12 July, 2023

Hiking for Beginners: 7 Tips to Get You Started

Two hikers on the trail with their arms wrapped around each other

Living in Canada, we are extremely fortunate to count 347 million hectares of forest, 243,042 kilometres of ocean shoreline, 43 national parks, over 32,000 lakes, and the longest multi-use recreational trail in the world: the Trans Canada Trail. To put it simply, Canada is a world-class playground with infinite possibilities.

Getting ready for your first hike is an exciting prospect, but it does require a certain level of preparation. Here are our hiking tips to ensure that your first hike on the Trail is as mind-blowing as it should be!

Hiking gear

1. The Right Gear: Before embarking on any hiking expedition, it’s crucial to equip yourself with the right gear. Invest in a sturdy pair of hiking boots, comfortable clothing and a backpack, and don’t forget essentials like a map, compass and first aid kit. Remember, good preparation leads to a great hike!

2. Know the Trail: Research and familiarize yourself with the trail you plan to hike. Understand the difficulty level, distance and terrain. Each trail has its unique challenges, so be prepared mentally and physically. Start with easier trails and gradually progress to more challenging ones as your skills improve. On the day of your hike, always make sure to check the weather forecast before and during your adventure.

A male hiker wearing a hiking backpack

3. Safety First: Safety should always be a priority. Inform someone about your hiking plans, including your route and expected return time. Carry a fully charged cell phone and a whistle for emergencies. Learn basic first aid skills and how to handle unexpected situations like encounters with wildlife or sudden weather changes.

4. Pace Yourself: Hiking is not a race; it’s an opportunity to connect with nature. Start at a comfortable pace and listen to your body. Take breaks to rest, hydrate and enjoy the surroundings. Pace yourself, and soon you’ll find your rhythm and be able to tackle longer distances.

An adult hiker sitting on a boulder

5. Leave No Trace: As responsible hikers, it’s essential to minimize our impact on the environment. Follow the principles of “Leave No Trace” by disposing of waste properly, staying on marked trails and respecting wildlife. Leave the trail as pristine as you found it, ensuring future generations can enjoy its beauty, too.

6. Embrace the Unexpected: Hiking trails bring countless surprises and unexpected encounters. Be open to these magical moments. Pause to admire a hidden waterfall, observe wildlife or marvel at breathtaking vistas. The trail is not just a physical journey; it’s an opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery.

Two adult hikers, hiking along the trail

7. Learn from Experience: Every hike is a learning experience. Reflect on your journey, the challenges you faced and the lessons you’ve learned. Use these insights to enhance your future hikes and share your wisdom with fellow hikers. Remember, the trail is ever evolving, and each step is a chance to grow.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned hiker, the Trans Canada Trail awaits, ready to unveil its wonders. Lace up your boots, take these tips to heart and let your journey begin!