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9 of the Longest Via Ferratas in the World

longest via ferratas

Via ferratas offer an adventurous mix of alpine hiking and rock climbing. The name refers to protected mountain climbing routes that consist of anchored cables, rungs, steps, bridges, and ladders. These features allow inexperienced climbers to face otherwise dangerous, but incredibly scenic climbing routes. The average via ferrata takes about 4 hours and ranges in length from a few hundred feet to several thousand. However, all of these adrenaline-inducing routes feature magnificent views. In some mountain ranges, you can even link routes together for a multi-day, high-altitude climbing experience you’ll never forget. Check out some of the longest via ferratas from around the world.

Located in Colorado, the Telluride Via Ferrata is one of the newest and most scenic via ferratas in the United States. This route is located in southern Colorado’s enormous and gorgeous San Juan mountain range. Running alongside Ajax Peak, the path follows an old mining trail and offers views of the infamous waterfall Bridal Veil and of the towns famed box canyon.

The Mount Ogden Via Ferrata is located in northern Utah and is only open for guided tours. You’ll climb up the sheer rock faces of Waterfall Canyon and be witness to views of its 200-foot cascade, Antelope Island, Great Salt Lake, and the surrounding beauty of Utah’s ski country.

The Mer de Glace Via Ferrata is probably one of the most accessible via ferratas in the world. Step off the train in the Chamonix, France town center to the ladders leading to the Mer de Glace climbing trails. Quickly in to the adventure you’ll cross the glacier, climbing thirty ladders along the way, soon you will arrive at Refuge du Couvercle, a hut and campground with amazing views of the French Alps.

If you can survive a trek up the nearly vertical “Heavenly Stairs,” a harrowing gondola ride, and a walk across old rickety wooden boards and a single chain rail nailed to the side of the mountain, then Chang Kong Via Ferrata is calling you! After this long and thrilling adventure, you’ll be heavily rewarded on China’s sacred Mount Hua Shan. The path ends at an ancient Taoist temple and teahouse.

The Mount Kenya Via Ferrata at 16,355 feet above sea level is the world’s highest via ferrata. The mountain is actually an extinct volcano, with deep gorges, ridges, and sharp peaks provide an amazing backdrop to experience this amazing climbing adventure. Combine your climb with a safari you can see elephants, rhinos, and leopards in the park’s interior.

The Aletsch Via Ferrata is located Valais, Switzerland. Aletsch is the largest alpine glacier in the Alps, covering 46 square miles. On one end, a glacial lake was dammed to create the Stausee Gibidum reservoir. This course features many traverses over steep cliffs, hiking, and the longest suspension bridge in the Alps.

Located in Ollantaytambo, Peru, the Sacred Valley Via Ferrata may be the world’s most beautiful via ferrata. The route features a 984-foot vertical climb up steel rungs, amazing vistas of the Sacred Valley and Urubamba River, as well as colorful flora jutting from the rock faces. You can rappel down, but we prefer the zip-line descent. Zoom along seven interconnected cables that whisk you through the mountain air.

A visit to Isafjordur, Iceland, known as the land of fire and ice, is thrilling enough as it is. The Coldback Mountain Via Ferrata puts the experience over the top. This is Iceland’s only via ferrata. You’ll start by hiking up a narrow ridge, then skirt the side of Coldback Mountain. As you enter the Skutulsfjordur fjord, enjoy spectacular views of the towns of Isafjordur and Isafjardardjup and the beautiful surrounding mountain ranges.

Located in Keswick, United Kingdom, the Honister Via Ferrata is located at the Honister Slate Mine in Cumbria’s Lake District. This via ferrata follows old mining trails which offers 2 routes – classic and extreme. If you’re up for the challenge, embark on the extreme. It offers more vertical climbs, edge expo sure, a Burma bridge, and a fun cargo net crossing.

Ready to dip your toes in the waters of via ferratas? Join us in Idaho Springs or Buena Vista for a guided Via Ferrata tour. Our 3-hour guided via ferrata tours will provide you with all the necessary gear, as well as an experienced guide, to get you through the course.

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