3 Tips for Finding the Best Hiking Trails near You
When you’re looking for a fantastic new place to hike, finding it does take more effort than typing “hiking trails near me” into Google. There are several factors you need to keep in mind, whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned hiker. While it’s true that if you can walk, you can hike, every trail in the world offers unique challenges. Choosing a trail that’s beyond your skill level can be extremely costly. Avoid physical injury, stamina burnout, and shattered confidence levels by reading our tips below.
Choose Well-Maintained Trails
Unless you’re a highly experienced hiker, there’s no reason to choose trails that aren’t well-maintained. Simply put, it’s a lot safer to opt for trails that the government, hiking organizations, or park employees are regularly tending to. Plants, animals, uneven terrain, and other unpredicted obstacles can put hikers at tremendous risk.
If a trail is well-maintained, but still poses hazards, never walk it alone! Bring a friend along with you, or find out if any hiking groups are available. Always take proper safety precautions, get informed beforehand, and don’t put yourself in harm’s way.
Know Your Hiking Level
The easiest way to choose a perfect hiking trail is by knowing your skill level. Across the world, hiking trails are categorized by their difficulty. When you’re finding a hiking trail near you, it’s imperative that you understand what these labels mean. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself on a trail that’s devastatingly easy–or terrifyingly difficult!
Let’s explain the difference between hikes marked as Beginner, Moderate, and Advanced. In general, these categories take into account terrain, distance, and elevation, since this trio of factors plays a huge role in a trail’s difficulty level.
- Beginner: A trail of moderate length with slight elevations that is pristinely maintained. It’s easily accessible and marked by a lot of signage.
- Moderate: More rugged than a beginner trail, since there may be exposed roots and more obstacles. Distance is longer, and the elevation levels go through high and low periods.
- Advanced: These trails are long, steep, and filled with obstacles. Located in total wilderness, advanced trails are not for the faint-hearted. Oftentimes, hikers will find loose terrain, rocky sections, sudden drops, and even abrasive weather conditions.
Have the Proper Hiking Gear
Never step foot on a trail without being dressed for the journey ahead! Of course, what you’re wearing depends on the trail’s difficulty, its geographical location, and the outdoor climate. For instance, hiking poles offer stability in icy, uncertain terrains, while clothing with bug netting is appropriate for wooded areas, especially if insect levels are high.
No matter the trail, as a hiker, you should always wear warm layers of clothing and hiking footwear that’s well-fitted and supportive. Don’t leave your map in the car either! On longer trails, be sure to pack a bag with water, food, and safety supplies. It’s best to always be over-prepared, rather than find yourself in a precarious situation.
Be sure to remember these tips next time you think: “I need a new hiking trail near me!” Chances are, there are dozens of destinations nearby that you’d be delighted to explore, safely and in style. Our top priorities are simply keeping you happy, healthy, and hiking the most beautiful trails into your future. Happy trekking, friends!