Hello Hikers,

Welcome to the blog! My name is Abigail. I’m thrilled to utilize this blog to assist hikers of varying experience levels in achieving a safer and more enjoyable hiking experience. The first thing I want to discuss on this blog is picking the right trail for you. The Hiker 2 Hiker motto is “Hike smart, stay safe, and enjoy the journey.” To stay safe and enjoy the journey, we must start by knowing how to hike smart.

We must start from the beginning by picking out the trail we want to hike. Choosing a lousy trail can be a frustrating and disappointing experience for any hiker. Whether it’s a trail that is too difficult or not challenging enough or doesn’t offer the scenery or attractions you expected. A lousy hike can leave you feeling unsatisfied and discouraged. Rather than getting discouraged, it’s essential to learn from the experience and avoid making the same mistake again. By researching trails more thoroughly and understanding your skill level and limitations, you can increase your chances of finding the perfect hike for your interests and abilities.

What should I research when trying to pick out the right trail?

That’s a great question; I’m so glad you asked that. Below are some things I recommend researching before deciding what trail to hike.

Skill level: Start by simply assessing your skill level. Your skill level is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a hike. As your skills improve, you can tackle more challenging trails. If you’re new to hiking or haven’t done it in a while, starting with shorter and easier hikes is best.

Distance and duration: Next, figure out how much time you have to hike. Be sure to choose a hike that is appropriate for the amount of time you have available. While many variables determine the duration, remember it takes the average person about 30 minutes to hike a mile on gentle terrain.

Terrain and elevation: Next, choosing a hike that matches your abilities and experience is essential. Hiking on a too-difficult trail can lead to physical injury or exhaustion, quickly turning a fun hiking trip into a dangerous situation. On the flip side, hiking on a trail that is too easy or not challenging enough can be a tedious and unfulfilling experience that does not provide the physical or mental benefits of a challenging hike. Choosing a hike matching your abilities and experience can help build confidence and improve your skills. Starting with shorter or easier hikes and gradually working up to more challenging trails can help build stamina, endurance, and technical skills that can be applied to more challenging hikes in the future.

Weather and Trail conditions: NEWS ALERT: Hiking is an outdoor activity. It’s crucial to check the weather before heading out on a hike. You should always check the weather forecast on the day of your hike. It’s essential to avoid potentially dangerous situations such as lightning storms, flash floods, or extreme temperatures. Trail conditions vary greatly depending on many factors, such as recent weather events, trail maintenance, and natural obstacles, such as fallen trees. Being aware of trail conditions can help hikers prepare for any challenges. By checking these things before embarking on a hike, you will be taking the necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable hike.

Scenery and attractions: Hear me out… Picking a trail with a scenic view can make any hiking experience much more enjoyable and memorable. Choosing a hike just because it has stunning overlooks, waterfalls, or other natural wonders is NOT wrong. When I stop and check out a gorgeous overlook along a trail, it fills me with a sense of wonder and makes me feel connected with my environment. 

Safety considerations: Finally, safety should always be a top priority when choosing a hike. Be sure to choose a safe trail for your skill level and experience. And you MUST be prepared with the proper gear, including proper footwear, water, and a navigation device… more on this topic in an upcoming blog!

Where do I find this type of information about trails near me?

Wow, you are blowing me away with your brilliant questions. I recommend using these (free) apps to help pick the right trail:

1. AllTrails – All trails is one of the most well-known hiking apps. This is the app I personally use for planning hikes. The app’s hikes are searchable based on difficulty, length, elevation gain, and route type and have user ratings. The base version of All Trails is free, but they also offer a Pro version. I’ve only used the free version, which works wonders for my needs.

2. Gaia GPS – Gaia is one of the most popular hiking apps for navigation. In this app, you can find new trails, record your route, and save hike statistics and performance. There is a free and paid version of the Gaia but for most day hikers, the free version is enough.

3. Google maps – There’s a very high likelihood you’re already using this app. But I’d bet you’re not using it to its full potential. Google Maps’ best feature for hikers is downloading maps offline. Downloading maps ahead of time will ensure you can navigate to the trailhead even if you lose service. Many popular trails in busy parks are also shown on Google Maps. This can help you to track your progress on the trail and stay on trail.

Picking the right trail is essential for hikers of all skill levels to consider. You can select a trail that aligns with your interests and abilities by considering factors such as trail difficulty, duration, and scenery. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or just starting out, choosing the right hike can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience that allows you to connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of the outdoors.

So next time you’re planning a hike, take the time to research your options and pick the right trail for you.

Happy hiking!

– Abigail


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Melissa · March 2, 2023 at 1:21 pm

Great article and great tips!

Leave No Trace Principles - Hiker 2 Hiker · March 6, 2023 at 6:22 pm

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