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15 Fun Facts About Hiking

hiking trail through a grove of fir trees

Hiking is one of our favorite family activities. Hiking is great exercise, it’s a fun way to stay connected with nature, it’s a great way to experience the beauty of nature in your area and beyond, and it is a very thrifty activity for the whole family! Over the years we have hiked at 50+ trails throughout Oregon and several different states. Learning some interesting facts about hiking along the way has just been a bonus to everything else that hiking has introduced our family to.

Some of the experiences that we have had and the amazing sights we have seen while hiking are memories that I will never forget. From frozen waterfalls, to sunsets over the ocean, to a mountain top with a 360 view of Oregon’s mountains, beaches and cities, it really doesn’t get much better than to experience the Pacific Northwest via its trails.

15 Fun Facts About Hiking

Before we get into these fun facts about hiking, let’s talk about some of the awesome health benefits that come with hiking:

  • Lots of fresh air
  • Added vitamin D from all of the natural light you get out in nature
  • Increased physical activity
  • Boosted melatonin levels
  • Increased bone density
  • Possible decreased body weight
  • Improved overall sleep quality
  • It’s a great full body workout
  • Studies have shows hiking to have significant benefits to mental health such as reduced depression and anxiety
  • Possible decrease in high blood pressure

15 Of the Most Interesting Facts About Hiking

Okay, now let’s get to the fun stuff! When I started hiking I began to research it and look up fun facts about it (because I’m a nerd like that). Here are some of the coolest facts about this popular outdoor activity that I’ve learned over the years:

The Great Trail is Almost 15,000 Miles Long

The Great Trail in Canada is currently the longest hiking trail in the world and is measured at 14,912 miles of trails. Can you even imagine that?! The entire country of Canada is less than 3000 miles coast to coast, which should put the length of this trail into perspective.

The Appalachian Trail Ranks is One of the most Popular Hiking Trails in the World

According to several hiking publications, the Appalachian Trail is in the top 3 most popular hiking trails in the world. I guess I’m not too surprised to learn this because I know how popular it is among hikers in the United States. If you are not familiar with with the Appalachian Trail, it is a 2200 mile trail that runs through 14 states from Georgia to Maine.

The Appalachian Trail Gets Over 3 Million Visitors Each Year

Over 3 million hikers visit the Appalachian Trail every single year. Annually, 3000 of these visitors hike the complete trail.

Hiking is Loved by People of All Ages

In 2021 a man who goes by the trail name Nimblewill Nomad completed the Appalachian Trail at 83 years old, making him the oldest person to ever accomplish this feat. In doing so he beat the previous record holder who was 82 years old at his time of completion in 2018. That man, Dale “Greybeard” Sanders was at the finish to congratulate the new record holder. That same year, a five year old Virginia boy became the youngest person to ever complete this hike.

In 2018, a man named Al Learned was the oldest person to ever hike the Pacific Crest Trail at 81 years old.

In 2010, a 13 year old boy became the youngest person to climb Mt. Everest. While the oldest person to climb Mt. Everest was 80 years old at the time of the climb.

It’s Basically Free

Okay, so you may have a small day fee or parking fee at some locations, although we purchase the America the Beautiful pass for our visits to and hikes in National Forests (also, if you happen to have a 4th grader in your household, you can get it for free!). You also need to have a good pair of hiking shoes and a decent backpack for carrying supplies, but overall, this is a very low cost activity for all of your family members.

It’s a Very Popular Activity

Did you know that hiking is the third most popular recreational activity in the United States? I didn’t know this until recently. Only fishing and running rank above it!

It’s a Great Way to Meet New People

One of my favorite things about hiking is the people you meet out on the trails! It’s so much fun to socialize with people who enjoy the same things as you.

There are Six Different Types of Hiking Trails

The six different types of trails. These include:

  • Foot Trails
  • Bike Trails
  • Boardwalks
  • Nature Trails
  • Multi-Use Trails
  • Non improved trails (if you are at a designated hiking trail, please stay on trail)

Hiking in Groups is Significantly Safer

Do you fear running into a bear out on the trail? Decrease your chances of this and other scary trail encounters by hiking in groups.

Very First Female to Hike the Appalachian Trail

A 67 year old named Grandma Gatewood was the very first female to complete the Appalachian Trail.

Ice Cream Rewards

There is a challenge on the Appalachian Trail called the Half Gallon Challenge where at the mid-point of the trail, hikers get the opportunity to eat a half gallon of ice cream.

The Oldest Hiking Trail in the United States

Crawford Path, an 8.5 mile long trail in New Hampshire was built in 1819 and is known to be the oldest continuously maintained trail in the United States.

Over 40 Million People Go Hiking Every Year

The number of hikers in the United States is continuously increasing. In recent years that number has increased to over 40 million people hitting the trails.

Hiking Elevates Your Senses

With fewer distractions and no technology, you can focus better. Hiking out in nature is a great way to elevate your senses.

Roughly 10% of all Trails Are Next to Water

If you love the water, hiking is a great way to get your fix! Roughly 10% of all trails are next to bodies of water.

Hiking Safety Tips

These tips will help keep you safe while out on the trail, regardless of what types of hikes you will be doing:

Bring a Bottle of Water

A bottle of water is a must have while out on the trail, regardless of of whether you are hiking long distances or short. Proper hydration can be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.

Keep a First Aid Kit Handy

It’s a good idea to always have a first aid kit with you while hiking. From scraped knees to blisters to bug bikes, you never know what you may experience in nature.

Choose the Best Time of Day to Hike

Be sure and choose the best time of day to hike so as to avoid hot weather or impending darkness.

We are located in the Pacific Northwest. If you happen to be in the area, here are some of our favorite hikes:

Hikes Near Sunriver Oregon

Drift Creek Falls

Trees of Mystery (okay, so this is FAR more than just a hike, but there is hiking trails there!)

Conclusion

I truly think that introducing young people to hiking and nature will make a positive impact on their future. Whether you are visiting your local forests for short day hikes, or you are wanting to visit some of the longest hiking trails at America’s National Parks, you will be exposing your kids to the many benefits of outdoor recreation. These benefits incude plenty of fresh air, vitamin d, learning experiences and the opportunity to see wild animals in their natural habitat. If I am being honest, I can say that it only adds to the benefits of hiking that we can introduce our kids to experiences like this without breaking the bank.

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