Hiking can be a relaxing, healthy pastime that takes you along some picturesque trails.
On the other hand, it can also be a pulse-pounding, fear-inducing, death-defying walk on the wild side.
Depending on your experience, sense of adventure, and ability to cope with extreme heights, some of the world’s most dangerous hiking trails may appeal to you. If you’ve been looking for a new challenge to inject a little more zest into your walking, consider visiting any of these five trails during your next vacation …
Mount Huashan (China)
Just looking at hikers’ snapshots of this trail is enough to induce an immense terror of heights in anyone.
Mount Huashan is based close to China’s Huayin, and offers plenty of spectacular views – provided you can cope with the challenge, of course. There are various trails leading to the mountain’s five summits, and the number of tourists choosing to walk them led to a much-needed reinforcement-operation.
The trails are more secure than they were, but dozens of fatal falls are still believed to occur each year.
This is unsurprising, when parts of a trail are simply wooden boards bolted to the side of the mountain.
There are also parts boasting such intimidating names as Black Dragon Ridge and Hundred-Foot Crevice.
Taghia Trail (Morocco)
Next time you head to Morocco, be sure to try hiking the Taghia trail, which runs around the spectacular mountain, Oujdad.
You need to tread carefully here, as there are only rocks and logs leading you along solid wall. While these are secure and many people walk this trail safely, the narrow walkways and sheer drops are enough to put even the most seasoned hikers off.
El Caminito del Rey (Spain)
‘Little King’s Path’ is a definite challenge, with a walkway just three feet wide to tread. This is based more than 300 feet up from a river running beneath,
For some time, this was known as one of the most dangerous trails on Earth, due to its state of deterioration. In 2014, the trail reopened after restoration work was completed, and it’s now safer than it was.
However, the narrowness of certain parts and the brutal drops mean this is still a no-no for people likely to be overwhelmed.
Huayna Picchu Trail (Peru)
Peru’s Machu Picchu is one of the world’s most iconic sites, but hiking all the way up there is a challenge for even the hardiest hiker.
Huyana Picchu, the trail running up to the Incan spot, runs up to around 1,000 feet. It’s also so narrow and steep that you access is prohibited during most of the country’s rainy season.
While the reward for reaching the top is unquestionably worthwhile, the danger the trail poses is sure to put many of us off.
Bright Angel Trail (Arizona)
The Bright Angel Trail is based in the beautiful Grand Canyon National Park, and runs for more than eight miles.
Over the years, hikers have been at risk of flash floods, rockfall, unbearable heat, and even drowning. It is incredibly popular, but hikers are at risk without the proper gear and care.
When embarking on one of these trails, or any hike, having the right equipment is vital. Being under-prepared poses numerous risks, not least dehydration and extreme hunger if you pack too-little supplies.
You should make sure you have waterproof backpacks to keep your essentials dry in wet conditions, though these will also offer protection should your bag fall into water.
Hiking is a terrific way to stay fit and see the world, but do your research before trying trails known to be dangerous.
Preparation is key for long hikes.
While you might like the romantic notion of just grabbing your backpack, boots, and heading out into the great unknown, the reality is very different. Without the right supplies in your kit, you can run into difficulty all too easily.
You should eat a snack every hour, to replace those electrolytes you lose through perspiration. Hiking burns a high number of calories, and if you underestimate how weak you’ll become without snacks, you face trouble. The average 160-lb hiker will burn anywhere from 430 to 440 calories for each hour, while someone closer to 200-lb will use up around 550 calories in the same period.
Surprised? This is all the more reason to be prepared.
To help you stay energized, focused, and satisfied on your hikes, we’ve put together five essential snacks. Enjoy!
#1: Dried Fruit
Dried fruits are delicious, quick to eat, and packed with fiber. By dehydrating fruits, excess water is removed, making them lighter in your backpack.
On top of this, fresh fruit is prone to bruising and spoiling in your backpack, leading to off-putting smells and remains. With dried fruit, you can package it neatly in clear bags without having to worry about damage, odors, or excess weight.
Go for apricots, banana slices, raisins, prunes, cranberries, and anything else that tempts your taste buds.
Want to keep your food dry on wet days? Take a waterproof backpack made with lightweight materials, which not only keeps your goods safe but also prevents any leaking drinks from seeping through to your clothes.
#2: Carb-rich Treats
As well as dried fruits, take a selection of crunchy, salty snacks with you. Pretzels are a favorite of so many of us, and their complex carbohydrates are just what you need to replenish that spent energy.
Crackers are another great option, particularly stronger ones unlikely to leave broken remains in your wake. Just like dried fruit, these can be stored with a minimum of fuss and weigh next to nothing.
#3: Wholegrain Pasta or Quinoa
Snacks are vital, but you’ll want a proper meal during longer hikes. Sticking with carbs, wholegrain pastas are a top option: their glucose provides slow-release energy over time. These will keep you going for longer than snacks alone.
Add vegetables for crucial vitamins, minerals, and extra flavor. Quinoa is another slow-releasing food, and like pasta, can be stored in airtight boxes for long-lasting freshness. These may take up a little more space than snacks, but they’re relatively lightweight.
#4: Soups for Warmth
During winter, hiking is a totally different experience. Rather than worrying about just overheating and sunburn, you have to balance your layers properly so you stay warm without getting too hot.
One way to help stay warm is by eating soup at regular intervals. Fill a flask with hearty soup, packed with vegetables (for that all-important energy) and perhaps a little spice for added heat.
Flasks filled with fluid bring more weight to your backpack, but you’ll be glad of a hot food on the coldest hikes.
Think cereal’s just for breakfast?
Granola, muesli, bran flakes, and other healthy cereals are packed with vitamins and minerals, and can really boost your energy. Luckily, cereal weighs almost nothing at all, so buy small boxes or prepare snack-sized portions that can sit neatly in your backpack’s side-pockets.
We hope this inspires you to explore a wide variety of snacks and meals while out exploring the world! You can even use these as rewards for accomplishing certain milestones during your hikes, creating incentives for your efforts.