25-mile trail. 

4: Corcovado National Park

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The Costa Rican Corcovado National Park hike is so treacherous that the Costa Rican government requires trekkers to have a trained guide to escort them. Unlike other trails on the list, the weather is predictable, and there are no trails with extreme elevation. The kicker is when mapless hikers become lost in the dense jungle brush, crawling with lethal wildlife like Pumas, crocodiles, jaguars, and over four types of highly venomous snakes. 

5: Devil’s Causeway

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Devil’s in the name, and that’s your first clue. At 11,500 feet elevation in Colorado, hikers on Devil’s Causeway traverse through valleys and narrow paths too close for comfort. After a roughly 10-mile journey through Colorado’s landscapes, hikers reach a pencil-thin landbridge that looks scary enough to make even major thrill-seekers turn back around. 

6: Huayna Picchu

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With the nickname “Machu Picchu Stairs of Death,” it won’t take much to demonstrate how perilous the Huayna Picchu trek is. Even deadlier than the four-day grueling hike across Peru’s Inca Trail, the steep and slippery 2.5-mile summit of Huayna Picchu results in countless injuries yearly and has even claimed lives. 

7: The Precipice

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While the risky Precipice hike in Acadia National Park ends with an unbeatable view of New England foliage, you may not reach that point. To get to The Precipice, you’ll have to take on some serious rock climbing, scaling three miles of steep mountain with the occasional iron rungs to hold onto. One slip or misstep and you’ll fall hundreds of feet below, as many have before. It’s known as Maine’s most dangerous hiking trail. 

8: Angel’s Landing

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Fodor’s reported that the death toll at Angel’s Landing at the Zion National Park in Utah makes it among the most dangerous hikes in America. This trail’s downfall primarily comes from overcrowding, where trekkers are often shoulder-to-shoulder with people of all experience levels on paths barely wide enough for one. When staring into a chasm deep below, hikers must navigate a thin, rocky path with heavy chain rails that offer little consolation.

9: Parvati Valley

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Known to travelers as the “Valley of Death” and “India’s Bermuda Triangle,” Parvati Valley’s long winding routes with unstable footing, sheer drop-offs, and unpredictable weather make it dangerous enough as it is. But these nicknames come from something more mysterious. In the past several decades, over 30 visitors who take on this hike have vanished without a trace or passed away under strange circumstances. 

10: The Mist Trail to Half Dome

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Danger lurks at another top-rated American national park: The Mist Trail to Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. It requires permits and clip-in cables for trekkers to have a chance at safely completing the hike. Over the past 15 years, 13 hikers have fallen to their demise, and 290 accidents have been reported. Adventurers slip and slide through Vernal Falls, only to be met with a grueling 18-mile hike with 5,000 feet of elevation gain. With shaky legs, hikers must then climb ladder-like cables to the summit. That’s often where disaster strikes. 

11: Mount Huashan

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After a Taoist priest in China nailed thin boards to Mount Huashan to reach the summit more than 700 years ago, several tried (and failed) to follow in his footsteps. Numbers estimate that at least 100 hikers have plummeted due to Mount Huashan’s rickety platforms. The hike remains risky but is now equipped with new wooden platforms and clip-in harnesses. 

12: Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim Trail

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While the Grand Canyon is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the US, over 800 people have died attempting to hike the rim-to-rim trail. It’s easy for even seasoned hikers to meet their maker on this deceptive trail. Many start their hike (and expend their energy) downhill in the crisp morning hours, only to be faced with climbing steep canyon switchbacks for 10 miles to get back out. In the remote recesses of the canyon, asking for help isn’t possible. 

13: Mount Ijen

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Located in Java, Indonesia, Fodor’s goes as far as to say Mount Ijen is the most inhospitable landscape on Earth. With an active volcano and an electric blue-acid lake capable of melting metal and searing skin, it’s not for the faint of heart. Daring hikers battle putrid gas, volcanic ash, and twisting trails requiring a gas mask, hoping to see the cerulean flames that extend from the volcano to the night sky. 

14: Death Valley National Park

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The aptly named Death Valley National Park is jam-packed with danger for many reasons. For starters, Death Valley is the hottest recorded place on earth. Even one of the shortest trails is enough to induce heatstroke, with 120+ degree landscapes. Adding poor cell service into the mix makes navigating hard for hikers who don’t know their way around. Three species of venomous snakes scattered throughout the ravines make matters much worse.

15: El Caminito del Rey

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Imagine clinging to a sheer cliffside while walking along a rickety wooden plank trail. When you look down, you see a river far beneath you. Authorities restored El Caminito del Rey in Spain for safety in 2015, prompted by it being one of the world’s most dangerous hikes due to thrill seekers plummeting from the formerly rotten boards. Now, adrenaline junkies can still hike El Caminito del Rey, but they must wear a helmet.

16: Mount Washington Summit

Mount Washington, New Hampshire.
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Known as the most dangerous hike in New England, climbing Mount Washington Summit is potentially life-threatening. It’s a deceiving hike, given that it’s only about 6,000 feet in elevation. However, over 180 fatalities have been recorded. Rapidly changing weather catches unsuspecting hikers who set out when it’s 75 and sunny, only to be met with below-freezing temperatures halfway through the trek.  

Traveling Without ATM Fees

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How does never paying an ATM fee when you hike abroad sound? Discover the trick to doing just that from a traveler who’s saved hundreds of dollars in ATM fees.

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25 Most Dangerous Cities in the World

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You may not need to travel as far as you might think to visit one of the world’s most dangerous cities. Two American cities make the list. Do you know which ones they are?

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