15 Death-Defying Hiking Trails

By SJ Baxter

15 Death-Defying Hiking Trails And Cliff Diving Spots For Adventure Junkies

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.

15 Death-Defying Hiking Trails 1
Longs Peak, Colorado

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

Views north of the arctic circle while doing this 1 of 15 Death-Defying Hiking Trails.

Knivskjelloden (or North Cape if you can’t pronounce the local name) is actually a peninsula found at the municipality of Nordkapp in Norway.

15 Death-Defying Hiking Trails 2
North Cape, 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

A challenging one for the 15 Death-Defying Hiking Trails list…

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.

Ponte Brolla, Switzerland

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.

Azores, Portugal

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.

Kimberley, Australia

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! Make sure you do some of the 15 Death-Defying Hiking Trails!

 

Guest Author
I'm fond of traveling and doing outdoor activities from time to time. I have tried hiking, cycling, camping, and even canyoneering. I've done tons of adventures within the locality since those are the things I can afford for now.
Aside from my interests in traveling, I'm also into writing. I love to write about anything, but I'm more comfortable writing features on traveling.

32 thoughts on “15 Death-Defying Hiking Trails

  • October 6, 2018 at 8:06 pm
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    Wow what a great list! North Cape is definitely in my bucket list. I can’t wait to enjoy the view from the top!

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  • September 27, 2018 at 5:06 pm
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    This post is really very interesting and amazing for us hikers, every hiker would want to go on these places for some excitement and adventure. xo Corina

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  • September 25, 2018 at 5:41 am
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    That’s a fantastic list! You know, the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea has been on my bucket list for so long! Hopefully one day I’ll make it, it must be the ultimate adventure!

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  • September 24, 2018 at 6:02 am
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    This is definitely one activity that I can never try out. I am so scared of heights! But it does look great and a lot of fun for those who dare.

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  • September 23, 2018 at 4:41 pm
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    I wish I had the endurance to go hike on at least one of these! All of them look magnificent, especially the images that I found on Google!

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  • September 23, 2018 at 2:25 pm
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    Great post! Those hikes sound amazing and would definitely want to try out at least a few! The one in Norway looks amazing, I just added it to my official bucket list. Thank you for sharing

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  • September 23, 2018 at 5:45 am
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    Those are some awesome trails. I love hiking adventures.

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  • September 23, 2018 at 1:01 am
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    Wow! what a list, love hiking and swimming a lot, wish i can hike in all those place, they all seem so awesome.

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  • September 22, 2018 at 10:00 pm
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    It’s amazing to me that people are brave enough to jump off cliffs or climb mountains. These look like some incredible spots. I’m happy just doing some hiking, not too far off the ground!

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  • September 22, 2018 at 9:07 pm
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    I am definitely a wimpy hiker and do not like heights, so I will be using this list as a list of places to avoid 🙂 Although, I think Mt. Washington is generally ok. I was scheduled to do that a few years back, but then I got injured and had to back out.

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  • September 22, 2018 at 5:33 pm
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    Each and every place looks spectacular. But these are way beyond my league. I can trek,but with that kind of angle, it looks scary

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  • September 22, 2018 at 4:29 pm
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    I am too much of a scardey cat to try adventure hiking. They all look like amazing places!

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  • September 22, 2018 at 2:29 pm
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    Woah, all of these look stunning but also terrifying for someone with strong vertigo like me! What an amazing list. Passing to my mate who loves hiking and stunning views!

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  • September 22, 2018 at 10:43 am
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    Wow, I did West Coast Trail in Vancouver. I really like it. Have you ever done hiking in Ireland? There are many hidden hiking spots around!

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  • September 22, 2018 at 8:33 am
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    Wow, this is quite a list of scary things to do on holiday! I’ve always wanted to do the Bright Angel Trail to see the Grand Canyon properly. How long did this take you guys to do?

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  • September 22, 2018 at 3:45 am
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    I choose Norway! Of course, I’d have to camp out up top for a week to recover from the hike but wow, what a view!

