Most of our readers know that almost nothing will stop a dedicated runner. For most of us that means a tough day at work or the season finale of our favorite television show. For some of the more adventurous runners among us, that could mean extreme heat, collapsing terrain, lightning storms, or even bears. There are some daring athletes out there than will run in even the harshest of elements. Just in case you are thinking about taking a run on the wild side and joining them, here are The 10 Most Dangerous Running Trails in the US.

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No. 10 - Brazos Bend State Park

Miles: 25 mi.

Location: Needville, TX

Best Season: Fall-Spring

What to Bring:  Gator Bait

Brazos is the home of the Brazos Bend Keep on Truckin’ Trail Races. The race is pretty standard. It is run by a local organization, Pilates Powerhouse, and you can sign up for a half-marathon or a the full 26.2 miler. What is unique about this race is that it winds around two lakes that are teeming with alligators. Park staff are quick to note that there has never bee an incident with the alligators in the park … which is really comforting.

No. 9 - Old Rag Mountain

Miles: 9 mi.

Location: Shenandoah Mountains, VA

Best Season: Spring - Fall

What to Bring: Climbing Gear

While Old Rag is quite popular among trail runners, if you attempt to conquer Old Rag you’ll be doing a lot more than just running. Bounding over boulders and scambling up rock formations will likely end up a part of your journey as well. Believe it or not the so called “rock scramble” portion of the trails can be very dangerous, especially if it is raining. Though the Shenandoahs aren’t exactly the most intimidating mountain range in the US, there are still a number of search and rescue missions on Old Rag every year.

No. 8 - Huckleberry Mountain

Miles: 6 mi.

Location: Glacier, MT

Best Season: Summer

What to Bring: Bear Repellant

Though runners report that the mountain in the heart of Glacier National Park isn’t too tough to tackle, they also encourage you to watch out for Grizzly Bears. You’ll find that bears are a surprisingly common theme on this list. Believe it or not, they make any trail a bit more dangerous. Frankly, "it's fine except for the Grizzly Bears" isn't fine by us.

No. 7 - The Barkley Marathons

Miles: 100 mi.

Location: Frozen Head State Park, TN

Best Season: Early Spring

What to Bring: Permission to participate

There are ultra-marathoners and then there are the truly insane. If you fit into the latter category, the Barkley Marathons might be for you. This one hundred miler has been dubbed the “race that eats its young”. The course was designed with an intent to cause pain. Though sixty hours are given to competitors to complete the race, only eleven runners have ever finished in that time. The terrain is extremely difficult to traverse and a good chunk of the race is run in the dark. Even if you wanted to sign up, you likely couldn’t get in, as there are very few spots and a personal essay is required for consideration.

No. 6 - Mount Marathon

Miles: 3 mi.

Location: Seward, AK

Best Season: Summer

What to Bring: Balls of Steel

Every Fourth of July, Mt. Seward is home  to the Mount Marathon Race. It doesn’t sound like anything a dedicated runner can’t handle, as the race starts at sea level and is only three miles long. But, of course, there's more. The race takes you up 3,000 feet in elevation over icy Alaskan terrain only to give you a nasty 38 degree slope on the way down. Last year’s race saw two particularly gruesome injuries. One runner suffered a lacerated liver and broken ribs, while another broke both legs and suffered brain damage. Another runner vanished without a trace. Let’s just say we aren’t sure if we’ll be making the trip to Seward next year.

No. 5 - Rover’s Run

Miles: 2 mi.

Location: Anchorage, AK

Best Season: Summer

What to Bring: Also Bear Repellant

While this path is popular among runners and cyclists alike, it is also a popular hang out for brown bears. There have been two bear maulings in the last five years, which is two too many for us. The government is considering shutting down the trail for good, so if you are looking to become a picnic basket for a enterprising young bear, you’d better hurry, before the the government takes away your right to be in a bear’s arms.

No. 4 - Pisgah National Forest

Miles: Network of Trails Spread over 512,758 acres

Location: Brevard, NC

Best Season: Spring / Fall

What to Bring: Balance

The Trails are steep and rugged. The land is accessible only by foot. The bears are well-populated. Depsite all of this, Pisgah has its fans, as many report being enthralled by the terrifying beauty of starring into Linville Gorge. Beward, the rocky terrain can get slippery, and you might just become a permanent resident of the gorge, if the black bears don't get you first.

No. 3 - Barr Trail

Miles: 27 miles

Location: Pike's Peak, CO

Best Season: Not Winter

What to Bring: A taller friend

Elevation is so extreme at Pike’s Peak that you are at risk for hypothermia even during the summer. While a number of trails on this list have spikes in elevation, this is the only one that also provides an extremely high instance of “electrical incidents”, meaning you might just get struck by lightning. If that wasn’t enough, Pike’s Peak can boast winds of over 200 mph, so maybe you want to run in a windbreaker?

No. 2 - Kalalu Trail

Miles: 11 mi.

Location: Kauai, HI

Best Season: Year Round (Crowded Spring / Summer)

What to Bring: Required Permit

Though this ranked near the top of our Most Scenic Running Trails, it is also one of the most dangerous. Steeps cliffs and crumbly trail combine to create some perilous conditions. If you are sure footed enough to negotiate the tricky running paths, falling rocks might just ruin your already precarious balance. If the falling rocks don’t get you, the flash floods might. In most situations, if you do fall, you would rather hit water than land, but as over one hundred swimmers have died in the dangerous currents off of this idyllic coast, neither option is a good bet.

No. 1 - Grand Canyon

Miles: 42 mi.

Location: Arizona

Best Season: Fall

What to Bring: Water

Continuing with the theme of danger and beauty, while the Grand Canyon is a crowning achievement for many runners, it is also a perilous one. Temperatures that get well over 100 degrees combined with radical shifts in altitude crate a need for over 200 heat-related rescues each year. Make sure you don’t tackle the canyon in midafternoon heat. Your body could experience cramping, hallucinations and even the bursting of brain cells. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attempt a run the canyon, as those who have made it through consider it the experience of a life time. Just make sure you plan a head and drink lots of water, and, you know, avoid dying.

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