Every Lord of the Rings fanatic should make a pilgrimage to New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park, which set the scene for Mordor in the movies, including the formidable Mt. Nguaruhoe – A.K.A. Mt. Doom. While Tongariro offers stunning day treks through the other-worldly environment, including volcanic wastelands, active volcanoes, hot springs, and mineral pools, those of a more adventurous mindset will want to tackle the treacherous climb up Mt. Doom. Utterly lacking in any form of path or trail, the unforgivable volcano forces climbers to slip and slide their way through loose scree, cling to precarious outcrops of rock, and keep their wits about them to reach the summit.

It took me 2.5 hours to climb 5/6 of the way up, before bad weather forced me back down. If you’re in good health and fitness, and the weather is good, I highly recommend the endeavor.