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  • September 22, 2018 at 2:49 am
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    I’m a total wimp so these hikes would not be fun for me! On the other hand, I really admire the art of these crazy cliff divers! I’ve watched some Red Bull cliff diving but don’t remember any spots as beautiful as those on this list. The Azores look amazing!

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  • September 21, 2018 at 7:10 pm
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    Oh my gosh, I’m terrified of heights so a lot of these are not for me! haha. I saw pictures of #1 before and just seeing other people walk that tiny ledge gave me anxiety!

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  • September 21, 2018 at 5:58 pm
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    I absolutely love hiking, but these might be a bit much for me.

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  • September 21, 2018 at 2:44 pm
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    3 trails really stood out for me, Kokoda Trail because of how intriguing the description is – finding helmets and weapons along the way on a 60-mile trail! Azures in Portugal and Kimberly in Australia stand out because of the gorgeous views. I am not in that great health that I can do long and hard trails but I do love ones with fantastic views.

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    • September 25, 2018 at 3:42 am
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      I guess that’s why there are those who love to hike; they have to endure first before they can get the reward, and by reward it means the fantastic views :). I hope you’ll get back in good health soon, Medha.

      Reply
  • September 21, 2018 at 1:24 pm
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    Abram Falls I have heard a lot about that place. I want to visit it too if possible.

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    • September 25, 2018 at 3:31 am
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      Hello Monidipa. Abram Falls Trail is really nice. I couldn’t describe it accurately with words, so you may have to see it yourself to know how beautiful it is :).

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  • September 21, 2018 at 11:39 am
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    Great post! Those hikes sound awesome and scary! I only live a state over from Mt Washington and still haven’t hiked it. Definitely on my bucket list. The Norway one looks amazing too, I’ve always wanted to go to Norway, I’ll have to add it to the list of things to do!

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    • September 25, 2018 at 3:27 am
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      Thank you for reading the post, Melissa :). I wouldn’t want to scare you, but yes, I had my share of trembling moments. However, when you reach the top, the feeling is unexplainable as you see the breathtaking views. Just wow! And Norway won’t go anywhere. Visit the place when you have the time :D!

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  • September 21, 2018 at 10:18 am
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    I always love reading this blog. It inspires me to push myself and find more adventures to explore. I’m headed to the Grand Canyon in a few weeks and can’t wait to try out this hike. Thanks for always sharing relatable and motivating content.

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    • September 25, 2018 at 3:21 am
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      Have a great hike, Rachel :). You’ll see why Grand Canyon is truly worth it.

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  • September 21, 2018 at 5:33 am
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    The two places that I would go hiking on would be North Cape in Norway and Azore in Portugal. The beautiful views would be worth the distance.

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    • September 25, 2018 at 3:18 am
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      Hello Luci. The places you mentioned are really great :). Hope to go back there when time permits.

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  • September 21, 2018 at 3:13 am
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    This is an awesome list of 15 death-defying hiking Adventures. I only had one of them on my bucket list project so I’m going to have to add the other 14. The only one I had was the one in China that’s considered the most dangerous hike, although I’ve seen some things that say it’s actually not that bad. I am kind of shocked that you left off El Caminito Del Rey in Spain. Also any hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail John Muir Trail can be a bit dangerous. This past summer I took a buddy of mine to the top of Mount Whitney which is the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states and to get to the top you definitely had to go through some pretty dangerous areas. Also anything around Yosemite can be considered pretty dangerous especially trying to hike up to God’s ledge. So many hikes So Little Time definitely have to get out there thanks for this great list!

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    • September 21, 2018 at 11:52 am
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      Hey Eric.
      Thanks for reading the article. I’m happy that you have appreciated it :). Sorry for not including El Caminito Del Rey in Spain and the Pacific Crest Trail John Muir Trail on the list. I’ll keep them noted. It’s so wonderful to know that we share the same interests in hiking and other outdoor activities. You’ve done pretty cool stuff lately. And yes, we seem to always have little time when we do something we love. Good luck on completing the list :).

      Reply

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