Different Types of Hiking – What Type Is Right For You?

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types of hiking

Summer isn’t over yet! Though fall continues to creep closer and closer, there is still plenty of sunshine and warm weather to enjoy. Each year, there are always lots of seasonal activities to add to your to-do list, like bike riding, swimming, picnics, and local events. This year? Consider hiking. There are many different types of hiking adventures to choose from, which means this activity can be customized to match your schedule and preferences. Plus, hiking allows you to spend time in nature. It is the easiest way to get your heart pumping, infuse your day with a healthy dose of inspiration, and become more grounded. If you aren’t sure where to start, browse this list. Consider all the options and then start planning an unforgettable hike of your own.

Different Types of Hiking to Consider

Hiking is more than just going for a walk in nature. There are actually a lot of different hiking types to be considered. For instance, there is solo hiking, hiking with a partner, or hiking with a group.  There are difficulty levels to consider as well, such as beginner trails, intermediate trails, and advanced trails. Not to mention the fact that there are different durations. Will you hike for an hour? A full day? Multiple days? There is no right or wrong way to hike as long everyone involved plans ahead and stays safe. The truth of the matter is that hiking is versatile. It is possible for nature lovers of all fitness levels to enjoy the great outdoors. However, it is important to choose the right hike for you. Here are a few options for you to consider…

Try Short Hikes or Day Hiking to Start

Just getting started? Short on time? Planning to hike with someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience? Your best bet is to focus on day hiking. As the name suggests, these are hikes that will be less than a day in duration. It might be an hour, half a day, or a full day. It really depends on your fitness level and the trail difficulty. For best results, look for a trail that is clearly marked and well maintained. It is also a good idea to choose a trail that is somewhat close to where you live. Look online for potential trail locations. Be sure to choose something with clear paths and a fairly even terrain. Trails with lots of ups, downs, and roots will be much harder to hike.

It is important to choose something that suits your current abilities while you start to build those oh-so-important trail skills. Something to remember? Even if you are only heading out for a few hours, it is a good idea to carry lots of water and a snack. Have sun protection on hand as well as a map of the area and a fully charged cell phone. Oh, and a comfortable pair of shoes is a must! Though there are many different types of hiking styles to try…if you are just getting started or are short on time, remember that day hiking likely the most suitable option.

Make It a Little More Challenging with a Backpacking Hike

Wondering what the difference between a day hike and a backpacking hike is? It has to do with the duration. A backpacking hike may be an overnight or multiple day hike, where everything you need is carried with you in a backpack. Maybe you want to spend a few days hiking or plan to visit a park that has lots of trails. Fill up your backpack with all of the essentials and make a mini vacation out of it. It is important to remember safety whenever you are planning to hike for more than a day. Not feeling super comfortable? Look for a park that has a campground. That way, you can hike for a few hours and rest easy knowing that there is a more populated area to check in, sleep, and bathe. Hiking with someone who has more experience? Feeling confident about your hiking skills? You may be ready to sleep under the stars. What a view!

Be sure to research extensively about the area beforehand (loop trails are ideal for backpacking, because you don’t have to worry about hiking one way and then hiking all the way back), invest in a light-weight backpack, bring more than enough food, and look into water sources. Though backpacking hikes require more planning and preparation, there are a lot of advantages as well. For instance, a mini break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, seeing the sunrise and sunset, and connecting deeply with nature. Consider your skills and think it over.

Go For the Gold With Long-Distance Hiking

Hikers with more experience may opt to extend the hike with a trip that lasts several days, a week, or even longer. For instance, many experienced hikers like to hike the entire length of a substantial trail in their area. Wondering if this is this right for you? It depends on your experience level, who you are with, how much time you are able to take off work, weather conditions, and so on. There is an awful lot to consider before undertaking a long-distance hike. Think about how you will carry all of the essentials, how you will deal with heat and cold, and how you will stay dry if it starts to rain. Make sure you have a solid plan in place, all the necessary gear, and backup plans. It is also important to communicate with others before you leave and check in often.

There is a lot to think about before heading out on a long-distance hike. However, there are many positives to consider as well. Not only can all of that fresh air and hiking be good for the body, mind, and soul, but it also allows you to work with nature. It creates a deep connection to the natural world that cannot be denied. Plus, there are lots of opportunities to take photographs, meditate, write, explore, and be creative. You can make this long-distance hike whatever you want it to be! It can give you the chance to clear your mind, create, deepen friendships, or just get away from the stresses and strains of everyday life. There are no limitations.

Make the most of the warm and sunny weather. Add a hike or two to your calendar this season! Whether you are just getting started, feel a little more comfortable, or want to challenge yourself to a long-distance hike…there are many types of hiking adventures to consider.  

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