How to Plan an Amazing Hiking Date: Plus 5 Ways to Avoid Disaster

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A hiking date can be a great way to get to know someone on a deeper level more quickly than you would on a so-called “normal” date. Read on for hiking date ideas, tips and how to avoid a hiking dating disaster. 

I’m a HUGE fan of hiking dates – under the right circumstances. One of my first dates with a long-term partner was a hike and that led us to hiking dates every week for years, building up to hiking trips to places like La Gomera in the Canary Islands and the Alta Via 1 in Italy, to name but a few.

I’ve also gone on hiking dates that quickly showed me that someone was not for me. While not the desired outcome, I quickly discovered unattractive qualities that might have taken me months to discover if I had just gone on the traditional dinner and a movie date.

So I’m also grateful for that. And at least I still got in a day of hiking. 

planning a hiking date

8 Reasons Why Hiking is a Great Date Idea

I think hiking is a fantastic date, but only if you’ve met the person before. I.e. I wouldn’t go hiking on a first date (more on that later) with someone I’d met online but never in person before.

But if you’ve met in person before, hiking is a great second or third date.  Here’s why:

1) Hiking Dates Reduce Distractions

When you’re hiking, you. have fewer distractions. You’re simply focused on hiking and spending quality time with each other. As a result, I often find that conversations run much deeper while hiking, even if you’re just hiking with a buddy

That makes it a great way to get to know someone and find out more quickly whether this person could be a potential long-term partner for you.

2) Your Partner Is More Likely to Fall in Love With You on a Hiking Date

happy couple hiking together

Sounds to be good to true, right? Any exercise, including hiking, mirrors many of the same signals as romantic attraction –  —sweaty palms, racing pulse, and shortness of breath so it’s easy for romantic partners to mistake physical arousal for romantic feelings (Dutton & Aron, 1974). 

So knowing this, you may only want to hike with someone that you’re really interested in. And if you find yourself falling hard after your outdoor date, beware that it may be from the effect of your hike, not your date. 

3) Increases Your Happiness with Each Other

hiking couple at the top of the mountain

You’ll more likely to feel happier with each after a hiking experience versus a less active date, thanks to all the endorphins and serotonin you’ll be releasing.

Studies show that after jointly participating in an exciting physical challenge or activity, couples report feeling more satisfied with their relationships and more in love with their partner (Aron, Norman, Aron, & Heyman, 2000). Source: Psychology Today

Plus, all those feel-good chemicals and being in a natural setting will help reduce any anxiousness or anxiety that you may feel when you first start dating someone.

4) Hiking Dates Increase Feelings and Emotions, Provide an Adventure and Set You Apart

Sharing an experience with someone, especially when it’s an adventure or new experience, increases the intensity of feelings and emotions, according to The Association For Psychological Science.

Another scientific reason why hiking is such a great date activity.

5) A Hiking Date Helps You Stand Out From Other Dates

hiking couple enjoying the view from the mountain

In a string of coffee shop or dinner dates, a hike will help will you stand out and be more memorable to your date.

6) Shows You Share a Common Interest in the Outdoors and Being Active

I love hiking so much that I wouldn’t date anyone that didn’t hike; it’s such a big part of my life. I realize many people wouldn’t take it to that extreme, but if being outdoors and being active is important to you, it’s a good way to weed out potential romantic partners. 

If someone balks at the idea of hiking with you, they may not be a good fit for you. You can save yourself a lot of time by not investing in the relationship any further.

On the other hand, if they’re excited about it and think it’s a great idea, you know that maybe your budding relationship has potential. 

7) Hiking Dates Are Cheap

If you’re dating a lot, it can get expensive. A hiking date won’t cost you much money and will provide a more memorable experience than a pricy meal.

Even if money isn’t an issue for you, but you want someone who likes you for you, it and not your money, it can be a good indicator.

Someone who’s only into going to the finest restaurants or going to places to see and be seen won’t have much interest in a hiking date. So again, you can save yourself time.

8) You May Have More Physical Contact

man offering a helping hand to a woman while hiking

I love it when you’re hiking with a potential love interest, and they offer you their hand to cross a river or up a steep part. Even if I don’t need it, it’s a good excuse to have physical contact and see if there’s a spark there. It’s much easier to have physical contact naturally while hiking than it is over a coffee or a meal. 

Or, if you’re doing a winter hike and it’s cold outside, you can huddle together to keep warm. Sooo romantic!  

9) Even If the Date Goes Bust, You’ll Still Have Gone Hiking

If you’re dating a lot, it can be time intensive, and you may find yourself dreading “wasting” another good evening where you would have preferred being home on your couch chilling with Netflix.

The advantage to a hiking adventure is that even if the date is a total bust or you don’t have much in common, you’ve still enjoyed time in nature, got some fresh air and gotten some exercise, so your time was still well spent.

5 Perfect Hiking Date Ideas

happy couple in their hiking date

OK, so hopefully, by now, I’ve convinced you that a day of hiking is a great date.

