For centuries, mankind has both succeeded and failed in his conquest of nature, scaling brutally steep summits and sailing the world’s most treacherous seas. Modern transportation has made travel significantly safer, and at the same time, has forced the most adventurous of us to look far and wide to satisfy our indigenous desire for extreme outdoor experiences.
And let’s face it- there’s a whole lot of world to explore, and finding the most epic hikes, rock climbing sites, or rushing rapids can be a quest in itself. So to help you get started, we’ve created a bucket list of 6 of the world’s most challenging outdoor adventures.
Towering in the background of Machu Picchu is the majestic mountain known as Huayna Picchu. The hike itself isn’t very long, but with the highest point at an elevation of 8,924, this jagged mountain is incredibly steep.
No more than ten feet into the hike your vigor will be immediately put to the test as you burrow beneath boulders on your hands and knees. From there you’ll climb up ancient stone steps that were carved out of the mountainside by the Inca, and enjoy breathtaking views of the ruins of Machu Picchu below.
Beginning at the south rim of the Grand Canyon you’ll descend over 4000 feet to the sapphire Colorado River. The good news is that this trail is all downhill, but the bad news is that temps go up to over 110°F almost daily in the summer months.
Many have died from dehydration while trying to go back up the 9 mile trail in scorching, mid-day heat, so be sure to save the hike back up for the wee hours when temps aren’t quite so blistering.
Whether you’re going down or back up Bright Angel Trail, stay hydrated between rest houses with the Orange Mud Hydra Quiver Double Barrel. This handy hydration pack is worn between your shoulder blades and features two giant 24oz water bottles for maximum hydration. The Hydra Quiver is made with a lightweight mesh material, and even comes with two convenient shoulder pockets for storing your phone, keys, or other small valuables.
This self-proclaimed whitewater capital sure can talk the talk, but it undoubtedly has the rapids to back it up. Between Snowhole and Bodacious Bounce, Salmon River is chock full of Class III and IV whitewater rapids, perfect for all skill levels with ample spaces of calm water for respite. The surrounding landscape is super diverse, from age old volcanic gorges to gorgeous white beaches.
Many consider Devil’s Path to be the most dangerous trail in the Eastern U.S., as it features four summits and over 24 miles of rock chutes, brutally steep ascents, and winding plateaus. To conquer this bear of a trail you’ll often find yourself climbing narrow gaps and sloshing through slippery creeks. But when you’re standing tall at the peak of the Twin summit, the stunning view of the emerald Catskills will make the hike well worth the torture.
Strap on your safety harness and get ready to walk foot-wide wooden planks along the staggering sandstone mountainside of one of the Sacred Mountains of China. Once the planks end, you’ll have to clutch onto divots just big enough for your feet to make it around this precipitous wonder of the world. Be warned- experts estimate that nearly 100 people die each year trying to trek Mount Hua.
Though this stratovolcano erupted nearly 23 years ago for the first time in centuries, the pearlescent crater lake at the top is as beautiful as any sight you’ll ever lay your eyes on. Hiking to the top of Mount Pinatubo you’ll delve into picturesque, sylvan scenes you thought only existed in role-playing video games, as you scale silver boulders and journey through lush greenery. Though many will tell you that the hike itself is simple, the sheer fear of eruption is enough to keep you on your toes.