Why I am Obsessed with Day Hiking
This post will include tips and tricks on planning your day hikes.
- How to plan them with an excellent app
- Learning about elevation
- Types of trails
- The rewards
Bryce Canyon National Park
Think of the unlimited locales you can explore while walking through them. Just to name a few; Waterfalls, Volcanoes, Jungles, Coastal areas, Urban areas, Desert, Countryside, Historical Sites and Botanical Gardens.
Stairs up to Pogerola Italy from the Town of Amalfi
How do you find these trails and places to walk? My favorite tool is the app called:
is an app that I learned about while taking a course in hiking safety. It is downloadable from the App Store. The free version enables you to see the up to date reviews from actual hikers using the trail. The reviews come in handy to learn about current trail conditions and hiker’s rating of views, and the trail. The free version also gives you the elevation (more on that) and the distance of the hike. The upgraded and paid version allows you to download maps which is handy when you have limited connectivity. You also have access to detailed topography of the area. I used the free version until recently, and unless you plan to do more challenging hikes, the free version is great. All Trails lets you discover trails all over the World!
Haleakala Crater, Maui HI
Gen X Travel Club Members hiking on Sliding Sands Trail in the Haleakala Crater in Maui
What to know about elevation
Why is the trail’s elevation an important factor to know when Day Hiking? It is REALLY important to be aware of elevation because what goes down must come back up, & visa versa. Haleakala in Maui is a great example. There are not many ideal day hiking (day hikes are usually about 4 hrs) options in Haleakala National Park. Sliding Sands Trail is the best day hike, but it drops almost 3,000 feet. Downhill does not sound too tough, But..imagine hiking straight back up 3,000 feet on a trail consisting of sand? Instead we opted to only go down 2.5 miles cutting our elevation in half on the way back up.
Elevation can be particularly difficult for hikers on vacation and who reside in lower elevations. It can even be dangerous. Elevation sickness can happen to anyone at any time in higher elevation spots. Headaches, feeling dizzy, and even feeling bloated are signs of elevation sickness. The only way to relieve it is to descend.
Mt. Whitney – A real challenge for elevation at 14,505 ft. I’m not a backpacker, but I did camp on this Mountain to acclimate to the elevation gain.
What type of trail is it?
Another factor that is important is what type of trail design does the trail offer. There are three basic trail types; Out & back, Loop, and sometimes a Lasso (imagine a lasso from the rodeo). My favorite being the loop so that you experience new things to see along the entire route.
Because day hiking can be grueling, I like a reward 1/2 way through or at the end. The best rewards include views, waterfalls and a delicious high calorie meal. A 4 hour day hike with elevation can burn 800 calories + .
Rewards when hiking
La Fortuna Waterfall Costa Rica
Svartifoss Waterfall Iceland
The Plain of Six Glaciers hike to the Teahouse in Banff Alberta Canada. A must-do day hike!
Hidden Waterfalls in Grand Teton National Park Jackson, Wyoming
Vernal Fall Yosemite National Park
Some of my favorite Historical, Coastal, Urban, Meadows, Canyons, Caves and Desert Hikes
I will discuss gear, safety and other precautions to take while day hiking in another post. In the meantime get out there and enjoy the world on foot. I can’t wait for what I see next on the trail!
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