Get Started Hiking Today With These Tips For Beginners

Hiking is one of the most rewarding outdoor activities. It can also be intimidating if you don’t know where to start. 

The best way to get started with hiking is to get comfortable with your gear, find a trail that’s right for you and most importantly be safe!

Get Started Hiking 101/Tips & Tricks For Beginners
Start with easier hikes that match your fitness level
Choose hiking shoes that fit well and are appropriate for the terrain
Pack essential gear such as water, snacks, and navigation tools
Know your route and be prepared for changes in weather or trail conditions
Respect wildlife and their habitats
Follow Leave No Trace principles and pack out all trash and waste
Build your endurance gradually over time
Bring a first-aid kit and know basic first-aid skills
Hike with a partner or group when possible
Stay hydrated and fueled throughout your hike

Buy The Right Gear

As you get ready to start hiking, there are a few things you should buy so that the experience will be safe and fun.

First, make sure your shoes fit well. It can take some time for your feet to get used to hiking boots, so don’t buy them too tight or too loose. 

If you have fat feet like mine, then it’s especially important that your shoes fit properly as they’ll be supporting all of your weight as well as any weight from your backpack.

Second, purchase clothing that is both comfortable and functional: synthetic clothing dries faster than cotton; if it rains on the hike then bring an umbrella; long sleeves protect against sunburn while short sleeves allow better ventilation in hot weather; pants prevent ticks from crawling up through the bottom of shorts into sensitive areas like knees or thighs (which happened once). 

Thirdly – perhaps most importantly – choose wisely when buying a backpack! You may think this sounds silly because all backpacks do basically the same thing: hold stuff! 

But there are several different kinds of backpacks made specifically for hiking trips where different features might come in handy depending on whether it’s going to be used for overnight camping trips or weekend outings only (or maybe both!). 

When packing a backpack for hiking, it’s important to consider the weight and functionality of each item. Check out our detailed guide on packing a backpack for hiking to learn more about essentials that will help make your trip comfortable and safe.

Pick A Hike And Trail Near You

Once you’ve decided to start hiking, the next step is finding a trail. First, pick a hike that is within your physical capabilities. 

Not everyone can do a multi-day trek through the Himalayas or climb Mount Everest (although those who can should by all means go for it!).

Second, pick a hike that’s near where you live. This will make it easier on your schedule and finances and if something goes wrong on the trail and you need help, there are more people around who can lend it/call 911/make sure no one gets eaten by bears.

Third, look for routes with good reputations among hikers in your area and beyond: maybe a friend has done this particular route before and loves it; maybe there are many reviews online from other hikers sharing their experiences

Maybe someone else has recommended this specific route because of its beauty or difficulty level or proximity to civilization (or any number of other reasons).

Fourthly, make sure not only that there are ample resources available about where exactly along this path one should find themselves at any given point but also how long each leg takes so as not get lost in thought while out enjoying nature instead of paying attention only when necessary like during an actual survival situation!

Dress Appropriately

Wearing layers will help you stay warm, but also be prepared for hot summer days. A water-resistant hat will protect your head and scalp from getting sunburned, as well as keep the sweat out of your eyes. 

Sunscreen is a must when hiking even if it’s cloudy out! Always wear sunglasses that offer UV protection to prevent damage to your eyes as well. 

Gloves are great for protecting your hands from sharp objects (rocks and branches) while also keeping them warm when it gets chilly. Lastly, wear comfortable shoes or boots that have good traction so they don’t slip in wet conditions or muddy trails.

Hiking boots are an essential piece of gear for any hiker, and proper maintenance can help extend their lifespan. Check out our guide on how to clean hiking boots to learn more about the importance of caring for your boots, and tips for keeping them in good condition.

Bring Water And Snacks

You can’t go hiking without water, but you don’t want to be carrying around a gallon of Gatorade. Instead, bring a lightweight water bottle that will fit in your backpack without taking up too much space.

Snacks are also an important part of every hiking trip. You need energy-rich foods like nuts and dried fruit to keep going for hours on end, so pack some high protein snacks like trail mix or beef jerky if possible (or just bring along whatever you have leftover from lunch). 

