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Beginner’s Hiking Guide | Video Series

hiking for beginners

I’m so excited you found my beginners hiking guide! Hiking is one of my favorite outdoor activities because it’s accessible, inexpensive, and so rewarding! I’ve been hiking for over a decade and have learned something new (about hiking and myself) every time I hit the trail. 

 

I created a video series on the basics of hiking to inspire my Instagram and TikTok friends to get outside and take a hike. 😉 To have all my videos in one place, here’s my mini-series on the basics of hiking, a beginners hiking guide: 

hiking for beginners

Hey! I wanted to let you know that this post contains affiliate links! By purchasing through these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Beginners Hiking Guide

Table of Contents

Busting Hiking Myths

To kick off my beginners hiking guide, I want to address a common hiking myth: hiking isn’t about conquering peaks every time. Hiking is about connecting with nature, taking in the sights and sounds, and embracing the joy of moving your body. 

 

In this first video, I wanted to highlight a hiking truth: Every trail is a good trail, and every hiker is a real hiker!

How To Make Hiking Friends

How To Make Hiking Friends

One challenge of getting out there is finding someone to do it with! That’s where social media comes into play!! I’ve been meeting up with “Instagram friends” since 2017!

 

At first, it felt like a weird way to make friends, but it works! It has allowed me to connect with some pretty cool people who like the same things I do. 

 

Here are some tips for making hiking friends online: 

 

  • Find people in your area who like the things you like! I recommend checking geotags for your city—this could help you find clubs, groups, or individuals who enjoy the same activities as you!
  • Engage with their content! Once you find someone you think you could be friends with, engage with their content. Start small (a comment on their feed post or reply to their story) and see how the conversations go from there.
  • Be straightforward about what you want (and do it nicely). We all get a lot of messages, so it’s important to cut to the chase. If you want to meet the person you’ve been chatting with, say something like, “I feel like we have a lot in common! Are you free for a coffee or hike later next week?”
  •  

If meeting someone solo is a little bit too intimidating, check out local Facebook hiking groups or @unlikelyhikers, @outdoorsygals, or @hikeclerb

 

 

Please be smart when meeting up with a stranger. Get a sense of who they are, meet in a popular area, tell a loved one where you’re going and who you’re going with, and always trust your gut.

 

Want to go solo? Check out my blog post on how to start hiking alone

How To Find Hiking Trails

How To Find Hiking Trails

When it comes to hiking, one of the biggest challenges is figuring out where to go!

 

Over the past ten years, I’ve used Instagram, hiking books, and blog posts to find hikes in my area. While all those are great resources, I keep returning to the AllTrails app!

 

I love the AllTrails app because it’s user-friendly! There are over 400,000 trails to choose from; you can map/track your hike, create custom folders of hikes you love/want to explore and read and leave trail reviews. I’ve used the free version for years, which has helped me find some incredible trails in my area while traveling!

 

Note: AllTrails is not 100% accurate, so it’s always best to check other resources before hitting the trail.

The Ten Essentials Of Hiking

Hiking Essentials

The Ten Essentials list things recommended for every hike and backcountry trip. This is not an exhaustive list of everything you’ll need; you’ll want to customize your packing list for the area you’re hiking, how long you’ll be hiking, etc. 

 

  1. Water
  2. Food
  3. First-aid supplies
  4. Navigation (map/compass if you know how to use it)
  5. Light (headlamp or flashlight)
  6. Sun protection
  7. Extra layers
  8. Emergency shelter
  9. Firestarter
  10. Repair kit (knife, multi-tool or duct tape)

Snacks To Bring Hiking

hard hikes in Phoenix

If you want to enjoy your hike, make sure to bring some snacks! It’s also a good idea to eat something before your hike. I used to hike without snacks… only to crash and burn halfway through. Learn from my mistakes: Fuel your body!

 

Some of my favorite hiking snacks: 

 

  • Granola bars
  • Apple sauce
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches 
  • Dried fruit 
  • Chips 
  • Fresh fruit 
  • Beef jerky 

The most important part of hiking snacks is to pack out all your trash (including your orange peels). This keeps Mother Nature, wildlife, and fellow hikers happy!

Finding Motivation To Hike

hiking for beginners

Just like I don’t always feel like working out,  I don’t always feel like hiking.

 

I could list a hundred excuses to stay home, but I’ll always go back to my WHY: Hiking is good for my mental (and physical) health!

 

Sometimes, I have to force myself to drive to the trailhead, but as soon as my boots hit the dirt, I can feel my mood lifting!

Leave No Trace While Hiking

Leave No Trace For hiking

Caring about the Leave No Trace principles helps protect fragile ecosystems, ensures outdoor activities remain sustainable over time, protects wildlife, and so much more!!!

Here are the seven principles of Leave No Trace:

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare: Before hitting the trail, research the area’s regulations, get necessary permits, and check weather forecasts to ensure a safe outing.
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces: Stick to designated trails and camp only on durable surfaces like established campsites or rock, gravel, or snow.
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly: Pack out all trash, including food wrappers and toilet paper. For human waste, use designated restrooms or dig a cathole at least 6-8 inches deep and away from water sources and trails.
  4. Leave What You Find: Resist the urge to take natural souvenirs like rocks, plants, or artifacts.
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts: Follow local campfire regulations and use established fire rings where provided. Keep fires small and fully extinguish them before leaving.
  6. Respect Wildlife: Observe animals from a distance and don’t feed or approach them.
  7. Be Considerate of Others: Yield to fellow hikers on the trail, keep noise levels down and respect the solitude of others by giving them space.


At the end of the day, practicing Leave No Trace demonstrates respect for Mother Nature and our fellow outdoor lovers! 

I Hope You Liked My Beginners Hiking Guide!

Underrated hikes in Sedona, Arizona | Fay Canyon

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting, these tips will help you make the most of your outdoor adventures. Stay tuned for more hiking tips and inspiration by following me on Instagram!

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Meet the author

Jacey West

My mission is simple: Inspire you to get outside. I like camping, hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, and exploring National Parks. I’m passionate about sharing all the details of my adventure so you can plan some of your own!

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