February 10, 2021

The Difference Between Hiking and Walking

Matthew Usherwood

What is the Difference Between Hiking and Walking?

I’m going to come clean with you. On Distance Hiker you will hear both the words ‘Hiking’ and ‘Walking’ used. In this article we look honestly at the difference between Hiking and Walking with the aim to clear up any confusion.

I’m really sorry if this causes any confusion, but Distance Hiker just sounded so much cooler when I registered the Domain name than ‘Distance Walker’. I mean, anyone can walk – you learn that at 1-2 years, but hiking? Now there’s a whole different story, after all, who doesn’t want to be a self confessed hiker? 

Here in sunny Britain, we generally tend to call any activity which involves putting two feet in front of each other in steady succession walking. We have walking club, walking trails,  walking holidays, walking tours, walking shops, you get it, we generally call it walking.

But to add to confusion we also walk to the shops in addition to walking up big hills for several miles, and even walking for multiple days. 

We even have an organization called the Long Distance Walkers Association who are there for Long Distance walkers like you and I.

Despite what some will tell you, that there is a difference between walking and hiking, I can assure you that there really isn’t

Walking and hiking both involve the very natural action of moving forward only using your feet – going at a pace which isn’t running or jogging.

However hiking does conjure up images of you going up mountains, through forests, and being in the wilderness. It’s a more inspired word which I believe sums up what you are doing with no further explanation. Lets face it, hiking sounds more romantic. 

For example, a wife tells her husband:

“Honey, i’m going for a walk, i’ll be back in a few hours!”

Husband replies:

“Ok! Are you walking to the shops, we have run out of bread, and grab me a beer?”

See? Walking can mean you ar going anywhere which involves walking? Who hikes to the shops?

Not me. 

So there we have it. 

Proof (perhaps not) that there is no difference between Hiking and Walking. Any article which tells you otherwise is talking nonsense and/or way overthinking things. Now don’t get me started on ‘Rambling‘. I guess us Brits just needed a word to rival hiking?

Now, where are my boots? I’ve run out of milk. 

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