The 8 Most Challenging Hiking Trails in America

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The 8 Most Challenging Hiking Trails in America

Whether you’re up for tackling dangerously steep inclines or running into snow during the warmest months of the year, you’ll find your next weekend adventure among these trecherous treks.

Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness, NC

This trail goes near some of the last virgin stands of old-growth trees on the East Coast and travels through rain forest-like terrain that’s dense with rhododendrons and rushing moss-soaked streams. After you brave the 10 slippery stream crossings without breaking an ankle (“Slickrock” isn’t just a playful nickname), the slow and relentless ascent will test your stamina and waste your lungs. The last five miles to the top of the 5,360-foot peak are strenuous but allow you to experience the idyllic Stratton Bald—the grassy, treeless sub-alpine balds are scattered throughout the peaks of the Smoky Mountains.


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