If not, peanut butter crackers will do just fine! And remember: low sugar is key here you don’t want all that sugar weighing down your heart rate while you’re trying to get into shape!

Table: Bring Water and Snacks

Bring enough waterMake sure you bring enough water to stay hydrated on your hike. The amount of water you need will depend on factors such as temperature, humidity, and your own body’s needs. A general rule of thumb is to bring at least 2 liters of water per person for a day hike.
Choose lightweight water bottlesLook for lightweight water bottles made of durable materials like plastic or stainless steel. Collapsible water bottles can also be a good option for saving space in your backpack.
Pack high-energy snacksChoose snacks that are high in protein and carbohydrates, like trail mix, energy bars, or jerky. These snacks will help give you the sustained energy you need for a long hike.
Bring extra snacksIt’s always a good idea to bring a little extra food in case you’re on the trail longer than expected, or to share with your hiking partners.
Consider a hydration systemSome hikers prefer hydration systems like CamelBaks or other backpacks with built-in hydration bladders. These systems can make it easier to drink water on-the-go, but come with additional maintenance concerns.

Pick The Right Hiking Shoes

Buy the right shoes.

You need to get a great pair of hiking shoes that fit well, are comfortable, and last for a long time. In order to do this, you should try on lots of different pairs. 

Make sure your toes aren’t squished or cramped in any way and that the back of your heel isn’t sliding around in your shoe. 

If it’s too painful to walk around in these shoes for 5 minutes, they won’t be good for hiking! Also make sure there are no gaps between your feet and the sides of the shoe: if there’re large gaps then water might seep through during rainy seasons (which can lead to blisters).

Getting in shape for hiking can be a challenge, but it’s important for having an enjoyable and safe trip. Check out our guide on how to get in shape for hiking to learn more about exercises and activities that will help improve your cardiovascular fitness and endurance.

Prepare For Emergencies

Bring a map, compass and flashlight. A map is essential to know where you are, whether you’re on a trail or bushwhacking off-trail. 

A compass will help orient your map so that it’s more useful. A flashlight will help illuminate your path (and others) when visibility is low due to darkness or inclement weather.

Bring a first aid kit and first aid knowledge. Even if you don’t have any injuries at the time of this writing, it’s always good practice to grab an extra set of clothes for yourself in case something happens during the hike even if it’s just getting caught in rain!

Bring some food and water: You’ll want plenty of both for sustained energy throughout your journey, so make sure that they’re accessible without having too much weight or bulk added onto them by bringing along some small bottles filled with H2O rather than large jugs which may weigh down the pack too much!

Stay On The Trail

The most important thing for you to remember when hiking is to stay on the trail. No matter what, do not ever leave the trail! 

If you find yourself in a situation where it looks like there’s a quicker way around an obstacle, don’t cut through switchbacks or shortcut them. 

You’ll end up getting lost, and if you’re lucky enough that someone finds you before they run out of food and water (which would be terrible), they’ll probably take you back to town and make sure that everyone knows not only are you stupid but also kind of irresponsible with other people’s lives too.

Also, if there’s something in your way on the trail, don’t go off into the woods just because it seems easier; that could lead to more problems than it solves. 

For example: I once tried jumping over this log instead of walking around it (I was pretty tired at that point). The log turned out to be hollow inside though so when my foot landed on top of it…

Ticks are a common concern for hikers, but there are ways to minimize your risk of bites and tick-borne illnesses. Check out our guide on how to avoid ticks while hiking to learn more about prevention strategies and how to check for ticks after a trip.

Watch Your Step

Hiking is all about the journey, not the destination. There’s no way around it: You’re going to have to walk your way up hills, through forests and across streams if you want to truly experience nature. 

But as anyone who’s ever slipped on a rock or twisted their ankle stepping off a trail knows all too well, there are some things that aren’t worth taking risks for. 

So before you set off on a long hike filled with beautiful scenery and majestic wildlife and maybe even an unexpected waterfall or two here are some tips for staying safe while exploring the great outdoors:

Don’t step on rocks and roots. They can be slippery when wet, which means that even if you’ve got good balance (which most people don’t), it’s easy to lose your footing when traversing rocky terrain or stepping over tree roots while hiking down a forest path. 

