Hard is in. But to hell with obstacle races and manufactured difficulty (50 miles in a day! Barefoot! Backwards!). These 9 hard hikes offer true challenges of all types — grueling, really scary, and tricky to plan—and payoffs you can only get one way. Go forth and conquer—if you dare.
Wrangell Plateau to Dixie Pass, Alaska
Navigate your own route through grizzly terrain in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, all to access seldom-seen panoramas of the 16,000-foot Wrangell Mountains. Read more.
West Coast Trail, British Columbia
Trace the seam between land and sea on Vancouver Island. Read more.
Flagstaff: Agassiz Peak
The forbidden fruit of Arizona, Coconino’s Agassiz will mesmerize and tempt you. Read more.
Cabeza Prieta Pass, Arizona
This desert gem is an explorer’s heaven. Read more.
Iron Mountain, California
Hiking this 8,007-foot peak will bring you peace and solitude, as well as breathtaking views. Read more.
Coastal Prairie Trail, Florida
Try your luck at finding solid ground—in order to see a Technicolor sunset and flocks of cormorants. Read more.
Baldpate Mountain, Maine
The Appalachian Trail in Maine will take your breath away, both as you climb 3,662 feet to the summit and then your 360-degree view. Read more.
Blacktail Buttes, Idaho
Visit Craters of the Moon to see this lava-tubed wonder under an azure sky. Read more.
White Pinnacle Peak, Nevada
This hike will tempt you to pack a parachute as sandstone peaks reach 1,500 feet above Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area’s valley floor. Read more.