What starts as killing time on a weekend away from the city can become a long-time hobby. There are many great things about hiking and for many, the best part is that you get to spend time with yourself, friends, and nature.
If you’re new to hiking, you may wonder if some hours are better to hike than others. Similarly, you might postpone hiking in the spring, thinking that the trails are covered in snow or that you need special preparation. Even if these all might be true, the problem of best hours and seasons to hike isn’t one to solve in one phrase. Stay with us for the details.
- What’s the best season to hike?
- What are the perfect hours to hike?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best season to hike?
Most experienced hikers agree that the best season to hike is spring, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot end up loving hiking in the fall and not so much in the spring. Spring is the best season to go if you plan a day hike. It’s because the weather conditions are perfect for a long physical effort. Let’s not forget that nature gives the most beautiful colors and sights to see in the spring.
Truth be told, each season can be great for hiking. The more you hike, the more you discover that you like certain things better than others. Some hikers like hiking in the cold, whereas others love a good sweat on a summer hike. There’s good and bad with hiking every season, but most agree that hiking in the spring has something unique.
Hiking in the spring
In many areas, spring gives the most pleasant temperatures for hiking. It’s not too warm and not too cold either, and your body works at its full capacity, thanks to the refreshing air.
The spring conditions help you hike a long distance during the day. If you have a long trek in mind, spring is the best season to do it. Just make sure that you prepare the proper clothing, gear, footwear, and everything else you need for the long hike.
After the long winter slumber, let’s not forget that nature wakes up in the spring. The trees get green again, the snow thaws, and the flowers bloom. You can hear and see water flowing, butterflies flying, and fish swimming happily. Many animals end their brumation and hibernations. There’s an abundance of smells and beautiful sights in spring—no other season can beat it.
The weather is pleasant so you won’t have to carry much clothing and equipment. Leave the thick sleeping bags and warm clothes at home. Look for a nice backpack (internal framed is excellent) for your light spring hiking and get on with it!
Are you ready for the summer hike?
You don’t need to be the most experienced hiker to know that heat is the no.1 enemy when hiking in the summer. You will sweat a lot in the summer, so carrying a lot of water (or a filtration system) is a priority. The summer sun doesn’t offer the most comfortable weather for a hike, so you need to seek shade as often as necessary.
Hikers know that the trail and location can tremendously impact the comfort and feel throughout the hike. It’s the same with summer hiking, as some local factors can be more severe during the summer. Dried out water sources and dust in the air are factors to consider in the summer.
Unless you are very well trained, you will need to take breaks as your body won’t tolerate the heat very well. If you have a problem with bugs, you should consider if the summer hike is genuinely for you. Having said that, you can still have a lovely hike in the summer if you pack the proper equipment and enough drinking water.
Try hiking in the autumn and winter
If you were complaining about the summer because it’s too hot, you might start complaining about the weather getting too cold in the autumn. Even if you wear warm clothing, most of us (especially less experienced hikers) will not feel our best in the cold. The risk of catching a cold is high in the cold season.
The winter views can be amazing, but you won’t see much wildlife when hiking. The snow typically covers everything and there’s a slight dead feel around. The chances for you to see animals are slim. The good part is that you won’t have to deal with any bus!
On top of everything else, it will be tricky to build and maintain a camp in the winter.
What are the perfect hours to hike?
Long-time hikers will agree: the perfect hours for hiking are in the morning (6 to 9) and the afternoon(15 to19). There’s a scientific explanation for why we enjoy these hours the most—it’s because during these hours, our body is at its best performance and it’s full of energy.
In a nutshell, hiking is just walking in nature; it’s something you can do yourself or with family and friends. Nature is generous and has something nice to show us every hour of the day. The problem isn’t with the view-through. Regardless of what you might think, it’s not the wild animals or the big hill that you should worry about. Your body will pose the most problems—will it be ready to hike?
Whether it’s your hiker friend or the experts you ask, they will all tell you the morning and afternoons are the most effortless hours to hike. Let’s take a closer look:
Morning (6 am to 10 am)
You won’t sweat a lot in the morning as the temperatures are the lowest. It’s the beginning of the day, so your day hasn’t started just yet. Your body is full of energy and your mind is as fresh as possible.
Additionally, the energy you gain from hiking will charge your batteries for the rest of the day. These hours are the only free time they get in a day for many people. A morning hike resembles a morning exercise a lot. Many studies revealed that morning exercises are the most efficient in improving your heart and lungs. They’re also the best at burning calories.
Always stretch before hiking, especially if you do it in the morning. After a night’s sleep, your muscles will be a tad stiff.
Noon (10am to 3pm)
For many people, a hike in the middle of the day sounds impossible. However, it can become a midday break from the busy schedule. Hiking at noon can boost your energy for the rest of the day.
Your body isn’t all stiff at noon like in the morning, but it’s already warmed up. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stretch for a bit. Do it, especially if you have been sitting in a chair for hours. If your office is downtown, you won’t have time to hike in the woods. Therefore, your hike can take the form of a walk in the neighborhood.
We want to highlight that lungs aren’t at their best at noon (studies have revealed). Long story short, noon isn’t the best time for a hike.
Afternoon (3pm to 7pm)
Going back to the scientific studies, it seems that the afternoon is when our body is at its top performance. If you know a fitness coach, ask them the best hours for physical activity.
Your lungs work at their best from 3 pm to 7 pm, and your muscles are the most limber. These are great hours to burn away the calories and get rid of the stresses of the work. If you need a daily routine for the end of the day, hiking should be it.
In the evening, the temperatures are cooler as the sun sets. There’s a feel of calmness around us at the end of the day. Many will feel very tired and see the hike as a chore and not so much as a pleasant activity.
After an evening hike, you will not fall asleep right away as you might think. You will actually need several hours to relax, making your day even longer than planned. Exercising in the evening is excellent if you like it that way. However, hiking may not be the best routine—you won’t be able to see much of nature in the darkness. You won’t be able to see obstacles and possibly dangerous animals so the hike may be anything but pleasant.
We recommend you avoid the evening for hiking because it’s not safe and cold. If you’re determined to try it, at least go prepared. Always pack water, proper clothing, and a navigation device for hiking in the evening.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a best day of the week for hiking?
The most popular trails will be busy during the weekend, so don’t go if you choose a famous track. Avoid hiking on Saturdays and Sundays if you prefer solitude or a small group of family or friends. Pick any other day of the week for the popular trails. Many agree that the less crowded hiking trails give the most amazing experiences.
Is there a best temperature for hiking?
According to scientific studies, 50F/10C to 60F/16C are the best temperatures for hiking. The higher the temperatures, the more complex the hiking will be. When the temperature rises, you will need proper clothing, sunblock, a hat, and water. You will also need to rest frequently.
When does the hiking season begin?
For national parks, the hiking season typically begins in the spring. Due to challenging winter weather, hiking earlier than spring can be prohibited in some areas.