A Hiking Planner to help boomer travelers prepare for the best day hikes
Will you be hiking on your next boomer travel adventure? Whether you’re hitting the trail on a road trip, as a shore excursion, or in a national park, our Hiking Planner introduces you to the best trails for boomers, where to find hiking information and, of course, how to gear up for your next hike.
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How do we plan a hiking day trip?
Do you see the word, “day” in the above headline? Alan and I are day hikers. We enjoy moderately-easy to moderate trails. You won’t see me writing about hiking 10 miles to camp overnight at a mountain lake. That’s backpacking and our backs are too old to lug around heavy camping gear.
But we do love a good hike, especially if there’s a reward at the turnaround point like a waterfall or stupendous view. One of my all-time favorites is the hike to Bullhead Lake in Glacier National Park.
Alan and I begin planning hikes with our favorite online resources, followed by reading books and a browse around the Amazon store. We’ve included them all in this hiking trip planner so that you can make the most of your active travels.
Whether you’re planning a road trip, a week’s vacation in U.S. National Parks or a hiking trip in Europe, online travel resources equal instant information at your fingertips. But we’ve found that too much information complicates research rather than speeding it up. That’s why you’ll find only the best online resources in our Hiking Planner. Bookmark our favorites for your boomer travel planning. We’ve also included our favorite apps.
Online Hiking Resources for boomer hikers
How do you know where to find the best hiking trails while traveling? If first-person accounts of boomer travelers who’ve actually experienced the trail are important to you, start at our Hiking Around the World page. We also have plenty of articles about USA hiking trails and European hikes.
The American Hiking Society website is filled with hiking tips and trail advice. We particularly like the “hike near you” feature for hikes in the United States.
Apps can make a good hike even better. We’ve curated a list of hiking apps that include planning, route finding, safety and more. Check out the best hiking apps for boomer hikers.
American Trails is another good site for finding USA hiking trails.
Are you planning to hit the trail in a National Park? Start at our National Park Travel Planner page.
If you’re looking for long distance trails in Europe, Traildino offers excellent information.
Once you’re out on the trail, few things are as important as fuel for your body. Trail Cooking has great tips for cooking on the trail, or back at the campground.
Need help gearing up for your hike? We can help. Start at the My Itchy Travel Feet Hiking Gear shop.
Hiking Guides and Adventure Books
While online research is easy and convenient, Alan and I still enjoy sitting down with a good book to plan our hiking adventures. Of course, we load them into Kindle, when we can, for easy access on the trail, especially since good Wifi usually isn’t an option—thankfully, since hiking should be about staying in the moment, not being on your phone.
When it comes to hiking, Falcon Hiking Guides are our absolute favorite. You’ll find guides for U.S. National Parks plus others for states that are known for their trails. Alan and I find the books to be accurate with plenty of information for beginner hikers to advanced backpackers. Unfortunately, Falcon doesn’t cover international destinations, but the company does publish guides for biking, camping, paddling, climbing, nature and the outdoors.
For international destinations, we recommend starting with Lonely Planet guides.
Thinking about a long-distance walk to celebrate a boomer milestone? Walking Distance: Extraordinary Hikes for Ordinary People, by Robert E. Manning, will get you started.
If you’re looking for books to inspire your next hike, smile along with Bill Bryson’s take on hiking the Appalachian Trial, A Walk in the Woods. Or be amazed at Cheryl Strayed’s adventure walking the Pacific Crest Trail in her non-fiction book, Wild.
Gear for a boomer day hike
Although exploring nature doesn’t necessarily mean lugging along a lot of equipment, it certainly helps to be prepared for the uncertainty that nature is so famous for. Check out the gear that we use so that you’re prepared for that next hiking adventure or read our hiking gear guide for a more comprehensive list of items.!
Hiking poles take the pressure off our knees when Alan and I are hiking downhill. They’re incredibly useful in almost any type of terrain and are lightweight enough to carry in your luggage. I also find that the poles help when my fear of heights kicks in—which happens more and more frequently these days. Hiking poles keep me feeling steady and secure. If you’re a boomer who’s balance is deteriorating, don’t let that stop you from hiking. Use poles and keep on staying active!
Depending on your hiking route’s terrain and weather conditions, a good pair of gaiters help protect your legs from getting wet. They also work well over waterproof hiking shoes as winter gear for cold weather trips instead of packing a bulky pair of snow boots.
Since I’ve experienced skin cancer a hat is a must for me, Alan, too. My Tilley Endurables Hat protects my face from the sun. I also like the mesh feature, which keeps my head from getting too hot. And the chin strap keeps the hat on my head when the wind gusts.
Zip-off pants are indispensable on any hiking trip. And the pockets are a big bonus! I wear Columbia convertible pants for their comfort and functionality.
The Columbia Evapouration Jacket keeps me comfortable, warm and, most importantly, dry. An added bonus: the fabric is breathable. Who wants to be wet and clammy when hiking in a rain jacket? Bonus tip: choose a bright color to look better in photographs.
Merino Wool Hiker Socks are a must for keeping feet dry, comfortable and cushioned on a long day of exploring.
Cumbersome backpacks can be especially hard on boomer backs, so we recommend a hiking waist pack, which is just the right size for a day hike.
Be sure to tuck several packages of hand and toe warmers into your pack. They come in varieties for hands, toes, feet and more. It’s your insurance against extra cold weather.
And, of course, you’ll need a pair of waterproof hiking shoes. We order our Merrill’s from Zappos because of the easy return policy.
The Kuru Chicane is a lightweight hiking shoe that I wear on easy hikes or trails without rocky terrain. This is a great shoe for cruises because it takes up less room in luggage and can double as a city walking shoe or on the ship’s outdoor walking track.
Have I given you enough ideas for planning your next hiking adventure? Check back as I continue to update resources and advice so that you have the best boomer travel experiences possible.
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