25 Most Dangerous Hikes, Treks, and Climbs On Earth

Posted by , Updated on March 21, 2024

From Machu Picchu to the Darien Gap these are the 25 most dangerous hikes, treks, and climbs on Earth.



Huayna Picchu, Peru

dangerous hikes

Hiking to Machu Picchu is one thing. But continuing past Machu Picchu and up to Huayna Picchu is another. Also known as the “Hike of Death”, the climb up this mountain takes several casualties every year. The bird’s eye view of Machu Picchu is supposedly worth it.


The Maze, Utah

dangerous hikes

Found in a remote corner of Canyonlands National Park this red rock labyrinth is insanely hard to get to, but if you do make it watch out for rockfalls and flash floods.


Mount Hua Shan, China

dangerous hikes

Just looking at the picture should be enough.


Bright Angel Trail, Arizona

dangerous hikes

So many people die here that the park service has a division dedicated to rescuing hikers along the trail. Of all things it’s usually the heat that gets people because they don’t anticipate how hot it will be at the bottom of the canyon. Without enough water they usually don’t make it back.


Kokoda Track, Papua New Guinea

dangerous hikes

The scene of intense fighting during World War II, this trail hasn’t stopped taking lives. Between malaria, extreme heat, cold nights, and unstable terrain, only the brave should attempt to complete this 11 day hike.


Longs Peak, Colorado

dangerous hikes

As one of Colorado’s most popular peaks it is also one of the deadliest. The first half of the hike is deceptively easy, while the second half is deathly hard.


Drakensberg Traverse, South Africa

dangerous hikes

Things are serious from the get-go when two rickety chain ladders take hikers to the top of a ridge. The views are worth it but don’t be fooled…lives are lost every year.


Mist Trail, California

dangerous hikes

Although numerous people make the ascent just fine, in poor weather conditions lives are almost always lost.


Cascade Saddle, New Zealand

dangerous hikes

Made famous by The Lord of the Rings movies, this place really is beautiful. The danger, however, should not be underestimated and a local coroner even demanded that officials close the area down recently due to a high number of casualties.


Angel's Landing, Utah

dangerous hikes

With extremely narrow paths only wide enough for one person, people fall every year.


Aonach Eagach Ridge, Scotland

dangerous hikes

It’s probably not the first place that you would look for dangerous trails, but this mountain path offers no way down except through if the weather turns bad (which it often does). As you might expect, accidents are common.


Kalalau, Hawaii

dangerous hikes

Sure, this 22 mile trek through paradise seems amazing, and it usually is…but rock falls, slippery ledges, and hoodlums (yes, drug dealers have been known to mug hikers) abound.


El Caminito del Rey, Spain

dangerous hikes

Once again, the picture will probably explain everything.


Maroon Bells South Ridge, Colorado

dangerous hikes

Also known as the “Deadly Bells” a National Park Service sign sums it up: “The beautiful Maroon Bells … have claimed many lives in the past few years. They are not extreme technical climbs, but they are unbelievably deceptive. Expert climbers who did not know the proper routes have died on these peaks.”


Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala

dangerous hikes

Although this active volcano has been closed recently due to numerous casualties on its slopes, stubborn hikers still access the peak from nearby local farms.


Mount Washington, New Hampshire

dangerous hikes

With the Mount Washington Observatory laying claim to “the world’s worst weather”, numerous naive hikers have started up in shorts and a t-shirt only to get hypothermia half way.


Via Ferrata, Italy and Austria

dangerous hikes

Built by Italian troops during World War II to provide a path through the Dolomites, these suspension bridges, and sheer cliffs present readily obvious dangers.


Rover's Run Trail, Alaska

dangerous hikes

When it comes to geography this hike is relatively tame compared to the rest of the list. It’s the bear mauling’s that ruin things though. Local officials have even considered closing the area off.


Wendenstock, Switzerland

dangerous hikes

With narrow and often slippery paths that can be hard to distinguish from their surroundings, one wrong move here is likely the last wrong move you’ll ever make.


Devil's Path, New York

dangerous hikes

Here’s another path that hikers typically underestimate. With no apparent dangers, the winding and slippery path leads to at least 1 death annually.


Jungle Trekking, Southeast Asia

dangerous hikes

With numerous dangers ranging from unexploded mines all the way to hungry wildlife, Laos, Borneo, and Sumatra have still managed to attract a good bit of thrill seekers.


West Coast Trail, Canada

dangerous hikes

Between wild animals, narrow ravines, and rickety wooden ladders this is the perfect place to tempt fate.


Himalayan Treks, Nepal

dangerous hikes

With everything from hikers being kidnapped and decapitated to treacherous weather conditions and terrain, the State Department recently advised against hiking off the beaten path around Everest Base camp.


Sahara Crossing

dangerous hikes

Although crossing the Sahara encompasses about a thousand different routes, there is no desert on Earth that people try to cross more often than this one. Unfortunately a good bit of those crossings are unsuccessful.


The Darien Gap, Panama and Colombia

dangerous hikes

The Pan-American highway goes from the southern tip of Chile all the way to Alaska with once exception – the 90 km Darien gap that connects North and South America. Filled with impassible swamps, drug cartels, and some of the most disagreeable conditions on the face of the planet, only the suicidal should attempt this one.