Hiking is one of those activities that has a lot of benefits. But sometimes it’s hard to figure out where to go, what trail to do, and if it’s doable for a family with young ones. It’s totally worth the effort though. If you’re wondering, what makes hiking so fun?, then I’m here to show you why hiking is a fun activity for just about anyone.
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From trail varieties, incredible views, and health benefits, there are plenty of benefits of hiking that prove it’s a great way to spend a day.
1. It’s a Challenge
If you are the type of person that enjoys a challenging, conquering mountains (figuratively or literally speaking), then hiking can provide an adequate challenge for anybody.
Whether you are looking to challenge yourself for the first time or you are a seasoned hiker, you can find the right trail to push yourself to a new accomplishment.
I personally love a challenge, and even more, the reward that often comes with some effort.
2. You can Take in Beautiful Views
You’ve got a gym membership that you use often. Great. That’s awesome!
But do you get views like this at the gym?
No. No you don’t. You get this view:
Not that I need to explain further, as the pictures do themselves justice, but would you rather get in shape under fluorescent lights or with a view of the endless horizon?
Whether you are a gym-goer or not, only hiking can get you to spots like the one above. (Which, by the way, is one of my favorite places in Rocky Mountain National Park).
3. Spot Wildlife to Make Hiking Fun
One thing that makes hiking so fun is the opportunity to see some wildlife. Admit that every time your kid sees a bunny or a deer or whatever is local to you, they get excited.
Spotting wildlife is fun because it’s not something you do everyday.
Heading out on a hike increases your chances of seeing wildlife since you are entering their domain.
We do not have moose where we live. But we got to see one while spending a day in a national park.
We don’t have elk near us. But we got to see them bugling and fighting and chasing each other in a meadow while hiking through a park.
The kids thought it was super cool, but so did the adults.
4. Breathe in Some Fresh Air
This is especially fun for those who live near cities. Whether it’s straight up pollution, smog, and inversion, or just noise and light pollution, every city and suburb has their peace disrupted.
When you head out on a hike, chances are the trees or other vegetation is surrounding the trail you’ve picked.
This not only freshens the air from pollutants, but blocks out the noise of everyday life.
You can take a deep breath and really breathe some calm, peace, fresh air into your body
5. Quality Time with Family
Hiking is one of our favorite things to do as a family. While some of the kids may initially complain, without fail they have a good time, every time.
We get to have conversations that don’t happen in the busyness of everyday life.
We also get to hear conversations between the kids and watch them bond.
My kids love to create little games, make up songs, or be the first to find the marker/tag on a tree along the trail.
Hiking with the family is definitely more of a journey than a destination, and I savor every second.
6. Great for Mental Health
There has been a lot of research connecting being in nature to better mental health.
One study showed that walking outside in a nature area made more positive marks in the brain than walking outside in an urban area.
Another study showed that spending at least 20 minutes in nature reduced the amount of cortisol production, indicating less stress.
Kids these days are only getting about 7 minutes of outdoor time, compared to 7 hours of screen time each day. Outdoor time for kids can decrease stress, anxiousness, and increase focus.
Why not give your mental health a boost by spending more time hiking and enjoying the beautiful Earth.
The feeling of “fun” is just a response in our hormones and brains when we are enjoying something. Hiking produces those signals, giving our body the effect of “fun.”
7. Great for Physical Health (and smells better than a gym)
Why is hiking so fun?
It’s great not just for mental health, but physical health.
Even if you choose just a simple, flat trail, you are getting in steps and physical activity. Which directly affects your mental health, which affects the hormones previously talked about.
Not everyone enjoys exercise. But hiking turns exercise into an activity or adventure. Take it at your own pace and actually enjoy the experience.
Plus, if you are working on physical health, the great outdoors smells much better than a stuffy gym.
8. It’s Inexpensive
What’s more fun than not spending a ton of money?
One of the reasons hiking is our favorite thing to do as a family is because it rarely costs us anything. Sometimes, it does cost just a minimal amount.
Even if you make a whole vacation out of visiting national parks, it will cost you around $30 per park for the whole family.
And if you visit state parks, the fee is usually less and closer to $10 (depending on the park).
Most parks (national and state) offer year-long passes to cut costs even more, offering you endless fun and a ridiculously low price.
When we visited Missouri a few years ago, we enjoyed a hike full of waterfalls in Branson for free.
Then we drove around to other state parks (like Ha Ha Tonka, which is the coolest name). All the state parks in Missouri are free, which means we didn’t spend anything on the many hours of hiking activity we did.
9. Enjoying a New Experience
We love to hike, but we always try to choose somewhere new to hike.
Why? There are just so many great hikes all around, no matter where you live.
That means that there are so many great things to see.
Often when you take a hike, you are able to access sites and geological features that can’t be seen from the car.
Finding all these little gems is almost like a big, real life scavenger hunt (much more fun that the ones we do at home.)
It’s fun to find new features and new places to explore.
On our hikes, we’ve been able to experience caves, waterfalls, sand dunes, canyons, old castle ruins, alpine lakes, ice caves…and many more exciting things.
What makes hiking so fun is the ability to explore and see the many awesome things the world offers. But often only to those willing to hike and find them.
10. Limited Equipment Needed
This is one of the best reasons that hiking is fun. All you need is a good pair of shoes and a water bottle.
Easier hikes can get away with some simple sneakers. Harder hikes probably can too, but a good hiking shoe with ankle support is better.
Regardless, just shoes, water, and typical items you already have at home like a hat and sunglasses are all you really need for a nice, enjoyable hike.
You don’t need to invest in expensive equipment or supplies.
Because having to go spend a lot of money on equipment that you’re not sure you’ll use much is not fun.
Some of Our Favorite Colorado Hikes
What makes hiking so fun is finding the perfect hike for your family. You can find that using apps like AllTrails or just searching the internet.
Since this blog is mostly about Colorado, here are a few of our favorite hikes in the state that you can try too!
Roxborough State Park (Roxborough)
Red Rocks Park (Morrison)
Silverdale Hertiage Trail (Georgetown)
Fiddlehead Trail (Steamboat Springs)
Treasure Falls (Pagosa Springs)
Tom Blake Trails (Aspen/Snowmass)
Dream/Emerald Lake (Rocky Mountain National Park)
These trails are harder, but older kids can do them or you can pack your little one in a carrier.
McCullough Gulch (Breckenridge)
Bierstadt Lake (Rocky Mountain National Park)
Hanging Lake (Glenwood Springs)
What Makes Hiking so Fun?
Maybe to some people hiking isn’t fun. And if that’s you, maybe you need to give it another chance.
We think hiking is so fun because we love how it makes us feel, both physically and mentally.
We love that it is inexpensive. This family of 6 can have a great time and great adventure with just a small amount of money, or even no money at all. That is a rare thing to do these days.
But mostly, we just love the quality time, the fresh air, and the experience of getting outside.
Why is hiking so fun?
Get out for a hike the next opportunity you get, and decide for yourself!