I’m writing this in year 19 of our marriage that all began on a hiking date in the Appalachian mountains in VA. Obvi i’m pretty passionate about it.
What You Will Learn
- So Is hiking a good date for Valentines day?
- Why go hiking on a date?
- 7 Reasons to Go on a Hiking Date + Tips
- Potential Problems with a Hiking Date
- Why Go on a Hiking Date?
- What to Bring on a Hiking Date
- Comfortable Romantic Walks
- What to Wear on a Hiking Date
- Hiking Date Ideas & Destinations in Europe that will Impress
So Is hiking a good date for Valentines day?
Reaching a scenic vista or a peaceful clearing can provide the perfect setting for a romantic picnic, making the day memorable on a hiking date for Valentines Day. Additionally, the shared sense of accomplishment after completing the hike can turn the experience into a metaphor for your relationship – a journey of overcoming obstacles and celebrating the beauty along the way.
Related👉 Valentine Hiking Gifts for Hikers
Why go hiking on a date?
- Wildlife – Could be a pitfall too
- Openness to Experience
- Test of Courage
You might have some questions about endorphins, more on that later.
7 Reasons to Go on a Hiking Date + Tips
1. ⬆️ Energy
Have you ever been on a date that was going really well and dinner was so delicious that you couldn’t stop eating and opted for dessert?
Then the crash. The inevitable fullness and sinking energy levels from sitting too long and eating too much.
For a lot of people fat and happy is great, but feeling bloated equals no desire for hanky panky.
With a hiking date you can get the best of both worlds.
You two lovebirds can enjoy some delicious food on a romantic outdoor picnic or a stop at a cool restaurant that’s half way along the trail and then keep moving.
It helps keep the energy levels high and the bloated feelings at bay. There’s nothing like light exercise to keep the GI system happy.
2. ⬆️ Endorphins – Our Happy Hormones
Most importantly though, a hiking date is fantastic for supercharging our happy hormones called endorphins. You know those chemical messengers in our brain and body that signal to our deepest self that all is good with this world.
Runners’ high applies to hiking also and is very good for helping with feelings of lightness and good mood, especially on high stress events like a date.
3. 📲 Ditch the Stress – Feel Connected
What’s more romantic than Mother Nature? According to Yale, Immersion in Nature has many benefits including a deeper sense of connection to what’s around us.
And it’s the perfect excuse to get off our devices and be with the person in front of us. This may be one of the most important things for the human race to continue.
4. 🦜Excuse Not to Have Talk So Much
It’s so much easier to have breaks in the conversation if you’re moving through the Outdoors on a hiking date. When stuck at a table it can get really awkward and difficult and strain the possibility of true connection.
Maybe you’re a little bit introverted (like pretty much everyone) and need some spaces to recharge during the date.
Some quiet can actually forge a stronger connection, but that’s really hard to do sitting at a restaurant table.
Isn’t this why you see so many couples on their phones at a romantic restaurant and the general feeling is “oh, poor thing, date’s not going well??”.
5. ☮️ Easy Out
Are they a creep? Are they a debbie downer? Do they act like energy vampires and suck the life out of the universe? Are they Q-Anon or really and truly believe in ghosts? Even on a hiking date that is total trash.
Simply walk away. This is a no-brainer as to why hiking is such a great first date. It’s super easy to make up an excuse like….
- My foot hurts
- I’m scared of bats
- Fear of heights
- Afraid of dark
- My toenail is too long for my shoe
You get the idea.
6. 🧑🔬Figure out the Pheromones
It’s not really ridiculous because humans are animals, but people are attracted to smells in their partner.
If you go on 10 dates doing sitting things and never really get to smell them in action it could be a huge waste of time.
A hiking date will give you the opportunity to actually smell the other human and you’ll know immediately if there’s no animal attraction.
7. 🔽 Cost + Maximize Experience
There’s no shame in reducing the cost of experiences in order to enjoy them more. The quality of the experience means more than the cost.
I say this from firsthand experience when eating at a London Michelin star restaurant. It was very cool and tasty. But the 1000 pound bill for one dinner? Yeah, it gave me gas.
A hiking date night can be pretty cheap. It’s not free however. You’ll still need to ensure that food and drinks are covered and that you’ve got the right equipment.
You can go for a hike around the block. Or you can go for a hike over the Alps. This will definitely depend on your style.
Potential Problems with a Hiking Date
It’s not all roses and hikes though. You’ve got to consider some things that may go wrong and plan ahead with the right gear, food, water and plan of where to go.
- Assuming the date’s tolerance to activity
- Serial Killer
- First dates
Don’t assume your date is a fast or slow hiker. Be upfront and beforehand ask how far they would like to go. It’s too easy to make assumptions and that is a huge turnoff at the beginning of any relationship.
If your date is intimidated by you and you plan a 20 mile trek, it’s likely not going to work.
Conversely, if you assume your date can’t go far or over difficult terrain, but they really are a badass it may be condescending.
See! You’re already working on the most important part of a relationship, communication.
If you’re lucky, you may have just found someone you can enjoy nature and hiking with for the rest of your life.
Why Go on a Hiking Date?
Why are Endorphins so important?
Opiates are synthetic endorphins.
They make people feel really good.
Not as good as the real thing though.
Endorphins are made in your brain and body in response to stress and pain.
Hiking is stress that makes endorphins.
A sitting date is stress, but not the kind that makes endorphins.
Make your date better with endorphins.
Say yes to a hiking date.
