7 Sustainable Tips To Make Any Hiking Trip Eco-Friendly
07 Dec 2021
A hiking trip is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the beauty and wonder of nature. Research shows that hiking is beneficial for your physical health, mental wellbeing, and the quality of your relationships. If you’re an environmentally conscious individual, you might be worried about whether hiking is also good for the environment. Fortunately for those who are fans of hiking and concerned about its impact on nature, there are ways to hike sustainably. Here are seven simple tips on how to ensure your hike is as eco-friendly as possible.
Choose Environmentally-Friendly Transport
To reduce your carbon footprint during your hiking trip, choose the most eco-friendly way of travelling there. If you’re planning a hiking trip to a national or state park, inquire about a possible shuttle service with the parks department. Alternatively, if you’re going with friends, try to carpool with them to the hiking spot as opposed to driving separately and meeting there.
Avoid Popular Hiking Destinations
When choosing a destination for your hiking trip, try your best to opt for less popular trails. A crowded trail is often subject to more pollution. This is especially true for longer trails with fewer trash bins. In addition, the more popular trails and famous tourist hiking destinations receive more foot traffic than the environment can sustainably handle. If you want to be an eco-hiker, it’s best to avoid these destinations altogether or hike them during off-peak season.
However, if you’re keen on exploring a specific park or reaching a particular vista, consider alternative trails. Find an environmentally conscious hiker, writer, or blogger online who shares less crowded trails that lead to your desired destination.
Hike During The Off-Season
For the same reason that you ought to steer clear of crowded trails and tourist hotspots, you should also avoid hiking during peak season. Planning a trip during a quieter time of year reduces the strain on the soil and other natural resources in that area.
If you’re planning a trip to a popular spot, choosing to go off-season could also enhance your hiking experience. Since there are fewer hikers during this time of year, you’re less likely to share the trail with strangers. This allows you to completely immerse yourself in nature and the hiking experience.
Select Sustainable Skin Products
Most sunscreens, soaps, and insect repellents contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Before applying any of these products during your trip, check their ingredients and opt for more eco-friendly options.
However, if this is not possible, be especially mindful of your application and avoid coming into contact with bodies of water. This reduces the risk of contaminating vital water sources that local flora and fauna depend on to survive.
Stick To Hiking Trails
As an eco-hiker, your ultimate goal is to minimize your impact on nature as much as possible during your hiking trip. One of the easiest ways to avoid disturbing the local wildlife and plant life is to stay on the trail. Hiking trails are created at their specific location for a good reason. These trails are often designed to reduce soil erosion, vegetation damage, and wildlife disturbance.
While you may not be able to prevent wildlife from wandering onto a trail, you can certainly respect these animals by keeping your distance and not disrupting them further.
If you’re an environmentally conscious individual, you likely already opt for reusable over single-use products. When packing for your hiking trip, use your reusable water bottle, food container, and utensils. Choosing to bring reusable over single-use items eliminates waste.
There are typically water fountain stations available at national and state parks for you to refill your reusable water bottle. However, if you must pack plastic water bottles, keep any used bottles with you until you find a recycling bin.
Leave Nature How You Found It
One of the simplest ways to hike sustainably is to leave a hiking spot or trail exactly how you found it. Remember that you are ultimately a guest in nature–the home of local wildlife and plant life. Like any polite houseguest, it’s important to treat their home with the utmost respect.