Is Hiking A Good First Date? Here’s How To Make It One (2021)
Put a spin on the dating staple of a dinner and movie and go hiking with stunning scenery instead. You might be wondering, “but is hiking a good first date idea?”
Flowers – check. Endorphin-producing activity – check. Enough privacy and space – check. You might even have a spread of delicious food; picnics make for restful breaks.
You can checkoff all the classic date elements alongside a change in environment. Hiking could be a fantastic idea for a first date; as long as some conditions are met.
Let’s go through the checklist on how to make your hiking date successful and safe.
When Is Hiking a Good First Date?
On one hand, hiking could be a memorable and exciting experience. On the other hand, it might not be the best idea to go out into the woods with someone you’re meeting for the first time. The first thing you’ll want to consider is when hiking is an appropriate first date.
When You’ve Confirmed He/she Likes Hiking
There’s nothing more awkward than proposing a first date where one party isn’t actually interested in the activity.
They might be interested enough to say yes, but their comfort levels would plummet down. You can easily find out whether or not they like hiking by simply asking what they like to do on their days off.
If they outright state hiking or some form of outdoor activity as a regular hobby, you’ve got it in the bag.
To be on the safe side, offer an alternative option when suggesting first date ideas. Something along the lines of, “We could go hiking or simply chill at a café if you prefer?” will help your date feel more included in the planning process. This way you know they’ll be engaged.
With Someone You Already Know
Perhaps you’ve known your date-mate for a while now. They could be casual acquaintances from school, church or work.
They could be an actual friend you’ve gradually gotten closer with. Hiking is the perfect date to get to know them outside of your usual interaction bubble.
There’s also the bonus of safety – you most likely know what kind of person they are, the people they’re connected to, basic knowledge of their likes and dislikes.
You’ve most likely already confirmed whether hiking suits the both of you; there’s also less risk to your personal safety.
If Your First Date Is A Double Date
Shake things up!
If your matchmaking friend has found “the perfect person for you, I swear” – consider taking them up on it on the condition that it’s a double date. There are several upsides to a hiking double date:
- It’s safer if you know at least one or two of the other parties
- You probably match in skill level with someone else
- There are other people to fill in any awkward silences (hopefully none)
- If you’re shy, you’ll feel less pressure with other friends or acquaintances around
Hiking is a great bonding activity, after all. The group element simply makes it easier for you to relax into the conversation.
Hiking On A Second Date Or Later
If hiking doesn’t make it onto your first date list, it still ranks high on fantastic date ideas. Work in a picnic around a serene lake for extra romantic vibes.
Why Hiking Is A Great Date Idea In The First Place?
There are plenty of pros to hiking on a date. Let's see them!
Hiking Guarantees Adventure
Anything that gets the heart pumping is a great date idea, because your date learns to associate your time spent together with happy emotions.
The various treks and trails you can take also offer plenty of fun sceneries – you’re discovering something new together.
You’ll come away looking like a fun person that they can explore the world with.
Hiking Offers Natural Physical Contact
Physical contact on first dates can come off as creepy and with an agenda. Hiking, however, offers opportunities for natural touch without crossing any boundaries.
Offer a hand when climbing over obstructions or crossing unstable terrain. Touch a shoulder when pointing out wildlife. Be respectful as you try to show interest.
Hiking Can Equate To Romance
Beautiful landscapes are romantic backdrops that you don’t have to pay for. Go the extra mile and prepare a picnic by a peaceful lake or waterfall, or find the perfect valley spot for a break.
Hiking Is Low-Pressure
First dates are often awkward when you don’t know what to say. Luckily, hiking hits the sweet spot between frequent communication and companionable silence.
Uncomfortable eye contact isn’t an issue because you’ll probably be watching your feet or admiring the surrounding nature.
Conversation flows naturally because there’s plenty to point out. You might even share about previous hiking experiences.
Hiking Promotes The Image Of Health
You certainly don’t want your date to think you’re a couch potato. Hiking shows that you care about staying healthy.
Even mild treks are an enough indication that health matters to you; that you intend to stick around for a long time.
Hiking Is All About Happy Chemicals
Our bodies release endorphins, dopamine and serotonin when we’re relaxed, happy and generally in a good mood.
Watch the video below that gives some really good reasons to go hiking and its mental benefits.
Physical activity is proven to release these chemicals – hiking included! It’s highly beneficial for your emotional wellbeing. Your date is more likely to look upon this day out fondly.
