Thinking of going hiking for your next date? Here’s how to do it right.
Going on a hike for a date is perfect for those who like being in nature.
Hiking dates can be ideal dates because they’re relaxing, low-cost, and allow for easy conversation.
Taking a date on a hike is a great way to be active together, breathe in some fresh air, and enjoy scenic views.
Plus, if you feel at home in the outdoors, then you’ll be more likely to be yourself and feel at ease when you interact with a date in that environment.
But having a great hiking date is easier said than done. There are right ways and wrong ways to do it.
Here are 12 tips for having a perfect hiking date.
12 Tips for Having a Perfect Hiking Date
1. Choose the Right Trail
Choosing the right trail is the first step to having a successful hiking date. Consider the fitness level and hiking experience of both you and your date before deciding on which trail to hike. Unless you’re both experienced hikers, it's best to start with an easy trail that is fairly flat or has a gentle incline. One of the worst mistakes you can make is choosing a trail that is too challenging, leaving you and your date out of breath and unable to carry a conversation. Only if you and your date are both experienced hikers should you consider more challenging trails.
2. Research the Trail
Here’s one of the most overlooked hiking date tips: Once you've chosen a trail, it's useful to read up on it as much as you can before going on the date. Check online for trail reviews and maps, familiarize yourself with the terrain, know where the elevation gains are, and know of any potential hazards such as wildlife or unstable terrain. Knowing what to expect will help you feel more secure and at ease on the date.
3. Check the Weather Forecast
The wrong weather can make or break a hiking date if you don’t plan ahead properly. It's essential to check the weather forecast before heading out to the date to make sure that you and your date are prepared. If it's going to be hot and sunny, you'll both need to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, and it can be a thoughtful gesture to bring extra for your date. If it's going to rain, you'll need to bring rain gear, waterproof shoes, and make sure your chosen trail is safe to hike in wet conditions.
4. Bring Plenty of Water and Snacks
Hiking can be exhausting and dehydrating, so you'll need to stay hydrated and fueled up. Bring plenty of water and snacks for both you and your partner. Always bring more water and snacks than you think you’ll need, in case the hike takes longer than expected. Beyond providing needed fuel, snacks can help create opportunities to take breaks on the trail, where you and your date can enjoy views and connect.
5. Plan Your Route and Pace
Before beginning the hike, plan your route and pace. Start at a comfortable pace and take breaks as needed. A hiking date is not a race, nor is it any normal hike — it’s a date, so take your time and enjoy the scenery and cherish each other’s company.
6. Plan a Scenic Viewpoint
Planning a scenic viewpoint on a hiking date can be a great idea, as it provides a beautiful destination to look forward to throughout the hike and can create a memorable moment for you and your date. The viewpoint can be something you reach at the end of the hike or a pitstop along the way.
7. Plan for Breaks
Taking a few breaks along the trail can help you and your date stay rested hydrated, while also providing opportunities to enjoy the scenery, take some photos, and chat. Make sure you and your date are both comfortable with the pace and frequency of breaks.
8. Be Prepared for Emergencies
Hiking can be unpredictable, so it's important to be prepared for emergencies, especially if you’re going on a more challenging trail. Consider bringing a first aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptic, and pain relievers. If you're hiking in an area with wildlife, consider bringing bear spray, bug spray, or other forms of protection.
9. Be Mindful of Wildlife
Depending on where you’re hiking, there’s a chance you’ll encounter some wildlife on the trail. Always keep a safe distance from wildlife and never feed them. If you encounter a bear or other large animal, make noise, make yourself look big, and try to back away slowly. Carry bear spray or other forms of protection if you'll be hiking in an area with bears or other dangerous wildlife.
10. Learn Something New
Hiking can be a great opportunity to learn something new about nature or the environment, and an openness to learning new things can be a very attractive trait in a partner. Consider bringing a guidebook or doing some research before your hike to learn about the plants and animals you might encounter on the trail, as well as the history of that hiking area. This can make the hike more interesting, stimulating, and educational.
11. Respect Nature
When hiking, it's important to show respect for nature and leave no trace of human impact. Take any packaging you bring in or other trash with you when you leave, and don't disturb wildlife or their habitats. Stick to the marked trails, and avoid taking any off-trail paths that can damage the environment. Leave the trail at least the same as you found it, and show respect for the natural beauty of the area. Your date will appreciate it.
