How to Start Hiking

Are you looking to get into hiking and want to know how to start hiking? Keep reading to find out more. Hiking is defined as an activity of going for long walks in the country or woods. I often tell people that hiking doesn’t have to require challenging routes, nor does it have to be for long periods of time. It is a faster pace activity than walking, and to begin hiking mainly requires getting out there and enjoying the journey. Over time, you achieve a level of expertise, and you become accustomed to it.

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How to start hiking

Keep One Foot in Front of the Other

Hiking is all about keeping one foot in front of the other, literally! This is something I often have to remind myself of on difficult hikes and, ironically, a good lesson for life! You keep going no matter how long, challenging, short, or simple something appears. If you’ve been hesitant about hiking or being judged on the trails, don’t mind others because everyone was a beginner at some point.

How to Start Hiking:

• Join Local Hiking Groups

Hiking groups can be life-changing if you are seeking company on the trails because meeting other hikers can be the motivation you need to get into it. It is a great place to make new friends and create memories. There are various groups for all: women-specific groups, groups for different skill levels, groups for people of color, and so many others, to name a few. If you are a woman, I highly suggest Hikerbabes; they have chapters worldwide and bring women together to hike as a group.

• Invite a Friend to Join You

Invite a group of friends or a friend to join you for a hike. The worst they could say is no, and if that is the case, reference my first point, which is to join a local hiking group in your area where you will have a chance to meet like-minded people. If you can convince a friend or a family member to join you, select a simple hike and share it with them ahead of time. If you’re spontaneous then you can try going solo, this is something I ended up doing when I couldn’t find anyone to join me and now I hike alone comfortably.

Read Solo Hiking Tips for Women.

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• Join a Hiking Event

You may or may not know this, but your local area probably hosts monthly hiking events that you don’t know about. Events can include trail clean-ups and hiking meetups, among many other creative events. Not only is this a good way to get outdoors, but these events provide awareness of where you can make a difference out there. When you feel inspired to help keep the trails clean, it only makes you want to explore more hiking destinations.

How to start hiking

• Select an Easy Trail

Find a local hike that is easy to start with. Easier trails usually range from 1-3 miles. When you are starting off, don’t exceed 3 miles, and take it easy. The first several miles will leave you feeling a bit sore, but you will feel accomplished once you have completed your first hike out there. When using hiking apps or searching for trails online, make sure they say easy or moderate.

If you are in Northern California, here are some trail suggestions: 15 Best Redwood Hikes in NorCal.

• Do Some Minor Research

Some minor research may be required on the destination you hike to. Once again, don’t exceed and overdo it! If you push yourself too hard on a hike, you may be discouraged and not want to return for a while. A few things you will want to research: the length of the trail, location, how to get there, where to park, park hours, and the type of terrain you will encounter.

• Practice on a Nature Walk

Find a beautiful garden or a park and start light. Various parks offer nature trails; they are usually very simple and are small loops around nature. On a nature walk, you can search for wildlife and plants and explore everything you see. You will feel inspired being out there, and it might give you the push you need to take it even further and start exploring locations with hills, steps, and inclines.

How to start hiking

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• Put on Sturdy Shoes & Clothing

Wear sturdy footwear and comfortable clothes. Initially, you will make mistakes with what to put on, but the lesson is that it is okay, and you will find what is most suitable for you. I often see people providing specific recommendations, and although they are great for ideas. I’ve realized that there is no right way to do things.

At the end of the day, when it comes to what you wear on hikes, consider these three things: Is this comfortable? Is this appropriate for the weather I am about to hike in? Are these shoes or boots safe to hike in? Safety is also important, so keep that in mind.

• Take a Small Backpack With Essentials

Take a small backpack with some essentials – things include water, snacks, sunscreen, a flashlight, a first aid kit, and a paper map as a backup (most maps can be picked up at the trailhead). Bring anything else that comes to mind and items you find the most useful. Remember that this is your journey, so pack what you think you will need when you are out there.

• Stretch Your Body

Stretching your body before a hike is underrated. When you begin your hiking journey, hiking will most likely leave you sore, which is common. At first, I would focus on stretching the calves and the legs, wiggling your toes, and twirling your ankles. It may seem obvious and silly, but it is so important to stretch before a hike, especially if you don’t have experience. Hills and steps can be harsh on the knees and ankles – so stretch, stretch, stretch.

Castle Rock State Park

Your Thoughts: Are you new to hiking?

This post was about How to Start Hiking. Which of these tips did you find the most valuable? If you want to start hiking but haven’t yet, what is holding you back? Share a comment below and let me know your thoughts.

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