View Full Version : Most strenuous / dangerous hikes in US

2006-06-04, 18:31
Was wondering which the most stenuous and/or dangerous hikes in the US are. You know, the kind where your next step could be your last.

Any thoughts?

2006-06-04, 20:07
At what point do you begin a technical climb and leave a strenous hike behind?
I can think of a couple of hikes in Colorado that are "dangerous" as in a misstep would send you down a 600 ft drop onto a scree field or a spring storm could expose you to 100mph winds and multiple feet of snow, but aren't particularly strenous, and a stupidly strenous hike across Death Valley (which could kill the unprepared) in the summer or across the Grand Canyon (which isn't likely to actually kill you).

Frolicking Dino
2006-06-04, 20:53
I'm going with walking the narrow rock formations hundreds of feet above the canyon floor in Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park for most dangerous.

2006-06-04, 21:29
I'd buy into Bryce Canyon. Just hiked it once with the daughter and stayed on the trail. Walking to the edge of some of those places and falling over wouldn't be a place anyone would likely find and retrieve you in an expedisious manor.
I need to go look at northwest Zion more closely.

2006-06-06, 16:23
I live in California and the two most dangerous hikes on regular hiking trails I can think of with major exposure of thousands of feet are Mt. Whitney (the tallest mountain in the lower 48) and the Half Dome cable route in Yosemite Park. I'm talking about hikes on regular hiking trails not requiring any special climbing gear, not technical mountain climbing, which is a different story. You can google mt. whitney hike and/or half dome cables to get more info.

2006-06-06, 16:58
The most strenuous for me was an accent of Mount Adams in NH. Memorial Day weekend 2003 it was cold and rainy all day plus there was still a fair bit of snow up towards the top. The Star Lake trail went on forever! It took us a total of 12 hours for the round trip and we only saw two other hikers the whole day.

On an interesting note, that was the first real hike I took my then girlfriend now wife on. She's a keeper!

2006-06-07, 21:12
... is an article that was in Backpacker about a trail in Hawaii called Kalalau. A friend went with her husband, it was utterly gorgeous, they made it safely, but it really freaked her out. At one point she said she was literally facing the cliff and holding on as she moved one foot after the other slowly along a ledge, with this sheer drop below her. Now that might be quite normal for people who are into rock climbing, but it's the kind of thing that registers a warning flag with me. Vertigo.

Also, I hear so much chatter about the Appalachian Trail and PCT, so many people seem to do it and other than being long distance, it doesn't seem to be the kind of trail where one slip can end it all. It also seems to be a bit of a racetrack.

I hiked the Grand Canyon a few months ago and plan to return next year, but I went when the weather was cool (ie raging winter storm on the rim) and the whole thing was just so much more do-able. You can fly down in a day, and up in a day, but we went for five days. Anyway, I thought it pretty strenuous and I was on the easy route, and I can see why people die in there every year when it heats up, and why the rangers are kept so busy rescuing people. It's called underestimating the distance and conditions.

I hadn't heard of Bryce Canyon before, or Half Dome, and I'd like to know more about it all. I doubt I'll ever go on many of these, but am interested in learning more which are the toughest hikes, and why.

The hikes in Texas seem to be pretty tame, other than perhaps the Big Bend, which I haven't been on yet.

2006-06-07, 23:16
I would think that some of the mountain tarverses between peaks like the Colorado 14ers would be the most dangerous "hikes" in the US. A friend of mine was a SOCOM mountaineering instructor for the army for several summers and they did several of these every course. Some of the ridges were only several feet wide in places with 2000ft drops on each side. The need for speed prevented roped walking, you were on your own. After 2pm each day the chance of meeting your demise via a lightning bolt was likely.

2006-07-03, 10:48
Mosquitoes with West nile, rattlesnakes, coral snakes, eastern diamondbacks, cotton mouths, pythons, black widows, banana spiders, brown recluse, black scorpions, black bears, bobcats, panthers, two other cats I'm not sure of, alligators, quickmud, and 115F heat with no shade. Or lots of interesting fauna in a the sun! Where is this wonderful place? Why the Florida National Scenic Trail, of course.

2006-07-03, 19:37
The most dangerous place I have ever hiked was Mount Washington in New Hampshire. The highest wind speed ever measured on the earth's surface was at Mount Washington. The temperatures have been known to change 100 degrees within 24 hours. Besides the really random weather patterns, it is a pretty nice place.