Hiking 101: Essential Tips for Beginners

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If you’re new to the whole hiking thing, then even the word “hiking” can feel a little intimidating. But it's really just another way of saying taking a walk outside and enjoying nature. You don’t need fancy backpacking gear and other equipment to start hiking; all you really need are your two feet and a pair of comfortable shoes. But there are definitely a few tips and tricks that make any hike more enjoyable, safe, and comfortable, especially for beginners.

Keep It Simple

One of the best things any new hiker can do for themselves is start with a simple, straightforward route. Trying to do too much too fast can be overwhelming and potentially even dangerous. AllTrails.com lets you search for various hiking routes around the country by factors like difficulty, length, and route type, so you can go into a hike blind. 

Bring the Essentials

If you’re going on a very short, safe hike in a moderate climate, then you don’t really need to bring anything with you other than comfortable shoes and clothes. But if you’re heading out for a longer trek, then you’ll definitely want to be sure to bring essentials, like water, snacks, and sun protection. It’s also never a bad idea to have basic first aid supplies on hand, like band-aids and antibacterial ointment. 

Tell Someone Where You’re Going

No matter whether you're going out for a short hike or a day-long trek, you should always make sure someone knows where you’re going. Even on the simplest trails, stepping on a rock or stick the wrong way can cause you to roll your ankle, trip, or otherwise have an accident that makes it tough to get home. If someone knows your route, then it’ll be easy for them to come help you out in case of an emergency. 

Pace Yourself

Knowing how to pace yourself is critically important for any hiker because it’s easier than you might realize to start off too fast or go too far and lose the energy you need to make it home. If you’re brand new to hiking, then start with a pace that’s slower and a route that’s shorter than you think they need to be just so you can be certain of your body's capabilities before venturing out on longer hikes. 

Look Down

It’s tempting to spend your entire hike looking at all of the beautiful nature around you, and while we definitely encourage you to do so, you should also make sure to keep an eye on what’s beneath you. As mentioned, rocks and sticks can easily trip you up, and many regions have snakes and other critters that can potentially do some real damage if given the chance to strike. 

Know Your Etiquette

Like most other activities, there’s a certain unspoken etiquette you should abide by to ensure you’re a responsible and considerate hiker. One of the foremost hiking rules is to leave no trace, meaning you should always leave the trail exactly as it was when you found it, making sure not to leave any garbage or damaged plants in your wake. Additionally, just like a road, it’s generally expected that you’ll stay on the right side of busy trails to ease the flow of foot traffic. Finally, if you’re bringing a furry loved one with you, make sure they stay on leash—even if they’re friendly, another hiker’s dog might not be, which can lead to major problems for you and your furbaby. 

For anything else you need to know about hiking, including hiking trails in your area, visit AllTrails.com

And if you’re interested in investing in a cabin near some of the country’s best hiking trails, then check out these beautiful cabins for sale


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