Hang out around the mountaineers, kayakers, backcountry skiers and rock climbers enough and hiking sounds like a pastime for the casual walker. For the avid hiker, getting out has no need for carabiners, ropes and rescue equipment. In general, there is no risk of serious injury, or even death. Hiking poles are optional, and dehydration, blisters, or a slow walk out on a rolled ankle is often the greatest peril of a long day on the trail. But hiking can make you feel like a badass, and these great trails will put your endurance to the test while inspiring you with some seriously awesome views. Brag away!
These 20 hikes are all hikes you can do in a VERY LONG day, assuming you really want to impress your family and friends. Or, if you like enjoying yourself and taking in the incredible scenery, make it an overnight backpacking trip. With certain exceptions, these are all fantastic places find tranquility sleeping under the stars.
It's 19 miles in and back out of the Cirque of the Towers in Wyoming's Wind River Range. The trail takes you over 10,000 feet and gets you into some of the most remote and rugged country along the continental divide. Another long, high hike with high alpine views, the trail in and out of Cyclone Lake in Washington's North Cascades gains 4,300 feet and offers some challenging off-trail route finding. With both of these areas, beware of bears and bring appropriate bear canisters if you plan to camp.
Sometimes being badass means getting to places where few people go. Most of the trails on the list do just that. The Brew Lake Hike to Brew Hut in the Whistler, British Columbia, area is a shorter trail up a very steep aspect, and you'll likely have views of Mount Garibaldi and the Black Tusk from Brew Lake all to yourself.
Or there are hikes like the exploration of Buckskin Gulch in Southern Utah. It's the longest slot canyon in the world. The full hike in and back out of the canyon is 24 miles of hard slogging through deep, cold pools, and long, dry sections of narrow walls.
Check out these and 16 other hikes below. And don't forget your camera. On all of these very challenging hikes, the scenery is awe-inspiring.