Top challenging trips to hang your hat on

Trekking barren landscapes in Patagonia | Richard I'Anson
Trekking barren landscapes in Patagonia | Richard I'Anson

If you’re after a real adventure that will stir your soul and test the limits of your physical, emotional or mental strength, you've come to the right place.

But be warned, these trails, mountains and destinations are for dedicated adventurers – they each require a serious amount of preparation, a good pair of lungs and some equally sturdy legs.

Encountering some of the world’s wildest elements; whether it be the heat, wind, cold or the terrain, they represent some of the world’s most challenging yet rewarding treks and climbs. In no particular order, our top 10 challenging adventures are here.

1. The Great Himalayan Trail

152 days long and traversing over 1700 kilometres, what better way to introduce “challenging trips” than the full Great Himalayan Trail (GHT). As the world's longest and highest alpine track – exclusive to World Expeditions – the complete expedition spans over an incredible five months, where on any given day you’ll find yourself encountering some of the wildest and most remote mountain environments imaginable, as well as admiring all of Nepal's 8,000-metre peaks along the way.



From the Kanchenjunga region in the east to the Yari Valley in the far west of Nepal, trekkers travel through the thick and thin of the Sherpa heartlands on passes that range from moderate treks to tough climbs that reach up to 6,000 metres high. Testing one's determination, resilience and flexibility,

You can walk any of the seven stages, ranging from 18-34 days, or attempt the full traverse that only an impressive 21 trekkers have undertaken with us.

The GHT will give you a perspective that only comes with a long break from your usual routine; disconnecting you from a technology-driven life and switching your mind onto 'airplane mode' as you engage with some of the Nepal's most isolated, self-sufficient communities.

2. Tasmania’s South Coast Track

Australia is renowned for its harsh desert landscape, dry inland climate and unforgiving outback. There are a number of tricky treks that push you to your limits, however, one of the most commonly overlooked tough treks on Australian soil is the South Coast Track in Tasmania.

South Coast TrackThis wilderness trek can be demanding with long days and diverse conditions on a full pack. Spanning over 9 days, covering over 85 kilometres and offering a spectrum of the Tasmanian landscapes, you’ll find yourself on a journey along a historical escape route for shipwreck survivors. Challenging? Yes. Unforgettable? You bet.

Face long and arduous track with the reward of pristine rainforests, wild rivers, unspoilt beaches and cliffs that plunge into the ferocious Southern Ocean.

3. Summit Aconcagua in Argentina

Claiming the title for the world’s highest mountain outside of Asia, it’s no surprise that Aconcagua stirs a little excitement in the heart of mountaineering adventurers. After all, for anyone keen on ticking off a couple of the prized “Seven Summits”, Aconcagua is an extraordinary goal.

Ascending_Aconcagua-mediumAn expedition up this 6,962-metre mountain will see you trekking for 17 days in unpredictable weather, steep terrain and at extreme altitude.

Though the route itself is not technically demanding and climbers will have the support of the most experienced guides, making the summit will be a testament to your perseverance and will power. The key to success? Patience, fitness, and a little bit of luck (the weather on this mountain can bring intense winds!).

4. Great Patagonian Traverse

Known as the “end of the Earth”, Patagonia’s reputation as a wilderness playground is a secret to none. The array of world-famous trekking routes will no doubt captivate any traveller – but for those with an appetite for remote and challenging trekking adventures, the Great Patagonian Traverse is sure to satisfy.

Travelling from Argentina to Chile, via this little known route, trekkers will pass massive glaciers, incredible volcanic landscapes and sprawling valleys, where fellow travellers and tourists are few and far between.

The rugged beauty of Patagonia is pure and raw, and provides some of the best backdrops in the world for nature-lovers.

Recommended for seasoned trekkers due to the trip’s length and intensity, this journey could be one of the most testing treks when it comes to physical strength and drive. However, the difficulty is outweighed by terrific natural splendour that stretches far in every direction.

5. Mont Blanc Ascent in France

If you’re after an alpine ascent that gives you some of the most awe-inspiring scenery imaginable, scaling Mont Blanc is definitely on the cards.



