Updated: Nov 10, 2022
Choosing where to go on your next adventure can be difficult, there are many factors to consider when trying to find the best hike and these aren't always that obvious to newer hikers. This guide should offer you some key things to consider when deciding where you want your next hike to be and help you better understand whether it is suited to your skills and abilities.
1. Make it Achievable
When choosing a hike, it's always important to take into account your own abilities before anything else, choosing a hike that is simply too hard for you too soon on your hiking journey can set you back instead of helping you progress your skills. Make sure that what you pick is something that you can achieve and make sure that your fitness level and experience are even with the level of the hike.
Assessing your own fitness level and experience is important to make sure you aren't taking on too big of a challenge and includes looking at the type of terrain, distance and trail grade you will face on the hike. These are all important factors to take into account when it comes to deciding if this hike is right for you and if they all line up with your abilities then you can be more confident in the hike being a success.
2. Make it Worthwhile
It's no secret that we can’t all get out of the house to hike every weekend, so it's important to make the most of the time you have out on the trail. There is no point choosing a hike that is not going to interest you or is not as exciting as other options just for the sake of getting out on a hike when you can choose the hikes that will give the most rewarding views and payoffs for work.
Make the hike that you choose the one you want to do most, make it the one with the best outlook over a valley or view from a hill, doing the one you want to do most will motivate you more to finish it and enjoy the challenge you set off on instead of struggling right to the end of your hike.
3. Find Something Adventurous
A little bit of challenge never hurts anyone, just because you hike is achievable doesn't mean it can’t challenge you and push you to grow your skills and experience in hiking. If you think you are ready for a little more of a challenge then choose the hike that might be a little harder over easier one you were going to choose. By pushing yourself to walk a few more kilometres or climb a little steeper of a hill can make you feel like you achieved something you didn't think you could at the start which is always a great feeling.
One example of this could be challenging yourself to step up from day hiking to go for your first overnight hike. Even while challenging yourself you still want to make sure that you are not pushing yourself too far because too much too soon can leave you unable to complete the walk, giving in half way. If you find the right goldilocks zone of being challenging and achievable then the walk might be perfect for your next adventure.
4. Think of the time of year
Not everything is about your abilities, some things are simply out of our control, so choosing the right time of year to go on your hike can make or break it. Weather can be one of these factors that is effected by the time of year you choose to hike in, depending on the time of year it can be warm or frosty making for very different hiking experiences that always needs to planned for.
Depending on the weather you'll need to change the gear you bring, if it's cold consider packing a sleeping bag that has a high heat rating or nice warm clothes, if you find yourself in hot weather you might want to pack a thinner sleeping bag, some light and airy clothes or a little more water. Applying weather specific planning to you hike will help ensure success and that is why it is key to choosing where to hike.
5. Do you have what you need
Finally, you must consider if you have the gear to undertake the hike you want to do, if you don’t have what you need for the journey you want to choose then maybe it is a good idea to go on something a little smaller or you could consider teaming up with a friend who has the gear.
The benefits of teaming up with a friend don’t just stop at getting the gear you need but also extend to the experience you will have out on the trail. Having people there to support you along the way can boost your spirits and be a great place to hang out and connect with friends. If you don't know anyone who has the gear for where you want to go then that is fine, you might just want to do something smaller with friends so that you can all progress at the same pace and build up to the hike you want to do together over time.
So now that we've looked at the 5 keys to finding a hike you can check if you hike meets all the keys and if it does it might just be perfect! Remember that this is just a guide but following all these rules for choosing the right spot can help you ensure that nothing goes wrong and more importantly everyone has a fun and adventurous time.
Written by Josh Welch