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WTA's hiking guide is the most comprehensive database of hikes in Washington, and comprises content written by local hiking experts and user submitted information. All data is vetted by WTA staff. This resource is made possible by the donations of WTA members.
Hiking is the act of walking for a substantive distance in the outdoors, often overnatural terrain with obstacles such as rocks and tree roots to navigate around.1 In this article, the authors demonstrate that as an outdoor physical activity,hiking has potent health benefits and is economical and convenient for most people. Theabsence of whole-body movement, primarily through sitting, has led to increasingsedentary lifestyles of much of the US population. Encouraging physical activity, suchas hiking, is a way that health care professionals can promote patient wellness andhealth in both a preventive and curative manner. Hiking is unique in that it can helppatients meet guidelines for regular physical activity and concurrently tap thesignificant health benefits that may be attained by spending time in natural settings.Hiking can be considered accessible in terms of the limited skills and equipment needed,as well as the ability for individuals to pick the terrain difficulty and the speed atwhich they walk.
Engaging in moderate-intensity physical activity has few negative side effects and isa low-cost alternative to prescription drugs.11 As an example, regular hiking can lead to weight loss and Dietz et al12 reported that even a 5% reduction in weight has substantial healthbenefits.
Participating in hiking can simultaneously harness the health benefits of simplybeing in nature and of partaking in physical activity. Furthermore, unlike otherforms of exercise such as going to the gym, many hikers report that hiking does notfeel like exercise or working out.48 In one study, hikers burned more calories than runners or walkers becausethey tended to spend longer periods of time outside enjoying nature than they wouldhave if exercising in a different environment.49 This is partly because physical exercise is often incidental to other goalsof hiking, which include sightseeing, socializing, or experiencing nature. Thismeans individuals may be more likely to persist in the activity over time, and tospend more time in a given session.49 In addition, studies have found that exercise conducted outdoors has greaterhealth benefits than comparable exercise conducted indoors. A study by Jelalian et al50 randomly assigned 76 overweight adolescents to either a 16-week outdoorwilderness program or an indoor exercise program having comparable amounts ofcaloric expenditure and caloric intake. At the end of treatment, the olderadolescents in the outdoor wilderness group lost 4 times as much weight as theindoor exercise group. A systematic review of 11 trials by Thompson Coon et al48 used 13 measures to evaluate the effects of exercise on mental well-being andfound that participant self-reports for outdoor exercises included positive effectssuch as greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases intension, confusion, anger, and depression, and increased energy. The same exercisesconducted indoors did not elicit reports of these positive effects.
We have hiking club traditions and the hikes give us the chance to talk aboutthings the kids like. We are also able to share stories about the things weexperience on our hikes together. I think that all provides another addedbenefit on a family level.62
BLM-managed lands offer numerous opportunities for hiking ranging from small foot paths through untrammeled wilderness to National Historic Trails with developed trail heads and interpretation centers. No matter what type of experience you are looking for, you can find it on BLM-managed lands. Dogs are welcome on most BLM-managed trails. Please check the trail website or call the local BLM field office for specific leash policies.
Please stay on established paths and properly dispose of your trash and human/dog waste. Additionally, many hiking locations are adjacent to areas of outstanding cultural heritage. If you encounter rock art, pueblo homes, or other cultural artifacts, please help us Respect and Protect this amazing heritage.
Hiking for beginners can be intimidating, but there's really not much to it. You don't need any special skills to hike; you just have to be able to walk and know where you are. It's a great way to immerse yourself in nature, get a good workout in, and recharge your batteries. This guide will give you some essential hiking for beginners tips to make your hike safe and fun.
The outdoors is experiencing a resurgence, which is great, but there are also some ugly downsides. Be a champion of the outdoors and a steward of nature. If we can all use the trails responsibly and vote for those who support the outdoors, it means more funding for parks and trails, which means more hiking options for all of us. If we leave more empty water bottles and poop bags on the trail, trails will close. You can read more about the leave no trace principles here.
There are a ton of great resources to find a trail. This website has many beginner-friendly trail guides. You can also visit sites like GaiaGPS, or AllTrails. If books are your thing, there are great hiking guidebooks out there as well.
Shoes are also important. A good pair of sneakers or trail runners is usually your best bet. If you have an old pair of hiking boots in your closet, it might be better to leave them behind if you haven't worn them in a while, they could cause blisters.
To start, print out the hiking guide and map. If it's raining, throw them in a Zip-Lock bag. Read over the guide, study the map, and have a good idea of what to expect. I like to know what my next landmark is as I hike. For example, I'll read the guide and know that say, in a mile, I make a right turn at the junction. Having this in my head keeps me aware of the next move.
I download a GPX file (basically a file that has a line on a map) load it onto my GPS units (yes, I have more than one). An easy way for a hiking beginner to do it is by downloading an app such as GaiaGPS or AllTrails. These apps have many hikes already shared and loaded by other other hikers. You can also upload a GPX file to them (which you can download for all the hikes on my site).
Here's another great tip that's easy and could save your life. At the very least, tell someone where and when you'll be hiking. It can be as simple as sending a text message with the hike webpage and note that you'll be back at a certain time. If something bad happens, this will increase your chances of being found dramatically. You can also get very detailed with this nice worksheet that the LA County Sheriff's Department put together.
Remember the story about the turtle and hare In hiking, steady is better than quick. I often see beginners starting a hike with a really fast pace, only to blow up later. Conserve your energy, especially on a long hike. You never know what situation you'll have to use your energy on later. For example, if you get lost or take a long trail, you'll need energy to correct it. It's a matter of safety. Plan on finishing with some juice in your tank.
Likewise, if you're hiking in a group, stay with the group. I've led hiking groups where a few people just took off from mile 0. If you're hiking together, stay together. If you do decide to split up in groups, plan on intervals (such as trail junctions) where the group will reform. There's nothing worse that not knowing where some of your party are on the trail. It's a sure-fire way to not make it to your destination or turn a day hike into a night hike.
If you think you're lost, the first thing you need to do is stop. Take a look at your guide and see if anything sounds or looks familiar. If not, just backtrack until your surrounding match what's described in your guide.Getting lost hiking is something that happens to the best of us all the time, and is not a big deal. Backtracking solves the problem 99% of the time.
Then share your pictures on social media. The more folks that are outside enjoying the outdoors, the more support and awareness there is. Use popular hashtags like #hiking, #hike, #trailchat, #hikerchat, and #52hikechallenge to connect with other hikers. Make hiking a habit and see your life improve. The 52 Hike Challenge and the Six-Pack of Peaks are great places to start.
There are tons of Meetup groups that go hiking, so if you want company, give that a try. If you want to hike with your dog, my trail guides list the policy on dogs too. There are also a ton of hiking clubs that you can contact for group hikes.
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!).
Hiking offers many health benefits, too, including help with weight management and stress reduction. Physical activity also decreases the risk of heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. If you are ready to start hiking, you are making an excellent choice for your overall well-being. Plus, getting started is easier than you might think.
In this guide, you will find everything you need to start hiking, from packing essentials to how to prepare for a day hike. With a little planning, you can enjoy a safe, comfortable and pleasurable hike.
Packing for a short hike does not require too much. After all, you will be carrying everything with you during your hike, so the lighter you pack, the better. However, you will need a few essential items if you plan on hiking all day. Here is a hiking gear list to use as your packing guide: 59ce067264