What to Bring on a Hiking Date
1st: Do you want to get lost? Navigation
This really could go either way. It can be very romantic to find your way out of the forest together. This could be some kind of litmus test for your future relationship. Will your date fold under pressure or take things easy and go with the flow?
Do you prefer a rigid, preplanned way of life? Well, then you’d better have some GPS tracks uploaded to your phone navigation app (I love Komoot for hiking) and show your partner that you’ve got your sh&t together and everything is precise.
Either way, make sure nobody gets truly hurt and there is always an off-ramp to the hike if needed. Make sure at least one person knows where you two are going in case of emergency.
2nd: Hiking Gear for Romantic Walks
1. Gear – Shoes
If there is dangerous wildlife, be prepared with some bear spray and tick tweezers. If you’re going to do some steep terrain, bring along trekking poles to make it easier. As always, wear good shoes. Sometimes crocs will work but other times you’ll really want some traction, like microspikes for your shoes.
2. Consider your hiking area
Do you have a lot of ticks in your region?
Bring deet spray.
Will you have water sources?
If not, bring twice as much as you think you should.
Will you be stopping at a restaurant along the hike?
Always feed your hiking date. That’s literally the best part of a hiking date. You get to earn your delicious food with a walk. It just always tastes better when you’re moving for food.
Comfortable Romantic Walks
Bring a phone for safety, but really try to keep it out of your face. Just saying.
It wouldn’t hurt to bring along a waterproof blanket to sit down on and maybe observe the beautiful place you’ll be hiking through.
Other great ideas include a journal, sketchpad, picnic basket and biodegradable wipes for when nature calls.
Does your date like booze or wine?
Does your date like gifts?
If so, get her something from this hiker gift guide and really surprise her.
Some people really don’t care about gifts and only the experience. But those people may be uber impressed if the gift is something functional that supports the experience. Or not. Hard to tell.
And this goes without saying. Don’t leave your trash. Always bring out everything you take in.
What to Wear on a Hiking Date
This really is a place for your personality to shine through on a hiking first date beyond your hiking boots.
What’s your vibe for the perfect hiking date outfit?
Gnarly environmentalist? Deck yourself out in Patagonia.
High class bitch? Bring your LV purse inside your pack.
Indigo girls grunge? Hike in your Tevas.
Stealth Wealth? $200 t-shirt with holes in it
Crossfit f-ever? Wear your 70 strap strappy sports bra
New England Preppy? Definitely L. LL. Bean baselayer
European Flavor? Wir muss haben Jack Wolfskin
Seriously, wear whatever the heck you want. It’s a day hike and you don’t need moisture wicking fabrics and merino wool.
Hiking shoes are just fine, even tennis shoes usually. For us ladies, however, make sure you wear something that won’t chafe.
Sometimes shorts aren’t the answer, but there are really cool hiking skirts now that have built in shorts that are long enough to cover your thighs and avoid the chafe.
If you’re on a hike date and have really good natural heat regulation (aka you sweat a lot) bring some wipes to clean out the cracks and a ziplock baggie to take out your trash.
Hiking Date Ideas & Destinations in Europe that will Impress
TL;DR: The Dolomites are an unreal group of 19 spires and pinnacles of peaks that are so beautiful they are a UNESCO world heritage site.
It’s located about 2 hours from Venice and the hike itself can be 8-10 days hiking hut to hut. It’s easy enough to do a 5 day section if you’ve only got a week of vacation to do a hiking date vacation.
You can make it really hard and do via ferrata (awesome rock climbing with helmets) or you can go a gentle meandering way. You’ll be rewarded with dramatic and varied landscapes, delicious food and comfortable mountain huts to sleep in each night.
The Alta Via 1 is not about difficult and taxing effort only. History, culture, food and Nature merge here and with the mountain hut system it can be a very romantic experience..
Watch my webstories here to get a video taste to hike Alta Via 1 and see the turquoise lakes and rocky pinnacles that are the Dolomites.
2. Romantic Hikes in Germany
Calmont Klettersteig – Bremmer Calmont
Hike literally through and around the steepest vineyard in the world on the Calmont Klettersteig hike in Germany’s Mosel River Valley.
It’s a hike that includes some metal ladders and rungs to assist over rocky parts. It’s even got a wine vending machine halfway through in case you get thirsty.
3. Rüdesheim Germany on the Rheinsteig
Since we’re on the vineyard theme here for hiking dates I’d be remiss to forget to mention the stunning Romantic Rhine River hikes around Rüdesheim Germany.
Sitting at the opening of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley UNESCO site, it’s got everything for a romantic hike. Half timbered wine village with restaurants, museums and fairly easy hikes that are even serviced by gondola, river cruise and train.
This one is great if you get a bit tipsy and want a ride back. Also, wine is available on the trail at little huts where you swipe your credit card and the fridge of cold Rieslings open.
4. Geierlay Bridge Adventure in Germany
The 1200 ft long Geierlay bridge offers a unique experience.
The Geierlay bridge might just make the most impressive off-the-beaten path hiking date idea and proposal location for Nature lovers. It’s not so insta- famous yet and is 300 ft off the ground. It’s drama all around.
4. Romantic Walks in Portugal
Fisherman’s Trail on Wild Atlantic in Portugal
Just a couple hours from Lisbon is the Fisherman’s trail.
It’s a fairly easy, but sandy trail that traverses cliffs on the Atlantic ocean on Portugals Alentejo coast. It’s wild, it’s authentic and totally awesome for a romantic hike. You can walk 1 day and take the bus back to the start or continue for 4 days of amazing ocean based hiking with crazy wildlife, food and scenery.
I hope you enjoyed this brainstorm on the perfect hiking date.
Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.