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15 Scariest Hikes in the World to Help You Conquer Your Fear

Looking for a way to challenge yourself and conquer your fear of heights? Here are the scariest hikes in the world.

Anyone who knows us knows that we have a fear of heights. I’m talking, leg shakin’, nonsense talkin’, pants peein’ (okay, we may not pee our pants, but we sure feel like it) fear of heights. We hate the idea that fear can hold us back from a good adventure, so we’ve been pushing ourselves to conquer those fears.

Fearlessness is not the same as the absence of fear. The fearless person is well aware of the fear she faces. The fear, though, becomes a compass, not a barrier. It becomes a way to know what to do next, not an evil demon to be extinguished. When we deny our fear, we make it stronger… Acknowledging fear and moving on is a very different approach, one that permits it to exist without strengthening it. Life without fear doesn’t last very long–you’ll be run over by a bus (or a boss) before you know it. The fearless person, on the other hand, sees the world as it is (fear included) and then makes smart (and brave) decisions. – Seth Godin

Amazing Things Rarely Happen In Your Comfort Zone Quote.

Last week, we did Angel’s Landing, and we’re already ready for our next challenge. Which one will it be?


1. Mount HuaShan, Huayin, China

Distance: Varies depending on summit
Time: All Day
Best Time to Go: April to October

My legs turn to jelly just looking at this hike. This hike makes everyone’s list of most dangerous hikes in the world and for a good reason. Besides steep staircases and vertical ascents, the plank trail is made of wooden platforms bolted to the mountainside.

Mount Huashan Hike (15 Greatest Places to Conquer Your Fear of Heights).
Photo: Aaron Feen / creative commons


2. El Caminito del Rey (The King’s Pathway), El Chorro, Spain

Distance: 4.8 Miles
Time: 4-5 Hours
Best Time to Go: Year Round

This hike is made up of a three-foot-wide walkway that is barely attached to a sheer cliff. There are potions with big gaps and parts where you even have to do some low-level rock climbing. The one comfort is that there is a safety wire running along the path that can be clipped into.

UPDATE: They recently underwent a huge renovation and reopened to the public in March 2015 with a much safer and accessible walkway.

El Caminito del Rey / The King’s Pathway (15 Scariest Hikes in the World).
Photo: Gabi / creative commons


3. Kjerag, Forsand, Rogaland, Norway

Distance: 6.2 Miles
Time: 5 Hours
Best Time to Go: June to September

This mountain in Norway is home to Kjeragbolten, a stone wedged between two rocks that make for some crazy looking photos!

Kjerag Norway (15 Scariest Hikes in the World).
Photo: Angie / creative commons


4. Huayna Picchu, Peru

Time: 2-3 Hours
Best Time to Go: May to September

Although the Inca Trail hike is strenuous and one of the hardest hikes we’ve done, the danger begins just past the hike to the city of Huayna Picchu. Slippery stones, knee-buckling heights, and crumbling rock earn this hike the nickname “Hike of Death”. It’s too bad we couldn’t push past our fear when we were here a few years ago!

Huayna Picchu Peru (15 Scariest Hikes in the World).
Photo: Ramon Rosati / creative commons


5. Via Ferrata, Italy and Austria

Distance: Varies
Time: Varies
Best Time to Go: Year-Round

Via ferrata, or iron roads, are a system of metal ladders and cables. A lot of them were created during World War I. Clip in and swallow that fear as you conquer these heights. The only via ferrata we’ve done so far was in Squamish, and we absolutely loved it.

Via Ferrata Italy (15 Scariest Hikes in the World).
Photo: David Domingo / creative commons


6. Mountain Torq, Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia

Time: 2-3 Days
Best Time to Go: April to September

This is the highest hike of its kind, giving you spectacular views at the highest summit in Malaysia but requiring you to access it via ferrata.

