Hiking outdoors has many benefits. Not only is it a great way to get some fresh air and take in some beautiful scenery, but it also can lower your risk of heart disease and help control your weight.If that isn’t enough to get you moving, consider the other benefits of hiking below.
- Can Help Improve Your Fitness Levels – While this may be a no-brainer for most, hiking on a regular basis can help you improve your fitness levels. Hiking utilizes some of the major muscle groups in the body, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip muscles. This physical activity can also do wonders when it comes to strengthening your core.
- It Can Sharpen Your Brain – Did you know that hiking actually increases the amount of blood flow and oxygen to the brain? As a result, this activity can have a positive effect on your focus, memory, and concentration.
- May Assist You In Losing Weight – Looking to lose a few pounds before bikini season? Hiking can help you lose weight and drop inches off your waistline. According to Livestrong, the average person will burn anywhere between 440 to 550 calories per hour. That’s quite a bit!
- It Can Do Wonders For Your Mental Health – While there are many physical benefits to hiking, did you know that there are psychological benefits as well? By making a point to get out of the house to enjoy some fresh air, it can do wonders for your mental health. Studies have found that hiking can help to relieve the side effects of conditions like stress, depression, and anxiety.
Hiking Trails Worth Visiting
If you love to hike and you’re looking for some world-class hiking trails, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best, under-the-radar hikes to consider for your next adventure.
If you’re planning a trip to Utah, make sure you take a day trip to visit The Narrows. As Zion National Park’s most popular hike, this trail is suitable for hikers of all skill levels. With 16 miles of breathtaking scenery, more than half of this hike will take place in the Virgin River, so make sure to bring waterproof shoes! Most Utah visitors like to hike The Narrows during the late spring and summer. At this time, the water levels are relatively low, making it easier for people to trek through.
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a must-do hike if you are traveling to Peru. Also called Camino Inka, the Inca Trail is one of the most popular treks in South America. On this trail, you’ll enjoy 26 miles if gorgeous mountain scenery along with a mix of Inca paving stones, ruins, and even tunnels. At the end of the trail you’ll arrive at Machu Picchu, which is known as the “Lost City of the Incas.”
When planning a trip down under, make sure you schedule a day to check out the Overland Track in Tasmania, Australia. This 50-mile long hike takes the average traveler about six days to finish, where you’ll enjoy picture-worthy rainforests, alpine meadows, and glacially-carved valleys.
The Muliwai Trail is one of the most famous hiking trails in Hawaii. The trail goes from Waipio Valley to Waimanu Valley, and it is regarded as a fairly rigorous hike (not for beginners). Roughly 15 miles roundtrip, there are numerous campsites that you can stop off at to rest or sleep during your trek.
Hiking Tips & Tricks To Remember
Before you head off to explore a new hiking trail, there are a few tips and tricks to remember, including:
Bring the appropriate footwear for the trail that you will be walking. If you’re planning a short day hike, regular trail shoes should suffice. On the other hand, if you’re planning a longer hike and carrier a heavier load with you, we recommend hiking boots for a little more support. Do your research – if you will be crossing bodies of water, you will want to bring waterproof shoes as well.
- Have a food plan so you don’t go hungry during the day. While you can pack foods that are perishable like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, keep in mind that the more you stash in your backpack, the harder it will be to hike. That’s why we encourage you to bring perishable foods that are lightweight, nutrient dense, and easy to eat on-the-go. Some of our favorite hiking snacks are: trail mix, dried fruits and vegetables, granola bars, and beef jerky.
- Pack a first aid kit. You can find a pre-packed first aid kit at your local outdoor store.
- Sunscreen and chapstick are a must. The sun can get pretty intense, especially if you are gaining elevation on your hike. Make sure you keep your skin protected by bringing quality sunscreen with a high SPF (sun protection factor).
- Make sure you bring a knife or some kind of multi-purpose tool. This will come in handy if you need to remove annoying splinters, fix a broken pair of sunglasses, and more.
- A trusty compass. Not only will a compass save you if you end up getting lost, these little devices are guaranteed never to run out of batteries.
- Layers. As you may already know, the weather can change relatively quickly when your on a wilderness adventure. We recommend that you always bring an extra insulated layer of clothing, just in case you need to change mid-hike. Try to avoid cotton products, as these items tend to take longer to dry and pull heat from your body.
- Stay hydrated. This is critical for hikers, as your body needs water to keep all of its systems properly running. Make sure you bring plenty of water bottles with you on your trip.
- In the unexpected case that you have to spend the night outside, make sure you pack a lightweight emergency shelter.
- Did you know that dirty hands are among the biggest contributor to sickness in the backcountry? For this reasons alone, consider bringing some hand sanitizer with you on your hike that you can use after bathroom breaks.
If you’re in the process of planning your next hiking adventure and you’re looking for a convenient and affordable parking lot near the Denver International Airport (DIA), be sure to park your vehicle with ParkDIA. We have 7,500 parking spaces available at our lot, so there’s always one waiting for you when you need it. When you download our mobile app on your smartphone, you can easily book your parking space ahead of time to optimize your trip. If you have any questions about our airport parking rates and options, get in touch with our friendly staff today or visit parkdia.com/faqs/.