Hiking Removes Distractions
Nature aside, hiking reduces the distractions around you. It allows you to interact and converse without phones, people and other commitments to get in the way.
After all, your first date should be about getting to know each other.
Hiking Doesn’t Cost Anything
Dating isn’t cheap! Dinners and entertainment expenses pile up. Meanwhile, hiking is a free alternative with plenty of conversational opportunities. What more can you ask for?
Hiking is a great first date because you can shape it along the way. If things are awkward, there are enough visual prompts around you to offer up conversation.
If things are great, you can find a quiet spot to sit down and just chat. If things really aren’t going well, you can turn around and head home – or take the pressure off and finish the hike knowing it’s a onetime thing, anyway.
What Are The Cons Of Hiking As A First Date?
Of course, there are some downsides to hiking on a first date too. Aside from sweating your deodorant off and suffering through potential muscle aches the next day, there are three main cons to address.
Let's explore them more in detail.
#1 Personal Safety Or Awkward Situations
Stranger danger is very much a real concern, especially where you’ll be away from the crowds. If you’re meeting someone for the first time, always make sure you have proper precautions in place.
Meet up in a crowded location to ascertain they are who they say they are. If you’re uncomfortable, leave.
Let your friends and family know exactly where you’re going and who you’re meeting. Choose trails that have phone reception, or is a popular route amongst hikers so you’re not completely alone.
There are plenty of people who misrepresent themselves on dating apps too – you never know who someone is until you meet them in person.
They could be weird, plain creepy or undeniably awkward, except where you could always excuse yourself from a coffee date. You can’t run away in the middle of a mountain.
Remember, you can always back out if the person gives off uncomfortable or suspicious vibes at the get go.
#2 Risk Of Injury
With hiking, there’s also a risk of injury. Circumvent this by making sure you and your date have the proper gear.
Pack an emergency first aid kit, just in case. It’s also important to know how much hiking experience your date has and choose the appropriate trail.
#3 They Don’t Like Hiking
This might seem like a superficial reason, but the whole point of a date is to have fun while getting to know someone.
If your date doesn’t enjoy hiking, they’re not going to have a good time. With that, chances of another date seem unlikely. Check in to make sure they’re interested in exploring the outdoors.
6 Easy Tips For A Successful Hiking Date
Taking into considerations the cons listed above, let’s look at what you can do to make your hiking date run smoothly.
#1 Choose A Mild Hiking Trail
Hiking doesn’t have to be zero to hundred – you’ll want to choose a trail that is comfortable enough to be considered ‘fun’.
People often want to look good for their dates after all, so go an easy trail that won’t make you sweat buckets.
You also want it comfortable enough that you can make conversation instead of huffing and puffing the entire way. Pay attention to the overall elevation gain and make sure the terrain is not super steep. Don't wear heavy steel toe boots as you will get tired way too soon.
#2 Choose A Restful Destination
Experienced hiker or not, the point of this date is to get to know each other better. Opt for shorter hikes to lakes or a viewing point with a quiet spot to rest at.
Give you and your date an opportunity to really talk. If you’ve known this person for a while already, why not go the extra mile and prepare a picnic?
#3 Choose Trails With Washrooms
Comfort is key, so choose a trail with washrooms. This way, you can keep yourself looking presentable and avoid uncomfortable situations like hunkering down behind a tree to do your business.
Plus, that will eliminate unnecessary pressure.
#4 Try Trails With Multiple Loops
A multi-section trail is great for several reasons. First, you can consult your date on which loop they may be interested in.
Second, if you’ve finished a short route and your partner is going well, you can extend your time together by challenging another section.
If your date isn’t having fun, you can trim down the hiking portion and suggest you continue the date elsewhere.
#5 Schedule It Earlier In The Day
Who knows? A few extra hours are welcome when the date goes well. Daylight also makes people feel happier and safer.
Don't overlook this option.
#6 Prepare Some Form Of Food
You don’t have to take the fridge along but pack some food so your date doesn’t go hungry. It’s also a great excuse to sit down for conversation.
Here are some awesome hiking meals ideas.
Hiking is a fantastic first date as long as you and your date are prepared for it. Communication is the key to any successful first date after all!
Let your partner know which trail you’re taking, what to expect and what gear they might need. Not only will this show off your attention to detail but also give them the chance to make their own safety precautions.
A sense of security goes a long way in persuading your date that you’re the right person to pursue something with.
Have you ever been on a first date that involved hiking? Share your memories in the comments section below.
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.