The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Hiking for Women

Hiking is one of the most common and easiest ways to experience nature, but it can be a bit intimidating if you haven’t ever done it before. I put together this beginner’s guide to hiking to help you feel confident in being ready for your day hike and relieve some of your anxiety or nervousness about hiking.

I’ll show you how to plan for your hike and share those important daypack essentials.

Planning Your Day Hike

There are several factors that you need to consider when planning for your hike as a newbie.

  • Am I going with a hiking partner or solo?
    If you’re just starting out, it may be wise to seek out a hiking partner or friend to go with you. If you don’t have a willing buddy then MeetUp and Facebook are good places to look for groups of people with like interests that you can go on a hike with.

    There are groups that were created for Black hikers, Latinx, LGBTQ+, etc. You can definitely find a group where you will feel comfortable.
  • What is my physical ability?
    When choosing a trail, consider the terrain and realistically evaluate whether the distance and elevation changes are within your physical capabilities.

    If you are a beginner then choose something that won’t be too long that you are confident you can complete. Also be mindful of whether the trail is a loop or if you have to hike the same distance back out.
  • Does the trail have any points of interest?
    Hiking can sometimes be a bit monotonous if you choose a trail that doesn’t have any vegetation changes or points of interest to look forward to.

    I love choosing trails that lead to waterfalls, scenic look-outs, footbridges, streams, rivers etc. When you’re tired, having something fun to look forward to can motivate you to keep going and finish the hike.

    Pro Tip: Use the All Trails app to plan your hike. It will show pictures of the trail and list points of interest along the hike. There are also reviews from other hikers.

Listen to the Outdoorsy Diva Podcast Episode: Hiking Advice for Newbies

Photo Credit: Lauren R. Gay

Day Hiking Tips for Beginners

  1. Choose the right trail for you based on your comfort and fitness level.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the trail by looking at maps and doing your due diligence to research. Download the map or take a screenshot for your phone in case you lose signal.
  3. Tell someone where you are hiking. Share the name of the trail, the time you plan to start your hike, and the time you expect to finish and check in with them.
  4. Check the weather in advance of your hike and continue to check up until just before you embark. Weather can change quickly and you want to be prepared for any situation.
  5. Wear the right shoes, socks, and gear. The wrong shoes can ruin your time.
  6. Dress in layers. You can always remove clothing but you can’t add what you don’t bring.
  7. Carry a lightweight daypack.
  8. Hydrate ahead of the hike and bring plenty of water.
  9. Carry snacks.
  10. Go at your own pace and take breaks when you need to.
  11. If you’re on your period, you absolutely can still hit the trails. Wearing Thinx panties or a Diva Cup are great options that won’t require the need to stop and change out a tampon or pad.

Visit the Outdoorsy Diva Beginner Hikers Amazon Store

Day Hiking Essentials

Here are some of the things I consider day hiking essentials. I know it may seem like a lot of things, but trust me, when you need them you’ll be thankful you had them.

Photo Credit: Lauren R. Gay

Still need help to feel prepared and confident for your hike?

Sign Up for the Hiking 101 for Divas Webinar or a One on One Adventure Consultation.

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  • Reply
    July 20, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    This is such a great resource for anyone who’s just starting out with hiking! :] Thanks for putting it together! I love the AllTrails app. <3 + I need to get a utility knife + find my mosquito net hat..

  • Reply
    July 21, 2020 at 7:13 am

    Great advice for newbie hikers! I love using Alltrails to find fun hikes that are within my ability level.

  • Reply
    July 21, 2020 at 10:01 am

    Great advice to get people outside. I think the All trails app you mention really helps people just setting out. BTW, I’ve been listening to your podcasts and really enjoying them.

    • Reply
      July 22, 2020 at 7:00 am

      Awe Thank you so much Karen for listening to the podcast.

  • Reply
    Josy A
    July 21, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    I am totally with you on loving hiking to cool destinations (like viewpoints, waterfalls or lakes). I used to like loop hikes best, so you get new views the whole way, but there aren’t many loops where I live. Now I’ve learned to appreciate that I always seem to notice something new on the return journey…

    I’d add one extra thing to your list – a rubbish bag just in case you find litter on the trail.

    • Reply
      July 22, 2020 at 6:59 am

      Thank you Josy. I actually did suggest bringing a bag for waste. 🙂

  • Reply
    Margarita Baker
    August 12, 2020 at 6:28 am

    Thanks for the list of required items. I am very inspired by this idea. Probably I will try it for the first time with my friend.

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