Here they are. The 20 most extreme, hair-raising, legendary adventures on the planet, daunting even for the world’s elite athletes. If you’ve got the mettle, add these to your lifetime to-do list.
-Hike the Triple Crown
The length of the United States’ three longest trails combined–nearly 7,700 miles (12,391 kilometers)–is enough to stretch nearly a third of the way around the globe, which might explain why fewer than a hundred people have clinched this Triple Crown. Walking the Pacific Crest, Appalachian, and Continental Divide Trails generally takes years and multiple pairs of boots, as hikers hoof over some of the country’s grandest features, from the Appalachians to the Rockies and Cascades. But the payoff is a rare intimate knowledge of unfathomably diverse and wild parts of the country. Between the Atlantic and Pacific, hikers take in wave-battered coastlines, primordial forests, snowcapped peaks, volcanoes, rain forests, the otherworldly geology of the desert, and, above us all, huge skies that change like moods, such as this one above Bishop Pass in California’s Sierra Nevada.