Beware: this reading is only for the bravest souls! When the passion for action and the need for discovery unite, beautiful journeys are on the way, waiting for you to uncover your own essence. Let’s discover 10 among the most extreme trekking routes in the world.
GRAN RANDONNÉE (Corsica)
This expedition in the northern area of the French island, also known as GR 20, passes through Corsica from north-west to south-east. It is believed to be “the hardest trekking of Europe” for its difficulty. We are talking about a 7-days journey through rugged paths, burning sun and strong winds that could be lethal. But don’t underestimate the power of GR20, because it also offers beautiful panoramas (with olive trees, beech trees and pines) and crystal clear water that will make you company through your expedition.
Where is the difficulty, then? Well, this trekking route will lead you on the ridge of the island, and in order to complete it, you will often have to reach over 2.000 meters of elevation! Not an entry-level thing for sure.
WEST COAST TRAIL (Canada)
Vancouver Island, on the Canadian coast that faces the Pacific Ocean, is famous for the prolific artistic community and for a very tough trek. But it’s not the weather condition that defines this route as difficult. In fact, the West Coast Trail requires a lot of experience and determination to complete: steep slopes, bridges to cross and staircases that can get very wet and slippery as it often is in this area.
During the trek, you will pass through forests, waterfalls and pebble beaches. The best period of the year to attempt this expedition is from May to the end of September, in order to find the best weather conditions. This path is 77 km long and full of challenges!
WRANGELL ST. ELIAS (Alaska)
If the hot weather doesn’t suit you, no problem: there’s Wrangell St. Elias for you. There are multiple paths here, either for beginners and for senior trekkers. One among the others can be referred to as the most extreme: a four-day journey through the glaciers on the Chugach Mountains, where you can experience the incredible power of ice climbing. Surrounded by mountains and snow, you will discover a frozen world, for sure, but comfortable as well. Viewpoints towards the Bagley Icefield and a turquoise mysterious lake nestled in the mountains are the main protagonists of this journey.
VIA ALPINA (Italy)
The Via Alpina is an international travel itinerary that covers 5000 km and 340 stages. It runs from the Italian city of Trieste – where you will be introduced to the local culture, that is the result of many influences: Slavic, Roman, Venetian and from the Hapsburg empire too – and it crosses the Val di Fassa, reaching Monaco. A very intense expedition that includes 8 European states: Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France and Monaco. This is a path through history and nature: from the sea to the mountains. A limitless area, with a very high potential, all for you to discover.
FISH RIVER CANYON (Namibia)
One of the desert tribes that inhabit this place – San – believed that this canyon had been created by a legendary and enormous snake that was running from the hunters. Located in Namibia, this journey offers outstanding landscapes and an extra-heat! In fact, the access is only permitted when the weather is at its best and suitable for trips: between May and September. For the rest of the year, the temperature may rise up to 50°C.
Known as the second widest canyon in the world, the Fish River is 160 km long, and an expedition here takes about 25 days to complete, with every sort of animal around you. Among the others: cheetas, baboons, eagles and wasps.
THE SNOWMAN TREK (India)
This extraordinary adventure across the remote valleys of Bhutan it’s the toughest expedition in the entire state. The official path starts in Paro and ends in the northern Lunan. It’s not the personal journey that makes this route so special, but the sensation of calmness and wonder of being into this beautiful, lost and immesurable area. Here you may get in touch with the local culture, thanks to the inhabitants that keep the valley alive. All of this contributes to turn this adventure into an unforgettable expedition that lasts for 25 days. You will also reach some of the highest places in Bhutan: at Jomolhari, for example, you’ll trek at 4000 meters of altitude.
If you like cold weather, a visit to Kamchatka will surely be worth it: a peninsula almost ruled by animals. Also known as “the land of fire and ice”, this territory in an astonishing place in every aspect: from its volcanoes – there are one hundred or so – to its fauna, as bears live in the forests here. In Kamchatka, there’s an expert-level trek that can be extended to the full length of the peninsula (1200 km). For the strongest ones, there’s also the chance to climb on three different volcanoes of the area: Zimina, Plosky and Bezymianny.
ISRAEL NATIONAL TRAIL (Israel)
An itinerary that is 940 km long, the Shvil Israel (Hebrew translation for Israel National Trail) was created in order to show every possible landscape of this state. Among the others, we strongly recommend Tiberiade’s lake, Jerusalem, Judea and the desert area of Negev. The trail starts at Dan, near the Lebanese border, and it ends on the Red Sea (Gulf of Aqaba). This expedition takes from 30 to 70 days to complete and it has a very strong significance for either religion and history. You’ll walk through biblical paths, sacred to most religions. Passing throughout arid territories, training and documentary competence is essential for the ones who want to embark on this adventure through history and religion.
KOKODA TRACK (Papua Nuova Guinea)
Recommended for the ones that are fond of history, this expedition will lead you back to the Second World War, 76 years ago. In this territory, bloody fights took place between the Japanese army and the Australian one for the control over Papua New Guinea.
The route is anything between 4 and 12 days long, basing on rest time and the ability of the trekker, and it is regarded as very tough: 96 km, heavy rains for most days and a high risk of infection of local diseases like malaria. Challenging in every aspect, isn’t it?
The best period to attempt this trek is from April to September, during the dry season.
MONTE HUASHAN (China)
This hike is not for the weak and not even for some among the strongest and most expert hikers. Located in China, in the province of Shaanxi, this expedition aims to climb Mount Huashan, stopping by the 5 rest areas of the 5 peaks – Huashan means “Flower of the mountain” – all linked by steep paths and surrounded by a cliff. Founded by pilgrims and monks – the only ones that inhabited this place – the routes were reinforced, but still, this trekking holds a sad record: it is classified as the most lethal expedition in the world. Each year about a hundred people die attempting this climbing.
Cover Photo: © AlagnaMarco / Getty