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The Main Differences Between Hiking and Walking

The Main Differences Between Hiking and Walking

Difference Between Hiking And Walking

On the whole, walking and hiking are both exercises that are great for the body.

They both serve as good ways to get you moving.

Pretty much anyone over the age of 5 should be familiar with walking.

And hiking is essentially walking too.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that many usually think of hiking and walking as essentially the same thing.

However, there are minute differences between the two.

And in this article, we will be looking into the differences in detail.


Mainly, the difference between hiking and walking is where it’s done.

Walking can be done everywhere – and people use it daily to travel between places.

It’s an activity that you do in your house, on the streets and in the park.

Comparatively, however, hiking is usually done on trails within nature.

While walking is usually a short activity, hiking is usually done over a longer period of time, sometimes even days. 


But, let’s break it down further.

What Is Walking Defined As?

Almost everyone is walking every day.

Walking is simply travelling with your own two feet to anywhere.

There’s no set distance that you’d have to travel for it to be counted as walking.

Moving from your bedroom to your kitchen by foot would also be counted as walking.

Walking can be from a few feet to a few thousand miles.

There’s simply no limit.

On a day to day basis, we all walk to different locations for different needs.

We also sometimes go on walks as a form of exercise.

In other words, walking is simply the main method of movement that humans use.

What Is Hiking Defined As?

Hiking is walking but walking whilst in nature.

This can be anywhere in nature – on a mountain trail, within the woods, or even just along the countryside.

The main criterion is simply to be surrounded by nature whilst walking.

That’s hiking.

It has also been known as trekking or backpacking. 

Is Hiking or Walking Better?

To be honest, both walking and hiking are great exercises with great benefits.

They are both better than the other in different ways.

But, let’s break it down into reasons for why either of them trumps the other.

Walking Has No Special Criteria

Walking has no criteria for you to fulfil.

You can be anywhere in the world and you can walk.

Walking down the street is still walking and it allows you to still engage in exercise.

You can even walk on a treadmill as a form of a low-intensity exercise.

This can be even more advantageous for some as they desire to hide from the sun. Essentially, walking is much more convenient to do as compared to hiking.

Furthermore, not everyone may have access to nature.

For some, it might require travelling by car and that might not be always possible.

Therefore, walking is much more convenient and possible for them. 


Walking also requires no equipment.

All the equipment needed is your own two feet.

Hiking, on the other hand, requires some equipment.

This could range from extra layers, first aid materials, hiking sticks, lamps or even a pack for hiking.

It’s just more inconvenient compared to hiking as there are materials you need to be able to hike.

You can easily go for a walk down the beach with nothing but your feet.

But a hike requires you to have some basic hiking necessities. 


Aside from that, walking also requires no planning.

You can just go out and walk.

Contrastingly, hiking requires some planning as you’ll need to know where you’re going and which trail you’ll be using.

You’ll have to think of wet weather plans and transportation issues.

It simply isn’t as simple as going out for a quick walk.

Walking Is Safer

Walking is much safer compared to hiking.

For beginners, it is usually advised that hikers go with someone more experienced.

This is because hiking poses a small safety threat.

Experience is needed for hiking as nature can be unpredictable.

When hiking, you could easily get injured or lost.

Walking, however, rarely poses this same threat.

Therefore, walking is much safer to engage in, but there is very little risk to hiking.

Hiking Has Better Health Benefits

However, hiking has numerous health benefits that trump walking.

For one, hiking allows you to be surrounded by nature and this has been proven to be extremely beneficial for one’s physical and mental health.

Being surrounded by nature naturally relaxes people and this serves as a good break for many. 


Secondly, hiking is also a more strenuous exercise compared to walking.

Hiking often has uneven, inclining and declining paths.

This requires more muscle activation to tackle and hence, burns more calories.

Therefore, it is a better exercise to engage in if you’re looking to get fit.

Specifically, walking burns about 100 calories every mile.

And the amount of time taken to complete this mile can vary for many.

However, hiking can easily burn 250 calories in an hour.

This is a difference that can mean much to you if you’re looking to lose weight.

Hiking Can Be More Fun

Hiking is also way more fun than walking.

Hiking immerses you in nature and this is often pleasing and relaxing to be in.

It’s been proven that being out in nature makes one happier.

You’ll also get to see some great views when you reach the summit.

Therefore, you’re already predisposed to having a good time.

As you hike, you will often also face small challenges such as uneven ground or fallen logs.

And this can make for more fun as you tackle these small challenges.

It may seem simple, but a hike doesn’t need to be complicated.

Therefore, hiking ends up being way more fun than simply walking down the street.


Both hiking and walking are great exercises to engage in.

They both have their own benefits and minute differences.

At the end of the day, walking is often the convenient choice as it can be done anywhere and requires no planning or materials.

Hiking, however, is more engaging and strenuous.

It requires materials, planning and travelling to a natural location.

However, the benefits are vastly greater than walking and could be a better choice for you.

At the end of the day, it’s best to simply choose what suits you best and makes you happiest! 


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