6 Trails with the Worst Weather—And Why You Should Go Anyway

You may want to plan your next hike for a warm, sunny day—but where’s the adventure in that? Besides, the most memorable hikes are rarely the picture-perfect ones. If you want real solitude, and a raw, visceral experience in nature, go where everyone else refuses. These six weather-beaten, heat-blasted, totally untamed trails are the perfect place to get started.

A word of caution: To have these experiences, you need to be prepared. That means bringing enough food, water, layers, navigation equipment, and other protective gear to stay comfortable in the conditions you expect.

And in bad weather, the most dangerous part of your journey is rarely the hike itself. In fact, studies attribute more deaths in national parks to motor vehicle accidents than to wildlife, avalanches, heat, or cold exposure combined. So, if you’re on a quest to face down nature’s extremes, bring a dependable vehicle.

Come summer in Death Valley, temperatures regularly tick up to 120 degrees, and asphalt roads can get hot enough to melt sneakers. For that reason, most authorities recommend exploring the valley between November and March, especially if your body isn’t already acclimated to extreme heat. For the ultimate experience, start your adventure in the barren salt flats of Badwater Basin. At 282 feet below sea level, it’s the lowest point in North America.

See the extreme places…


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