Hiking gives you the chance to connect with the awe-inspiring nature of our park system
Your RV adventure will give you many opportunities to explore our beautiful natural resources. See the incredible views and vistas of mountains, lakes, and oceans that have been preserved for the ages with protected parks. And the best part? Your cozy home-away-from-home awaits you with all the creature comforts, ready to greet you when you return.
Exploring the wilderness is the experience of a lifetime, and you won’t regret putting in the energy to do it. Still, it can be pretty grueling physically. It can wear you out, and if you’re not careful, you might bite off more than you can chew. So, if you’re a new hiker, make sure you take steps to stay safer and comfortable along your journey.
If you’re ready to get outside and get hiking, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Because hiking is fun and beautiful, you may be tempted to choose the most exciting path. Often, the best views are on the advanced courses, so that’s where you decide to start. Throwing caution to the wind, you traipse through the trail looking for the most amazing natural sights. At first it’s thrilling, but after an hour or two, it begins to get uncomfortable.
The terrain may be difficult, you’ve got a blister from your shoes, and you feel pretty winded. You start to feel like going home to your RV and getting off your tired feet.
Instead of a beautiful commune with nature, your hike has turned into a disappointing drudge. Before you know it, you’re headed back in defeat and decided hiking isn’t for you.
The thing is, if you start out with a course that is too difficult, you might end up just like this – miserable. What a shame! Hiking can be one of the most rewarding and beautiful experiences, but you have to start small.
Would you try to complete a marathon the first day you pick up running? Of course not. You have to build up your physical and mental endurance with all sports, and it’s the same with hiking.
Don’t just pick a trail and head out. Take some time to research the path, get proper gear, and familiarize yourself with maps of the area.
Start with hikes that are on the shorter side, and gradually build up to longer and more exciting hikes. Give your body time to adjust, and you’ll be seeing the really exciting stuff in no time!
Find the right trail
Select a trail that is within the distance that you can walk comfortably in everyday life. For most people, roughly 2 miles per hour is a comfortable pace. Make sure you check the elevation changes along the course because this can have a big impact on your comfort as you hike.
The best trails for beginners are low-elevation paths that go in a loop. This way, you can complete the path, maybe have a picnic along the way, and end up back at your car without having to backtrack or remember directions.
Like any other sport, hiking has some safety hazards if not done properly. So, practice simple safety measures.
Always check the weather before you start. It’s not super fun to be out in nature when cold snow starts to fall, or your beautiful views are obscured by clouds and rain. Don’t just hope for the best and trust that the sunshine will hold up. Sometimes, bad weather can sneak up on you while you’re out and about on the trail.
Always tell someone where you are going and how long you intend to be gone. Some rural areas and hikes don’t have good cell reception, so if you need help, you might not be able to call someone to pick you up. Telling someone where you’ll be is the best way to make sure you won’t get stuck out on the trail. If you twist your ankle or run into trouble, you’ll know someone will come get you if you’re not back in time.
Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Don’t wear headphones with your music turned up loud. Unlike your comfortable neighborhood at home, hiking trails share space with lots of wildlife. If you’re distracted, you might not notice local bears or mountain lions.
Generally, animals in nature are more than happy to live and let live, but you still want to keep a sharp eye and make sure you’re paying attention. It’s also a good idea to read up on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services tips for wildlife safety, so you’ll know what to do when you encounter natural wildlife.
An experience like no other
Hiking gives you the chance to connect with nature in a way that is truly remarkable. Follow these simple steps to get started, and soon you’ll be a pro!
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