Why We Love Hiking in the Fall
Fall, also called Autumn, is likely the best time of the year to get outdoors and hike. Walking through the woods, hiking atop famous peaks, and exploring local sights all can create mesmerizing experiences that make a year wonderful.
While the smells of apple pie, tastes of pumpkin, crisp morning, and cooler days all play a role in making Fall a favorite time of year, perhaps hiking to see the “ Fall Colors “ around the country is on top of the list of this special time of year.
A driving tour of fall colors stops short of experiencing the full magic and joy of being in the woods and seeing the trees transition their leaves. Yellows, oranges, reds and purples are all some of the hues you’ll see, depending on the area. For instance, the yellow to golden colours of Aspen trees can be seen high atop mountain peaks in the Canadian Rockies. Yet deep reds and purples are overwhelming in many of Canada’s eastern Maple forests. To get the best experience, you need to hike into the forest, to see, touch and smell.
Benefits of Fall Time Walking
Whether it is a gentle walk around your neighborhood park, or a rigorous hike to a peak or waterfall, you can take advantage of fall colors by getting out and walking. Some of these benefits include:
- Up-close-and-personal: Getting closer to the trees is best
- Fresh air: while walking, you can enjoy Fall’s cold, crisp air, without the sweltering summer heat, or bitterly cold winter temps.
- Cardio and weight loss: Walking has so many benefits for your health and fitness, including heart strengthening, calorie burn, and weight loss. Make it regulate, with at least 1 walk each week this autumn
- Time Flies: That’s right. When seeing fall colors, and all of the other natural beauty of this time of year, your walks and long hikes will go by quickly and enjoyably, as your eyes and senses are fixated on all of the sensations that surround you.
What You Need for Fall Walking
You can group up your walking essentials into several categories:
Clothing - Because of the cooler weather, single layer cotton may not be enough to keep you warm. However, because autumn is a season of transition, the weather is more unstable, and temperatures can swing widely from the morning to the afternoon. Think light clothing. Multiple layers, but each layer is light. Even your coats can be less or no fill. As you warm up during your hike, you can remove layers and store them in your bag.
Walking Support - Backpacks, trekking poles, strong shoes, knee supports, as well as other accessories, all work together to create a safe walk that allows you to go farther.
Health essentials for walking - One bottle of water may not be enough. Today’s water bottles hold much more volume, and can be carried easily through various ways. Also bring the right kind of food, that mixes complex carbohydrates, with some protein. This will give you long-lasting energy, especially if your hikes are long. Seeing Fall Colors only happens in a short period of the year. You may not be able to go back easily. So bring the food and essentials you need to take as long of a walk as you can to get the full experience.
What has Changed in 2021?
2021 outdoor fitness is seeing continued trends in these areas:
Plant-based protein - A hot trend, now candy bars, trail mix, protein mixes are all stepping up protein for workouts, including daily walking. They develop around vegan plant-based protein, such as beans, high-protein grains, nuts and other ingredients to recharge your energy and muscles in a healthy way.
Dual use walking poles - Trekking poles for hiking, that are also used for walking and general travel, are becoming more desired. Walking poles for travel differ from canes, and mountaineering poles, in that they are easier to set up, and are slightly thicker, for added knee support and walking support. Earth Trek Gear’s walking pole is an ideal start for this.
Shoes that accommodate multiple types of sole inserts - Whether you need cushioning, arch support, massage, or simply want a customizable shoe, hiking shoes and hiking boots are now expanding in variety to include multiple ways of upgrading them, for many walking preferences.
7 Top Fall Hiking Gear Essentials
- Waterproof and breathable rain jacket
Whether Gore Tex brand, or the many other branded fabrics that resist water, but allow perspiration and air, these are helpful for walks when the weather can be cold, wet or hot all in the same day
2. Hiking gloves
Hiking gloves, also called walking gloves, keep your hands less chapped, and protect your skin from the weather extremes when you go on fall walking. They also make a good companion for walking poles, reducing grip burn.
3. Knee braces and support
If your knees have had issues with support or pain in the past, or you have had recent procedures or surgeries, you will benefit with knee wraps that help increase blood flow during long walks. It can allow you to enjoy the trees, rather than turning around early due to pain.
4. Advanced camera
While today’s smartphone has come a long way in camera technology, high quality cameras with good lenses will help you capture the beauty of changing leaves, and the full spectrum of fall colors. Consider bringing one to lock in the best moments and best trees.
5. Leaf book or zippable bags
Fun, especially for children, hobbyists, or scrapbookers, collecting some of the perfect leaves, that have few blemishes, can capture some of the moments of your walk. Bring them home, press and preserve. A nice way to highlight picture frames, and photo books.
6. Breathable clothing layers
In addition to breathable jackets mentioned above, wearing other clothing layers that wick your sweat, and give you protection from weather change, can be a helpful strategy during a long fall colors walk, especially one that starts out in the morning.
7. Sun hat
Even though it is not summer anymore, the sun in fall can be brutal. Protect your neck and face with sun flap hats, that either have neck flaps, or wide brims.
Bonus Gear to Bring on Your Hikes
In addition to the top items above, it is helpful to bring sunglasses, a water bottle harness to carry your water effortlessly, and possibly a day bag or fanny pack to reduce the burden of having to carry a heavy backpack. It is all about going unhindered, to experience forests in their special time of year.
Enjoying the Trail and the Colors
Now you can enjoy the trail by experiencing the unique change of colors that happens only this time of year. This is one reason why people who live in temperate climate zones, which is most of the USA, look forward to the clear change of season that happens this time of year. And one of the best ways to experience these sites is to go walking on a trail or in a park. You’ll create memories you’ll look forward to again next year. And finishing off the walk with a hot pumpkin spice latte doesn’t hurt either.
About the author: Mike Cutler writes on active senior lifestyles and is a healthy lifestyle Blogger as well as product tester for Earth Trek Gear. He lives with his family in Reno NV and enjoys going to the Sierra Nevada mountains for hiking and family activities.