Hiking is a great way to relax and enjoy nature. But what if you get bored during a longer hike? Here are some great things to do while hiking.
When I tell people that I like hiking and love doing long distance trails, I often get the question: “What do you do while you’re hiking?” Well, I hike. But yes, I can imagine that just hiking can be a bit boring. Luckily there are many ways to make hiking even more fun! These are the best things to do while hiking.
Fun things to do when hiking: capture the moment
One of the best things to do while hiking is to capture the moment. Here are some fun ways to do it.
Take in the scenery
One of the best things about hiking is the opportunity to enjoy beautiful natural surroundings. Take a moment to stop and appreciate the view, listen to the sounds of nature, and breathe in the fresh air.
Bring a camera or smartphone with you on your hike to capture memories of your trip. You might also want to bring a small tripod or selfie stick to help you get better shots. Taking pictures is one of the best ways to become more patient and you’ll discover more interesting details about your surroundings. After a bit of practice, you’ll definitely improve your photography skills.
Document your hike
Besides taking photos, there are other fun ways to document your hike. You can for example write about it in a journal or make some sketches. It’s not only fun to do, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get. It’s a great way to get more creative which can help you in your daily life.
Hiking can be an excellent opportunity to practice mindfulness and be present in the moment. Take a few deep breaths, focus on your surroundings, and try to clear your mind of any distractions. Just be in nature. If you find it hard to do this yourself, you can use a meditation app. There are several guided hiking meditations available.
Relax and have fun
Hiking can be a really relaxing experience. It’s good to take a break every now and then for another relaxing activity. Here are a few examples on how to break up longer hikes.
Listen to music
Listening to music can be a great way to relax. So bring your headphones, put on your favorite playlist and enjoy! Please don’t bring a portable speaker, most people prefer hiking in quiet and you don’t want to scare the animals. Listening to music with a beat can also help you keep a more constant walking pace, this makes a long walk easier and more enjoyable.
Listen to a podcast or an audiobook
Do you prefer listening to stories instead of music? Put on your favorite podcast or a good audiobook. Listening to an incredible story is a great addition to your hike and makes you want to go on your next hiking trip sooner. You want to know how the story ends and get great exercise while you’re listening.
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Make new friends
You’re rarely alone on a hiking trail, so you’ll meet another hiker or two. And guess what? You’ll always have something in common, you both like hiking! It’s especially fun to meet other hikers on a long distance trail like the Appalachian Trail because you’ll know you’ll probably see each other multiple times in the coming days or weeks. You might even end up hiking the remaining part of the trail together and have a great time!
Take a break
Taking a break while you are hiking is always a good idea and one of the most important hiking tips. Sit down in a nice spot, enjoy the scenic landscape, read a book, or take a nap. Do whatever helps you to relax. It’s always a good idea to have some quality time with yourself.
Try some yoga
Doing yoga outdoors is a great activity and can feel really refreshing. So if you’re into yoga, make sure to bring your yoga mat and put it on the ground in a place with a beautiful view. It’ll help you relax, clear your mind and it makes you stronger.
Go for a swim
Hiking is great for your physical health and so is swimming. Why not combine the two? Find a hiking trail to a water source where you can safely swim. Maybe there’s a lake or you can swim in the ocean if you’re hiking along the coast. Go for that refreshing dip!
Going for a hike can be a great way to learn about nature, history, and yourself! Here are some things you can learn while hiking.
Learn about the local flora and fauna
If you’re hiking in a new area, take the opportunity to learn about the local plants and the local wildlife. Bring a field guide or use an app to identify different species you encounter. The more you learn, the more interesting things you’ll see during your next adventure.
What bird is that? I find myself asking this during pretty much every single hike. Don’t make the same mistake I always make, so bring a pair of binoculars and a bird identification guide with you on your hike if you’re interested in birdwatching. You might be surprised at the variety of birds you’ll see in different environments.
Practice your navigation skills
Well, you don’t want to get lost, right? Practicing navigation skills is not only adventurous and fun to do, but also good for your own safety. You’ll become a more confident hiker because you know you can rely on yourself. So get a map and compass, learn how to work with them (there are plenty of video tutorials on YouTube, or bring a hiking guide), and go out there!
