The Beginner’s Guide to Hiking in Idaho

There are a lot of fun things you may be interested in trying out within Idaho's vast terrain. Tons of people come to the state every year just because they want to ski down the mountains of Idaho or across its snowy plains. Some Idahoans just go absolutely nuts for white water rafting and it would not surprise me if quite a majority of the population of the state-owned a dirt bike they frequently take out into the Idaho country. But while these activities and the other extreme activities that are like them are a lot of fun, they are not exactly what everyone is doing and sometimes they are too much. More often, a good hike or trek is the best answer to the question of “what should I do today?” Hiking or trekking, is an age-old activity that has only recently (In the last hundred years or so) become a real pastime. Trekking leans more towards longer distances and multi-day, trail based adventures. It used to be that everyone explored wherever they went so who would want to get out more for fun? But today, this is not a problem we have. Idaho is rich with hiking & trekking trails that can give you a wonderful experience of both getting out as well as enjoying excellent views of nature. Here is the beginner’s guide to the aspiring frequent hiker and or trekker.

The first step to any conversation about a strenuous outdoor activity is to talk about the inherent dangers involved and the steps toward safety you should take. Hiking is one of the tamer sports to get involved in but there are certainly people that get hurt or die when they going hiking. Most of the time, the biggest worry you may have is dehydration and making sure you have plenty of water to keep you going. Hiking is not a jaunt around the block, though you should have enough water for that kind of activity as well. Hiking takes you over uneven terrain and puts you under the many elements that act on the world. The sun beats down on you, the wind blows on your face, and the elevation changes. You breathe more work harder to go the same distance you might cover over a flat blacktop. When you are hiking, you lose moisture a lot faster and you will feel the effects of losing that moisture more keenly. Further, there are other considerations to have in mind. My best recommendation would be to bring a backpack or bag of some kind where you can bring plenty of water along with something to keep your energy up. The other danger to watch out for is getting lost. Many of the most popular trails are pretty easy to navigate. The path is obvious and there are a hundred other people on the trail with you to show you where to go. However, some of the cooler paths are not so well traveled and are not marked as well as a path in a busy part of Yellowstone National Park. Be mindful of the way the trail twists and turns. If you can, pick up a map that shows the trail you intend to take and follow along with your progress carefully. You have probably heard a number of different stories about how hikers wander off the path and are found a week later, nearly dead from exposure. That's far from the ideal experience. Be prepared, have a plan, and tell people where you are going and when you are expected to be back.

You are going to want to pay special attention to your specific mode of transport whenever you go out on the hiking or trekking trails of Idaho. One example might be a regular shoe and a regular sock are not going to cut it as far as protection and comfort goes. Some trails are mild enough that some folks might do them in a simple tennis shoe or even in sturdy sandals, but even that can get worse if the trail is long enough. Hiking boots that fit well may be the ideal solution in that circumstance. Otherwise, blisters forming are sure to ensue within a mile or two of setting off and that is never fun. Another example might be finding yourself far out on a hike or trek and then realizing you're in so much pain from not being well prepared, that your movement is limited. Before you head out on your first serious hiking or trekking adventure, take some time to explore the best options available to you. 

As I have been alluding to throughout our time together, there is not a single type of hiking or trekking trail. There are trails that are extremely popular and get a lot of traffic and there are trails that see a few people every week. There are trails that are flat and level and trails that go up and up and then down and down, mixing in plenty of up down in there as well. Obviously, the trails with fewer people and the trails that change in elevation a lot are harder trails to hike. You want to hike trails that make the most sense for you. Otherwise, you are not going to have fun and might risk injury to yourself. Start small and work up the big stuff. Even the easiest and most well-known hiking trails can be a lot of fun and will take you to some cool places. There are very few places in Idaho that are not beautiful when it comes to nature and there is a vast array of trails so everyone can enjoy! Pick the trail that makes the most sense for you and map out your plan of action, then go have fun!

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