If there were water nearby (and often times there is), then even more so because the ground may be muddy and uneven at best; consider yourself lucky if nothing worse happens!

Don’t step off the trail unless it’s necessary for safety reasons such as avoiding an obstacle like fallen branches blocking part of what would otherwise be an easy path forward

Doing so could result in injury as well if there wasn’t much room available between where one might step out onto grass/dirt/rocky surface versus where one might end up being able to walk back onto said surface once again after having taken care of whatever problem needs addressing beforehand.”

Table: Watch Your Step

Choose proper footwearWearing appropriate hiking shoes or boots can help prevent slips and falls on the trail. Look for shoes with good traction and ankle support.
Keep your eyes on the trailPay attention to the trail ahead of you and watch for potential hazards like rocks, roots, or uneven terrain. This can help prevent injuries such as sprained ankles.
Use hiking poles if necessaryHiking poles can help improve your balance on steep inclines or declines, and can also reduce the impact on your joints when hiking downhill.
Take breaks when neededRegular breaks can help prevent fatigue and keep you alert on the trail. Be sure to take breaks on flat terrain or at a designated rest area to avoid tripping hazards.
Cross streams safelyWhen crossing streams, take your time and step carefully on rocks or stable footing. Use hiking poles or a sturdy branch for extra stability if needed.

Stay On Marked Trails

You know how to start hiking, but there are some rules you need to follow. First and foremost, follow the marked trails! Don’t go off the beaten path or stray from the path at all. 

Remember, safety is important when it comes to hiking and you don’t want any accidents (especially if you’re alone).

Hiking poles can provide extra stability and support on rough terrain, but there are techniques for using them effectively. Check out our guide on how to use hiking poles to learn more about how to adjust your poles for your height, and tips for using them to support your body weight on steep inclines or declines.


There you have it, the basics to start hiking. If you follow these tips and put in some practice on a local trail, then you’ll be ready for your first big adventure! 

Remember, hiking is one of the best ways to get into nature and enjoy its beauty; it doesn’t require any special skills or equipment aside from good shoes and a bottle of water.

Further Reading

For more hiking tips and information for beginners, check out the following resources:

Hiking Tips for Beginners: This article provides practical tips for those who are new to hiking, with advice on preparing for a hike, choosing the right gear, and staying safe on the trail.

Hiking for Beginners: 11 Essential Tips: This guide covers the basics of hiking for beginners, with tips on trip planning, hiking etiquette, and safety considerations.

Hiking for Beginners: Expert Advice: REI’s expert advice on hiking for beginners covers a wide range of topics, including choosing the right hiking shoes, selecting a hike, and hiking with kids.


What are the essential items to bring on a hiking trip as a beginner?

Some essential items to bring on a hiking trip as a beginner include proper footwear, a backpack with plenty of water and snacks, navigation tools such as a map or GPS device, appropriate clothing layers, and a first aid kit.

What should I consider when choosing a hiking trail as a beginner?

When choosing a hiking trail as a beginner, consider factors such as the length and difficulty of the trail, the elevation gain, the weather conditions, and any potential hazards such as wildlife or steep terrain.

How important is physical fitness for hiking as a beginner?

Physical fitness is important for hiking as a beginner. Even if you’re starting with shorter, easier hikes, it’s still important to build your endurance and strength gradually over time to prevent injury and make your hikes more enjoyable.

How can I stay safe on a hiking trip as a beginner?

To stay safe on a hiking trip as a beginner, it’s important to research the trail ahead of time, bring appropriate gear and clothing, stay hydrated and well-fed, and follow any posted rules or regulations. It’s also important to be aware of potential hazards such as wildlife or changing weather conditions.

What are some common hiking etiquette rules for beginners?

Common hiking etiquette rules for beginners include yielding to other hikers on the trail, staying on designated trails, packing out all trash and waste, and respecting wildlife and their habitats. It’s also important to be mindful of noise levels and the impact you’re having on the environment.