November 27, 2023
hardest hikes in the us

10 Hardest hikes in the US

If you want to see America’s nature then hiking is the best way. We make a list of some of the hardest hikes in the US. These trails even put experienced hikers on a test.

The hiking trails in the US are known for their almost impossible routes that pass through natural plains, mountains, deserts, and coastal landscapes.

Always be prepared for anything. Moreover, if you never hiked a challenging hike, then try easy hikes before going to these hikes.

1. Muir Snowfield Trail

hardest hikes in the us

Location: Mount Rainier, Washington
Length: 9 miles r/t (6-8 hours)
Best time: Mid-July – Early-September
Elevation gain: 4,680 feet (1,426 m)

This trail is challenging because of its cold weather. According to people, around 90 climbers slipped and fallen from this trial or have become frozen. Always hike with other expert hikers.

Mount Rainier is also an active volcano. The lush forests, lakes, scenic wildflowers, and stunning views delight hikers. This hike does not only challenge the hikers, but the unexpected storms also come.

An important thing you should remember is that when you are hiking on this trail, you have taken all the precautions. Always track your route with a GPS or compass. And carry a device from where you can check the weather.

2. Half Dome – Mist Trail

hardest hikes in the world

Location: Yosemite National Park, California
Length: 14.2 miles round trip via Mist Trail (10 – 14 hours)
Best time: late May or early June
Elevation gain: 4,800 feet (1,600 meters)

This giant granite peak is well-known in the world. This trail pushes you to your limits. You will hike through waterfalls, beautiful pine forests, and at last, you reach steel cables that will take you to the top of the dome.

To reach the summit, it is impossible for hikers without cables. Even with assistance, there still have been unfortunate causalities on this adventure. Some people feel altitude sickness, dehydration, and many other problems.

People fall mostly when the rocks are wet. So, do not hike during the rainy season. Anyone who dares to attempt he/she should wear leather gloves, good hiking shoes, and have a great fitness level.

Read more: 10 wonderful waterfall hikes near Denver

Read more: 10 hardest hikes in the world

3. The Maze 

the maze hardest hike in us

Location: Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Length: 13.5 miles
Best time: Spring and Fall

It is a death trap not for faint-hearted people. It also tests the experienced hiker mentally and physically. There is no supply of water, and the temperature reaches 110 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime.

This place looks the same and makes it difficult for hikers to locate a landmark. Always carry water, a map, and GPS with you so that you can find your place.

4. Kalalau Trail

kalalau trail hardest hike

Location: Kauai, Hawaii
Length: 22 miles round trip (7-8+ Hours One Way)
Best time: May through September
Elevation gain: 800 feet

Adventure lovers know that Hawaii offers even more than beaches. The Kalalau trail is one of the toughest and beautiful hikes. It delivers you magnificent views on every step.

You will see waterfalls, valleys, volcano cliffs, and remote beaches along the way. Use walking poles to keep your balance because a single mistake takes you down to 90 meters.

Experienced hikers can do it in one day, but most of the hikers stay at two pre-approved campsites.

5. Devil’s Path

hardest hikes in the us

Location: Catskill Mountains of New York
Length: 24.2 miles (1-3 days)
Best time: May to October
Elevation gain: 9,000 feet (2,700 m) gain approximately

It is the US’s most underrated hiking trail, with breathtaking views. It is just a two-hour drive away from Manhatten. This trail is too long tackling it once is deadly for you. Most people do it in two-three days.

The conditions at the time of hiking at night can change due to the path because it becomes wet and icy. If you plan to spend a night, there keep your meals away somewhere safe because black bears are in that area.

Take proper precautions during this wild hike because the trail includes slippery rocks and vertical climbs.

6. Bright Angel Trail

bright angel trail

Location: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Length: 15.6 miles, round-trip (2–3 Days)
Best time: March-May, September-November
Elevation gain: 4460 ft (1360 m)

Every year approximately 250 hikers are rescued due to exhaustion and dehydration. Because at day time temperature reaches the 113-degree Fahrenheit mark.

The stunning views of this trail make the hikers’ adventure rewarding. There is fresh drinking water along the path, but you should carry water and some snacks in a backpack.

At Phantom Ranch, hikers stop for comfortable accommodation at night, but you can also stay at campsites along the route. The Preventive Search and Rescue (PSAR) team was created by the park to assist hikers in need.

7. Paintbrush Canyon/Cascade Canyon Loop

paintbrush canyon

Location: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Length: 19.7 Miles round trip (8-12 hours)
Best time: May until September
Elevation gain: 3,817 ft (1,163 m)

The hikers must be, prepared for the different weather conditions. It has incredible mountain peaks and scenic views. Hikers face snow and ice at a higher elevation of the trail.

It is a loop so, you never go through again in any part of the trail. After every few miles, you see a change in views and terrain. It is a very challenging hike, even for experienced hikers.

8. Ruckel Ridge Loop

ruckel ridge loop hardest hike

Location: Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Length: 9 miles round trip
Best time: May-October
Elevation gain: 3700 feet

This trail is, recognized as the most challenging hike in the Gorge. The path is rocky, slippery due to the moss, and it is not maintained. The moss is, creating problems in the route. So, the hiker should be, prepared physically and mentally.

The hiker should wear good boots for traction and know route-finding skills. The route presents a series of obstacles, but you’ll find it more fun than strenuous.

9.Slickrock Creek Trail 

hardest hikes in the us

Location: Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness, Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina
Length: 13.2 Miles
Elevation gain: 1,322 m

This creek trail is also made his name in Backpacker Magzine in the article for toughest hikes in America. On this trail, you’ll find the combination of rugged wilderness and remote beauty.

This creek trail is an unforgettable wilderness experience for you. There are 12 major crossings on the route. Some of the crossings are very tricky and don’t try to cross when the level of water is high.

It is a good choice for those hikers who love landscapes, as it takes you through forests and you will see amazing wildlife.

10. Presidential Traverse

hardest hikes in the us

Location: White Mountain National Forest New Hampshire
Length: 21.7 miles (1 day but with overnight options)
Best time: May until September
Elevation gain: 2,503 m

The hiking route on this trail is from north to south. In this, way the elevation gains over the early one. This hike is above the treeline so, good map skills are a must.

The weather on Presidential Traverse made it brutal. Insanely gorgeous views, unreal ridge hiking, and some seriously technical scramble.

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Hardest hikes in the US