Hiking trails are often considered to be the best way to get fit. They offer a variety of different activities such as running, jogging, climbing, etc. However, there are also other types of trails that are less strenuous and easier to walk. These are called walking trails. Walking trails are usually shorter than hiking trails and are generally used for leisurely walks.
What Is a Hiking Trail?
A hiking trail is an outdoor recreational area designed specifically for people who enjoy being outdoors in nature. The main purpose of these areas is to provide hikers with access to natural environments while offering them various opportunities to exercise their bodies.
The term “trail” refers to any path or route through which one can travel from point A to B. In this case, it means going up and down hills, over mountains, across rivers, along lakes, etc.
Hiking trails may vary greatly depending on where they are located. Some trails will have paved paths, others will only consist of dirt roads, some will even go underground!
Be mindful of trail etiquette when you hike because not everyone follows the same rules. For example, if you see someone else using your favorite spot, don’t take offense; just move somewhere else. Also, make sure to leave no trace behind by picking up after yourself.
Types Of Hiking Trails
There are many kinds of hiking trails available today. However, most of them fall into two categories: short-distance hikes and long-distance hikes. Short-distance hikes are those that take place within a few miles of your home. Long-distance hikes are those taking you out of town.
These include things like city parks, state forests, national parks, etc. Most cities have at least one park that offers easy access to beautiful scenery. If you live near a large metropolitan area, chances are good that you already know about all of its local parks.
If you want something more adventurous, then you should consider doing a hike that takes you away from civilization. This could mean traveling hundreds of miles by foot, car, train, bus, boat, plane, horseback, bicycle, kayak, raft, snowmobile, skis, etc. There are so many options when it comes to getting outside and enjoying nature. You just need to find what works best for you.
What is a Walking Trail?
Walking trails are similar to hiking trails but the difference is that they don’t require much physical activity. Instead, they’re meant to give you time to relax and unwind after a hard day’s work.
They’re great places to visit if you’d rather spend quality time with friends and family instead of exercising. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer to do it alone or with someone else; either way, you’ll still reap plenty of benefits.
They are typically found in urban settings and tend to be smaller than hiking trails. As mentioned earlier, they are great places to relax after work or school. Many people choose to spend time here during lunch breaks or before heading off to bed.
Popular Walking Trails in the US
Here are some popular walking trails around the United States:
Laurel Falls Trail
Laurel Falls Trail is a 3 mile lightly trafficked hike that takes you through a beautiful forest and past a waterfall. It is good for all skill level hikers. It is open year-round.
The Zion Narrows Riverside Walk
This trail is a 3.1-mile hike along the banks of the Virgin River. It is heavily traveled and can be used for hiking, walking, and running. It is best used from March through October.
An easy hike, the waterfall is quite impressive, especially in the wet year of this visit. Standing at the base of the falls, visitors can enjoy the spray and coolness of the water.
Donut Falls Trail
It’s an easy hike that allows parents to hike with one child on their back, toddlers to throw rocks in the river, and teens to drag their feet. Weekends are crowded and parking can be difficult to find. Go during the week to avoid the morning rush.
Lower Yosemite Falls Trail
Yosemite Falls is a very popular attraction in Yosemite National Park. People drive along the highway to see this waterfall. They stop their cars in the roadway, get out and walk toward the waterfall. This happens every day.
How To Choose Between Hiking And Walking Trails
Several factors will help you decide which type of trail would suit your needs better. These include distance, difficulty, terrain, weather conditions, length of stay, number of other users, safety concerns, accessibility, cost, etc. The list goes on and on!
When choosing between hiking and walking trails, remember that both types offer different experiences. Both allow you to explore new areas while giving you ample opportunity to take in natural beauty. However, there are also differences between them.
Hiking requires more effort as compared to walking. If you plan to go on a long-distance hike, make sure you have enough energy to complete it. Also, bring extra food and supplies such as sunscreen, insect repellent, rain gear, flashlight, first aid kit, map, compass, GPS device, cell phone charger, camera, binoculars, trekking poles, drinking water, etc.
On the other hand, walking does not involve any strenuous activities. You don’t need to carry anything except yourself. So, when planning a short trip, consider taking only what’s necessary.
If you want to experience nature without exerting too much physical activity, then walking may be just right for you. Just keep in mind that you won’t be able to cover as many miles as you could be going on a longer hike.
Walking trails are usually less populated than hiking trails. Therefore, you might encounter fewer obstacles and challenges. On the downside, they tend to be shorter so you’ll spend less time exploring the area.
In addition, if you’re looking for solitude, then walking trails are probably ideal for you. But if you prefer being around people, then hiking trails are likely to provide you with more opportunities to interact with others.
So, whether you choose hiking or walking depends largely upon how active you wish to be. There are no hard rules about which option works best for everyone.
Benefits of Hiking Trails
The benefits of hiking trails are numerous. Here are some reasons why hikers love these paths:
- It provides exercise. When you hike, you burn calories. In fact, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, moderate-intensity aerobic exercises like hiking burns approximately 300 – 500 calories per hour. That means that after 30 minutes of hiking, you’ve burned up 1/3rd of your daily calorie intake.
- It helps build muscle mass. When you exercise outdoors, you burn calories faster because you expend more energy. Studies show that outdoor workouts increase metabolism up to 40% higher than indoor exercises.
- It improves cardiovascular health. Studies reveal that regular hikes have many health benefits like improving blood circulation and lower cholesterol levels.
- It promotes mental health. A good walk clears out all those negative thoughts from your head. Instead, you focus on enjoying the moment.
- It reduces anxiety. Walking through beautiful places calms down our nerves. As a result, we become relaxed and peaceful.
- It increases creativity. Nature inspires artists and writers alike. The fresh air stimulates their minds and allows them to think freely.
- It strengthens relationships. Going on walks together builds trust among friends and family members. They learn to appreciate each other better.
Benefits of Walking Trails
There are several advantages associated with walking trails. Some of them include:
- It doesn’t require special equipment. Unlike hiking trails, there aren’t any steep inclines or rocky terrain. All you have to do is take off your shoes and socks before stepping onto the path.
- It requires little effort. If you decide to go for a stroll, you don’t need to worry about carrying heavy loads. Your body will automatically adjust itself to accommodate whatever weight you put on it.
- It lets you enjoy nature without having to travel far. Most cities offer parks where you can easily access natural areas. These spots provide ample opportunities for relaxation and recreation.
- It creates memories. Taking long walks together reminds us of happy moments spent with loved ones. We remember things that happened years ago and relive old feelings.
- It helps reduce depression. Many studies show that spending time outdoors lowers the risk of developing clinical depression. Many experts believe that going for a hike can help cure mild cases of depression.
- It relieves boredom. There are times when nothing seems interesting anymore. This happens because we’ve been stuck indoors for so long. However, once we step outside, we feel rejuvenated. Our mind becomes more alert and active.