What Is the Best for You: Hiking or Trekking?
There’s never a better way to experience the sheer beauty and stunning scenery of our lovely planet than on foot. Hikers and trekking junkies know this little secret and often never give up on their pursuit, despite the arduous and nerve-wrecking escapades.
In the city of New York alone, there is a group of A-listers and canyon trail diehards whose only excuse for being away from the city is a fast-growing hiking culture. During their Insta-worthy outings, Vanessa Hudgens, Kate Hudson, Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Biel, and several other celebrities take hiking to a whole new and exciting level.
Sworn trekkers too are not the ones to be left behind. Making it a tradition to conquer the toughest trails in the world, their greatest reward admittedly is an experience that lasts a lifetime. They brave the rocky, forested GR20 trail, conquer the legendary Inca Trail, and even fly to Mali, to take on the soaring cliffs of Pays Dogon.
Yet incidentally, Hiking and Trekking never mean the same thing
Hikes and treks are different and even thrill differently. One could hike the mighty Camino de Santiago trail often for spiritual purposes, take on the rugged peaks and reservoir-filled valleys of MacLehose Trail for fun or simply join the “thru-hikers” of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
Probably the most fascinating lot are those who follow the ancient caravan route that snakes its way through some of mankind’s earliest settlements to Petra, Jordan. They hike through some of the most punishing desert conditions, cross deep gorges, and admire breathtaking wind-sculpted sandstone canyons, all for fun.
Hikers usually enjoy spending days traveling on trails in the wilderness, not just for fun, but also to give their body a full-body workout. They do it for several purposes, including pilgrimage expeditions, reenact history, and generally write their names in the books of history.
Still, perhaps the greatest difference between hiking and trekking is with how the best trek rails look like. Looking at classic treks that are widely considered the best on the planet, it is easy to tell.
New Zealand’s Routeburn Track not only opens up the country’s stunning subalpine scenery to the rest of the trekking world but also treats backpackers to the best of Fiordland and Mt Aspiring. The Himachal Pradesh trail – many trekkers’ paradise – is no ordinary destination. Only hardcore individuals usually make it through the 24-day Spiti-Ladakh trail.
So, what is the difference between hiking and trekking?
For an avid adventurer and someone who would love to see the world on foot, hiking and trekking tours might just be their favorite cup of coffee. However, much as the two have lots of similarities, they also feature specific differences.
And so, before you pick your next hiking or trekking destination, the following differences should open your eyes:
Definitions: Hiking vs. Trekking
Firstly, a hike is a simple leisure outing, often on a popular trail. Often a brisk and energetic walk in a natural environment, hiking best takes place in a well-marked path. Mostly, this recreational activity takes place in a couple of hours, a day or two.
Treks are a lot different, ideally because they usually are vigorous, complex, and involving. Furthermore, they involve packing heavy camping gear in readiness for several days’ adventure in the wilderness. Treks do happen at the ‘off-the-beaten-path.’
Does hiking work best for you, or you simply go trekking?
It’s true; trekking is just enough to ignite an adrenaline pump. And yes, there’s no better thrill, adventure, and excitement than wandering through the jungles of lush greenery, emerald lakes, and breathtaking waterfalls and fjords.
However, it is also for the daredevils – the bravest of all. A trek to the Everest Base Camp, Ciudad Perdida, the Lost City, or even the lost Inca Kingdom, is not for the faint-hearted. It is a multi-day affair with days spent scaling steep trails and nights relaxing in camping tents.
On the other hand, you could sign up for hiking expeditions if you just want to enjoy a day’s adventure without pushing your limits. You get your blood pumping, walking a single afternoon; just a hike and you are back home without getting extremely worn out.
The physical demands of both outings are different. From the complexities involved, hikes are a lot more arduous and demand individuals that are physically fit and mentally prepared for it.
Treks often lead to places that are less accessible, yet very amazing and richly beautiful. You conquer rough terrains, meet a pristine and serene environment, and end up feeling exhausted, but totally satisfied.
Just be prepared for the rigors and rigidities of your preferred excursion and you are good to go!
How an ideal hiking tour feels like
Of course, both tours guarantee and indeed deliver blissful and memorable experiences. The excitement standing atop a mountain summit on a calm Sunday afternoon on a hiking trip is similar to the thrill of throwing oneself down a waterfall – heavenly!
However, the only differences are with the duration spent in the wild as well as the depth of fun. A weekend of fun hiking gargantuan glaciers and spotless snowfields of Western Europe can’t be compared to an afternoon of swimming in a local lake.
Basically, hiking expeditions are usually a little more extensive and allow tourists to enjoy the trip even more. Early mornings are for hikes, mountaineering, and walks while afternoons are spent admiring and appreciating the beautiful scenery, wildlife, and plants.
Hiking vs. Trekking: Travel Gear and Equipment
Both activities involve getting out in search of epic outdoor adventure. That naturally means wearing the right gear, including tough hiking boots, light waterproof jackets, and a roomy rucksack.
The only difference normally is with the choice of gear to pack. Trekkers must take a lot more equipment, including essential camping gear. They also have to choose their baggage carefully lest they over pack or even forget to pick all that is important for the trip.
At this stage, however, it is important to emphasize that the choice of equipment one picks on the trip solely depends upon them. For an adventure-filled hike, for instance, the choice of gear differs from those of a restful trip. It also depends on the terrain, weather conditions, and the adventurer’s individual needs.
But remember, both activities have several health benefits
If you can’t decide whether to go on a hiking expedition or simply take the 3-week trip, perhaps knowing the various health benefits they both have will motivate you to join the bandwagon. The first and probably the greatest benefit of both is the magical effect it has on both the heart and blood pressure.
Hikes and treks greatly reduce the risk of heart disease. And besides getting fit and mentally astute, both activities help rejuvenate the mind, making you a bit more creative as well.
So, as you ponder whether to finally join the local hiking club or simply be a trekker, just remember the various health benefits you stand to gain out of it.