Does your idea of a memorable holiday include standing on a rickety platform hundreds of metres above the ground? How about climbing a shaky staircase up the side of a mountain? The folks at Diply have put together a list of hikes and trails sure to give you a thrill. Just make sure your insurance is paid up.
1 / 16
1. Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California
Towering more than 1400 metres, Yosemite's granite Half Dome is one of the park's most recognizable features. No surprise then, that people want to climb it. Park officials warn that you should not attempt the climb if it's stormy, the ground is wet, or the hiking cables at the top of the trail are down for the winter.
2 / 16
2. Stairway to Heaven, Oahu, Hawaii
Also known as the Haiku Stairs, the Stairway to Heaven is an excruciating climb. Originally built to provide access to a wartime radio station, the stairs suffered storm damage earlier this year. With 3922 steps, it'll do wonders for your thighs.
3 / 16
3. Devil’s Path, Catskills, New York
The Devil's Path in New York's Catskill Mountains is a hell of a trail. There are eight peaks with steep climbs, dangerous cliffs and lung-busting changes in elevation.
4 / 16
4. Rover’s Run, Anchorage, Alaska
Rover's Run isn't the toughest trail on the list, but it does have one very dangerous aspect: bears — and lots of them! If you insist on hiking this trail make lots of noise and be prepared to come face-to-face with nature.
5 / 16
5. Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala
There are few places in the world where you can get close to an active volcano. Guatemala's Pacaya Volcano provides relatively easy access and is a popular spot for tourists. You can toast marshmallows over a river of lava, just make sure not to set those expensive hiking shoes alight. Be warned that the volcano can shoot rock and ash into the air with little warning. This has proven deadly in the past.
6 / 16
6. Huayna Picchu, Peru
If you really want to say you've experienced Machu Picchu, you should clamber up Huayna Picchu, the rock pyramid that towers over the ruins of the lost city of the Incas. Only 400 people a day are allowed to make the 360-metre slippery climb, so get there early.
7 / 16
7. The Maze, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
It's called 'The Maze' for a reason: the trail through Canyonlands National Park is tough, even for experienced hikers. There are dead ends, steep drops and falling rocks. Oh, it's remote, too — so if you get in trouble, you might be waiting awhile.
8 / 16
8. Stolby Nature Reserve, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia
These towering rocks in Russia's Stolby Nature Reserve don't look too challenging, but they are. People have died trying to scale them. If you're going to try it yourself, make sure you wear protective gear.
9 / 16
9. Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
The Annapurna Circuit is a popular route through the Himalayas. It contains the 10th highest summit in the world — which is 2656m. Many enthusiasts have lost their lives here — from accidents, sudden bad weather and altitude sickness.
10 / 16
10. El Caminito del Rey, Malaga, Spain
See that line at the top of the photo? That's the trail. One mistake and it's a long way down. The rickety old trail has claimed several lives over the years. Thankfully, the most dangerous parts of El Caminito del Rey have been renovated. Still, you need to exercise extreme caution as it's very unforgiving.
11 / 16
11. Via Ferratas, Italy
There are numerous via ferratas (Italian for 'iron roads') across Europe. They are climbing routes that have steel cables running alongside. Hikers and climbers attach themselves to the cable to prevent a deadly fall. Some of the toughest routes are in the Italian Dolomites. If you've got the guts, you can spend several days following linking via ferratas to amazing vistas. There are even refuges for staying overnight.
12 / 16
12. Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon, Arizona
The Bright Angel Trail is located in the Grand Canyon and descends 1340m to the Colorado River. Going down is best as the average grade is 10%. You might think it's easy with gravity helping, but no. The temperature here can hit 43C. Dehydration and heat stroke can kill the unprepared hiker. Other things to watch out for: flash floods, falling rocks and wild animals. Even the squirrels bite.
13 / 16
13. Darien Gap, Colombia-Panama Border
The Pan-American Highway stretches from Alaska to Argentina — except for a 100km break on the Panama-Colombia border. Known as the Darien Gap, this stretch of rainforest has tempted adventurers to try and make the journey. However, it is full of swamps, mountainous terrain, nasty bugs, poisonous plants, hungry animals, narcos and even the odd guerrilla. So, we'd suggest giving this route a pass.
14 / 16
14. Heaven’s Gate, Hunan, China
That big hole is known as Heaven's Gate or Heaven's Door. Created by erosion, the 30-metre wide passageway at Tianmen Mountain is at the top of a long staircase. There are 999 steps from the parking lot to the top and it's not an easy climb. And you thought Vancouver's Grouse Grind was tough. Ha!
15 / 16
15. Big Gate Road, Hunan, China
To reach Heaven's Gate, you can take a cable car (wuss) or attempt the Road of 99 Bends. Most people take the tourist shuttle, but hiking up the road is a great workout.
16 / 16
16. Mount Hua Shan, Shaanxi, China
And finally, the most terrifying trail of them all: the walkway at Mount Hua Shan. It's been called the most dangerous hike in the world — and for good reason. The rickety planks are all that stand between you and certain death. And people have died here. But, if you want to say you've hiked the most terrifying and dangerous trail in the world, then you better start making plans.