Editor’s Note: Monthly Ticket is a CNN Travel series that spotlights some of the most fascinating topics in the travel world. In July, we’re hitting the trails to explore the world’s greatest hikes.
Hiking is often derided by adrenaline addicts as somehow lesser than more hardcore mountain experiences like climbing or skiing.
But as these challenging trails show, putting one foot in front of the other isn’t always the easy option.
To undertake these famous hikes, you’ll need more than just a hefty dose of gumption.
These routes are dangerous and for experienced hikers only. That means those with the right gear, the ability to get themselves out of tricky situations and a willingness to plan for the worst and pack accordingly.
Whether you want to try out a vertiginous English Lake District classic or tackle the “most dangerous hike in the world” in rural China, this list has got you covered.
Striding Edge, Lake District, England
The Lake District’s famously changeable weather can make even the most bucolic of strolls a challenge.
But Striding Edge – a sharp arête leading to the summit of Helvellyn, the third highest peak in Lake District National Park – stands apart in this corner of England.
Hikers can choose to follow the paths that run along the side of the ridge, but for those keen on thrills, the ridge itself is where it’s at.
On a clear day, the views are sensational, stretching all the way to Scotland.
This is not for novices or the faint of heart: walkers will need to be prepared to scramble, have decent climbing skills for the final push to the top and know how to properly navigate if the clouds roll in.
Ice and snow make it lethal in winter, so preparation and a willingness to turn back are a must.
The Maze, Canyonlands, Utah, United States
The National Park Service cuts right to the chase when it comes to the Maze.
It calls hiking here “very challenging,” warning of slick rocks and steep drops.
It’s the most remote part of Canyonlands, with visitors needing to negotiate long drives on dirt roads before setting out into the deep gullies, where rockfalls and flash floods are not uncommon and water from the area’s few springs is hard to come by (packing enough fluid for a multi-day trip is a must).