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What is Urban Hiking?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
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Urban hiking is a form of hiking which takes place in an urban environment, rather than in nature. While on such a hiking expedition, people may explore points of interest around the city they hike in, find new and interesting places in the region, or stop for food in local eateries. Depending on how the trip is organized, it may take only an hour or so, or it may occupy the better part of a day.

There are all sorts of reasons to organize an urban hiking trip. People who are new to cities sometimes enjoying urban hiking as a way to get to know the place where they live, as these trips can help people learn the lay of the land and the grid of the streets. It is also a great way to learn how to orient oneself in relation to local landmarks, and when the trip includes an experienced native, it can be an introduction to great places to eat, hidden urban parks, and other points which may be of interest.

Some people choose to go on urban hiking trips because they cannot reach nature areas, due to lack of time or transportation. Rather than not getting outdoors at all, these individuals can get outside and get moving in their own environment. It also sometimes appeals to people who have trouble navigating natural hiking trails, like individuals in wheelchairs, people with children, or people with disabilities which make it hard to go the full distance, who might want to hike part of the way and then drop out and take public transit home.

Various maps of urban hiking trails can be found on websites which cater to dwellers of specific cities, along with tips on interesting routes and places to see. A well-planned trip, even through a familiar neighborhood, can often reveal things which were previously unknown to the hikers, and it can be an interesting glimpse into the daily lives of people living in other regions of the city.

People may go urban hiking alone, or in groups, and a wide variety of distances may be chosen for the route. Some people find weekly hikes through the city to be an excellent networking tool, using the hikes to connect with friends and associates whom they might not see otherwise. Urban hiking can be especially useful for new parents, who sometimes have trouble finding baby-friendly destinations, and for people with high-maintenance dogs, who would prefer to take their dogs with them on social events, when possible.

Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Sports n' Hobbies researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon247318 — On Feb 13, 2012

I definitely have to agree with anon97274 and even with the nature snob nickname. Nice choice!

By anon129775 — On Nov 25, 2010

I have to respectfully disagree with the use of that vocabulary. We call cities concrete jungles but they serve as analogies and we don't assume that just because one can survive in the the hustle of New York makes him an expert in the jungle.

As someone who was active in the city and now active in the mountains, there is a considerable difference of mental training and physical endurance. I feel the use of "urban hiking" is trying to justify what is simply exploring or touring the city.

By anon112726 — On Sep 21, 2010

So, what's the difference between urban hiking and going for walks around your city? As far as I can tell my grandparents are the most intense urban hikers around.

By anon97274 — On Jul 19, 2010

What an incredibly patronizing article. Many urban hikers are able to access nature areas and prefer urban hiking. I prefer seeing people and events and architecture to tree after tree after tree. There are goods and services available and so one does not need to carry a pack. There is transportation so you can hike farther, see more and not have to retrace your steps. It is a viable and respectable and growing choice–nature snob.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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