This Is the Most Dangerous Thru-Hike in the United States

The "Princess Bride" Fire Swamp might honestly be a safer walk

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

At 1,100 meandering miles, it’s the same length as a walk from Canada to Mexico. Only 30 hikers attempt it each year, and those who do are rewarded with extreme dehydration (water jugs don’t last quite as long on this trail), alligators, bears, panthers, snakes, crippling humidity, flash floods and worst of all — perpetually wet socks.

It’s the most dangerous thru-hike in the country, and it covers the entire state of (where else?) Florida.

According to a recent article from Outside Online, the Florida National Scenic Trail gets the least attention of any thru-hike in the United States. Hikers will often spend time on parts of the trail (Gulf Islands National Seashore is popular), but to willingly sign up for a walk from the Everglades to Tallahassee is asking for trouble, either from one of the natural terrors listed above, other hikers or … the unknown (Google the Skunk ape).

That said, for incredibly experienced hikers, there are resources out there to prepare for the trail. The Florida Trail Guide details exactly how to hike America’s only subtropical trail (most newcomers are stunned by the amount of muck, the danger of infection from feet that never dry and needing to camp overnight in canoes), and the accompanying app has every mile mapped, even a weird uncompleted section that sends you through the suburbs of Orlando.

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