Difference between Hiking and Trekking
Key difference: The main difference between the two is that hiking is mainly a leisure activity which is done by walking on well-made trails and man-made roads. However, trekking is more rigorous, and a more challenging activity. It tests one’s physical ability, endurance, and even their mental or psychological capacity.
Both hiking and trekking are activities involving physical movement, mainly walking. However, there are certain differences between the context and implication of the words. The main difference between the two is that hiking is mainly a leisure activity which is done by walking on well-made trails and man-made roads. However, trekking is more rigorous, and a more challenging activity. It tests one’s physical ability, endurance, and even their mental or psychological capacity.
According to Dictionary.com, hiking is “to walk or march a great distance, especially through rural areas, for pleasure, exercise, military training, or the like.” It is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often in mountainous or other scenic terrain. People hike on hiking trails, in order to relax, and have fun or to exercise. The main health benefits of hiking include, but are not limited to, losing excess weight, decreasing hypertension, and improving mental health. Hence, it has become quite a popular activity today.
A trek, on the other hand, is a longer harder hike. It is an adventurous journey undertaken on foot in areas where common means of transport are generally not available. Dictionary.com describes trekking as, “to travel or migrate, especially slowly or with difficulty.”
The biggest difference between hiking and trekking is the intensity. Hiking is generally easy to moderately paced activity, whereas trekking is more vigorous and done with a purpose to achieve something or to reach somewhere. Trekking often takes place over varied terrain, while hiking takes place on a set trail. A trekker may travel on roads and trails for part of his journey, or bushwhack through undeveloped terrain. A trekker may require the use of maps and orienteering skills to find his way, they may also have need for first aid and survival skills.
Hiking is usually a one-day activity or perhaps a few days’ activity at most; however a trek is usually a multi-day activity. It can even take up to months or a year, depending on the distance needed to be covered.
In some places, hiking a long-distance trail from end-to-end is also referred to as trekking or as thru-hiking. For example, multi-day hiking in the mountainous regions of India, Pakistan, Nepal, North America, South America, Iran and in the highlands of East Africa is also called trekking.
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