Mountain Torq Via Ferrata (15 Scariest Hikes in the World).
Photo: Jason Fowler / creative commons


7. Half Dome Mountain, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Distance: 16 Miles
Time: All Day
Best Time to Go: April to October

This round trip hike takes you to the top of Yosemite’s famous granite dome. You get amazing views of Vernal and Nevada Falls and the Yosemite Valley. The most iconic portion of the hike is the final 400 feet to the summit where you climb up using two metal cables and is quite the doozy. After doing the hike, it’s definitely one of the scariest hikes in the world in my book. If you’ve really conquered your fear, you can even climb the face of Half Dome!

Half Dome (15 Scariest Hikes in the World).


8. Aonach Eagach Ridge, Glen Coe, Scotland

Distance: 5.75 Miles
Time: 6-9 Hours
Best Time to Go: Year Round

This hike takes you through sections where there are what seems like endless drop-offs on both sides. No rope required, but there are some scary ridge walks, shimmies up chimneys, and crawls down ledges.

Aonach Eagach Ridge Scotland (15 Scariest Hikes in the World).
Photo: Andy MacLeod / creative commons


9. Trolltunga, Odda, Hordaland, Norway

Time: 8 Hours
Best Time to Go: June to September

Probably one of the most famous landmarks in Norway, this rock jutting horizontally out of a mountain will make anyone dizzy.

Trolltunga Norway + World's Scariest Hikes
Photo: Aram Kudurshian / creative commons


10. Drakensberg Traverse, South Africa

Distance: Up to 135 Miles
Time: Up to 12 Days
Best Time to Go: March to May

This hike definitely earns its spot as one of the scariest hikes in the world with two rickety chain ladders take hikers to the top of a ridge with amazing views!

Drakensberg Traverse South Africa (15 Scariest Hikes in the World).
Photo: E / creative commons


11. Pulpit Rock, Forsand, Ryfylke, Norway

Distance: 4.5 Miles
Time: 4 Hours
Best Time to Go: April to October

Norway has some of the most spectacular views for those who can conquer their fear of heights. Pulpit Rock, or Preacher’s Pulpit, is just one of these. Although the 2-hour hike itself with an elevation change of 1082 ft is not terrifying, the destination is a cliff 604 m (1982 ft) tall.

Pulpit Rock / Preachers Pulpit / Preikestolen
Photo: Garrick Fujii (check out his film photos!)


12. Crypt Lake Trail, Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Distance: 11 Miles
Time: 6 Hours

With amazing waterfalls and stunning views, this hike requires you to scramble, cling, and crawl through isolated spots in the Canadian Rockies.

Crypt Lake Waterton Lakes National Park (15 Scariest Hikes in the World).
Photo: Steffen Sauder / creative commons


13. Devil’s Path, New York, USA

Distance: 24.2 Miles
Time: 2-3 Days
Best Time to Go: March to October

This hike takes you in a straight line rather than through switchbacks. The result is a gut-wrenching hike over loose rock, vertical scrambles, and sheer drops. You are rewarded with multiple peaks and viewpoints.

Devils Path New York
Photo: Alex Davis / creative commons


14. Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii, USA

Distance: 11 Miles
Time: Full Day
Best Time to Go: Year-Round

This hike offers beautiful views of the coastline but also evokes sheer terror. Portions of the trail have you facing a rocky ocean below as you edge along a 300-foot cliff.

Kalalau Trail Kauai Hawaii (15 Scariest Hikes in the World).
Photo: Brian / creative commons


15. Angels Landing, Zion National Park, Utah, USA

Distance: 5 Miles
Time: 3-5 Hours
Best Time to Go: March to October

One of the iconic hikes in Zion National Park, Angels Landing is not for the faint of heart. Since 2004, there have been 6 deaths from falling off the side of the mountain on this trail. There are even portions of the trail that offer chains to help steady yourself while there are thousand foot drop-offs on both sides. However, once you’re at the top, the views are truly incredible! (full post here)

Angels Landing Hike (15 Greatest Places to Conquer Your Fear Of Heights).

Can you think of any others that we missed that should be on our list of scariest hikes in the world?

Are there any fears you are trying to overcome?

xoxo estherJacob

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