What is urban hiking? A look at this growing phenomenon (Guest post by Amanda Winstead)

Image source: Pixabay

What do you think of when someone mentions the word “hiking?” Probably a trail through the
mountains. Maybe dirt pathways leading you through national forests and parks. Or maybe
walking through a natural environment to a lake or view.

What you probably don’t think of is the city. However, city environments are the foundation of a
branch of hiking known as urban hiking. Urban hiking is essentially city hiking. Instead of hiking
through the settings above, you seek out routes through the city and mimic the traditional hiking

We’ll get you started with urban hiking and suggest some of the best places to do it in L.A. But
first, what are the benefits of urban hiking?

What Are the Benefits of Urban Hiking?

The benefits of urban hiking are much like those you get when hiking through forests,
mountains, and national parks. For example, getting outside and exploring walkable urban
environments supports your physical health. You can get as much exercise as on a trail hike.

Urban hiking is also good for your mental health. Walking and hiking can reduce stress, anxiety,
and depression symptoms. Your mental clarity and concentration can improve too. In addition,
your cognitive function improves because discovering and trying new things on an urban hike is
mentally stimulating.

Lastly, urban hiking can be excellent for the environment. For example, driving to and through
the city in a gas-fueled car can emit dangerous greenhouse gasses. If you walk instead, you
can eliminate something incredibly harmful to our environment.

Urban hiking is excellent for the environment because you can teach your children about
environmental habits
. For instance, you teach them an alternative transportation option in
walking or hiking. You can educate them on proper waste disposal on the go, and they get to
explore different trees, plants, and other kinds of nature along the way.

The benefits of urban hiking are there. Now, let’s put you in a position to reap them.

Get Started With Urban Hiking

Getting started with urban hiking is easier than you might think. Here are three tips to help you
embark on an epic urban hiking adventure.

Pick up the right gear

Urban hiking is still hiking. So, you must invest in the right gear to make it an enjoyable
experience, especially if you’re hiking with children. The last thing you want is to get halfway
through an urban hike and your kids can’t go on because the shoes they chose are killing their
feet or they didn’t wear the right clothes.

Appropriate gear for urban hiking might be a little different than what you’d need for trail hiking,
but you need equipment, nonetheless. Here’s a must-have gear list for urban hiking:

● A first-aid kit
● Extra clothing
● Flashlights or headlamps
● A durable, lightweight backpack
● Reflective vests or other reflective clothing
● A base, middle, and outer layer of clothing

● A comfortable pair of shoes that can withstand city sidewalks and different terrains
● Water bottles, snacks, and warm drinks in vacuum-sealed tumblers if you’re going on a
cold day

Map out your route

You can definitely roam around the city; but you want to ensure you don’t get lost doing it. So,
it’s better to map out a route for your urban hike when you’re just starting out. That way, you’ll
know where you’re headed and how to get back home.

There are many places to go on an urban hike in Los Angeles and we’ll get into a few of
those in a second. Wherever you choose, use Google maps or another app with walking
directions to get you there. If you want to go old school and use a map, feel free. It might bring
the hiking experience to life that much more.

Also, ensure you know how long it will take you to get there and back. Account for the time you’ll
spend exploring too. You want to ensure you get home before it gets too late and safety
becomes an issue.

Give yourself the time to enjoy it

The whole point of an urban hike, even a traditional hike, is to explore, discover new things, and
immerse yourself in the outdoors. You need time to be able to do this. So, give yourself ample
time to enjoy your urban hike.

If you have to get up super early to ensure you get to do and see everything you want to on your
hike, so be it.

Best Places for Urban Hiking in L.A.

L.A. is one of the best cities to explore. Although many people do it by driving (hence all the
traffic), L.A. has various walking paths and ways to hike through the city on foot for up-close-
and-personal exploration.
Consider these five places for an exceptional urban hiking experience in L.A.:

  1. Carroll Avenue
  2. Kyoto Garden
  3. Mulholland Drive
  4. Venice Canals
  5. Lake Hollywood Reservoir
    You can also try these neighborhoods if you’re more focused on the walk rather than the
  6. Pasadena
  7. Sierra Madre
  8. Mid-City
  9. Westwood Village
  10. The Flats in Beverly Hills

The Takeaway

Urban hiking might be a great alternative if you aren’t keen on traditional hiking. City dwellers
can enjoy the health and environmental benefits of hiking without leaving the city. Get started by
following the guidance above and choosing an L.A. location made for urban hiking.

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