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What are the Different Types of Hiking Adventures?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 23, 2024
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There are many different types of hiking adventures that are possible to enjoy, including everything from brief day hikes on hiking trails through the woods or in a park, to much more intensive overnight mountain-climbing expeditions. The type of hiking adventures that one chooses to participate in are based on a number of factors, including physical strength, experience, knowledge of the terrain, and safe hiking and first-aid practices, as well as other skills such as rock climbing, the ability to read maps correctly, and the type of gear that one owns both for the terrain and the weather. Day hiking and overnight backpacking are the most common types of hiking practices; within these, one might try mountaineering, canyoneering, desert or coastal hiking, snow hiking, or hiking with pets, just to name a few.

Most people begin with a type of cross-country day hiking when choosing hiking adventures. Though it is important to bring safety gear such as as first-aid kit and maps, this type of hiking is usually done on marked trails through the woods or a park, and is a good place to begin getting back in shape or to start hiking as a hobby. Some may then choose to turn it into a camping adventure as well, and will bring camping gear in backpacks to camp along a hiking trail. Some hiking trails can be quite difficult, particularly those that are in hilly or mountainous regions, so it is important to be prepared.

Mountaineering or canyoneering are much more difficult types of hiking adventures. Mountaineering involves climbing mountains, while canyoneering involves traversing canyons, usually involving more rock climbing since it may be necessary to scale rock walls or repel down rock faces, as well as hike through woods and over waterways, in some cases. These require much more physical ability and greater preparation, as they are much more strenuous and can be quite dangerous if one does not prepare properly. These types of hiking adventures are nearly always completed at least in pairs, since being in a group greatly increases safety.

Other types of hiking adventures change based on the natural environments in the area. Some people enjoy desert hiking or coastal hiking along the ocean, while others may enjoy snow hiking in the winter. This is an especially challenging form of hiking, and naturally requires specialized gear to stay warm, and to avoid slipping on ice. Even something as simple as bringing a dog along on the hike can make it more fun; some people enjoy dog-hiking in groups, which can be a fun way to make new friends.

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Discussion Comments

By umbra21 — On Jul 11, 2014

@clintflint - Well, you can usually still hike in most places in the country, even if you can't go on an extended trip. I've always wanted to walk the Appalachian Trail, as that seems like the ultimate hiking adventure to me.

But I think my hiking trips are going to be limited to my own backyard for a while and that's OK. It's good for people to get to know their own area as well as places further away.

By clintflint — On Jul 11, 2014

@KoiwiGal - I think it's important to do it at home as well. One of the best experiences I ever had was taking a hiking based adventure tour that was based around Yosemite Park. We traveled on a bus that converted into beds so that it could drive overnight and we would wake up at the next place.

We hiked all over California, particularly around Yosemite, and did things I would never have thought to do by myself, like swimming in natural hot springs and visiting one of the oldest bars in America.

It was really amazing and it was also a good way to get fit, although they fed us really well. I feel like I saw another side to the USA by doing that kind of trip. If I had the means I would do a trip like that every year.

By KoiwiGal — On Jul 10, 2014

Hiking is something that I try to do at least once whenever I visit another country. I find that unless I plan to have some kind of hiking adventure, I won't end up leaving the city and all the museums and galleries and things. In a lot of countries you can't really say that you've seen the place until you've seen the countryside and the wild areas.

Sometimes I end up taking a tour because it's too difficult to arrange my own trip, but even that's better than nothing.

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