Learn about the history of the area
A lot of places have a very interesting history. You’re never the first one to hike a trail. Some trails have been there for hundreds of years! Learn more about the trail and the area you’re hiking in by reading trail markers or visiting local museums. When you’re planning on hiking in the National Parks, make sure to go to the visitor center prior to your hike. There usually is a movie or an information desk that will teach all about the park.
Practice your survival skills
What to do when you get lost? How will you survive? Some hikes can be very adventurous! It’s always good and fun to practice some survival skills like building a shelter or starting a fire. It’s also smart to learn what to do in bad weather. Be careful though and bring a first aid kit.
Hiking at night can also be a fun way to learn more about the stars and constellations. Go out on a clear night, sit down and do some star gazing. Try to identify several constellations. You can use an app to help you find them. Practice a couple of times and next time you’ll be able to find them without any help!
Hiking games & family fun
Do you prefer going on family hikes? There are plenty of fun games you can do with either young children or older kids.
Play simple games
If you’re hiking with friends or family, think of simple games to play along the way. One of the best trail games is 20 Questions. It’s interactive and you can play it while you’re hiking. One family member thinks of an object, a person, or a place and you’ve got 20 questions to find the answer. The player that finds the answer with the least amount of questions wins.
I Spy is also a fun game, especially to play with young kids. One player finds an object in the area and tells you what the color is. Now you have to guess the object. It’s really easy and it’ll sure give you a good time!
Play Capture the Flag
If you like to play a more exciting trail game, you might prefer to play Capture the Flag. To play Capture the Flag you need to divide your group into two teams and the goal is to capture the other team’s flag (or bandana, or another piece of fabric). It’s a great way to add a fun element to your hike. Younger kids will absolutely love this.
Have a picnic
A good way to relax and have fun on the trail is to have a picnic. Bring enough food, some snacks, and a few water bottles to enjoy a long break during your hike. Look for a scenic spot that is a great place to stop and enjoy your food with a view.
Geocaching is a fun outdoor treasure hunt game where participants use GPS coordinates to find hidden “caches” or containers. You can search for geocaches on websites like Geocaching.com and bring along a GPS device or use your smartphone to navigate to the cache.
Go on a scavenger hunt
Geocaching is something you can do when you’re hiking solo or in a small group, but with larger groups, it’s also a great idea to organize a scavenger hunt! Make a list of things or clues and let your group find the items along your favorite trail. The first person to find all the items wins a special price.
Set a goal for yourself
You can also do a hiking game if you prefer hiking solo. One of the best things is to hike a goal for yourself. You can do this in advance, by picking a summit you’d like to reach or a certain distance you’d like to hike. And you can also make up some goals during your hike, like finishing a trail in with a certain time limit. It will be really rewarding to reach your goal, but the most important thing is to have fun!
Some things to do while hiking are just practical. It’s always a good idea to keep these in mind, whether you’re on a day hike or a long hike.
Stop and rest frequently
It’s always important to take frequent breaks. This will prevent fatigue and injury.
Practice Leave No Trace
Whether you’re out on a short hike or on a long distance trail, always practice the Leave No Trace principles. Bring out what you pack in. If you bring toilet paper, also bring a trash bag so you can throw it away in a trashcan. Never leave it out there, leave only footprints. This helps to minimize your impact on the environment.
Use the right hiking gear
If you hike on a regular basis, it is good to have the right gear and good hiking boots. Always bring a rain jacket when there’s a chance of precipitation. Go to your local outdoor shop to find the best hiking gear. In addition, you can also find great deals for hiking gear on Amazon.
Be aware of your surroundings
You don’t want to get hurt, so always be aware of your surroundings. For example, check the weather forecast before you go out, check trail conditions and know which plants to avoid, like poison ivy. Be prepared, this will make your hiking experience a lot more enjoyable.
Read more about hiking
I hope you liked these fun activities! Would you like to learn more about hiking? Here are some great books filled with hiking ideas and tips.
100 Hikes of a Lifetime: The World’s Ultimate Scenic Trails
You can also read a lot about hiking and awesome outdoor adventures on this website. You might like to read these articles as well:
- 24 fun & interesting facts about hiking
- These are the scariest hiking trails in the world!
- 36 Best Books for Hikers
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