Are you planning to go on hiking and feel clueless as to what is the best time to go hiking? Here are guides and some tips for you to decide what is the best time for you to put on your boots and hit the trail.
Hiking is one of the best outdoor activities to spend time in nature, go for long walks, connect with the earth and enjoy some of the most scenic and breathtaking views worldwide.
But what is the best time to go hiking?
- Early morning (between sunrise and 9:00 a.m.)
- Late morning through midday (between 9:00 and 2:00 p.m.)
- Afternoon (between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m.)
- Evening (between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m.)
- Night (between sunset and sunrise)
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Best Hours To Go Hiking
Early morning (between sunrise and 9:00 a.m.)
Morning is the best time to start hiking as you feel fresh when you wake up from sleep. It is peaceful, calm, and quiet to do hiking at this hour. Your mind is clear, your body feels energized, and you are ready to hike.
The sounds of nature in the morning are just amazing. The sounds of the birds chipping, the morning cool breeze, and the fresh weather is just the best.
When you start your hiking early, you still have a whole day ahead of you to be productive.
Not only that, but morning temperatures are also the lowest so you won’t sweat so much.
Early morning is the best time for hiking on a weekend to avoid the weekend crowd and to secure the best parking spots at popular trails.
Morning hiking is also the best to burn some calories and is good for improving the heart and lungs. It is because hiking is a form of cardio and you can burn more calories before you eat breakfast. Studies showed that morning cardio is the most efficient in burning calories.
Pro tip: It is better to start at 5:00 am if you would like to see the sunrise.
Late morning through midday (between 9:00 and 2:00 p.m.)
There will be less crowd after the early morning crowd leaves.
The temperature will get warmer towards noon. Your body will tend to feel tired due to sun and heat exposure, so you will hike slowly during midday. The weather can be very hot depending on seasons and elevations.
Wildlife is also less active during these times.
Afternoon (between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m.)
This would be the best time for the late riser.
Less crowded and perfect for a dip if you go hiking to a waterfall, river, or lake.
You can take a break in between and go for a swim. It feels so refreshing to jump inside the water at this hour. You will have a blast!
Just make sure to keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water and wearing sunscreen protection. It is better to hike on a sheltered trail to avoid direct sun access and dehydration.
Evening (between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m.)
The weather will be good because it will not be too hot and will become cooler as the sun goes down.
It is the best time to hike to see the sunset.
It will be less crowded, and you get to enjoy the view and witness stunning sunsets, in all their glory.
Please prepare a torchlight just in case you cannot make it back to the starting point before dark.
The evening is known as the best hour to do physical activities because the muscle strength, intensity, and stamina are all better in the evening. It takes 20% longer to reach the point of exhaustion in the evening than in the morning.
Night (between sunset and sunrise)
This is an epic and adventurous experience. It is a whole new experience to be in the forest at night and reach a summit before sunrise.
You can even have a simple breakfast on top of the peak while enjoying the sunrise. One of the best feelings ever! Feels like you are on top of the world.
Hiking at night is suitable for advanced and experienced hikers.
Appropriate gear and equipment are needed since it is very dark with limited view and can be potentially dangerous with wild animals. Remain calm, give them the space, and stay focused during the hike.
Bring along Headlamps, flashlight, batteries, and a jacket. The weather can be very chilly at night and gets even colder as you reach higher elevation.
Best Seasons To Go Hiking
Hiking in the Summer
Summer is the most popular season for hiking in many regions.
The weather is warm and pleasant and there are many hours of sunlight until night falls. There are beautiful mountain landscapes, colorful flowers, and blue skies.
The challenge of hiking in the summer is the heat and humidity.
It can be scorching hot in the middle of the day especially at lower elevations or in some regions where the temperatures can exceed 40 degrees Celsius.
This can cause sunburn, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and dehydration.
It can be deadly if you are not prepared.
Make sure that you bring a water bottle, wear a wide hat, sunscreen, bug repellent, and layers of clothing. Always keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water and taking a break.
Hiking in summer can be very tough for the longer trail, but you can beat the heat if you are well prepared with appropriate clothing and equipment. Here are some handy tools and products that would help while hiking in the summer:
The summer crowd can be overwhelming.
It is better to start hiking in the early morning in the summer. Start as early as possible at the popular trail or go to a less-visited trail for less crowd.
Pro tip: Please avoid the hottest time of the day between 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. by taking a sheltered or more shaded trail. As an alternative, you can go for a higher elevation trail. Do note that weather can be unpredictable, and it is better to check your local weather forecast.
Hiking in Spring
Spring is the best season for hiking. It has milder weather, not too cold and not too hot. The flowers are blooming, there is lovely warm weather with long sunlight hours stretching until late evening.
These are the best seasons to enjoy nature. It is perfect for the longer trail or multiple-day tracks because of the warm weather temperature.
Hiking in the spring is not the high season yet, but the crowd is slowly starting to increase.
Always be early for a popular trail. Many hikers go for waterfall hikes or wildflower hikes.
