What is the biggest difference between hiking and trekking?

Often when you pack your backpack, and plan to go to the mountain or a destination with your friends. What do you tell your family? You are going hiking or trekking? or both?

If you are confused about the difference between hiking and trekking, you are not alone. People often think of trekking and hiking as synonymous. Although they are also similar, they also have some differences that divide them into two sports. There is a lot of confusion on the market between trekking and hiking. The two are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Lots of people who are interested in hiking want to know if it’s the same as trekking.

The biggest difference between hiking and trekking?

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t quite clear-cut. What might seem like a basic question actually has many variables that can change what constitutes “trekking” and “hiking.” At the risk of sounding a bit like a high school essay here, what we are finally going to conclude in this article is that hiking, and trekking are more or less the same things. However, each word has slightly different meanings associated with it. We’ll look at those too, so you never need to get confused again.

Trekking is a form of hiking that is more strenuous than a regular hike. It usually involves walking over rough terrain with heavy loads and going over higher elevations. Hiking, on the other hand, is usually done on flatter terrain and it doesn’t require as much effort as trekking does. It also doesn’t involve carrying heavy loads or going over high elevations like trekking does.

Hiking is a more general term that can be used to describe any walk in the woods or on a mountain. Hikes might be short and easy or long and difficult. Trekking is a specific type of hike where you carry your food, water, and other supplies with you during your walk. It is typically done in remote areas where there are no established trails.


To understand the difference between hiking and trekking, we thought it would be helpful to first provide you with a definition of each.

The word trek” means a long journey, usually on foot — for example, a backpacking adventure through Appalachia or any other areas.

The word “hike” means to walk for enjoyment, not necessarily a long distance. If you take your dog for a hike, it’s just as much of a hike as a journey through the Grand Canyon, even though one is more work than the other.

So, as far as the definition is concerned, you can observe that there is not much to distinguish between hiking and trekking. However, the emphasis is placed on trekking, as it is more demanding than hiking. While the definition of hiking includes the word “walking”, something that is generally seen as jovial, easy, and enjoyable, while trekking is defined as a “journey”, which is generally somewhat more challenging, requiring more effort and tends to take more than a day.

If we take a closer look at the differences between hiking and trekking, we will see what differentiate these two activities.

Hiking vs Trekking: Differences


1. Distance and Duration

Distance and duration are the most prominent differences between these two hiking and trekking.

If you look at the definitions of hiking and trekking, they are both described as “long”.

The hike will be the shortest of the two, and the duration of the hike will be shorter as compared to trekking. And the general consensus is that if you can do it in one day, it’s a hike. For some of us, though, we can walk a maximum of five miles a day and for others, it’s closer to 30.

Trekking, on the other hand, always involves travelling long distances. For example, a trek in the Himalayas, or in any other areas can cover a distance of over 100 miles. The definition of a long-distance will varies between a novice and an experienced trekker, but to draw a line somewhere, let’s say that once you start to rise above the 40-mile mark, It will be more likely to be a trek than a hike.

People who often go for trekking do not have any destination in mind. They aspire to reach their destination and can walk hundreds or even thousands of kilometres per trekking trip. On the other hand, the length and effort required for a hike is less, when compared to trekking

2. Terrain or Destination


Another difference between trekking and hiking is the type of terrain or any destination that falls under these categories. As you know, hiking does not involve a specific destination. You can go to the top of the mountain, the lake, or the waterfall but none of these features define the hike, they just make it more beautiful. As long as it is happening outside in nature. Hikers often use marked hiking trails and walk-through mountains, forests, hills, or other natural environments that they want to explore.

In comparison, trekking usually denotes some sort of special destination,
whether it is a two-week walk to the Everest Base Camp or a 500-mile pilgrimage or any other place. Treks can really be done just for pleasure – but there’s usually a lot more importance than just taking out the hills through your back door. Trekking trips do not always take place on marked trails and often pass-through unexplored nature such as mountains, roads, forests and more. In this aspect, there is more freedom in trekking as the trekkers are not consistent within some trails.

3. Accommodation

As mentioned earlier, hiking can also be an overnight experience. Even in that case, the base is usually in one place. For example, people live in a mountain camp and go hiking to a different peak every day, always returning to the mountain camp as their base. Those who practice trekking never return to the place where they have been before. Their journey is focusing on a specific destination. Every time the trekkers stop, they stay in a different accommodation. Be it camp, mountain tents or any other type of accommodation depending on the trekking route and weather conditions.



Now that you read this far, you have a good idea that there is not only one difference between hiking and trekking, but there are quite a few. Starting with the length of the activity, the accommodations, the terrain you’re walking on, there are more differences between hiking and trekking than people think. Hiking is a short, easy journey, usually walking on looped marked trails, to-and-back, or even destination hikes. Trekking always involves a specific destination. A trekking path passes through isolated, often rough terrain and requires more equipment and preparations for the adventurer. Happy Trekking.!

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