The Beginner's Guide to Hiking

The Beginner's Guide to Hiking


Hiking for beginners is a fantastic form of low-impact exercise that can provide many health benefits and bring you close to nature. You don’t have to be experienced or amazing at walking to go on a hike, anyone can enjoy doing it! With a few hiking tips on how to hike to make sure you’re prepared and safe, any beginner will be ready to set foot into the wilderness, trails, and mountains.

Continue to read on as we share 8 essential hiking ideas and tips for outdoor adventurers who want to get started.

1. Respect the Environment

As a beginner going hiking, you need to know that you should always respect natural spaces and fellow hikers around you. You should leave no trace of yourself- never drop litter, never damage the environment, and always keep noise to a minimum. The outdoors is beautiful, calm, and peaceful and it is our responsibility to make sure it stays that way.

2. Research Your Hiking Route

Before you embark on your first hiking adventure, make sure you have thoroughly researched the path you’re planning to take. Then you’ll know what to expect, how long it will take, and what you need to pack in your backpack. Many hiking blogs and route planners on the internet will provide a difficulty rating of each walk. As you are just starting, it's best to choose a gentle trail to follow. Once you become more confident and build your fitness level then you can start to challenge yourself with a moderate-rated trail.

Take a look at National Trails website and AllTrails for inspiration on where to go on your first hike. You’ll be able to browse hiking trails and look at maps, so it’s a good idea to learn how to read a map too.

3. Follow Hiking Etiquette

Here are a few basic tips on how to follow hiking etiquette for beginners. So, you know how to act appropriately when you’re out and about.

  • A hiker going up a hill has right away.
  • Be courteous on paths, if someone is coming behind you walking at a faster pace, let them pass you.
  • Always be friendly say “hello” or simply smile.
  • Keep your noise low- wear headphones if you want to listen to music.
  • Stop for cyclists and horses. Bikes are supposed to yield for hikers but sometimes it is easier to let them go first. After all, they travel much faster.
  • Stay on the designated trail.
  • If you take your dog, make sure you always keep it under control and pick up after them if needed.
  • Never, EVER drop litter- take it home with you or find a public bin.

4. Tell Someone Where You’re Going

This hiking tip is for your safety. Sometimes when you’re hiking in the complete wilderness you may not get any phone signal. So, in case of an emergency, it is always a good idea to let a family member or friend know where you’re going and how long you will be. By doing this, if there was an unfortunate event, you can be found quicker. Remember, to let them know you’re home safe and sound at the end of the day.

You can also invest in smart technology to keep you safe such as the SPOT Tracker or Garmin inReach, they work from a satellite so that you can call for assistance if in danger.

5. Check the Weather Forecast

Always check the weather forecast leading up to a planned hike and on the morning of. This will give you a rough idea of what to pack in your backpack. For wet conditions, you’ll need a full set of waterproofs. It will also help you decide on what to wear. In cold conditions, you will need to think carefully about your hiking clothing layering system to ensure you stay warm. And, if it's going to be a warm sunny day, you’ll need sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.

6. Pack the Essentials

Even though beginner hikes aren’t necessarily that long in distance, there are still a few essential items you should always carry with you for safety. This includes enough water to keep you hydrated, food for energy, first aid supplies, waterproofs, and a torch. You never know when you might need them. When hiking in the summer, you’ll need protection from the sun and in the winter an extra layer of clothing to keep you warm. To view the full list of essential hiking equipment, read our guide on What you Should Wear When you Go Hiking.

7. Wear Appropriate Outdoor Clothing

Any experienced hiker you ask for advice, will tell you about the importance of wearing comfortable walking shoes and boots. Avoid wearing cotton clothing as in wet conditions it will soak up a lot of moisture and leave you wet and uncomfortable for the entire hike. Instead, wear synthetic materials such as merino wool. Its moisture-wicking and temperate controlling properties will support you throughout the day. Don’t forget to invest in a good waterproof jacket for the winter months.

8. Pace Yourself and Have Fun!

Our final piece of hiking advice is to take things at your own pace, so you enjoy the journey. On trails, you’re going to meet a lot of advanced walkers that have probably been doing it for years. As you are a beginner it’s important to remember to pace yourself, you’ll catch up with them one day with a bit of practice and determination.

Need More Hiking Advice?

We hope we’ve helped you understand how easy it is to get into hiking. Anybody can enjoy nature! If you’re looking for more hiking advice- visit our guides hub and blog!