It can be very crowded too. You can also go for a less popular trail for fewer crowds.
Always be prepared for sudden rain. Bring along a raincoat or a jacket and wear waterproof boots.
Hiking in spring can be cold, wet, and mixed with muddy trails.
Pro tip: Hiking in spring is the best season to see nature at its best.
Hiking in Fall
It is such a charming season.
Forest leaves turn orange, red, and yellow with golden sunlight.
It is absolutely beautiful and is one of the best seasons to go hiking.
The weather is cool even at low elevations. This makes hiking even more pleasant. September and October are good months for hikers.
Fall is the best time to visit and hike in National Parks.
This season offers better wildlife sightings, fewer crowds, and shoulder season pricing (shoulder period is the period in between a destination’s low and high seasons of tourism, making prices cheaper for accommodation and fewer crowds at popular attractions. There are fewer bugs. It is the best time to avoid the heat at desert parks.
Taking the trip to desert parks during fall is a much more comfortable and pleasant experience.
It will also be easier to make reservations for campsites during shoulder seasons.
Here is a list of national parks you can visit. National Park ServiceThere are a total of 63 national parks you can choose from. Mid-autumn is the best when the leaf colors explode along the trail.
You may check the weather forecast 24 hours in advance on Mountain Forecast.
Wildlife animals are active and you will have more opportunities to see these majestic creatures. Be extra careful with wildfires as some regions may be facing long dry summers.
Hiking in Winter
Winter landscapes look so magical with snow-covered trails.
There are stunning mountain views but can be very challenging with the wind and cold. Especially when it rains or snows. You can hike at lower elevations.
Sunny winter days are when there will be more crowds.
Hiking in winter is definitely for experienced hikers and not recommended for beginners.
The trail can be very dangerous and challenging due to ice and snow and you can easily fall or slip off the mountains.
You may also get lost in a trail covered with lots of snow. It can be foggy as well and you may not be able to see anything.
The main priority is to keep yourself warm and hydrated. Here are some handy tools and products that would help while hiking in the winter:
- Wear warm clothing that is made of wool
- Waterproof jacket
- Winter gloves
- Wide brim sun hat with waterproof breathable for hiking
- Snow boots or waterproof hiking boots are very important.
However, with the right winter clothes, equipment, and plan, you will be prepared for a winter hike.
Where To Go Hiking?
You may google search “hiking trail near me” to have more ideas about a trail near you and choose one based on your location, and preference.
Alternatively, you may use these apps for more details and information about trails that you have never been to before and know more about the conditions of the trail.
You may also check out these books below, it is the perfect book for adventurous travelers who like to hike. These books give so much information and inspiration.
- Great Hiking Trails of the World: 80 Trails, 75,000 Miles, 38 Countries, 6 Continents
- 100 Hikes of a Lifetime: The World’s Ultimate Scenic Trails
What Should You Bring For A Hike?
It is very important to bring essential items, in addition to appropriate hiking attire and equipment.
Some people may overlook these items but they are equally important for a smooth hike and to assist you in case of an emergency.
- First Aid Kit
- Navigation tool
- Pocket knife
- Snack packs
- Extra water
- Fire matches or a lighter
- Extra clothes
- Hand warmers
- A waterproof hiking backpack to carry all the essentials items above
If you would like to know more in-depth details about essential items, hiking equipment, and attire, you may read these articles below for more information:
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What Are The Benefits Of Hiking?
Studies and research show that the benefits of hiking are, that it can reduce the risk of various health issues such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, anxiety, osteoporosis, and arthritis.
In addition to physical and mental benefits, hiking helps to lengthen and improve our quality of life.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best Time Of Day To Go Hiking?
The best time of the day to go hiking is early morning (between sunrise and 9:00 a.m. and evening (between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m.)
What Is The Best Month To Go Hiking?
The best month to go hiking is from September to October when the temperature is cool and autumn leaves start to fall. This season we have fewer crowds on the trail, long hours of daylight, low rates for shoulder seasons, and more opportunities for wildlife sightings.
Why Is It Better To Hike In The Morning?
It is better to hike in the morning because it is good for your heart and lungs. It also helps to reduce weight by burning some calories. It is also safer to hike early in the morning. If you happen to get lost. you will be able to find your way in broad daylight.
What Is The Best Weather To Go Hiking?
The best weather to go hiking is when the weather is sunny and not too hot. You should aim for the weather with a gentle breeze with blue skies and long hours of daylight to spend on the trail.
The best time to hike can be very subjective. There are a lot of factors that can be taken into consideration for each hiker. It is based on each interest in what you like to see, feel, and experience during a hike.
It is also up to you to decide which time suits you best based on your location, your schedule, and your climate.
Most importantly, always check the weather forecast before you hit the trail. You can use this app to check the weather forecast: Mountain Forecast
We hope these tips can help you to have a better idea of the best time to go hiking, what to prepare and bring, where to go, what to do, and all the other information that you may need for your next hiking trip.
So, let’s go and hit the trail!
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