Hiking With Friends vs. Hiking Solo: Pros And Cons

Recently I decided to make an experiment.

I created a poll in a Facebook group entitled ‘’Hiking with Friends vs. Hiking Alone”. I was curious to learn what the majority of the people would answer. The first thing that happened genuinely amused me.

A member added a third option to the poll “I like Hotdogs”. Then the fun started, and the poll got huge engagement.

The comments and the replies showed that many people prefer hiking alone and a good number of folks enjoy being in a company (a buddy or a family member).

The participants also revealed the reasons behind their decision. There were plenty of intriguing comments in favor of trekking solo and trekking in a small group.

Facebook Poll

The poll shows that people like both hiking solo and with friends.

Overall, the poll split the hikers. That’s why when a member added another option – ‘I Like Both’ that turned out to be the most preferred one.

To be honest, I also voted for that. On one hand, I enjoy being all by myself out in the mountains without feeling the need to speak with anybody or to share the experience with.

On another hand, some of my best memories are from hikes I’ve done with my friends. These stories are so wild, fun, and adventurous that they inspired one of my best friends who is a stand-up comedian. I’ll just say he’s selling venues in a matter of hours.

Anyway, this got me thinking about the most common pros and cons when choosing whether to hike alone or in a gang of like-minded people.

What’s best?

Is there a straightforward answer in the first place?

In the rest of this article, I will share some popular opinions, inspired by both the Facebook poll I created and my own experience. Here we go.

Hiking With Friends

Here by friends I mean a group of people, usually 3-10 hikers. It also might be just a single buddy or a family member.


The More, The Merrier

Like mentioned above, some of my best memories were made while mountaineering and camping with a bunch of friends. It’s just fun. 

Being able to talk and to laugh while hiking reduces fatigue, and it’s good for the spirit of the entire group. This has a calming effect on people.

It is also great for those who love beer hiking. It’s always better when you can say ‘Cheers’ to somebody you know and to greet each other for the small feat that you’ve accomplished together.

hiking with friends

Me and my friends on our way to Mount Botev, Bulgaria.

Another thing I like when being out in nature with friends is that there are better opportunities for making pictures. Then tag those on Instagram.

There is always this fella who brings a fancy camera and has the skill needed to create a perfect group photo.

Plus, group pics are fun to make because you can ‘direct’ a better scene without being obliged to take selfies that are often difficult (and dangerous) to take.

It Creates A Bond

This is true especially when done in a small group (usually 2-4 persons). That’s because often when you are hiking with a big bunch of people there are always folks you don’t even talk to during the entire journey.

It just happens that way. While when you hike with a single friend, for instance, this is highly unlikely.

Recently I started trekking with my wife, or to put it correctly she finally made the leap and decided to come with me.

We both find this mutual experience bonding and healthy for our relationship. Being out there in the beautiful wilderness far from the hustle and bustle of the city, surrounded by the majestic calmness of nature creates a brand new world.

On a side note, if you are wondering where to hike next, watch the video below which describes ten of world's most mesmerizing trails.

It’s just easier to converse and reflect when there’s no one else around except the birds and the sounds of nature. That’s why one of the benefits of hiking is that it has therapeutic effects on one’s mind.

It’s Safer

This is arguably the most important advantage of hiking with friends. That’s true especially for beginners who don’t have experience with trekking or mountaineering.

Moreover, they should avoid hiking solo because being inexperienced out in nature hides many risks.

Going in the mountains with friends or just in a group creates security. There’s always people who are more experienced than you.

They know how to orientate better, how to choose and follow trails, and how to react adequately when unusual circumstances arise.

hiking in a group

Hiking in a group is more secure.

Having someone to rely on is crucial also for those who suffer from chronic diseases such as bad knees, or back pain, for instance.

In fact, one of the members of the Facebook group in which I created the poll admitted that she used to hike alone.

However, after she suffered a severe knee injury, she began trekking with her husband. Now she never goes alone. That’s a pure example of responsibility and good common sense.

Now let’s see the negatives of group trekking.


You Have To Conform To The Group

People are different. That’s why they have different opinions and different perceptions. When you hike in a group, it’s difficult to neglect that.

Often, your hiking buddies may all have contrasting visions for the journey that completely differ from yours.

However, for the sake of togetherness and safety you have to make an effort and adjust your needs to those of the others.

