4 of the Most Challenging Day Hikes in the U.S.

Perhaps you are looking to push the envelope this season and get outside of your comfort zone by hitting one of the toughest day hikes in the United States. To assist in your planning efforts, we’ve selected four of the hardest treks in the lower forty-eight to get your adrenaline flowing.

These trails are not for the faint of heart. However, if you possess the necessary skills and are in above-average shape, they can be knocked out in one day. However, you can always break it down into a slower, multi-day trip.

South Kaibab Trail to Bright Angel Trail



Located in the Grand Canyon, this may be of the hardest trail on this list due to the combination of temperature extremes, geography, and lack of water. Descending the South Kaibab Trail from the rim to the river covers just over six miles; the river is visible from the rim, but the rim isn’t visible from the river. Once to the bottom, follow along the Colorado River before connecting to the Bright Angel Trail to ascend the nearly eight-mile trail. Since temperatures rise well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit daily and a point-to-point trek can seem daunting for a day hike, you can always stay at Phantom Ranch overnight. However, plan ahead as reservations are hard to acquire.

Longs Peak



No extreme hiking roundup would complete without a mention of the state containing the most fourteeners in the country. Despite its difficulty, reaching the summit of the 14,259-foot Longs Peak doesn’t deter those seeking to bag this monarch located within Rocky Mountain National Park. Allow plenty of time in your schedule (and pack accordingly) as weather can delay summit attempts. The Keyhole Route is less of a hike and more of a non-technical climb. The roughly 15-mile round trip journey has over 5,000 vertical feet of elevation gain, and the bulk of that gain comes in the final push to the summit. Less than 50 percent of those seeking to reach the summit will be successful, and the descent from the top can be more challenging than the trip.

The Maze



What may be the least accessible area within the Canyonlands National Park requires several hours of off-road travel just to reach the trailhead — and that’s the easy part. Make sure to carry plenty of water, familiarize yourself with map and compass, bring the right equipment (and know how to use said equipment), and travel with a partner. Daytime temperatures can exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit. It is highly recommended that everyone file a detailed plan with a ranger and carry a GPS unit. While a day hike is certainly possible, consider spending multiple days to allow yourself time to enjoy the slot canyons, dry washes, and desert landscape of Utah.

Slickrock Creek Trail

North Carolina


This 13.2-mile slog is the longest single trail in the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness (located near the North Carolina-Tennessee border). What begins at a starting elevation of 1,160 feet ascends over 3,700 feet before reaching the Naked Ground, a popular backpacking spot. The barely visible trail seemingly disappears among the dense foliage of rhododendrons and old growth forest. The dozen or so creek crossings can range from moderate to challenging depending on precipitation.

Article originally published February 28, 2018.


These Modern Treehouses Are the Adult Version of Your Childhood Fort

Despite the grown-up setting, comic books and beer are most certainly allowed.
Fashion & Style

Adidas Finally Drops those Magical Game of Thrones Sneakers

There are six equally awesome colorways, each inspired by a character, house, or group of badasses in Westeros.
Food & Drink

Uber Eats is Betting Free Food and Delivery for NCAA March Madness Rounds

Here are the deals and discounts that the food delivery service is offering during March Madness.
Food & Drink

How to Cook Ribs in the Oven (Yes, They’ll Come Out Great)

Purists may cringe and haters may hate, but the answer to the age-old question, "Can you cook ribs in the oven?" Yes, you can. Now, the follow-up: Do ribs taste good when cooked in the oven? Yes, yes they do.

Trek the South Pole on Your Own Antarctic Expedition

Make no mistake: This isn't your typical "adventure tour."

The Best Travel and Adventure Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

If you're reading this, you're staring at a screen. Wouldn't you rather be exploring a different part of the world than the Internet?

You Can Literally Text from the North Pole with Somewear Global Hotspot

Or the South Pole if that's a closer option for you ...

An Interview with Greg Hill, the Man Who Skied 2 Million Feet

The renowned skier has achieved first descents in Norway, Chile, Pakistan and Canada.

Appalachian Trail Record-Holder Joe McConaughy Talks Training, Torn Muscles, and Topping-Loaded Pizzas

It takes most people six months to complete the Appalachian Trail. Joe McConaughy, aka Stringbean, did it in less than 46 days.

12 Best Running Trails in America, According to People Who Run for a Living

From miles of mystic forest to a gnarly peak-to-peak ridgeline, these are the best routes to run around the United States.

Kammok Says This Is the Ultimate Ultralight Backpacking Hammock

The Kammok Mantis is an all-in-one hammock system that could replace your backpacking tent.

6 Simple Camping Hacks for People Who Don’t Like Camping

These tips and tricks that can make roughing it a bit less rough.

3 Mountain Bike Destinations to Put On Your Bucket List

These trails will test your skills the moment your tire hits the dirt.

Who Needs Hobbits? Journey Through 5 Real-Life Adventures Books

The books on our list of great nonfiction adventure books differ in topic and time period and are written in a range of different styles.