Adventurers, seasoned explorers, climbers, and everyone else who has ever looked at a photograph of someone standing on a precarious cliff ledge has wondered how they got there. These difficult treks are not for the faint of heart, from a treacherous path that kills one hundred people every year to a frozen river deep in the Himalayas. Special equipment, courage, and a great deal of planning are needed to make these difficult treks a success. The top ten most difficult treks in the world are determined by dangers such as wildlife, dropping rocks, and raging seas, as well as worn-out wooden planks and no trail markers.

Discover these amazing adventures and difficult treks that are not only difficult but ultimately rewarding, from South Africa to Spain to the United States and anywhere in between.

Kokoda Track, Papua New Guinea

Treks in papua new guinea

This trek is steeped in history, as it brings you to a World War II battlefield where Japanese and Australian fighters fought on the front lines. Aside from the possibility of seeing ghosts along the way, this is a challenging trek that can take anywhere from four to ten days to complete. The two words that come to mind when describing this trail are hostile and remote, and if anything goes wrong out here, it might take a long time for someone to find you.

The trail takes you deep into the Owen Stanley Range of Mountains, where deep dark gorges block out the sun, lush green vegetation grows, and narrow crests provide passage. This trek is ideal for hikers’ fittest due to the hot, humid days and freezing nights. Malaria and other tropical diseases pose serious health risks in this region. The ecosystem also includes foreign insects, birds, and poisonous plants. Given the various risks, the flowing streams with single log crossings and stunning views of the valleys and rivers make this a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Devil’s Path -New York State

New York treks, Devil's Path

One of the country’s most difficult hiking trails can be found only two to three hours outside of Manhattan. The Devil’s Path is a 25-mile trail in the Catskill Mountains that can take days to complete due to its extreme characteristics. It will take you to a total of six peaks if you complete it, so be prepared for a challenging hike.

Extreme rugged terrain, steep slopes, extreme downhills, and very slippery parts abound on the route. There are several waterfalls in the park, as well as bears, so bring pepper spray and hang your food above ground. Even the most seasoned trekker will be challenged as you wind your way through rugged chutes, down steep gaps that enable you to use your hands and feet, and up sheer rock cliffs. The trails reward you with majestic views of the Catskill Range once you’ve completed them, making it a worthwhile challenge.

Kalalau Trail -Kauai, Hawaii

Treks in Hawaii, hawaii treks

On cliffs that tower 4,000 feet above the ocean, this 11-mile path lies high above the roaring waves. The hiker will pass through five lush valleys on their way to the tops of towering cliffs on this route, which is graded but seldom flat. It is the only way to reach this section of the Na Pali Coast by road, and it will take you through jungles, hairpin switchbacks, and past thundering waterfalls.

Flash floods, falling rocks, thick mud, and rain are all common occurrences in this region. The slick trail must be walked with care, as a single misstep will send you plunging thousands of feet into the ocean below. This trek is really for the adrenaline junkie, with extreme inclines and drops, crumbling rocks under your feet, and narrow passageways mixed with heavy riptides and currents. Since the sun is hot and there are no facilities along the way, bring plenty of water.

West Coast Trail -Vancouver Island

West Coast Trail, Canada, most difficult treks

Hundreds of people hike this iconic 48-mile trail each year. Although there are no snowstorms, lava, or other “serious” factors, it does take experience and determination. This trail features cliffs, wooden bridges, and tall ladders. With the rainy weather that Vancouver Island is known for, things can quickly become slippery and out of reach.

While it joked that any hiker strains their ankle when hiking the West Coast Trail, it is all too often a genuine occurrence, and hikers are fortunate if they only sustain one injury. Predators are a challenge on this trip. Black bears, cougars, and wolves all live in the same woods as you, breathe the same air, and have been known to attack hikers on occasion. There are rivers to navigate, beaches that are impassable at high tide, and minimal food and water options. Even though many hikers have completed this trail, do yourself a favor and do not take it lightly; this one must be prepared for.

Chadar Trek -Himalayas

Chadar Trek, Most difficult treks, difficult treks

The Chadar Trek is one of India’s most dangerous and difficult treks, lasting six to ten days and reaching altitudes of up to 10,900 feet. This trek is also one of India’s most well-known, with photographs of Buddhist monks walking along the river barefoot appearing in magazines worldwide. But don’t be fooled by the barefoot Monks; this trek is not for the faint of heart.

This trek necessitates crossing the frozen Zanskar River, a solid sheet of ice or gurgling bubbles as the water exits the ice. The river will move, and ice will break, leaving you with no choice but to walk down the riverbank on the slippery rocks. The flowing river isn’t the only risky part of this trek; the cold weather is also a factor in how difficult it is. The average temperature is below zero, with lows of minus 30° Fahrenheit at night. Any seasoned hiker’s willpower will be put to the test sleeping in caves in these temperatures. This difficult trek is doable with experience, warm clothing, and the right mindset. It will undoubtedly be a spectacular once-in-a-lifetime adventure.