10 Places in the World to Live on the Edge—Literally
Are you a bit of a thrill seeker who enjoys living at full throttle? Or maybe you just want to press pause to climb the ladder of life and experience what it’s really like at the top. If this sounds like you, then we think it’s time you strapped on some hiking boots and trekked to the top of a mountain. No words can describe that monumental feeling when you reach the highest peak and take a well-earned seat on top of an iconic cliff face. It’s this sheer thrill that sees thousands of adventurers scale these iconic monuments of Mother Nature every year—maybe it’s time you did too? Scroll down to see some of our top picks.
This would have to be one of the most photographed cliff seats in the world. How many times have you seen an image like this attached to an inspirational quote? We can guess it’s a lot. Also known as Troll’s Tongue because it looks like one poking out of the cliff face, this incredible ledge has been a famous trek for many adventurers over the years. The round trip is more than 15 miles of high mountains with a grueling ascent of 2952 feet, but who can resist those breathtaking views across the Lake Ringedalsvatnet and then inhaling all that clean mountain air when you get there? Definitely worth it.
Reaching 702 feet and stretching for five miles at its highest point, the magnificent Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most visited natural attraction, with up to one million visitors each year. The name means “cliffs of the ruined fort,” and even though there is no trace of the 2000-year-old namesake, the original 1835 O’Brien’s Tower, which is home to the High King of Island, still stands. The cliffs have three dedicated viewing platforms and 2624 feet of cliffside pathways where you can take in the serenity.
Just looking at photographs of the Half Dome’s unique shape and size impresses, but then you discover it’s also climbable. Situated nearly 5000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8800 feet above sea level, the mountain icon has become a popular hike for thousands of summit seekers each year. If you are planning on making the trek, be sure to follow the National Park Service safety tips to guarantee a more enjoyable hike.
Yes, this amazing feat of Mother Nature is actually called the Wedding Cake Rock, thanks to its natural limestone color and square layers that resemble the celebratory sweet. Located in Bundeena National Park in New South Wales, Australia, south of Sydney, this iconic ledge has become a hot spot for Instagrammers who want a selfie on the edge overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The hike there is about 90 minutes, so be sure to pack supplies and a charged phone for that social-worthy snap at the top. But you might want to get in quick, because the local National Parks and Wildlife Service is investigating the rock formation after a new study revealed it could collapse at any time. There are no plans to close the attraction; officials are looking into ways to make the site safer for visitors.
If you want to roar at the top of a mountain, then Lion’s Head is the perfect spot. Located on Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, it features expansive views of the city, coastline, and mountain ridge that encircles the town, which justifies every step of the trail up. But we hear this hike is actually pretty manageable, with beautiful flora to enjoy along the way. We suggest filling a backpack with picnic goods so you can enjoy lunch at the top.
Standing at an impressive 3228 feet, Kjerag Mountain in Ryfylke, Norway, towers above all other peaks along the Lysefjord. Many have trekked the distance to admire this beautiful cliff face from the front, but its the popular plateau or Kjeragbolten—a 6215-cubic-foot stone located between two rocks—definitely attracts the most visitors, and it’s pretty easy to see why. This inspiring feat of nature is the perfect spot for a social snap, but it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted. Its highest point is 3641 feet above sea level, and the walk can take up to three hours each way.
This incredible 350-foot spire marks the center of Smith Rock State Park, Oregon, in the U.S. The unique name of this four-sided pillar comes from its resemblance to a primate face when viewed from the south. Apparently the top of the pillar looks like the mouth, nose, and eyes of a monkey. Since the rock has an unusual formation and bulges on all sides, climbing to the summit is a real challenge, even for experienced professionals. But wouldn’t it be worth it for that feeling at the top? Rock climbing lessons, anyone?
These stunning limestone cliffs mark the highest place on Gozo, the second-largest island in the Maltese archipelago. Visitors can take a beautiful paved stone walk before reaching the majestic spot with stunning views across the Mediterranean Sea. The region is definitely more rural and renowned for its scenic cliff-lined coast. Gozo is also home to the famous Azure Window, a natural limestone arch that was created after two limestone sea caves collapsed some several million years ago. Based on what we’ve read, though, if you do walk the distance to Sanap Cliffs, be sure to take ample food and water with you, as there isn’t anything around.
There’s a simple reason the Angels Landing trail is one of the most famous and well-loved hikes of the Zion National Park. Not only are you surrounded by some of the most magnificent views, but thrill seekers also love it for the challenge. It features a precarious narrow ridge and deep chasms on each side, and the highlight is a narrow rock fin that has sheer drops on either side. But it’s all worth it once you reach the high rocky perch where you can sit and enjoy the grandiose outlook across the park. Be prepared, though—the average hike is about five hours.
This one’s for all the rock romantics who spend their working days fantasizing about hiking colossal cliff faces. Well, it’s time to take the adventure and hit up the Pulpit Rock in Ryfylke, Norway. Towering at an impressive 1900 feet, this iconic place is definitely one of the most outstanding wonders of the world, which is why it’s also one of the region’s most popular tourist attractions. But the real reason people flock to this natural rock formation is to stand atop its 82-by-82-foot plateau at 1982 feet above sea level. If you’re planning on visiting this superb spot, you’ll need to invest in some decent hiking boots, because the trip takes about two hours on foot.
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Have you hiked a famous cliff ledge on your travels? Share it with us in the comments.