How to Start Hiking as a Hobby: For When Your Friends Say “Let’s Go Outside”

Are you looking for a new hobby that gets you outside and active? Look no further than hiking!

Not only is it a great way to exercise, but it also allows you to explore new places and enjoy the beauty of nature.

So, how to start hiking as a hobby? With a few simple steps, you can hit the trails in no time and discover the joys of hiking.

See Also: How To Find An Outdoor Hobby For Yourself?

Benefits of Hiking

Hiking is a wonderful way to get outdoors, explore nature, and improve your fitness. Here are some of the benefits of hiking that make it a great hobby to start:

Physical Health Benefits

Hiking is a great way to improve your physical health. It is a low-impact form of exercise that can help you build strength, endurance, and cardiovascular fitness.

Hiking can also help you lose weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, and improve your overall health and well-being.

Mental Health Benefits

In addition to the physical health benefits, hiking can also have a positive impact on your mental health. Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

Hiking can also help you clear your mind, improve your mood, and boost your self-esteem.

Social Benefits

Hiking can be a great way to connect with others who share your interests. You can join a hiking club or group, or simply invite friends or family members to join you on your hikes. Hiking with others can be a fun and rewarding way to build relationships and create lasting memories.

Environmental Benefits

Hiking is a great way to connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of the outdoors. It can also help you develop a greater appreciation for the environment and a desire to protect it.

When you hike, be sure to follow Leave No Trace principles to help minimize your impact on the environment.


Hiking is an accessible hobby that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels.

You can start with short, easy hikes and gradually work your way up to more challenging trails. Hiking can also be a relatively inexpensive hobby, as you only need a few basic pieces of gear to get started.

Planning Your Hike

Before you hit the trails, it’s important to plan your hike to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some key factors to consider when planning your hike.

Fitness and Skill Level

When choosing a hike, it’s important to consider your fitness and skill level. Be honest with yourself about your abilities and choose a trail that matches your experience.

If you’re a beginner, start with shorter, easier hikes and gradually work your way up to more challenging terrain.

Choosing a Trail

When choosing a trail, consider the distance, difficulty level, and terrain. Look for trails that match your fitness and skill level, and choose a route that offers scenic views and interesting features. Check online for hiking trail reviews and recommendations, or ask locals for their favorite hiking spots.

Packing Essentials

Packing the right gear is essential for a safe and comfortable hike. Make sure you have the following essentials:

  • Water: Bring enough water to stay hydrated throughout your hike.
  • Snacks: Pack high-energy snacks like trail mix, energy bars, and fruit.
  • Map and compass: Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.
  • First aid kit: Include bandages, antiseptic, and any necessary medications.
  • Sun protection: Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes from the sun.
  • Weather gear: Bring rain gear and warm clothing in case the weather changes.

Researching the Hike

Researching your hike is crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some key factors to research before you hit the trail:

  • Hiking route: Study the trail map and know the route you will be taking.
  • Permits: Some trails require permits, so make sure you have the necessary documentation.
  • Difficulty level: Understand the difficulty level of the trail and make sure it matches your abilities.
  • Weather forecast: Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
  • Trail conditions: Check online for trail conditions and closures before you go.

By taking the time to plan and prepare for your hike, you’ll have a safe and enjoyable experience on the trails.

Hiking Gear and Clothing

When it comes to hiking, having the right gear and clothing is essential for your comfort and safety. Here are some of the most important items you should consider before you hit the trails.


Your hiking boots or shoes are one of the most important pieces of gear you will need. Make sure you choose a pair that fits well and provides good support and traction.

Look for shoes or boots that are waterproof and breathable, and consider investing in a pair of hiking socks to prevent blisters.


Dressing in layers is key when it comes to hiking. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep you dry, add a mid-layer for warmth, and finish with a waterproof and windproof outer layer. Don’t forget to wear a sun hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.

Backpack and Pack Essentials

Your backpack should be comfortable and fit well, with padded straps and a waist belt to distribute the weight evenly.

Make sure you pack the essentials, including water, snacks, a map and compass, a first aid kit, and a headlamp or flashlight. Consider bringing trekking poles to help with balance and reduce strain on your knees.


In addition to the basics, there are a few accessories that can make your hiking experience more enjoyable. A hydration system or water bottle is a must, and a portable water filter can come in handy if you’re hiking in remote areas.

A hiking watch or GPS device can help you stay on track, and a lightweight camping chair can provide a comfortable place to rest.

Remember, the key to a successful hike is preparation. Make sure you have all the gear and clothing you need before you hit the trails, and don’t be afraid to invest in quality items that will last you for years to come.

Safety and Wilderness Ethics

When it comes to hiking, safety should always be a top priority. Before heading out on the trail, make sure you are well-prepared and aware of potential hazards. In addition to safety, it is also important to practice wilderness ethics to minimize your impact on the environment. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Hiking Safety

  • Always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • Check the weather forecast before heading out and be prepared for changing conditions.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the terrain and weather.
  • Carry plenty of water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
  • Bring a map and compass, and know how to use them.
  • Stay on marked trails and avoid shortcuts or off-trail hiking.
  • If you encounter wildlife, give them plenty of space and do not approach them.

Leave No Trace Ethics

  • Pack out all trash and litter, including food scraps and biodegradable items.
  • Use established campsites and fire rings, or bring a portable stove for cooking.
  • Avoid damaging vegetation or disturbing wildlife.
  • Keep noise levels low and respect other hikers’ right to enjoy the wilderness.
  • Leave natural and cultural features undisturbed.

