Adventure Travelers Are Flocking To The Trails For The Most Refreshing Reason


Move over, rock climbing and whitewater rafting. Hiking is officially the most popular outdoor adventure activity.

Adventure travelers are choosing to hit the trails on vacation more than ever before, according to a survey from the Adventure Travel Trade Association.

Ten years ago, adventure travel was defined by rock climbing, rafting, trekking, kayaking and canoeing — high stakes activities that get your blood pumping. But now, we’re playing the long game. Today, the top three outdoor travel hobbies are hiking, backpacking and trekking.

Maybe we can blame Sheryl Strayed and the Wild phenomenon for the new-age craving for some quality time with a pack, a trail and ourselves. But no matter the inspiration, adventurers are prioritizing mental health over a quick hit of adrenaline.

Take a minute to mull that over. It’s pretty cool, right? The new data suggests that we’re expanding the definition of adventure travel to include quests to better understand ourselves. Now, that’s not to knock life-flashing-before-your-eyes kinds of experiences. Dangling off a cliff and careening over rapids are life-changing in their own ways. But just like those engrossing trekking sagas in books and movies, hiking can be transformative on a deep, psychological level.

Even better, you don’t need a lot of gear to start hiking and reap the health rewards of getting outside (both physical and emotional). And you don’t have to tackle the intense Pacific Crest Trail on day one. It’s not a steep buy-in like kayaking or rock climbing. Anyone can do it. Just find your way to the nearest trail and start walking on your own adventure.