If you have never been hiking before, it could be rather overwhelming trying to figure out where to begin. Well let me start by saying that it doesn’t have to be complicated to get out and explore the great outdoors. You don’t need to own a ton of fancy gear or have to be crazy athletic. That’s what we love most about the outdoors – anyone can be a hiker and enjoying nature is free (well except for the park fees… but those just go right back to helping keep our local trails beautiful so we don’t feel bad about paying a few dollars)
As easy as it can be to start hiking, there are a few things you should do before you head out on your outdoor adventure:
Find a trail
When you’re trying to find a trail there are a few categories to think about: length, elevation gain, and technical difficulty. (You can use our website to see all of this information.) You will also need to use this info to estimate how long your hike will take. Until you’ve been hiking enough to know how quick you can go it’s best to be conservative. Assuming one mile per hour should be a good estimate. Even if you are used to working out, hiking can be rather difficult for the first couple hikes as your body gets use to this type of activity.
Side Note: Make sure that you tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. This is a good idea even if you are hiking with others. It helps someone know if something went wrong and where you may be in case something unexpected happens on the trail and you need help.
Check weather conditions
This is a crucial step because it helps you determine how you should pack for the trip. I wouldn’t advise going hiking for the first time in the rain because the trail could be very slippery which could result in injury. We use websites like Wunderground to help us get the most accurate weather conditions for the area you will be exploring.
Now we can’t tell you exactly what to pack because we don’t know which trail you are tackling or the weather conditions in that area, but there are 10 essential items that most hikers will pack when planning their adventures. Most importantly, always be sure to dress for the weather, bring enough water and food, and have a map with you.
Lastly, remember to be a good steward of the trail and follow the Leave No Trace Principles. We want to keep our public lands looking absolutely beautiful and in order to do that every outdoor user must be knowledgeable about these principles.
See you on the trail