- Hiking can benefit your physical and mental health but to have fun and stay safe, you must be prepared.
- Beginners should research and plan out their route.
- While you may be tempted to hike alone, beginners should hike in groups for safety.
Nothing beats getting out in nature, breathing in the fresh air, and enjoying a challenging (but fun!) hike. Not only is it physically good for you, but it can benefit your mental health too. After all, connecting with nature can help you unwind and de-stress from the busyness of everyday life. But if you’ve never hiked before, you might feel intimidated. Perhaps you’re worried that you’re not physically in shape or you may be concerned about getting lost. Don’t worry there is a hike for everyone, including beginners.
To ensure your hike is fun and safe, it’s important to be prepared. So we’re here to help! In our beginner’s guide to hiking, we’ll share 13 things you need to know before hiking.
Plan Your Hiking Route
One of the most important things to do before you go hiking is to plan your route, especially for beginners. There are tons of hiking trails available ranging from beginner to advanced and it’s vital that you choose one that’s compatible with your experience and fitness level.
When researching a hiking trail you’ll want to consider how much time you have and the distance of the route. Be realistic. You’ll also want to know the amount of elevation gain as this can determine the difficulty of the hike. Recreational Equipment, Inc (REI) explains, “a general recommendation is that for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain, add one hour to your trip.”
Other factors you’ll want to consider are the time of year and the weather. Some trails may only be open during certain seasons and if you’re hiking during fall or winter the sun sets much earlier which means you have less daylight to hike. Always check the weather forecast before setting out for your hike too.