Table Mountain National Park, South Africa
What to Expect: A hidden gem of a trail that’s just a stone’s throw from Cape Town, one of the best cities on the planet
Distance: 2.7 miles round trip
To say that Lion’s Head is a hike anyone can do belies the difficulty and danger of a trail that ascends 2,000 feet in just 2.7 miles—not to mention the steep step just beneath the summit of the sandstone bluff, in which a series of chains, metal rungs, and ladders have been installed to help you reach the prominent, bare top.
On the summit, the reward is an incredible vista of Cape Town. It’s a local tradition to climb Lion’s Head during a full moon to take in the pale light reflecting off the waves of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Table Bay on the other, with the lights of Cape Town spread out beneath your feet.
Thrill Factor: Plenty of people do this hike every day, but ascending the chains at the top demand a degree of skill, strength, and fortitude to stay safe.
Easier Option: There is actually an easier, alternate path around the chains to the top of Lion’s Head—less of a thrill, but much safer (especially if you are on a full-moon hike).