These hikes are guaranteed to push you to your limit.
When it comes to discovering arduous hikes, height need not be a factor. Even though some climbs are undoubtedly incredible, there are several long-distance linear walks which are equally exhilarating.
For those dedicated adventure seekers who wish to test their limits of stamina and mental strength here are the seven most challenging treks on the planet which will thoroughly examine your endurance and determination.
Corsica GR20 Complete, France
GR20 is said to be the most beautiful and difficult trek in Europe for good reason. This 14 day strenuous hike follows the route over the tall granite mountain peaks, while cutting across the lovely island of Corsica, France, in a diagonal path from Calenzana in the North to Conca in the South.
Despite the rugged nature of this 180km trail, the hike is well within the capabilities of most reasonably fit walkers as the entire route is well-marked with red and white blazes and has all the basic infrastructure in place.
The most notorious single section is Cirque de la Solitude, a stretch groups only attempt huddled together as it involves a 800m free-climbing rope trip on sheer rock faces which can be boi gorgeous and at the same time, terrifying. So strap on your best walking boots and get set for this challenging route.
Ciudad Perdida, Colombia
Concealed deep within the dense jungles of Colombia, Ciudad Perdida(Spanish for ‘Lost City) is a remarkable hidden gem which got swallowed up by the forest centuries ago. Made accessible just a little more than a decade back, a trek to the Lost City is an exhilarating and anticipation filled steep venture which traverses thick humid jungles and innumerable water pools before culminating in the grand finale, the steps leading to Ciudad Perdida.
This 44km challenging round trip trek takes around six days to complete, and even though you will return tired, dirty and bug-bitten it is well worth the effort in lieu of the incredible landscape and the ancient ruins.
Snowman trek, Bhutan
Treks do not come more demanding and rewarding than this. The epic Snowman trek to the most remote part of Bhutan, ranks as one of the most strenuous of all anywhere in the Himalayan region. This classic hike over a distance of 347 km, crosses as many as 14 high mountain passes, over an elevation of upto 5000m, showcasing some extraordinary natural beauty, right from day one at Shana, till the final step on the isolated region of Lunana 23 absorbing days later. Only a handful of sturdy trekkers, who are able to complete the trip each season, are rewarded with magnificent views of the mountains and the hidden high altitude lakes.
Everest Base Camp, Nepal
Thousands of trekkers undertake this 15 day challenging walk in order to discover the beauty and the majesty of the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest. Hiking to the base camp is no walk in the park as it involves continuous trekking for as many as eight hours a day over altitudes which can reach over 5500 m. Needless to say, it should be only attempted by those who are supremely fit as there is a genuine risk of Acute Mountain Sickness on the trip. Once you reach the base camp you will be privileged to meet mountaineers from all over the world, attempting to conquer the high massif. This bonding experience of a lifetime passes through rugged mountains, alpine lakes, glacial plains and forges a genuine lifelong comradery with the other members of the group.
Paine Circuit Trek, Chile
The three massive rock columns of Torres del Paine in Chile, have inspired trekkers from around the world with their magnetic appeal and full glory as you come upon these Patagonia gems across the Ventisquero Torres.The 136 km full Paine circuit can only be done anticlockwise and there is a limit of just 80 persons per day on this hike which can be done between six to ten days depending on fitness levels.
The trail begins at Laguna Amarga, and after completing the full loop over the John Gardener Pass ends at the Torres or towers from which the place got its name. The trail goes above and beyond what other difficult hikes offer as it displays untouched forest landscapes, a fair ratio of glaciers per day and a rich array of Patagonian fauna, including guanaco and pumas. So if you want to sleep under starlit skies with the mountains under your feet this amazing circuit hike will unveil the magnificent beauty of the Paine Horns.
Kalalau Trail, Hawaii
Recommended for only the most experienced hikers, the 35.4km(round trip) ‘Killer’ Kalalau Trail near Hanalei, on the Na Pali Coast of Hawaii is considered to be the most difficult and dangerous of all hikes in the United States. For this part of the rugged coastal region, the Kalalau Trail is the only approach path. Visitors need to apply online for permits which are limited to 900 persons per day. It takes 3-5 days to hike the whole route which includes a visit to the Kalalau Beach and Valley.
The trail is rocky and very steep and wet along a majority of the way. There are sketchy stretches, where one literally has to cling to the cliffsides (Crawler’s Ledge) which are not for the faint hearted, but if you follow the well-marked stones placed at every mile, there should be no issues. The trail forms a part of the Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Path which itself is a part of the Hawaii State Parks System.
Bright Angel Trail, Arizona
Although challenging and steep, the well-maintained Bright Angel Trail makes for a perfect introduction to those interested in canyon hiking. This popular South Rim hike in the Grand Canyon is a 16 miles round trip, from Bright Angel Trail to Bright Angel Campground, which can be completed in 2-3 days depending on individual to individual capabilities.
In spite of the challenges involved, this is one of the very best hikes to explore the Rim, walk down 5000 feet to the Colorado river and then hike back to the Rim again. There are relentless switchbacks down extremely steep slopes in sections till the Indian Garden Campground after which the path is more or less level. Hikers are advised caution as the trail is exposed, has no railings and can be rocky in places.
If you are contemplating a relaxing walking trip, these seven difficult hikes should not be attempted. That said, if you want to push yourself for a serious adrenaline filled trip, these hikes will push your will power to the hilt, but in return will give everything you have always dreamt off and probably much more.
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