Alaska Trails

9 Astonishingly Hard Hikes (That You Should Do Anyway)

These 9 difficult hikes will challenge even the toughest backpackers.

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

Dixie Pass Trail
Bryan Petrtyl/NPS

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

west coast trail
Paxson Woelber

Trace the seam between land and sea on Vancouver Island. Read more.

Flagstaff: Agassiz Peak

agassiz peak
Brady Smith/U.S. Forest Service

The forbidden fruit of Arizona, Coconino’s Agassiz will mesmerize and tempt you. Read more.

Cabeza Prieta Pass, Arizona

Cabeza Prieta
USFWS

This desert gem is an explorer’s heaven. Read more.

Iron Mountain, California

San Gabriel Mountains
Nancy I’m Gonna SNAP!

Hiking this 8,007-foot peak will bring you peace and solitude, as well as breathtaking views. Read more.

Coastal Prairie Trail, Florida

Everglades
Lori Oberhofer/NPS

Try your luck at finding solid ground—in order to see a Technicolor sunset and flocks of cormorants. Read more.

Baldpate Mountain, Maine

None
John Hayes

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

Craters of the Moon
NPS

Visit Craters of the Moon to see this lava-tubed wonder under an azure sky. Read more.

White Pinnacle Peak, Nevada

Red Rocks
Ron Reiring

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.