As with many linguistic terms, hiking and trekking have similar yet different meanings. However, that difference may vary depending on the region of the world you’re exploring. For the most part in North America and Europe, here are the slight differences between hiking and trekking.
What is Considered Hiking?
One could consider any walk a hike, however, most hikers prefer to take journeys along wilderness trails, pathways and mountains. Hikers often take on rugged terrain in secluded natural settings and limit their outings to daylight hours. However, there are some truly eager outdoor lovers who enjoy extending these exploratory walks for a few days to achieve a goal such as summiting a high peak.
This is when hiking can crossover with backpacking and trekking. Most hikes can be planned quickly, while overnight backpacking trips and treks typically require more pre-trip arrangements. Hiking and backpacking can be labor intensive, as you will be carrying your own supplies and gear in and out of your location and setting up your own camp. That being said, there are outfitters that offer extended hiking experiences that many would call treks.
While many of the goals and experiences of hiking are similar to trekking, the primary differences are the length of the journey and the amenities available along the way. For example, on these multi-day affairs, there is much more planning and infrastructure provided.
Furthermore, many treks take place at higher altitudes, making them more physically arduous. This is why most treks are enjoyed with the guidance of a professional tour company that has porters carry camp equipment and options to obtain gear during the trip.
Trekkers with commercial outfitters supporting them will typically enjoy access to guest quarters, wide trails, regular meals and snack stops. While going on a trek requires less self-sufficiency, the experience is no less spectacular. Ideal for beginners and experienced trekkers alike, be sure to choose a tour company with great care to ensure your trip is memorable from the first footstep until the last.
As you can see, the terms hiking and trekking are understandably used synonymously in many countries. Regardless of what you call it, experiences such as these help you reconnect with soothing spirit of the great outdoors.