Tips for Great Hiking

Man and woman hiking
Jeff Fox
Hiking is one of the best ways to leave the civilized world behind and penetrate the wilderness.

Everyone from amateurs to wilderness junkies can enjoy the health and mental benefits of hiking.

From long hiking vacations to refreshing day hikes, learn how to hike in ways that make the most of your outdoor adventures. 

Hiking vacations

Hiking through the country’s great wild areas will refresh your spirit and body. For a real wilderness adventure, ditch the well-known trails and consider hiking a roadless area like the enormous Frank Church—River of No Return Wilderness Area in Idaho. 

Day hiking

Day hiking trips can provide a welcome dose of wilderness in your weekend. They also help you prepare and train for longer hikes.

These guidelines will enhance your day hiking journeys:

  • Start early. You’ll enjoy cooler weather and better odds of spotting wildlife if you begin your hike before dawn.
  • Avoid the crowds by hiking in a designated wilderness or roadless area.
  • The right hiking gear – particularly shoes – is essential. Outdoor retailers like REI have experienced staff that can guide your choice.

Hiking at night

Hiking at night will open your eyes and ears to a whole new world of wilderness. Many designated wilderness and camping areas permit night-hiking, but be sure to check before you visit.

Here’s some great ideas on how to hike in the dark outdoors:

  • Bring a small but powerful LED flashlight or wear a headlamp.
  • Travel in a group or consider taking a guided night hike.
  • Take water and simple snacks without strong odors to avoid attracting wildlife.
  • Consider playing a fun game.
  • Avoid "accidental" night hikes and prepare for intentional ones.

See also: 

Tips for family-friendly hikes

Colorado hiking trails

Quiet moments