First Aid and Emergency Preparedness

  • Carry a first aid kit and know how to use it.
  • Learn basic first aid skills, such as how to treat cuts, burns, and blisters.
  • Be prepared for emergencies by carrying a whistle, signaling device, and extra food and water.
  • Know the location of the nearest ranger station or emergency services.

By following these safety and wilderness ethics tips, you can enjoy hiking while minimizing your impact on the environment and staying safe on the trail.

Hiking Tips and Techniques

If you’re new to hiking, it’s important to learn some basic tips and techniques to make your experience more enjoyable and safe. Here are some essential tips to get you started:

Staying Hydrated and Fueled

One of the most important things to remember when hiking is to stay hydrated and fueled.

Always bring plenty of water and snacks with you on your hike. It’s recommended to drink at least half a liter of water per hour of hiking, so plan accordingly. Some good snacks to bring include energy bars, trail mix, and fresh fruit.

Building Endurance and Strength

Hiking can be a challenging activity, especially if you’re not used to it. To build endurance and strength, start with shorter hikes and gradually increase the distance and difficulty level. Incorporating strength training exercises like squats, lunges, and calf raises can also help prepare your body for hiking.

Hiking in Different Weather Conditions

Weather can have a big impact on your hiking experience, so it’s important to be prepared for different conditions. Check the forecast before you go and dress accordingly.

If it’s hot, wear lightweight and breathable clothing, a hat, and sunscreen. If it’s cold, dress in layers and bring a waterproof jacket. Always bring extra clothing and gear in case of unexpected weather changes.

Socializing and Joining Hiking Clubs

Hiking can be a great social activity, and joining a hiking club is a great way to meet new people who share your interests.

Hiking clubs often organize group hikes and events, which can be a fun way to explore new trails and make new friends. Look for hiking clubs in your area online or through social media.

Remember to always be respectful of the environment and other hikers on the trail. Leave no trace, pack out all of your trash, and follow any posted rules or regulations. By following these tips and techniques, you can have a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.

Exploring New Hiking Trails

Are you ready to explore new hiking trails? Hiking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and stay active. Here are some tips for exploring new hiking trails.

Short Hikes and Day Hikes

If you’re new to hiking, start with short hikes and day hikes. Look for hiking trails that are easy to moderate in difficulty, and gradually work your way up to more challenging hikes. When planning your hike, consider the distance, elevation gain, and terrain.

Before you head out, make sure you have the right gear and supplies. Wear comfortable, sturdy shoes and dress in layers. Bring plenty of water, snacks, and a first-aid kit. You may also want to bring a map, compass, or GPS device.

Backpacking and Camping

If you’re ready for a more immersive hiking experience, consider backpacking and camping. Backpacking allows you to explore remote hiking trails and spend the night in the wilderness. Camping is a great way to extend your hiking trip and enjoy the outdoors.

When backpacking or camping, make sure you have the right gear and supplies. Invest in a quality backpack, tent, sleeping bag, and stove. Bring plenty of food, water, and a water filter. You may also want to bring a map, compass, or GPS device.

Hiking in Different Regions

Hiking is a great way to explore different regions and see new sights. Whether you’re hiking in the mountains of Europe or the hiking routes of America, there are plenty of hiking trails to choose from.

When hiking in different regions, do your research. Look for guidebooks and online resources that can help you plan your trip. Consider the climate, terrain, and sights you want to see. Make sure you have the right gear and supplies for the region you’ll be hiking in.

RegionHiking TrailsSights
EuropeTour du Mont Blanc, West Highland WayAlps, castles, villages
AmericaGrand Canyon, Appalachian TrailCanyons, waterfalls, wildlife
AsiaEverest Base Camp, Tiger’s NestHimalayas, temples, monasteries

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long should a beginner hike be?

As a beginner, it is important to start with a hike that is suitable for your fitness level. An ideal beginner hiking trail is 3-6 hours long. However, the length of the hike will depend on the terrain and elevation gain. It is recommended to start with a shorter hike and gradually increase the distance as your fitness level improves.

Q: What is considered a beginner hike?

A beginner hike is a trail that is suitable for hikers who are new to the activity. These trails are usually well-marked, have moderate elevation gain, and are not too strenuous. A beginner hike should be enjoyable and not too challenging.

Q: What is thru hiking?

Thru hiking is a long-distance hike that covers a trail from beginning to end. A popular example of thru hiking is the Pacific Crest Trail, which stretches from Mexico to Canada. Thru hiking requires a lot of preparation and endurance, and it is not recommended for beginners.

Q: How do I start preparing for hiking?

To start preparing for hiking, it is important to research the trail you plan to hike, including the difficulty level, terrain, and weather conditions. It is also important to invest in proper hiking gear, such as hiking boots, a backpack, and a map or GPS device.

Q: How do I get physically fit for hiking?

To get physically fit for hiking, it is recommended to start with low-impact exercises such as walking, cycling, or swimming. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts to improve your endurance and strength. It is also important to stretch before and after your hikes to prevent injuries.

Q: What are the essential items to bring on a hiking trip?

The essential items to bring on a hiking trip include:

  • Water and snacks
  • Map or GPS device
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Extra clothing layers
  • Emergency whistle
  • Multi-purpose tool

Q: What are some beginner-friendly hiking trails near me?

There are many beginner-friendly hiking trails across the country. To find trails near you, you can use websites such as AllTrails or Hiking Project. You can also ask for recommendations from local hiking groups or outdoor stores. Some popular beginner-friendly trails include:

  • Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California
  • Mount Tamalpais State Park in Mill Valley, California
  • Great Falls Park in McLean, Virginia
  • Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Remember to always check the trail conditions and weather before heading out on a hike.

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Ghost HuntingGold Prospecting
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