Planning your next hike? There’s a few details to consider. There’s the obvious basics (where am I going, who am I going with, what am I going to do, how am I going to do it, and why and I doing it), but there’s also a few nuanced pieces of information that are go-to indicators for experienced adventurers. For someone like me who leads small groups of hikers and campers throughout the year, knowing what to look for when researching my next hike can save time and make a big difference when choosing the right adventure for the crew.
Whether you’re planning your first adventure or your next adventure, there’s a few details that I always recommend considering when researching places to explore.
7 Details to Consider When Planning Your Next Adventure
- Origin – Where does your intended adventure start? How close is the trailhead to you? Is it easily accessible? Can you get there by vehicle or will you need to park and hike to the location? I try to pick adventures that are within 1-2 hours of me, allowing for plenty of time to get to and from the trailhead in addition to the time planned on the trail.
- Destination – Where are you going? Where does your journey or trail end? Is there a summit? A campground? A must-see destination? I try to pick trails and outings that end at an obvious point that allows the crew to feel accomplished. Whether they hiked to the old ruins or saw the waterfall, or simply got to look out from the top of the mountain they just climbed, a destination helps add to the feeling of accomplishment and gives your outing that much needed climax.
- Sights – Is there anything to see? What is the trail or adventure known for? Similar to the end point, there are also trails that feature wildflowers, wildlife, mountains, rivers, lakes, and more along the path. The more there is to look at and enjoy, the more pleasurable the journey.
- Trail Difficulty – How hard is the hike? Is it steep? Long? Gauging the difficulty of a hike before you attempt the trek can save you some frustration and ensure an enjoyable event. Unless I know the crew is up for a challenging outing, I stick to easy and moderate hikes when planning adventures. A moderate hike can provide enough challenge for advanced participants without intimidating those that may be closer to the novice hiker.
- Trail Conditions – Has anyone been on the trail recently? Is it muddy? Icy? Closed? There are a variety of sites that allow hikers and outdoor explorers like yourself to leave comments, record visits, and offer helpful feedback that you can take into consideration when considering #6 & #7.
- Weather – What is the weather going to be like in the area? Temperatures? Precipitation? Sunrise and sunset? Knowing what to plan for will help you evaluate whether you have the right gear for the planned excursion.
- Gear – Last but not least, what gear do you have? Do you have boots or flip flops? Do you have a 3L camelback or a 16oz water bottle? Do you have rain gear? Evaluating what you have available to use for the hike or adventure will help you make the final decision as to which hikes fit your current capabilities.
You may notice that I didn’t offer any tips to answer the “why” you’re planning an adventure. Our reasons for hiking, camping, and exploring vary person to person, and the feelings you’ll experience will vary as well. Some look for an activity that gets the blood pumping while others seek out solitude. Whatever your reasons for camping, climbing, hiking, or backpacking, these seven details should guide you in the right direction.
Thanks for reading!
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