All packed? Ready for your next adventure? What are your plans this time? Going for a hike or a trek? Which is it? Got confused? You probably told your family that you are going on a trek, but in reality, it is actually a hike.  

I believe you are not the only one in this dilemma of trekking vs hiking. Once upon a time, I was as well. It took me a few trips to understand which is a trek and which is a hike. Over the years, exploring the heights of a mountain has become easy and accessible.  

The support services and the gears have improved with time. However, every mountain has its own style of exploration. So, let’s discuss the basic differences between trekking and hiking. 

What is trekking? 


Treks are those that continue for multiple days, and you have to cover high-altitude passes, climb peaks on smaller mountains, or cover various base camps. You will not require any prior training. However, it could be physically demanding. 

What is hiking? 

A hike involves covering mountain regions in about one or two days. These are not like the high-altitude treks and the expeditions that you go for, so a hike is a lot less strenuous. If you do not have any prior experience in the mountains, it is better that you start with a hike. 


Hiking is not just about reaching the destination or the endpoint. You can also stop and visit a forest, explore the flora and fauna of the region, or just get out and explore nature and interact with the environment around you. 

Benefits of trekking and hiking 

Moreover, hiking and trekking are not just about fun; they improve your physical and mental health as well. Here are some of the benefits of trekking and hiking. 


Improves blood pressure, and the chance of getting a heart disease reduces 

When you are sick, people often tell you to go for a change in the mountains. Amd it isn’t without reason. Trekking and hiking are really good for your health. According to a story conducted by the CDC, you should at least walk for an hour every day. 

If you walk every day, it reduces your chance of getting a stroke by half. Trekking and hiking improve the condition of your heart, maintain healthy blood pressure, and keep the blood pumping. 

Improves the overall fitness 

Walking up and down the mountains is an amazing exercise for your muscles. It builds strength in the muscles of the lower leg and your thighs as well as hamstrings. Moreover, it helps in building your endurance.  

These are weight-bearing exercises that help build bone density. Trekking helps boost your core strength because you carry a heavy backpack with you. The more you go on a hike or a trek, the more your fitness and strength improves. 

It helps in the betterment of your mental health 

Well, it is always a good thing to step outdoors and breathe in the fresh air. It helps you escape the daily monotonous life. Going through the same activities and staying indoors has a way of building anxiety, stress, and depression in you. 

Going on a hike or a trek gives perspective to your life and helps you take your mind off your worries. The world around you craves your attention and eases the stress that has built up inside you. 

It burns calories 

If you are looking for a way to tone your muscles or lose some weight, try hitting the trails instead of going to the gym. Hiking burns 440 to 550 calories in an hour. This way, you are going to burn a lot of calories on an overnight hike or if you go on a week-long trek. This will help you lose some weight and tone your muscles as well. 

Bring out your creative side 

Apart from improving your mental and physical health, trekking and hiking bring out the creative side in you. Spending some time outdoors and taking all the Vitamin D in from the sunlight is known to improve your mind as well.  

Vitamin D increases your ability to focus and also improves your attention span. It will help you solve your problems in a more creative way. Vitamin D helps maintain healthy teeth and bones, boosts cardiovascular health, and supports the immune system. 

Trekking vs hiking: Basic differences 


When discussing trekking vs hiking, you might say that both hiking and trekking involve walking, so they are the same. But that is not the case. There are some factors that differentiate trekking and hiking. 


Duration is one of the main factors that differentiates trekking from hiking. Trekking at least takes two days and can go up to a lot longer than that. Most people who go on a trek have a destination in mind. 

People with this kind of mindset can walk a lot to reach the spot. But hikes usually cover a shorter distance. It is just a matter of a few hours, or at the maximum, one whole day. It can also be an overnight experience, but not more than a day like trekking. 


One of the other differentiating factors between hiking and trekking is the different types of terrains that there are under these categories. However, hikers mostly use marked hiking trails and go through hills, forests, mountains, and through beautiful natural landscapes.  

However, as compared to hiking, trekking is not always on the marked trails, and you might have to take the “road not taken” to explore some unexplored roads, forests, mountains, and beaches. 

The trekkers do not have to follow the marked path; this way, they have a lot of freedom and can witness the raw, untouched nature. 


Hiking can also turn out to be an overnight experience. However, the base remains the same. For instance, you can stay in a hut or a cottage, go on a hiking trail to a different peak, and then return to the same cottage. 

But the case with trekking is different. A person who is going on a trek never returns back to the same place again; they focus on the destination. Every time they stop, they choose a different location to stay. 


Logically speaking, the equipment needed for trekking and hiking is never the same. To go on a hike, you just need basic gear, like good shoes or hiking boots. But for trekking, you need to have proper boots. 

You need to have suitable clothing which will be able to handle if the weather changes suddenly. You need to carry a bag that can carry all your essentials, like food, water, and other necessities.  

When you are going for a hike, you do not need to carry a map or a compass. Hiking trails are mostly marked, and you will have signs where you have to go and how long you have to travel to reach your destination. 

But for trekking, you have to be a little more equipped. You need to carry a compass or a map, waterproof jackets, sleeping mats, sleeping bags, and a few multi-purpose clothing that will dry fast as well as be breathable. 


After discussing all this while, you know that it takes a lot of effort to go on a trek. This is not everyone’s cup of tea. You need to prepare yourself for a trek, and not just mentally or logistically; you need to prepare yourself physically as well. 

It takes a lot of time to reach the final destination, go through various terrains, and need a lot of physical and mental preparation. But hiking is completely different. It is kind of a leisure activity. Even if it is your first time visiting the mountains, you can go for a hike. 

You can choose the trail depending on your fitness level. You can choose an easy-to-moderate trail if this is your first time. 

Wrapping up! 

In our discussion about trekking vs hiking, now you know that there are a lot of differences between the two. The difficulty level, the accommodation, the equipment, the length of the trail, and everything else add to it. Moreover, hiking is mostly easy and short; the trail is mostly marked.  

Trekking has a specific destination. You need a lot of equipment with which you have to pass through various terrains, and you need a lot of preparation for going on a trek. So, prepare yourself well, and have an amazing journey ahead. 


Subhasree Nag

Subhasree is a content writer who is passionate about traveling, writing, and reading books. In her leisure time, she is seen listening to music and watching web series. Writing along with music and dance are ways in which she expresses herself.

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