Here are some ideas to make it an EPIC date:

1) Pack A Picnic

Make your hike romantic by planning a thoughtful picnic complete with a small picnic blanket and maybe even a small bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries for real romance.

Or if your date mentioned how much they love a certain food, like chocolate, you could bring a nice piece of gourmet chocolate. Your thoughtfulness will be appreciated.

The right hiking food and snacks are always a good hiking date idea, especially if you do something more thoughtful than just trail mix or granola bars. 

2) Do a Sunrise Hike or Sunset Hike

hiking couple enjoying the sunset view

Another romantic idea is to plan a hike so that you arrive at the peak (or lookout point, depending on the hike) at sunrise or sunset, then enjoy it together – ideally with a romantic picnic.

Plus, if you do a sunrise hike, you’ll see what your date is like in the morning and whether they’re a morning person if that’s important to you.

While I do love sunrise hikes, I’m personally more of a sunset hike kinda gal.

3) Choose an Easy But “Wow Hike

easy hikes in Johnston Canyon Trail

For your first hiking date, I recommend choosing a relatively easy hiking trail that’s suitable for people of most fitness levels.

That way, you won’t be so out of breath from huffing and puffing that you can’t actually talk to each other. Instead, choose a hike with a gradual incline so that you can maintain a conversation while hiking.

You also want to choose a hike that has beautiful scenery. It could have gorgeous wildflowers, lead to a stunning waterfall. or a peak that has amazing views. “Wow,” hikes come in many different shapes or forms, so choose one that appeals to you. 

One example would be Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park in Canada.

4) Choose a Hike that Combines History with Hiking,  Geology, or Another Interest

explore one of alberta's treasures, canada

I love hikes that combine interests which leads to even more hiking date fun and shows a different side of your date’s personality.

For example, If you know your date is fascinated with history, then choose a historical hike. For example, Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada, offers easy hiking and is home to the largest concentration of aboriginal rock art in North America. It’s fun to search for rock art and try to interpret the meaning.

Or if your date is interested in dinosaurs, choose a hike where you can look for dinosaur bones, like hiking in the Badlands near Drumheller. And then you can visit the dinosaur museum afterwards. 

In Kananaskis Country in Alberta, there’s a peak (Mount Lorette)  that’s known to be one of the best spots to view the golden eagle migration. That’s perfect if you’re date is into bird watching.

If you’re in Europe, it can be walking from one village to another in search of the best village pub or whatever it is that’s of interest to you.

5) Do a Moonlight Hike

hiking couple enjoying the moonlight

Ideally, you want to plan your hiking date night when there’s a full moon, but is there anything more romantic than a moonlight night hike? I don’t think so.

You’ll want to choose a hike that’s fairly open so that you can see the moon and not have the light blocked out by trees and also one that’s easy to navigate so that you don’t get lost. 

Hiking up a ski hill to a ridge or on a hike through a meadow that leads to a lake can be good options for moonlight hikes. 

5  Hiking Date Tips and How to Avoid a Hiking Date Disaster

couple hiking in an easy short route

Choose a short hiking route with a low difficulty level. I like hikes after work in the summer months when you have more daylight.

That way, they don’t go on too long, and you’re not stuck with someone for hours on end if you find out you don’t have much in common or the conversation doesn’t flow.

You also want a hike that’s not too technical, where no skill level is required.

That will allow you to focus on each other and not be so busy concentrating on where to put your foot to keep from slipping that conversation becomes impossible. 

Don’t go on a hiking first date with someone you’ve never met in person. If you’ve been chatting with someone online but never met them in person, don’t go on a hiking date.
You might find yourself with a creep or someone that you don’t want to spend a few hours with.

If you’ve met the person before, i.e. through friends, then hiking can be a great first date, but otherwise, it’s better as a second, third or fourth date. 

Bring enough food and water. You’ll want to ensure you have hiking snacks, like trail mix and granola bars. Being angry isn’t an attractive look on either of you. 

Ladies, go minimal with your makeup.

hiking date

Of course, you want to look good, but if your date has suggested or agreed to a hiking date, they’re likely into the natural look. Check out my post on outdoor and hiking makeup for tips on how to get the natural look. 

Wear Proper Hiking Gear. Again, you want to look good, so for women, your hiking date outfit may mean a more form-fitting hiking shirt vs an oversized one. I also like pink to show that even though I’m doing something sporty, I still have a feminine side.

Or hiking leggings that show off your curves instead of baggier hiking pants

But always choose functional clothing that you can actually hike in versus looking cute. You’ll want proper hiking sandalshiking shoes or hiking boots.

Not cute but impractical sandals that give you blisters or that are difficult to walk several miles or kilometres. You don’t want to have to turn around and wreck your hiking date. It’s possible to still look cute while being practical. 

Now you know why hiking is a great date idea and have five hiking date ideas and know how to avoid the common pitfalls, you’re ready for a romantic hike.

Share this with someone you want to go on a hiking date with. They’re sure to get the hint.


how to plan an amazing hiking date

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