What Is Hiking: Definition & Meaning

What Is Hiking Definition & Meaning

Many people who enjoy outdoor sports may come up with the question: what is hiking?

Hiking, walking in nature recreational activities. Hiking is a healthy activity that encourages physical fitness, is affordable and practical, and needs no special equipment. This is especially true for people with sedentary jobs. Except when hiking through hills or mountains, there is no physical strain because hikers can go as far as they like.

Although youth clubs and other groups organize rambles and hikes, many people walk alone, especially on weekends and holidays. The typical walking distance is 7 to 12 miles (11 to 19 km) for a half-day or 12 to 20 miles (19 to 32 km) for a full day. The planned routes for these organized rambles, which combine exercise and enjoyment of the countryside, are in the rural areas surrounding big towns. The majority of heavily populated European towns have hiking trails nearby.

Would you like to learn more about hiking? Please read on…

Hiking Origins

The mountains were once viewed as terrifying places to be feared and avoided rather than as places of great beauty to be sought after. All of that was altered in the UK by the Romanticism movement of the late 18th century when poets and writers started to flee from increasingly industrialized cities to discover picturesque landscapes like those found in the English Lake District and the Scottish Highlands.

Similar patterns were spreading throughout Europe, and vacationers began to explore areas like the Alps. Following the first ascent of Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Western Europe, in 1786, brave explorers conquered all the major alpine peaks, igniting a huge surge in public interest in these glaciated giants through their tales of valor and depictions of breathtaking landscapes.

Meanwhile, the Transcendentalist movement helped spread European Romanticism to the US at the beginning of the 19th century. National parks were eventually established all over the world as a result of the desire to protect wilderness areas and to give people the freedom to enjoy them. The world’s first national park was established on March 1st, 1872, and the rest is history. Yellowstone National Park.

Are There Various Kinds Of Hiking?

There are different types of hiking depending on the difficulty and the duration of each program.

Short Hiking

Hiking can be done in as little as a half-day or a full-day, and it’s always a great way to reconnect with your more natural self. A series of days can be spent hiking.

Long Hiking

Some hiking (or trekking) programs last over 12 days and cover many kilometers. Typically, these programs involve spending the night in a tent, a camp, or a mountain hut.

These often present the chance to travel to more isolated localities and offer a more culturally diverse experience.

What Season Of The Year Is Ideal For Practicing Hiking?

Depending on the region, hiking is a seasonally available activity. Programs that involve hiking are not typically conducted in the winter because the weather can be harsher and more hazardous. The majority of mountains where ski sports are practiced in the winter are appropriate for hiking programs in the summer.

There are some places that are suitable for year-round hiking programs. Each location’s unique geographic features and climatic conditions must be taken into account.

What Tools Do You Need?

This will depend on the program’s length, especially whether or not it is an overnight program. In general, you’ll need:

  • Two pairs of shoes, each different: a pair of strong and waterproof hiking shoes, and a lighter pair (sneakers or sandals)
  • Rain and windproof jacket and pants
  • Sun cream
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat or cap
  • 35 or 40 litre backpack (you usually need to carry your own equipment, unless it is a longer hike in which case there are sometimes porters)
  • Water bottle
  • Walking poles
  • Head lamp

Why Is A Mountain Guide Required When Hiking?

Walking around is not all that hiking entails. This is why the role of mountain guides is essential to a safe and interesting hiking experience. They will be familiar with the conditions of the various trails and paths, plan the best routes, and assess how secure each one is. This includes understanding the local flora and fauna as well as how to interact with and respect it.

A balanced program is planned by guides based on your needs and level of fitness. In order to maximize your enjoyment of the program and achieve your goals in accordance with your experience and physical capabilities, good hiking itineraries will consider strategically placed rest stops between hiking phases.

The logistical contacts in mountain guides’ professional knowledge can help a program run more smoothly, effectively, and safely. Additionally, they are ready to help you if there is ever an emergency.

Where Does Hiking Take Place?

‘The most popular phrase to describe taking an energizing walk through the countryside is now “hike.” A hike usually involves some adventure, takes most of the day, and necessitates carrying your supplies in a backpack. It’s more than just a quick stroll along country lanes, where you might just pop out for a quick stroll.

It frequently involves rocky terrain and may require significant ascent and descent, but it also holds the promise of spectacular views and astounding natural wonders that we don’t typically associate with towns and cities. Theoretically, hiking is possible almost anywhere, but it’s more frequently done along the coast, in hilly areas, and especially in mountains.

In national parks and other places that have been carefully managed, hiking is frequently practiced, typically for the benefit of tourists as well as for the preservation of the area’s natural beauty and wildlife. Regarding access to the countryside, various countries have different laws. Access land, or land that the general public is free to explore, is typically present in large quantities in national parks.

What Is Hiking Definition & Meaning
What Is Hiking: Definition & Meaning

A Hike Turns Into A Trek When?

