Walking outdoors on a trail for recreational purposes in natural environments

Often in mountainous or other scenic terrain, often on hiking trails, hiking is such a popular activity that there are numerous hiking organizations worldwide. The health benefits of different types of hiking have been confirmed in studies.

day hike refers to a hike that can be completed in a single day – not requiring an overnight camp. Multi-day hikes with camping is referred to as backpacking. In the United Kingdom hiking is usually called rambling, which resulted in the hiking organization named Ramblers. Bushwhacking specifically refers to difficult walking through dense forest, undergrowth, or bushes, where forward progress requires pushing vegetation aside. In extreme cases of bushwhacking where the vegetation is so dense that human passage is impeded, a machete is used to clear a pathway. Australians use the term bushwalking for both on- and off-trail hiking. New Zealanders use tramping (particularly for overnight and longer trips), walking or bushwalking. Multi-day hiking in the mountainous regions of India, Pakistan, Nepal, North America, South America, and in the highlands of East Africa is also called trekking. Hiking a long-distance trail from end-to-end is also referred to as trekking and as thru-hiking in some places. Examples of long-distance trails include the Appalachian Trail (AT) and Long Trail (LT).

Types

  • Backpacking – also known as trekking, a multi-day, often arduous hike especially in mountainous regions
  • Dog hiking – hiking with dogs
  • Freehiking – hiking off-trail
  • Hillwalking – a British term for hiking in hills or mountains
  • Nordic Walking – fitness walking with poles
  • Llama hiking
  • Scrambling – “non-technical” rock climbing or mountaineering OR “technical” hiking
  • Thru-hiking – hiking a trail from end to end in one continuous hike (people may end to end a trail, but in section hikes)
  • Ultralight backpacking
  • Waterfalling – aka waterfall hunting and waterfall hiking is hiking with the purpose of finding and enjoying waterfalls
  • Dayhiking
  • Heli Hiking – using helicopters to access remote areas otherwise inaccessible
  • Bushwhacking – a North American term for hikers and cross-country skiers who make their own trails
  • Flighthiking – a term used for hiking “as the crow flies” in a straight line, usually off-trail

Trails

  • Appalachian Trail
  • Bruce Trail
  • Continental Divide Trail
  • Pacific Crest Trail
  • North Country Trail
  • Kokoda Trail

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