Types of Hiking

Hiking can be a great way to explore the outdoors, get some exercise, and enjoy nature. However, not all hikes are the same. There are many different types of hiking, each with its own unique set of benefits and challenges. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the most common types of hiking.

types of hiking

What are the Types of Hiking?

There are many types of hiking. Here are some of the most popular types.

Day Hiking

Hikes that are completed in a single day are known as day hikes. This is probably the most common type of hiking out there.


Backpacking is a type of hiking where you spend at least one night camping along your trail and complete the trail over at least 2 days.

Thru Hiking

Completing a long distance trail such as the PCT or AT in one (very long) go is known as thru-hiking. Some of the most popular thru-hikes include the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), Appalachian Trail (AT), Continental Divide Trail (CDT), and the North Country Trail (NCT).

Long Distance Hiking

Somewhere between backpacking and thru hiking falls long distance hiking. Generally, trails that are about 30 miles to a few hundred miles would be considered long distance trails.

Popular LDT include the John Muir Trail (211 miles), the Alleghany Trail (287 miles), and the Superior Hiking Trail (310 miles).

Winter Hiking

Winter hiking is just hiking that takes place in the winter season, and it’s a great way to stay active during the winter. It can be a fun way to explore new areas as the trails are usually less busy than in the summer, and the views are spectacular, covered in pristine snow.

Winter hiking can be a bit more challenging than hiking in other seasons, but it’s definitely worth it to experience the beauty of the winter landscape.

Base Camping

Base camping is a great way to explore a new area. It allows you to set up a base camp from which you can day trip to different sites without having to lug all your gear with you.

This is especially convenient if you are travelling in an RV or car camping. Base camping also gives you the opportunity to really get to know an area. You can spend time hiking, fishing, climbing, or just relaxing and taking in the sights. And, of course, it’s always nice to have a comfortable place to come back to at the end of the day.

Section Hiking

Those thru hikes we mentioned? This type of hiking is when you break those long trails down, and hike a section of a long trail at a time. Many people section hike the Appalachian Trail

Peak Bagging

For many hikers, the goal is simply to reach the summit of a mountain. But for some diehard enthusiasts, the challenge is in the numbers. Peak baggers strive to climb as many mountains as possible, and they often keep meticulous records of their accomplishments.

While peak bagging can be a fun way to add variety to your hiking trips, it also comes with a few potential pitfalls.

First of all, it’s important to set realistic goals. Trying to summit too many peaks in a short period of time can lead to burnout or even injuries.

Secondly, peak bagging can sometimes take away from the joy of simply being in nature. If you find yourself more focused on checking off summits than enjoying the journey, it might be time to take a break from peak bagging.


Bushwhacking, by definition, is “the activity of living or traveling in wild or uncultivated country”. However, bushwhacking can also be seen as a form of exploration, as it allows hikers to forge their own path through the wilderness and discover hidden vistas that would otherwise remain hidden.

Even though the name suggests the need for a machete or similar tool, this type of hiking doesn’t necessarily mean whacking down vegetation along the way. Hiking where there are no defined trails, such as in Gates of the Arctic National Park, would be considered bushwhacking.


Waterfalling is the act of hiking in search of waterfalls or hiking to a waterfall. If you’ve ever gone searching for a waterfall in a specific area, you’ve gone waterfalling!

Read: Waterfall Hikes in Indiana or Arkansas Hiking with Waterfalls

Night Hiking

Hiking at night can be a daunting prospect, but it can also be immensely rewarding. For starters, night hiking allows you to avoid the heat of the day and enjoy cooler temperatures.

It also offers the opportunity to see nocturnal animals that are active after dark. And, of course, night hiking gives you the chance to experience the beauty of the stars and the moon.

If you’re thinking of embarking on a night hike, read my post Hiking at Night for tips to make your night hike incredible!

Read: Hiking at Night


For the adventurous hiker, rock scrambling can provide a welcome change of pace from the typical nature hike. Rather than simply walking from point A to point B, rock scrambling requires some basic rock climbing skills to navigate across steep and often treacherous terrain.

While this may sound dangerous, with proper preparation and caution, rock scrambling can be a safe and exhilarating way to explore the outdoors. When choosing a rock scramble route, be sure to assess your own skill level and choose a trail that is within your comfort zone.

Once you’re on the trail, take your time and focus on each individual step. If you find yourself getting fatigued, it’s always best to turn back rather than risk an injury. With a little practice and patience, rock scrambling can be a great way to add some excitement to your next hike.

Glacier Hiking

Hiking on a glacier is known as glacier hiking, and it can be an exhilarating experience. Although it can be somewhat challenging, it is also incredibly rewarding. There are a few things to keep in mind when hiking on a glacier, however.

First, it is important to be aware of the dangers of crevasses. These deep cracks in the ice can be very difficult to see, and they can pose a serious threat to hikers.

Second, you’ll need some gear that isn’t common for day hikers and backpackers to carry, such as an ice pick.

Finally, it is important to have respect for the glaciers. They are fragile ecosystems. By following these guidelines, hikers can enjoy the beauty of glaciers while helping to protect them.

Final Thoughts on the Types of Hiking

There are many, many different types of hiking. By understanding the different types of hiking, you can choose the best option for you based on your goals and how you enjoy hiking.

Related Posts

Hiking for Beginners

Winter Hiking for Beginners

Hiking at Night