By SJ Baxter
When we think of vacations, we often consider the beach, amusement parks, or even just staying at home and lounging on the bed or sofa.
For others, however, especially for people who love going out on an adventure, going extreme is just the thing to make their vacation fun and memorable.
The goal? Find the next destination that can give them a shot of adrenaline that is legal, painless, and preferably drug-free.
Whether you are the lounge-around-type of person or the extreme-sports junkie, you can end up having fun while appreciating life by visiting these death-defying hiking trails and cliff diving spots!
Nausea-Inducing Hiking Trails
Time to dust off your signature sneakers and your age-old sleeping bag from the basement. Heaven knows you need both to keep yourself safe and warm while hiking through these famous trails. And while you are at it, be sure that you have high-quality tents just in case you’d love to stay overnight in these places. Won’t that be a great idea?
#1. Mount Hua Shan, China
Fancy an authentic Chinese tea at the top of a mountain after a wonderful hike? With this trail, you can do both. With only planks suspended at the side of Mount Huashan plus chain links serving as a handrail, pilgrims and extreme sports enthusiasts alike love to take a visit every year.
It’s not all futile, though. At the end of the trail, a Daoist temple that has been around since 2nd century BCE and also served as a home for monks and nuns can be found. Worth the trip, most tourists say.
#2. Bright Angel Trail, Arizona
This trail is one of the many hiking trails established for hikers who want to experience traversing the Grand Canyon. It is around 9.9 miles long and elevations can go from 2,480 feet (Colorado River) to 6,860 feet (South Rim, the starting point).
The strenuous trail has been open for camping and hiking to the general public which can be an opportunity to enjoy the flora and fauna. One important rule though?do NOT feed the squirrels.
#3. Mt. Washington, New Hampshire
This mountain is NOT for the faint of heart. Although relatively short (6,288 feet) according to experienced hikers, the wind speed and the weather all throughout the year are the primary reasons why deaths are common in the area. These obstacles are proven to be a good practice area for climbers who plan to go mountaineering at Mt. Everest.
#4. Longs Peak, Colorado
This mountain summit is located at the northern Front range of the Rocky Mountains. It boasts of 14,259 feet elevation and four trails; each with varying difficulties and weather conditions.
If you want a straightforward, easy hike, pick the Clark’s Arrow and the Shelf Trail and the East Longs Peak Trail. But if you prefer a bit of difficulty (with the guidance of a professional hiker in the area, of course), go for the Longs Peak Trail.
#5. West Coast Trail, Vancouver
Also known as the Dominion Lifesaving Trail, this 47-mile traverse is only open during May to September. Hiking at off-seasons cannot guarantee that you are safe and people would come running if they realized that you are nowhere to be found.
#6. Abram Falls, Tennessee
Witness the fusion of the elements of water and earth as you traverse this 5.2-mile trail that runs near Abram Creek and passes by the 20-foot Abram Falls and is found at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
And before you ask; no, hikers are discouraged to take a plunge to the magnificent waterfall because of the strong currents and undertows. You are free to breathe in the fresh air and admire the view, though.
#7. Kokoda Trail, Papua New Guinea
This seemingly underrated trail is not just an ordinary pathway within thickets of trees and rivers?it also is a silent witness to numerous World War II battles between Australians (back then, the colonizers of Papua New Guinea) and Japanese forces.
Even as you hike along the 60-mile trail, you can see remnants of weapons, helmets, and other debris along the way. Because of its rich history, hikers of all ages come not just for an adventure but to see the aftermath of a war that happened more than 50 years ago.
If you plan to put this in your itinerary list, we ask you to employ the services of KoTrek, a company that supports the tour guides who are natives of the place. Aside from the relatively low cost it offers, it aids the locals in the vicinity by giving them a source of livelihood. Besides, who else is better at guiding you across the whole trail than the people who live there all their lives?
#8. North Cape, Norway
Knivskjelloden (or North Cape if you can’t pronounce the local name) is actually a peninsula found at the municipality of Nordkapp in Norway.
The top, which is considered to be the “northernmost point of Europe” can only be reached by walking through an 11-mile trail filled with moss, vegetation, and sharp rocks. The spectacular view at the end of it all, though, is worth the exercise.
Cliff-Diving for the Brave
Wanna take your swimming adventures to a whole new level? Then try these death-defying cliff diving destinations found in different parts of the world. Water slides, who?
#9. Ponte Brolla, Switzerland
This famous cliff diving spot is found in a small quaint village in Ticino, Switzerland. The cliff boasts of 80-foot long dive from the top of the valley down to the cool, clear waters. Because of the staggering distance, only professional divers are allowed to showcase their somersaults and diving techniques.
This does not mean you cannot go here even though you are a first-timer. The annual European Cliff Diving Championship sponsored by the World High Diving Federation is usually held here, and people, young and old, are invited to watch and learn from the experts!
#10. Hell’s Gate, Possum Kingdom Lake, USA
Think that Ponte Brolla is too high already? Then you have not seen this one yet. Cliff diving in Hell’s Gate means jumping down at 92 feet at a whopping 85 kilometers per hour!
The name originated from the way the rock forms were positioned; both cliffs face each other like an open sliding door. One of the rock formations has a downward diagonal edge that is made up of sharp, shaggy rocks. Because of the danger and the height, only professional divers who are participants in the annual Red Bull Cliff Diving Championships are allowed to jump off the cliffs.
#11. Azores, Portugal
Another Red Bull Cliff Diving Championship location, this cliff was a product of nature; it is a portion of a crater of a submerged volcano that has long been dormant.
The 88-foot rock formation is safe for cliff diving professionals and enthusiasts. And while it is not yet your turn to take a jump, you can do a bit of whale watching on top.
#12. Tar Creek Falls, California
To enjoy this one, you might have to take the hike up the 70-foot waterfall before jumping down the water. Calculate the leap carefully, though; most outcroppings of the rocks beneath may be enough to end your life.
But don’t worry, the lake below will catch you. Also, try visiting during the spring. You may find the lake all dried up otherwise.
#13. Angora Lakes, Nevada
Another 70-feet cliff diving location, the Angora Lakes in Nevada is the home of two freshwater lakes?the Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe. During the summer season, the cliff is flocked with tourists who want to experience leaping all the way down to the two famous lakes.
#14. Poco de Diablo, Brazil
Most tourists travel to Brazil because of their sandy beaches and amazing nightlife. But what most people do not know is its hidden cliff diving gem?the mystical black (Yes, black!) lake surrounded by cliffs at every turn.
Not many details are provided because it is grossly underrated but some cliff divers who experienced the place can attest that it is safe for first-timer cliff divers to try.
#15. Kimberley, Australia
Another perfect but underrated cliff diving location is from Kimberley, Australia. Although dubbed as one of the best cliff diving spots in the entire world, only professional divers are allowed to jump down its treacherous rock formation made of limestone.
Whether you prefer to pack hiking boots, sleeping bags, and a tent or to go all out in wearing your newly-bought swimwear, make your summer season extra special by trying something you have not done yet.
You only live once, after all. So cross out the hiking adventure and cliff diving experience off your bucket list by paying a visit on one (or all!) of these wonderful sites!