12. Communicate with Your Date
Communication is key when hiking with a partner, since everyone has different abilities, preferences, and limitations. Make sure you’re both comfortable with the pace, breaks, and any potential hazards along the trail. If one of you needs to take a break or slow down, communicate this to your date. Make your date feel comfortable and supported.
Is Hiking a Good First Date?
Here are some pros and cons to consider before deciding if hiking on a first date is for you.
Pros of a Hiking First Date:
It provides a low-pressure environment
Hiking dates don’t have the added pressure of sitting across from each other at a café or dinner table. It's a relaxed environment where you can take your time getting to know each other in an unstructured way.
It's an active and healthy date
Hiking gets your blood flowing and release endorphins, which can improve your mood and help reduce any nervousness you may feel on a first date.
It can be a beautiful and scenic date
Many hikes offer beautiful views and an opportunity to soak in the outdoors. This can create a memorable, calming, and positive experience that you and your date can share and both feel good about.
Hiking is generally a cheap date activity, with the only cost being gas money and a potential parking fee. Going on a hike for a first date is one of the most low-cost date ideas around.
It's a chance to connect with nature
Hiking allows people to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and connect with nature, which is especially powerful if you live in a city. Being surrounded by nature can be calming and refreshing, which can make for a more positive and enjoyable first date.
It's a chance to get to know each other
Hiking allows for easy conversation and makes it natural to get to know each other while enjoying the scenery around you. You'll have plenty of time to chat during the hike, and since you’re both continuously engaged in an active activity (the hike), any silences during the date won’t feel as awkward.
Cons of a Hiking First Date:
While there are good reasons to go hiking on a first date, there are also downsides to doing so.
Hiking can be a physically demanding activity, which may not work for all people, such as people with physical disabilities, injuries, or other health concerns. If you or your date have mobility issues, asthma, or any other health concerns, hiking may not be a good option. It’s best to ask your date how they feel about going hiking so they can decide for themselves. So they don’t feel pressured to say yes to a hiking date, offer alternative date ideas too.
When you opt to go hiking on a first date, you’re putting some degree of trust in weather conditions. If the weather is too hot, too cold, or too wet, the hike may not be as enjoyable or safe, and you might find yourself needing to reschedule the date or finding an alternative date activity last-minute.
Lack of experience
Hiking can be intimidating or uncomfortable for someone who has never hiked before or is not familiar with the trail or the area. Inexperienced hikers may feel frustrated, anxious, or out of their comfort zone on a hiking date, which can make it harder to have a positive experience.
Distance and time
If the hiking trail is too long or too difficult, that may make you or your date feel too exhausted or uncomfortable. And the last thing you want on a date is for the other person to be counting down the minutes for the date to end. If the trail is too short, the date may be over too quickly.
What a Hiking Date Means
Hiking dates are becoming increasingly popular, as they offer a versatile opportunity to connect with nature, enjoy physical activity, and get to know someone in a relaxed and casual setting. Hiking dates can also be a great way to escape the feeling of city life and enjoy quality time with someone away from distractions.
Hiking provides an opportunity to talk, share stories, and learn more about each other's interests, passions, lifestyles, and backgrounds.
If you and your date are both avid hikers, going on a hiking date could be a way to explore a common interest and bond over a shared activity.
If you are your date are not super into hiking, then going hiking for a date could be a way to try something new and step outside of your comfort zones together. This can be an adventurous way to bond and share a new experience.
An interesting meaning of a hiking date is to test compatibility. Hiking can be a physically demanding, unpredictable, and uncomfortable activity, and going on a hiking date can be a way to test your compatibility with someone and see if you’re a good match when you experience challenges. If you enjoy the hike and work well together, it could be a sign that you’re compatible and have potential for a more serious relationship.
How Long Should a Hiking Date Last?
As a general rule of thumb, a first date hike should typically be scheduled to last between 1-3 hours, depending on your own preferences and your date’s preferences.
If you're meeting this person for the first time, it's best to choose a shorter trail so you’re not stuck on a long hike if the date goes poorly. If you're meeting someone you already know and are interested in, then a longer hike can be ideal and allow for deeper conversation, more shared experiences, and greater connection. As it still is just a first date, a hike that is longer than 2-3 hours may be too much.