However, as a trekking yoda once said, with great scenery comes great challenge. This relatively short 7-day ascent will test your stamina and determination in ways you can’t imagine, but will reward you equally with unsurpassable views and scenery.

Picture towering snow covered cliffs, glacial waterfalls, crystal clear lakes and forested tracks. Now times that by ten!

Travellers attempting this climb need to keep in mind that although little or no experience in alpine trekking is required, a high level of fitness and an even higher level of determination is a prerequisite for this trek.

6. Australia's Larapinta End to End

Long famed as one of Australia’s most iconic treks, the Larapinta trail deserves a spot on our list of top 10 challenging treks due to the rocky and untamed terrain that trekkers journey over.


The harsh Australian climate can be unforgiving along the West Macdonnell Ranges, which can mean long, hot days over the 223km route – a mean feat for even the most seasoned trekker.

The 14-day trek on one of the greatest desert treks on earth includes days covering over 30 kilometres, so physical stamina, experience and preparation is a must!

The incentive for such a difficult undertaking is of course journeying into remote areas of Australia that few get to experience. The combination of Australian bush, desert landscape and rugged terrain intensifies the beauty of this stunning and ancient mountain range.

7. John Muir Trail in the US

The John Muir Trail is a continuous hike that covers more than 218 miles and takes 23 days. This alone makes it a challenging trek, so when you add in several climbs over 4,000-metre passes, the pool of people who have completed this trek shrinks somewhat smaller.

John MuirOne of the most spectacular trail walks in North America, you’ll weave your way around high alpine peaks, forested river valleys, beautiful meadows, canyons and granite cliffs.

Blessed with a mild to moderate summer climate, you’ll see some of the crème de la crème of America’s park system; Yosemite, John Muir and Ansel Adams Wildernesses, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.

In essence, trekking the John Muir Trail is one of those experiences that ultimately lingers with you long after you’ve hung up your hiking boots.

8. Bhutan Snowman Trek

One of the most challenging treks in the Himalaya (if not the world) is undoubtedly the Bhutan Snowman Trek – a 25-day trek in one of the country’s most remote valleys.

Known as one of the hardest high altitude treks, the journey crosses not one, not two... but eleven passes over 4,500 metres which define the borders of Tibet and Bhutan.

View-from-my-tent_Bhutan-trekking-holiday_World-ExpeditionsView from my tent - Bhutan Snowman Trek

Undertaken by only a handful of trekkers each season, this strenuous yet tremendously rewarding trek is one of the finest in the Himalaya program, largely due to the constant backdrop of 7,000m peaks that tower in close distance.

Travellers interested in the challenge need to ensure they are physically fit, with preparation including cardiovascular endurance, strength endurance and hiking-specific training. Those who are able to complete the trek will remember it as outstandingly beautiful and one of the most rewarding treks of their life.

9. Corsica GR20 in France

This long distance walking track is arguably Europe’s finest and formidable mountain treks. Literally translating to “Great Trek”, it features towering pinnacles, deep forests, glacial lakes, snow capped peaks and windswept craters.

The trek is a test of your physical limits, but will pay you in kind with stunning gorges, alpine lakes and dramatic cliff-top paths.

The diversity of the terrain is part of what makes it such an astounding yet difficult trek; a combination of steep rock, rugged alpine terrain and multiple iron chains and ladders to access the high granite passes.

Suitable for fit walkers, this legendary trek is made a little more comfortable thanks to a guided option which features the hospitality of the gîtes d’etapes or mountain refuges.

10. Api Himal Exploratory in Nepal

Another unforgettable trip to test your limits in an isolated and rugged region along Nepal's far north western Border.

Api HImalThe month long exploratory trek explores the seldom visited Api Saipal massif. Whilst fellow trekkers flock to the Everest and Annapurna regions, you'll find yourself truly off the beaten path and deep into the foothills of the Api-Saipal massif and trans-Himalayan valleys.

Surrounded by the 7,000 metre peaks of Api and Saipal, this trek of a lifetime will be as much of an exploration of Nepal’s most remote valleys and passes, as it is of your inner strength and determination.


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