Based on personal experience, sometimes that can be nerve-racking. Imagine Johnny is hungry and need to stop and have a snack when you least want that.

hiking in Rila Mountain

A group hiking I've done a few years ago in Rila Mountain.

You don’t have a choice but to wait him peacefully while he has a break and eat his sandwiches.

You don’t want to be impolite by leaving him there alone. Besides, it’s not a good practice to have someone far behind the others in the wilderness.

Let me give you another personal example.

I like to keep a slow to moderate walking pace. I enjoy nature better that way. However, I have two friends who always think of hiking as a marathon.

They like to walk very fast to the point where it’s difficult for me to follow. Still, I have to because otherwise, what’s the point of going with them in the first place?

In brief, hiking in a group more or less deprives you from doing what you want and often that’s not comfortable.

Limited Autonomy

This point is a direct continuation of the above-mentioned arguments.

In brief, hiking in a group more or less deprives you from doing what you want. Often that’s not comfortable. You cannot keep your own pace and it’s difficult to stop and take as many photos as you wish.

It’s easy to find yourself lost in everybody’s needs, desires, and complications.

Conflicts May Arise

If I were to name this paragraph differently, it would be Clash Of Egos. We all have been in a situation when someone wanted to solidify himself as a leader in certain situations.

And not everybody agrees with the ‘boss’. Then people start to argue and the peace in the pack is jeopardized.

Since I already gave some personal examples, I don’t see a reason why not give another one.

on mount vihren

Mount 'Vihren', Rila Mountain, Bulgaria.

Few years ago I was hiking in Rila Mountain with a group of 10 friends. We were following an unmarked trail leading to a picturesque hut, and it was about to get dark.

We were off-schedule because of many reasons occurred during the day. We had two choices ahead of us – either to continue walking until we reach our final destination (it was clear we would have to walk for about two hours in full darkness) or to go back to the shack from where we left.

The first option was the adventurous one while the second was the safer since we had small children in the group and we weren’t prepared for night trekking.

We all started arguing and everybody had their own motives and reasoning. Two of my friends with more experience of the local surroundings and with polar opinions exchanged some harsh remarks and soon it all turned into a group quarrel.

We ended up going back in awkward silence. You get the point.

Hiking Solo

Walking all by yourself in backcountry also has its advantages and drawbacks.


Your Hike, Your Rules

That’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s also one of the reasons why so many people are keen on hiking solo.

You decide when and where to go and what risks to take. You are the boss and no one can take this responsibility from you.

I like trekking alone because I can keep my own pace, stop whenever I want, and set the itinerary as I wish.

Easy To Coordinate

Often, your friends can’t afford to go with you or they just can’t get away from the craziness of the everyday hustle.

Then the only friend that remains is your best friend – you. Hiking solo is so much easier to arrange. You decide, pack your backpack and go.

No need to wait for anybody or to deal with the annoying complications that occur when a group have to be organized.

sella, dolomites

Sella, Dolomites

Sometimes simplicity is all you need.

You Feel Closer To Nature

Being all by yourself when trekking has a profound calming effect. Some call it walking meditation. One of the reasons I like hiking alone is because it clears my wandering mind.

When you talk to no one, you better immerse yourself in nature.

You pay more attention to its vivid sounds and specific smells. It all feels differently.

This is harder to achieve when you have a company unless it’s just your dog.


You Can’t Count On Anyone

Make sure you have a certain trekking experience and good gear when deciding to hike solo. When you are in a group, you always have someone to rely on.

If you run out of food, if you need an extra jacket, a flashlight to illuminate the darkness at night or you get injured, you can count on your best buddy for help.


When you hit the trail alone, this is not the case. You are all by yourself. That’s why it’s crucial to be over-prepared and expect anything.

Many people, especially newbies don’t like that burden and prefer hiking with friends. And that’s the smart choice.

It May Become Boring

It really depends on what kind of person you are. Also, it’s important to observe your mood. Walking alone for hours and being alone for days can be great for someone who enjoys that. It’s good for those who need a break.

However, if you are one of those ultra-social and highly extroverted people, hiking solo might become boring at some point.

Loneliness is boring. You have no one to talk to and no one to share the experience with. Which brings us to the next point.