Most importantly, ask your date about their hiking preferences before selecting a trail. Do they prefer longer hikes or shorter hikes? Flat hikes or steep hikes? Hikers have all kinds of different likes and dislikes, so it’s best to ask your date about what they like so you can choose a trail you’ll both enjoy.
What’s the Best Time for a Hiking Date?
The best time of day for a hiking date will depend on your personal preferences, your date’s preferences, the location of the hike, and the weather.
Some people just prefer to hike in the morning, while others prefer the late afternoon or evening.
If you’re going for a longer hike, then it’s important to go earlier in the day so you can allow plenty of time to complete the hike before dark.
If you’re planning a hike in a busy park or popular trail, it may be best to go during off-peak hours to avoid crowds.
Planning a hiking date in the late afternoon or early evening so you can watch the sunset together can be on way to set a more romantic tone for the date.
What to Wear on a Hiking Date
It’s important to wear appropriate footwear, clothing, and gear for the particular trail you’ll be hiking, while taking into account that day’s weather and whether it’s rained recently.
If you’re going significantly into the mountains, then dressing in layers is a good idea, as temperatures can change quickly.
A hiking date is not the time to fret about looking your most stylish. A good hiking date outfit should be practical. Wear comfortable moisture-wicking clothing clothes that allow you to move freely and get sweaty without visible stains. Avoid cotton clothes, as they retain moisture and can make you feel uncomfortably sweaty.
Wear a hat or cap to protect your head and face from the sun, and make sure you apply sunscreen to exposed skin. Sunglasses can also help protect your eyes from the sun's harmful rays and may be useful to have on hand.
It's also important to wear appropriate footwear for the trail’s conditions. Hiking boots or shoes with good traction and ankle support may be important, especially if you're hiking on uneven terrain.
Bringing a backpack to carry water, snacks, a first aid kit, extra clothes, sunglasses, a hat, or any other items may be useful.
How to Make a Hiking Date Romantic: Creative Hiking Date Ideas
Plan the hike around the sunset
A sunset hike can be a romantic experience on a date. Plan your hike so that you reach a scenic spot just before sunset and stick around there to enjoy the view as the sun goes down.
Bring a picnic
Packing a picnic can be a great way to surprise your partner on a hiking date and make it more romantic. Choose foods that are easy to transport and work with a variety of potential food preferences/restrictions your date might have. Bring a blanket or a small portable table to set up your picnic at a scenic spot along the trail.
Take breaks to appreciate the scenery
Don't rush through the hike. Take plenty of breaks to stop and appreciate the scenery and cherish each other's company. If the moment feels right, share an intimate hug or kiss.
Holding hands while hiking is a simple but cute and romantic gesture. It can make your date feel more connected to you and add a sense of intimacy to the experience.
If the weather and trail permit it, then see if you can dress up nicely for the hike. It’ll help make the date feel more special and romantic.
End the hike with a romantic gesture
End the hike with a romantic gesture, such as a small gift or a heartfelt letter. This will create a lasting memory and make the date even more intimate.
Consider a post-hike meal or activity
After a long hike, you and your date may be hungry and ready to fuel up. Plus, the hike might end around lunch time or dinner time. Consider planning a post-hike meal or other activity, such as a picnic, a trip to a nearby restaurant, or a visit to some other nearby attraction. In particular, extending the date to something dimly lit indoors is a perfect way to make a hiking date romantic.
How to use dating apps to land more first dates
Hopefully these tips give some insights into how to have a great hiking date.
When planning a hiking date with someone you met on a dating app like Hinge, Tinder, or Bumble, it’s important to plan ahead and do what you can to make it go well.
If you’re on dating apps and want to improve your dating profile so you land more first dates, we have you covered.
We at The Match Lab offer professional services to create dating profiles that attract high-quality matches.
If you’d like to find out which are your most attractive photos to use in your dating profile, give our dating photo analyzer a try. Just upload some photos of yourself, and our algorithm will reveal which photos you should be using in your profile and the ideal order they should go in.
If you’re looking for help with writing your dating profile, then check out our professional dating profile writing service.