Hiking is a wonderful way to take in nature, get exercise, and clear your head all at the same time.
And with over 423 National Parks in America, there are a multitude of beautiful places to hike.
So, are you dreaming of going on your first hike, but aren't sure about where to start?
No problem. This guide will go over the basics of hiking and what to expect.
While heading on your first trip might seem overwhelming, it doesn't have to be. There are certain gear and safety tips you'll want to know to be safe on your next adventure.
Check out this quick list and prepare for your next adventure out on a hiking trail!
Before you begin to hike, it's a good idea to consider a daypack for your next adventure. Even if it's a backpack that you have around the home, you can grab the essentials such as water, snacks, etc. Don't forget to keep your clothes snug with the Groove Belt™ as you climb up the mountains.
Be sure to check the temperature before you head out and think about how long you'll stay in each location. For example, if you're in a desert location, it might be hot during the day, but once the sun sets, it can become much cooler.
Consider moisture-wicking clothing to keep yourself dry during the hike. Steer clear of heavy fabrics such as cotton.
Don't forget about your hiking boots before your next trip. Not only will it help to keep you safe and on the trail, but it'll help you avoid blisters.
Deciding on Your Hike
When it comes to hiking for beginners, you'll want to decide on which type of trail you'll be taking. Backpacking should be left for those with a bit more hiking experience, the same with trekking.
Trekking is where you can take multi-day hiking adventures. A day hike is your best bet. This will allow you to become comfortable on various trails.
If you're not interested in a hike quite yet, you could consider taking an easy or short hike. Ridge walks are where you go onto the edge of mountainous areas. It should be reserved for experienced hikers since it's more dangerous.
For more experienced hikers, there's a scramble. This is where you use your hands and feet to climb.
If you're planning on camping during your hike, you'll want to have all of the camping essentials such as a tent, food, etc. It's not recommended for beginners.
How to Pick Out the Right Hike for You
Decide on the level of difficulty that you're comfortable with as you're planning a hike. Even if it's a shorter trail, the elevation will have an impact on how difficult it is.
Consider how long the hike will take you and how long the trail is. The location is important as well, and knowing what time the park closes.
Check Weather Conditions
Weather can change in an instant. So, before you head out on the trail, check the weather forecast. Will it be super hot? Maybe go for an early hike in the morning. Chance for snow? Better bundle up.
In some areas like Colorado and the Midwest, storms can build up later in the day during the summer and produce hail and even tornadoes.
Try to pick out a day where it'll be sunny, a moderate temperature, and no rain. If there's a chance that it'll rain, don't forget your raincoat.
Finding Your Way on the Trail
Some parks will offer you maps. If there's not a park ranger in a booth, consider heading to the gift shop where they might have map trails available.
They'll have the various trails along with the name, difficulty, and how many miles it is. Take a good look at the map before you begin and be sure that you understand where you are and where you're going.
There are trail apps that you can download onto your phone too. For locations without service, be sure that the app will work in WiFi-free areas.
How to Find Hiking Trails
In order to find hiking trails in your area, there are apps that you can download onto your phone.
Reach out to friends and family about hikes that they enjoy. Even a quick Google search will pull up some options.
Tips for Hiking
Be sure that you have time to complete the hike, you don't want to rush through it! Check out if you need any permits before you begin.
Research parking and the price. Some parks will accept cash only! If it's a popular location, finding a place to park might be tricky.
Ensure that the park is open. If there's flooding, snow, or inclement weather, the park might be shut down. Last but not least, respect your body and what it's comfortable with. Don't ever overexert yourself.
Before you begin, it's a good idea to warm up first. This can include warm-ups, stretches, and even strength training. You can even pop onto a treadmill to warm up before your hike.
Prior to a long trail with higher elevation, it's a good idea to start off on easier hikes first. It'll get you warmed up and ready for more challenging conditions.
The Benefits of Hiking
Spending time outdoors could calm anxiety, reduce stress, and lower your risk of depression.
These findings are according to a study performed by Stanford University. It could also improve your heart health and reduce your risk of respiratory problems.
Exploring the Basics of Hiking
After exploring this guide, you should have a better idea of what it takes to go on your first hike. If it truly is your first trip, consider going with another person to ensure that you're comfortable during your adventure.
A great way to enjoy your day on the hiking trail is to take some Groove gear with you. Our durable silicone Groove Rings® provide an unmatched level of breathability and comfort for those who love outdoor adventures.
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