Elizabeth is an experienced traveler and writer with bylines in several popular travel publications. She currently co-owns a small digital travel publication and spends her free time writing, taking photos, and traveling.
Are you over 60 and eager to explore the great outdoors? Good news: hiking is one of the best ways to stay active while enjoying nature’s wonders. But with age comes certain considerations, so we’ve put together these 11 expert tips to help you plan the perfect hiking trip.
From picking the right trail to avoiding common pitfalls, we’ve got everything you need to know to make your next trek a breeze. Get ready to hit the trail like a pro — and do so safely.
Choose the Right Trail
The first step in planning your hike is to select a trail that matches your level of experience. If you’ve never hiked before or haven’t hiked in a few years, start with a simple trail that is well-maintained with minimal elevation gain. As you build up your experience, gradually increase the difficulty level of the trails you tackle.
Hiking over 60 can be physically demanding, so it’s important to train ahead of time. Start by doing some light cardio and strength training to increase your endurance and build your muscles. Balance exercises are great as you’ll need good balance to navigate uneven terrain.
Check With Your Doctor
Before you go on a hiking trip over 60 (or honestly, at any age), check with your doctor to ensure you’re physically able to complete the hike without injury. They’ll be able to advise you on any precautions you need to take, whether that’s offering suggestions on stretching exercises that can help you warm up or hiking gear that’ll help boost your stability.
Choose the Right Time of Day
Choosing the right time of day to hike can make a big difference. If you’re hiking during the summer months, try to avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day. If you’re hiking during the winter months, try to avoid hiking during the coldest part of the day.
Pack the Right Gear
Having the right gear is crucial for a successful hiking trip. Make sure you pack comfortable hiking shoes, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug spray, and plenty of water. If you’re going on a longer hike, bring a backpack to store your supplies.
Don’t Hike Alone
Hiking with a friend is not only more enjoyable, but it’s also safer. Having someone with you can help in case of an emergency. If you head out with a friend, ensure you’ve both let friends or family know where you’re going and when you’re expected to finish the hike.
Take plenty of breaks during your hike to rest and hydrate. This will help prevent muscle fatigue and dehydration.
Bring Nourishing Snacks
Trail mix, energy bars, and fresh fruits are great snacks to keep you energized and focused on the hike. Avoid sugary or unhealthy snacks, as they can lead to a sugar crash and dampen your mood.
Know Your Limits
It’s important to know (and respect) your limits and not push yourself too hard. Be honest with yourself and your hiking partner, and don’t hesitate to take breaks when needed. This is especially important if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.
Stay on the Trail
Always stay on the designated trail to avoid getting lost and damaging fragile ecosystems. Following the trail is also much safer, as it reduces the risk of tripping or getting injured.
Finally, remember to enjoy yourself! Hiking is a great way to stay active, explore nature, and enjoy the amazing scenery around you. Take time to admire the views, snap photos of wildlife, and chat with your hiking buddies.
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