There’s room on the trails for everyone and while it can be intimidating to take that first step, there are plenty of trail options for beginners.
What do you need for hiking?
Getting started hiking really doesn’t require too much, this accessibility is part of the reason why I love it. But there are a few things I do think you need if you’re looking to hit the trail for the first time. (This list is for beginners attempting easy to moderate hikes, not for extreme backcountry or overnight trips)
Sturdy shoes – There are a lot of trails that you can easily get away with wearing tennis shoes or sneakers, but if you want extra ankle support or plan on moving up in difficulty I would definitely recommending investing in hiking boots.
Water – This is the most important thing you can bring on your hike! I always bring more water than I think I’ll need because you never know when it’ll take longer than expected or you run into an unexpected situation. I’ve set out on six mile hikes only to return 10 miles later – so bring extra!
Sunscreen/Hat – Don’t skip this step, especially in Colorado! That sun can be brutal, even more so at elevation and when you’re on top of a mountain.
Trail Map – A lot of state parks have trail maps right at the start you can start, sometimes there’s a big map right at the beginning I’ll take a picture of. I always have my AllTrails ready to go, which will actually show you where you on as you go on the hike. If you’re in cell service you’re good to go with the free version, but if you’re going off the grid then it’s totally worth paying for the yearly subscription and downloading the maps for out of service times.
These aren’t necessarilty a musti-have, but they can certainly enhance your hiking experience or add an extra layer of safety as you’re getting outdoors.
Backpack – I almost always bring a backpack on my hikes, I have a smaller one for easy, short hikes then a slightly larger one that can fit a bit more when I’m on hikes over 4 miles. It holds my water, keys & anything else I decide to bring along – plus it’s a way to keep your trash & leave no trace. I keep mine pretty well packed so I can just grab it and go. What’s in my hiking backpack?
Snacks – Well, this is as functional as it is fun! You expel a lot of energy on a hike so bringing snacks or lunch is always a good idea. My hiking snack go-to’s are peanut butter pretzels, trail mix, cliff bars and fruit.
Tissues – For runny noses & unexpected bathroom trips in the trees!
First Aid Kit – This is always in my hiking backpack and mine is relatively basic unless I’m heading out on a really long hike. My biggest essentials:
- Bandaids – Nothing worse than a blister popping up and miles to go
- Tweezers – I’ve had to pull out multiple splinters in my hands & feet (even with shoes on!)
- Antibiotic Ointment
Spare pair of socks – Unexpected water crossings, snow, rain – sometimes you’ll want to swap on a dry pair.
Summit Beer – Ok, this one is very much an extra but there’s not much better than sitting on top of a mountain or taking in an incredible view and enjoying a local brewskie. Of course, don’t forget to balance this out with lots of water!