Many of the world’s most famous treks, like the Inca Trail and Everest Basecamp, are probably familiar to you. Something becomes a trek when it possesses two essential characteristics. The first is distance. A normal hike can be started with just a daypack, and after spending a few hours on the trail, you can head back to your starting point. A trek is always a longer trip that is completed over a number of days, if not weeks or months. The degree of difficulty is the second important factor. A trek usually entails a lot of effort, necessitating the use of the best trekking poles. It also calls for a certain degree of independence. You’ll frequently be carrying everything you require to survive on your back. In actuality, we could also refer to a trek as backpacking.

However, this still sounds like hiking, right? Then, isn’t trekking just hiking taken to the absolute limit? In essence, yes. Visualize hiking as a continuum, with easy day hikes through the countryside at one end and strenuous trekking at the other. After all, long-distance hiking or thru-hiking (What is thru-hiking?) – a multi-day expedition that follows a trail in one direction – can also be thought of as trekking.

What Point Does Hiking Turn Into Mountaineering?

Day hikers and people going on trekking expeditions frequently have mountain summits as their end goal. Some of the world’s most renowned mountains are listed as “trekking peaks,” including Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro, Nepal’s Mera Peak, and Malaysia’s Kinabalu. Can you call yourself a mountaineer if you have scaled these giants? Depending on how you dealt with them.

The equipment that the environment and conditions require is a key distinction between hiking and mountaineering. It’s likely that you’ve strayed into mountaineering territory if you’ve ever needed to use an ice axe, crampons, rope and harness, or helmet, though not necessarily all of them. Therefore, since climbing Mera Peak without an ice axe and crampons is virtually impossible, it is unquestionably a mountaineering goal. Although the most popular routes on Kinabalu and Kilimanjaro do not require mountaineering equipment, they do require the same equipment as a strenuous hike.

Trekking Vs Hiking: Differences


It makes no sense for the gear required for hiking and trekking to be the same. You will only need the basics on a hike  – good shoes or boots. Its use in mountainous terrain is required. Never forget to pack a backpack where you can keep water, food, and other essentials, as well as appropriate clothing that can withstand sudden changes in weather or temperatures. There is no requirement for compasses or maps when hiking. The majority of the time, hiking trails are marked, and there are signs that tell you where to go and how far it is from where you are. Trekking presents a unique set of circumstances. You would need a bit more equipment for trekking. Starting with a map or compass, sleeping bags, mats, waterproof jackets, walking sticks, multipurpose clothing that is breathable and quick-drying, etc.


You already know that trekking involves a different kind of effort. It’s not suitable for everyone. It takesphysical preparedness and training to trek for days without stopping. It’s an activity that takesa lot of time, goes through different terrains, and requires mental and physical preparedness. On the other hand, hiking is a leisure activity. Even those who have never hiked before can complete it. It’s also simpler to select the ideal trail for your physical capabilities when hiking. In most cases, the paths indicate their length or difficulty level so you can roughly predict how challenging they will be. Choosing a trail that is easy or moderate in difficulty is an option if you don’t go hiking frequently and feel that is your limit. 

A fun fact is that the Guinness’ World record for the fastest trek to the It took 41 days, 18 hours, and 52 minutes to reach North Pole. The trekking route was 785 kilometers long.* This perfectly illustrates how difficult trekking can become if you’re willing to push yourself.  


One of these two activities’ most obvious differences is duration. Trekking usually lasts at least two days, but often even longer than that.A destination is typically in mind for those who go trekking. They can travel thousands of kilometers on a trekking trip in order to reach their goal. On the other hand, hikes are shorter in duration compared to trekking. Most of the time, when someone says they’re going hiking, they mean a walk of several hours or even an entire day. While trekking typically takes several days, hiking can also be an overnight excursion.  


The types of terrain included in these classifications are another distinction between trekking and hiking. Hikers often use hiking trails marked and go through mountains, forests, hills, or other natural environments that people want to explore. Unlike other types of travel, trekking excursions frequently travel through uncharted areas of nature, including mountains, roads, beaches, forests, and much more. In this aspect, trekking has more freedom because trekkers don’t conform to trails and markings. They can view untamed nature in this manner.


As was already mentioned, hiking can also be done overnight. The base is typically one location even in that scenario. For example, people stay in a mountain hut and go hiking each day to a different peak, always returning to the mountain hut as their base. Trekkers never go back to a place they’ve been before. They are traveling toward a specific place. Each time trekkers stop, they stay in a different accommodation. Depending on the trekking route and the weather conditions, that could be a hotel, lodge, mountain tent, or another type of lodging.


So, do you understand what is hiking?

In addition to being a fundamental component of many sports, hiking is also a form of physical training that is frequently advised and used. For instance, a lot of mountain climbing involves hiking; seasoned mountaineers are aware that they need to prepare for the arduous hikes over lower trails, across glaciers, and through snowfields. Other sports and sporting activities that emphasize hiking include backpacking, hunting, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and orienteering. The enjoyment of other activities like bird watching, nature walks, field trips of all kinds, and even sightseeing is enhanced by having the capacity to walk for long distances without getting exhausted (a capacity that is typically acquired through practice).