Picture a cool afternoon. You are walking leisurely, immersed in the wild, without a care in the world. But you’re curious to find out; is this a hiking or a walking trail?


A walking trail is a relatively smooth and flat path or road without many obstacles. On the other hand, a hiking trail is a more natural path and usually involves a significant change in elevation.

Even expert hikers get confused on this point. After all, you do walk on a hiking trail, right? So, to clear up the issue, let’s explore it further.

Walking Trails vs hiking trails – What’s the deal?

Walking Trails

A walking trail is usually surfaced with asphalt, gravel, cobblestones, or sand. It may even be just a grassy path, but it will be better taken care of and easy to walk on. Such a path will be free from hurdles such as cliffs, banks, ditches, loose soil, or waterways.

Such trails are also more or less level, in that the starting and end points will not differ much in elevation. You will also find that walking takes place along more populated routes. Walking trails draw more traffic, so you are likely to find a lot of fellow adventurous folks.

Hiking Trails

In comparison, hiking trails take you deeper into nature and are more exciting. They will take you along wild paths where few people venture.

These trails almost always involve a climb from a lower point to a higher one. Due to this, hiking trails are more difficult to conquer. You have to scamper over fallen logs, pick your way up steep banks, cross streams, or even climb cliffs faces. 

You will need proper gear to do all this. Proper hiking shoes, a store of food and water, and perhaps even camping equipment. It involves a lot more planning and investment. Overall, you will be spending a lot more time and effort on a hiking trail. Generally, it is more tasking both physically and mentally, but very rewarding.

Which places are ideal for walking and hiking

Now that you know the difference between a walking and hiking trail, you might want to get on one. So, here are examples of ideal places where you can take a walk or hike.

Where to Take a Walk

If you live near a lake or the ocean, there is nowhere better to take a walk than along the sandy shores. You can also visit a park near you for a short walk. If you’re lucky enough to live near a reserved national park, you can take your walks whenever the nature bug bites.

However, in the urban areas, it may not be as easy as that. Here, the open road might do the trick. Take a short drive into the country, pick a road, and start walking. You may agree with me that it will not be as satisfying.

Where to Hike

For a truly therapeutic experience, go for a hike. These take place where nature is largely untouched. For example, a forested hillside is a hikers’ paradise.

Additionally, you can take it a notch higher and go mountain hiking. All you have to do is pick your path carefully along treacherous peaks and valleys as you take in the expansive view. If that is not your cup of tea, you can get creative and follow a river upstream. It is usually more challenging but a lot of fun.

Benefits: Which One Suits You better

Walking and hiking are both awesome ways to get into nature, exercise, and strip off all that stress. But, should you go hiking on the hills or take a long walk?

Hiking offers more in terms of getting in touch in touch with nature. You leave civilization behind and really bathe in nature. It is also more intense, meaning you burn more calories. Hiking beats walking when it comes to keeping fit. However, it requires a bit of gear and preparation.

Walking, on the other hand, is possible anywhere. Walk along the street, along the country roads, or to the next farmhouse. But generally, it’s all about what you feel is more appropriate for you.

Wrapping it up

It is now time to plan your next walking or hiking trip. Remember that you can always up your game to trekking or mountaineering. It’s all about nature, isn’t it?

Now that the matter is (hopefully) settled, you can enjoy your afternoon out. Always make sure you have everything you need for the trail. Nothing beats an adventurous hike or walk in the woods!

Kelvin Mwathi