Hiking fever is not uncommon during a pandemic. The hiking business reported a 79 percent rise in trail use during the summer of 2020, with experienced hikers and beginners both participating. The United States now has 57.8 million active hikers. Hiking’s physical and mental health benefits, combined with the opportunity for sightseeing, have made it one of favorite pastimes in 2023.
For first-timers, trail hiking might be intimidating. If you want to join in the fun, keep reading to learn some of the finest hiking ideas for beginners, such as how to stay safe, what supplies you’ll need, and how to make the most of your first trek.
Where Can I Discover Hiking Paths for Beginners?
You might be tempted to try an ambitious, scenic trek on your first outing, but we recommend sticking to paths less than two miles long with less than 200 feet of elevation gain.
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Make use of a smartphone app to locate beginner-friendly hiking, biking, and running paths in your neighborhood. To identify pet-friendly and wheelchair-accessible paths, you can sort by difficulty level and use filters in the app. Each trail entry includes the trail’s length and elevation gain, as well as images and first-hand reviews from other hikers.
Hiking for Beginners: Safety
1. Check the weather
It may seem like an obvious first step, but always check the weather forecast before heading out on the route. Dress and pack accordingly once you know what the weather will be like.
2. Inform a trusted buddy of your plans
Never go on a hiking trip without first informing at least one close friend or family member of your plans. If you become injured or lost and are unable to summon assistance, your person on the outside can do so on your behalf.
3. Investigate the local fauna
Each region has its ecology of flora and animals. Prepare by learning about the local flora and fauna. Take note of any potentially dangerous animals or plants native to the area. Snakebite and bee sting kits, as well as poison ivy scrubs, might be a beneficial addition to your bag depending on the season and location.
7 Must-Have Hiking Equipment for Beginners
In addition to your phone, put a map, compass, or GPS locator in your backpack for safekeeping.
If your evening hike lasts longer than expected, a headlamp can give illumination without draining your phone’s battery. As with all gadgets, including spare batteries and/or charging it until the battery is fully charged.
3. Protection from the sun
You can protect yourself from the sun by using sunscreen, SPF lip balm, sunglasses, hats, and UV-blocking clothes.
4. Basic first aid
Regardless of expertise level, a first aid package is an absolute must for trekking. On the trail, anything may happen, so keep your equipment well-stocked at all times.
A knife can be used to cut bandages for the wounded, remove deep splinters, and cut branches for firewood in an emergency.
Throw a lighter or fire starter into your pack before leaving in case of need. It is quite difficult to start a fire outdoors without any equipment. Lighters occupy little space but can provide a great deal of security.
7. Additional water and clothing
Always bring more water than you anticipate using. Aside from being hydrated, an extra bottle of water could come in handy for a thirsty hiker who neglected to bring their own. An extra pair of underwear or socks, as well as extra garments, can make trekking more pleasant. Packing a light rain jacket is also a good idea, even if the forecast does not call for rain.