Hiking vs. Walking: What’s the Difference?

Hiking vs. Walking

23 Sep 2022 Chandra Gurung

Hiking vs. Walking: What’s the Difference? Although walking and hiking may sound similar, they differ significantly from one another. Let’s examine what distinguishes these ostensibly comparable forms of exercise.

What is Walking?

There are numerous ways to define walking. Some pay attention to how the body moves physically, others to the speed, and still others to how the action develops.

Walking is the most leisurely type of transportive activity; it gets you from point A to point B. 

Your walking motion and strides are often relaxed and comfortable. You don’t walk with significant steps, you don’t move your legs swiftly, and you constantly have one foot on the ground.

What is Hiking?

In its simplest form, hiking is merely walking; nevertheless, the location and purpose of a hike characterize it.

You are attempting to travel from point A to point B while you walk. Even though you may have point B in mind when you go on a hike, you always end up back at point A.

Even though it moves and paces similarly to walking, hiking is done for a very different cause. Hiking is done for fun, fitness, and leisure. Typically lasting longer than walks, hikes take place in beautiful, naturalistic environments.

It takes more deliberate navigation than walking because the ground is frequently uneven. The purpose of hiking is to enjoy walking, not to reach any place in particular.

What are the Benefits of Walking and Hiking?

Most individuals are unaware of the multiple health advantages that walking and hiking bring. Let’s compare the two to comprehend further what they both offer. Walking and hiking both:

  • Decrease heart disease risk
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Strengthen bone density
  • Improve stability
  • Develop muscle
  • Enhance mood and lessen stress
  • Assist with weight management
  • Assist in easing and managing certain medical disorders, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and chronic pain
  • Enhance the immunological system

Which is Better, Hiking or Walking?

Since hiking is more strenuous than walking, it promotes the advantages mentioned earlier. While walking is still a great exercise with all these advantages, hiking will increase your calorie burn, use more muscles, and improve your health in general.

Calories Burned Hiking vs. Walking

In contrast to simply walking, hiking burns calories based on weight, the gradient, and the load you’re carrying. The weather, your age and sex, and how difficult the landscape is to navigate are further considerations.

While walking can burn about 100 calories each mile, hiking can quickly burn twice as many calories. And that amount can rise to well over 500 calories each hour if you carry a hefty pack and traverse challenging terrain.

It’s Your Route and Path That Determine What You Do

The critical distinction between the two activities is that walking is typically done on well-worn or artificial paths, whereas hiking usually occurs on more rugged, naturally occurring trails.

Usually, concrete, gravel, asphalt, and sand are used to create walking routes. In contrast to hiking pathways, which are typically found in wooded areas, protected parks, and mountains and are frequently rough and steep, artificial roads are often level and smooth. While a leisurely walk might have a bridge, it is customary to cross a riverbank while hiking.

What to Take Hiking?

A day hike might be as easy as strolling along a well-kept track close to your home or as challenging as an all-day adventure through a wilderness area. Depending on the complexity and duration of the journey, the materials you pack may change a little, but it’s always helpful to be prepared no matter how you travel. The most necessary hiking equipment is listed below: apparel like a raincoat and hiking pants, essential gear like a daypack and trekking poles, and extras and personal items.


  • Hiking shoes
  • Hiking socks
  • Hiking pants or shorts
  • Hiking shirt 
  • Rain jacket or windbreaker
  • Down jacket


  • Daypack
  • Water bottle
  • Headlamp
  • Trekking poles
  • First aid kit
  • Navigation
  • Food


  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Lip balm
  • Toilet paper
  • Repair kit
  • Multitool or Swiss Army Knife
  • Camera
  • Emergency blanket
  • Lighter  

Hiking Boots and Walking Shoes

One of the most significant selections hikers must make is footwear. Hiking is an activity that may put a lot of wear and pressure on the feet.

It can impact not just the feet but also how the rest of the body feels and can be the gap between a pleasurable and a horrible trip.

Most hikers’ footwear selections are limited to two. Walking shoes and hiking boots are two alternatives.

Walking Shoes

Walking shoes are lighter-weight, fairly sturdy shoes created to be comfortable over long, flat, or soft distances.

Walking shoes, in addition to particularly developed shoes for their business, are popular among nurses and other highly mobile medical personnel.

These shoes are incredibly comfortable when walking along a smooth trail with little rocks or hills. Walking shoes are frequently more comfortable in situations like these than hiking boots.

These shoes often do not support and generally reach the ankle. They can be composed of water-resistant materials, but they are typically not strong enough to keep moisture out if the hiker goes into a stream, puddle, or rain.

Hiking Boots

Hiking boots are often significantly tougher and longer lasting than walking shoes. These boots contain additional cushioning and maybe metal bars within the soles.

This provides sufficient foot support while reducing the likelihood of pain or bruising when trekking over rocky, rough, or uneven terrain. Furthermore, these boots elevate above the ankle, providing ankle support and reducing the likelihood of an ankle injury.

Hiking boots are ideal for poor weather and are more water-resistant than walking shoes. They might even be waterproof, allowing cleanup much easier after a long trip.

What is the Difference Between Hike and Trek?

The basic distinction between hiking and trekking is that trekking entails a larger distance and takes many days.

Hiking is a long walk, usually done for pleasure or fitness. It entails a day or overnight stroll through the wilderness on walking trails or footpaths. Hiking is often done on established routes or roads. Hiking, as opposed to trekking, entails a lesser distance and a reduced length of time. A 1-mile stroll can even be considered a hike. As a result, hiking isn’t as rigorous or difficult as trekking.

Trekking is the act of walking a long distance through tough terrain, generally for enjoyment. Trekking, instead of hiking, takes several days, just not a few hours. In other words, they are multi-day trips that cover a significant amount of ground. Trekkers choose less accessible sites than hikers. They may include a variety of terrains. That is why they’re more difficult than trekking. Trekking also allows you to visit isolated local communities, providing a cultural and environmental experience.

Definition Hiking is a long walk, usually done for pleasure or fitness.Trekking is the act of walking a long distance through tough terrain, generally for enjoyment.
DaysHiking may be done in half or full days.
Trekking takes many days.
TerrainHiking typically entails following established paths and roads.
Trekking takes you across a variety of terrains.
NatureHiking is less physically demanding than trekking.Trekking is more difficult than hiking.
EquipmentHiking does not need many supplies.Trekking necessitates the use of several items of equipment, such as tents and sleeping bags.
For BeginnersHiking is excellent for beginners.Trekking is far more difficult than hiking.

Is it True that Walking with a Backpack Burns More Calories?

Walking incinerates roughly three times the calories just by having a backpack with some load in it! Consider that. Assume you go for three 30-minute walks each week. If you start wearing a hefty pack, you’ll eliminate 31,200 extra calories in a year.

The more weight you have, the more calories you will expend. Carrying a lightweight (such as a day pack) on the trail burns around 50 extra calories each hour. A long backpacking journey adds about 100 calories or even more to your hourly burn rate.


So, what exactly is the distinction between walking and hiking?

Walking is often a leisurely activity performed in a more urban setting or on a road/sidewalk. Hiking is best characterized as getting out on the trails and immersing oneself in nature.

There are also certain altitude changes, typical with hiking, such as climbing a mountain or climbing a ridge line.