It’s no secret that here at Cloudline, we love to hike. What better way to get out and explore the world? If you’re an avid hiker too, you know what we mean.
But if you’re newer to the activity, don’t hesitate any longer. We’ve rounded up 10 amazing reasons why we love hiking — and why you should too.
1. Hiking is great physical exercise.
Anyone who’s huffed and puffed their way up a mountainside knows that hiking is great exercise. As much as you might dread those unrelenting switchbacks, you probably appreciate the feeling of completing a physically demanding hike.
Your hike doesn’t have to be Everest material to qualify as exercise. Even a walk through the woods on a flat trail is valuable. Hiking uses lots of different muscle groups, strengthening your glutes, legs, and hips. And of course (remember the huffing and puffing?), it’s a great cardio workout.
2. Hiking boosts your mental health.
Hiking isn’t just great physical exercise — it’s beneficial for your mind and your mood. While we’ve long known exercise is good for our mental health, more recent studies have shown the positive impacts spending time in nature can have on our mood.
Combine the two — exercise and nature — and you’ve got a powerful, mood-boosting activity.
3. Hiking is a free or low-cost activity.
There are a million ways to have fun, get exercise, or improve your mood. And a lot of them will cost you a pretty penny. We’re talking vacations, gym memberships, yoga classes, or a new mountain bike — fun, yes. But affordable? Not always.
One of the best things about hiking is that it’s almost always free. Sure, you might have to pay an entrance fee to hike in a particular park. But generally, these fees are relatively low compared to other recreational activities or forms of entertainment. And the payoff is so worth it.
4. You can hike in solitude or with others.
Maybe you love your solitude, or maybe you’re an extrovert. Need quiet time to be with yourself and get away from distractions? Take a hike. Want to meet up with friends for an activity you can enjoy together? Take a hike.
Whichever you prefer, make sure you understand the implications of hiking alone or with a group.
If you hike alone, be extra aware of the risks. Tell someone where you’re going and take all the proper precautions.
On the other hand, if you hike with a group, be sure to leave no trace and try to keep your impact (and noise level) to a minimum.
5. You can hike almost anywhere.
Search “best hikes” and you’ll likely get photos of epic vistas from jagged mountain peaks. There’s no question that landscapes like these — national trails and national parks, for example — make for unforgettable hiking experiences.
But you don’t have to wait for your national park vacation or drive hours to reach the “wilderness” to have a wonderful hike. The truth about hiking is you can do it just about anywhere. State parks, county trails, and even dirt roads all make great hiking locations. Check AllTrails for a wide range of hikes near you. You can even create your own “urban hike” by taking an adventurous walk around your town or city.
6. Hiking takes you off the beaten path.
Have you ever been to a busy park or popular attraction and been shocked by the volume of people you’re sharing it with? Most of us have dreams of peaceful, quiet nature, but that’s not always reality. If you’ve ever been stuck in a Yellowstone bison jam or on a Zion park shuttle, you know what we mean.
The good news is, hiking is usually an escape from the crowds — the biggest crowds, anyway. You’d be surprised how many people visit parks without veering into the backcountry. Many people enjoy them from their cars, stopping only to explore the viewpoints and overlooks along the way.
Hit the trails (the longer the better) and you’ll typically see fewer and fewer people with each step you take.
7. Hiking disconnects you from technology.
How much time do you spend looking at a screen every day? More than you want to admit? We’re not shaming you — it’s really hard to live day-to-day life without your smartphone and computer. Everything from work to catching up with friends to watching your favorite workout routine on YouTube revolves around these devices.
While these things make life convenient, it’s healthy to escape from them regularly. When you head out in nature, you can leave these things behind and take a break from the nonstop demands on your attention.
Many wilderness areas and remote trails don’t have cell service. This is great for those of us trying to disconnect, but make sure you have systems in place for navigation and communication. Download a map, bring a GPS unit, or tell a friend where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
8. Hiking allows you to see beautiful places.
Some of the most beautiful places in the world are accessible by hiking. After all, narrow trails can take you where cars can’t. There’s something special about heading off into the wilderness and covering the miles with your own two feet. Climb into colorful canyons, stroll deep into dense woods, or hike to a mountain saddle. Chances are, it’ll be quiet, scenic, and peaceful.
There’s also something to be said about exploring a place by foot. Hiking forces you to slow down and see things from a new perspective.
9. Hiking leads to inspiration.
When do you get your best ideas? Before you fall asleep? When you’re in the shower? When you’re taking the dog out in the morning?
Likely, they come at a time like these, when you’re away from the distractions of everyday life. Without noise in your ears and a screen in front of your eyes, your mind has room to be creative.
Like other distraction-free times, hiking allows the mental space we need for inspiration. Instead of being bombarded by news, noise, and responsibilities, you can step back from the world and let your thoughts wander.
10. (Bonus!) You get to wear your Cloudline socks.
It’s true — Cloudline socks are perfect for hiking. They’re moisture-wicking, soft, and made with odor-resistant merino wool. But we totally understand if you want to wear them all the time — even when you’re not on the trail.
What’s your favorite thing about hiking? Let us know by commenting below! And don’t forget to tag us with #cloudlinesocks to share all your hiking adventures.