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How to choose the perfect hiking trail for beginners 

Hiking is healthy way to enjoy nature with friends and family. Here’s how to get started.

Backpacker hiking

Hiking is basically a blend of the best things in life-fresh air, exercise and instagram worthy views. Additionally, it is a wonderful way to remain in shape and can be done by almost anyone, regardless of age or experience.

A walk in the wilds allows for better bonding with families and friends. Moreover, being outdoors is the best form of natural therapy and comes absolutely free. However, before you lace up, hiking safely means finding the right trail, especially if you are a beginner. Learn more about how to choose the perfect wilderness walkway in this post.

Consider the distance

Set yourself up by starting with short hikes and then gradually work your way up to longer treks. No one has attempted to win a marathon without adequate training.

Hiking routes come in all lengths, from a quarter of a mile to paths long enough that require walking over days with a backpack.

When considering the length of the hike, if you are new to hiking, choose trails no more than 2-3 miles round trip. This will give you an idea about hiking and you can then start to consider treks in the 6-8 mile range.

Elevation

When on the lookout for a beginner-friendly trail, those with under 500 feet gain in elevation are ideal. This gain is said to be the total amount of elevation you will climb on a particular hike.

In other words, if you climb 800 feet and descend 300 feet and then climb another 200 feet then your total elevation gain would be 1000 feet. Very few new hikers can manage this, especially if you are hiking at a high altitude.

Remember, a short hike with more elevation gain means the trek will be steep and strenuous. Start small and then gradually increase your elevation gain as you get more experience. In any case, don’t forget your pre-hiking stretches to ensure you have loosened up your muscles before you start your adventure to avoid any muscle pulls. 

Terrain

For a beginner, terrain is very important as you would not like to wade into a river or scramble over rocks on a first hike. Research, beforehand, about the nature of the route and prepare yourself accordingly.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some trails may have steep drop offs which could be challenging for some, especially if you are hiking with children.

Check the reviews of the path you intend hiking in, to help you decide if it is something you would have no difficulty in trying. You may also want to check if the trail is accessible round the year or is seasonal.

Additional tips

Here are some more tips on choosing your first hiking trail, your company and how to prepare before heading out:

  • Think of your hiking companions too and if the trail will be good for them as well. Something which may be good for you, may not be good for someone with say, asthma.
  • Carry a paper map in case your phone battery dies. For longer hikes, carry water and snacks. A headlamp should be included, in case there is a chance you may be out till after sunset.
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