To many a visit to the great outdoors means a leisurely stroll through the well-worn trails of a nearby state park, perhaps entailing the odd clamber over a felled tree or rogue boulder before taking a well-deserved granola bar break. And then there are these: Extreme adventures that offer intense and thrilling challenges to even the most seasoned outdoorsman, from terrain, or temperature, fauna or any combination of the three.
Mist Trail, Yosemite National Park, CA
Yosemite might be considered the Disneyland of the national park system: It's family friendly, offers plenty of facilities with something for everyone, and for most will require standing in a long line. Still, as with wild animals, to consider it domesticated would be foolish. In particular the popular 7-mile round trip Mist Trail literally hosts thousands of people per day during high season in summer and is groomed with steel assist cables lining the final climb to catch the breathtaking view of Nevada Falls. And yet more than 60 people have met their end on Half Dome – five in the past decade. To take Mist Trail to the end climbers should be in good shape, pace themselves appropriately and especially mind inclement weather or spray from the falls, which can make the trail and the cables themselves slippery and treacherous.
Credit: Getty Images