You Can’t Feel The Joy of Shared Experience

As the American philosopher John Dewey once said – “Things gain meaning by being used in a shared experience or joint action.”

Sometimes, what we do makes much more sense and brings us more joy when we share it with somebody. Hiking alone leaves you no options for that.

Beautiful Landscape

A view worth sharing.

You have no one to share the breathtaking views with and no one with whom to reflect on the gorgeousness of the surrounding landscapes. Sometimes this leaves us with a sense of disappointment and lack of fulfillment.


What’s better – hiking alone or hiking in a group, be it big or small? Now we know there’s no straight answer. I like both.

It all depends on how you feel and what your inner self is telling you. Both can be great and both can be unsatisfactory. Just make sure you know what to expect and be well prepared. In that way you can’t go wrong with either of both options.

Do you prefer hiking with a bunch of friends or alone? Leave a comment below!

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Asen Stoyanchev

Founder of this website, Asen is a passionate hiker and writer who is also a gear nerd. He’s been featured on many established hiking websites where he gives hiking advice & tips. When he is not trekking with his family or friends, he is writing articles and product reviews. Asen spends most of his time in Bulgaria but he constantly travels the world in seek of more unforgettable experiences. Read more about Asen here.

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Jay P - February 28, 2019

I’ve always been hiking with a group, usually a small group. there have been a select few times when I’ve been with a larger group and I can definitely relate to some of the downsides you made to hiking with a larger group. I’m glad I read this article as I have never really put much thought into going hiking alone and as someone that likes to be alone to get away from day to day life I will definitely make the time to do this. Thanks!

    Asen - February 28, 2019

    Hey Jay P,

    Make sure to share some pics on our Facebook page when you have the chance. We’d loveto see you in action. Thanks for dropping by.

Todd P Matthews - February 28, 2019

I’ve always been a hybrid type who prefers a small group when it comes to hiking. A large group for me can get too messy and I can’t conform when it comes to hiking. Lol. I’ve usually hiked the trails around my apartment with one or two friends at any given time in the spring and summer, which has always worked wonders.

    Asen - February 28, 2019

    Hey Todd,

    It seems that everyone prefers small groups instead of large ones. Things might become difficult in a big group, I have to agree.

NLBolton - February 28, 2019

Great post and great pictures. I think most people would really enjoy going through your entire post, so the quick navigation may not be necessary. You can quickly scroll to areas that interest you because the length is perfect. Plus… with the quick navigation, you miss your amazing photos.

I’m a both kinda gal, but either way my dog will be with me ;-).

    Asen - February 28, 2019


    Thank you for commenting.I appreciate it! 🙂

Matt's Mom - February 28, 2019

I personally think that it is much safer to hike in a group. I guess I say that because I am a single female and it just seems safer. But, I lived in Colorado for quite some time, and I did hike above the city with just my dog. I guess, I do prefer to hike alone because I can do what I want, set my own pace, and it just seems more free 🙂

    Asen - March 1, 2019

    Hey Matt’s Mom,

    Hiking alone has its perks too. I like it and I do it often. However, I choose easier trails because I don’t want to expose myself to unnecessary risk. When I have someone with me then I am more keen on tryingnew things and experimenting. I’ve never been to Colorado but I know it’s a great place for hiking. Hope to be there one day!

Mina - February 28, 2019

To Hike Alone? or With Friends?
Definitely, the latter! But if I’m a sort of an expert, then– I might prefer alone.

Well, I’m not an outdoor person, but I do hike sometimes with family or friends. Because for me nothing beats safety and it’s not boring.

You are right that hiking with group has disadvantages. But I do hike with friends so probably that’s reason why I haven’t experience any discomfort.
I guess it just depends on who you are with. And the size of the group also matters I think.

    Asen - March 1, 2019

    Hi Mina,

    You are right – it really depends on who you are with and the size of the group also matters. It all comes down to choosing the right people and making a solid organisation.

Monica Sharma - September 3, 2019

Hi, I am always confused between trekking alone or going with a group, and you explained both the points such nicely but I still couldnt come to a conclusion although i liked some of your points you mentioned of getting injured and feeling lonely where as one can be happy and so close to nature as you said.

    Asen - September 4, 2019

    Hi Monica,

    It’s difficult to say which is better – hiking solo or hiking with friends. It all comes down to personal preference. I like both since they give different yet valuable takeaways.

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