Hiking for Beginners: Quick Tips
Hiking Can Be for Everyone
When hiking is mentioned to beginners, they sometimes feel intimated. Why so? Phrases like "I'm too out of shape" or "I'm afraid I won't be able to keep up" come to mind. The reality is, there really are no rules when it comes to hiking. Don't put limitations on yourself. Start off at a pace that works for you and gradually build up to what you feel comfortable with. We're here today to provide you with a list of quick tips and tricks to help get you started.
1. Set your pace. Keep in mind a typical timing to use is about one hour for a two mile trail. Elevation is an important factor too so don't push yourself too far too soon. We recommend starting as early as possible. Popular trails can get congested quickly, but it's also nice having some company, too!
2. Find your hiking buddy. Experiencing the outdoors by yourself can be a freeing experience, but it's always safe to have a partner with you at all times. Even better if that person has experience with hikes and can share some tips, gear, etc. with you. If you decide to go solo, always let a friend know where and when you'll be hiking. It could save your life.
3. Do your research. Find trails suitable for beginners. Trails.com is a great resource as well as hiking forums online. You can also search on Facebook for local hiking groups. Once you have selected a trail, obtain a map of the area and review reports and data. There are some excellent online resources available.
4. Gear? Well, the nice thing about hiking is that you can get away with wearing items you may already have. Workout and active clothes are better than the regular tee with jeans look. We recommended sneakers or trail runners, but hiking boots may come in handy too... depending on what trail you are tackling.
5. Backpack, backpack! Whether it's a quick day trip or a longer journey, having a backpack is crucial. Always bring more water than you anticipate having, as well as snacks. Also, weather conditions can always change. Pack a lightweight rain coat and perhaps an extra layer just in case.
6. Other essentials. Navigation (map/compass), extra clothing, extra and food, first aid kit, flashlight/headlamp, and sun protection. Don't forget these items! They can make the difference between a safe and enjoyable hike vs. the opposite.
7. We are not racing. Conserve your energy, especially if you're embarking on a long hike. You should always be prepared for situations that would require more energy (ex. getting lost). With hiking, it's always a matter of safety.
8. Be cautious. Always be aware of your surroundings. We can't stress this enough. The biggest risk you generally have on an easy hike is stepping in the wrong place. The outdoors are filled with surprises, whether it's a change in the ground, rocks, steeps, or even wildfire, always watch where you are walking.
9. Don't disrupt nature. Hiking is intended to enjoy our beautiful outdoors. Always be courteous of wildlife and Mother Nature. That includes not taking something you didn't come with (souvenirs) and not feeding wildlife with food meant for humans. Also remember, we want to leave no trace behind that we were there... circle of life, folks.
10. Simple etiquette. Simple hello when you pass another hiker is fine. If you're on a longer trail, it's fair to stop and discuss weather conditions, etc. If you don't feel comfortable, it's perfectly fine to not engage. A hiker going uphill has the right of way. It's also common to yield for bikes. Also, a few trails require a permit. Always contact your park office if unclear.
Hiking is a typically low-impact activity but has great physical and mental rewards. Always remember to do your research beforehand, have fun, and be safe! Spread the word on social about your hike, too! Use common hashtags like #hike #outdoors and our own personal one, #getoutthereanddosomething.
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