When it comes to dating, the first date is a crucial one. Hiking for a first date is a great way to get in some physical activity and have an adventure while getting to know someone new.
Hikes are also intimate since they involve being close together on difficult terrain with no escape routes – not that you’ll need them!
Hiking can be intimidating (even when it’s not the first date), so here are 16 tips for making your hike more successful- and for getting that second date scheduled!
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Is hiking a good first date idea?
Yes, hiking is a great first date idea! Hiking is a low key activity that allows for conversation, which makes it easier to get to know someone. Hiking allows you to spend time outside and take in the fresh air which is a great way to ease into any first date.
Also, a hiking date can be done on almost any budget, so you don’t have to break the bank- just go for an easy walk around your neighborhood or park!
Think the first day will lead to something more? Learn how to plan a hiking wedding!
How to pick a trail for a hiking first date
When choosing a trail for your hiking date, it’s important to pick something that meets the skill level of both people. You don’t want to choose a path that is too difficult for either person so that you have the opportunity to get to know one another.
If you are uncertain of your dates hiking skills, an easy hike is always a safe bet. Choose a trail that is mostly flat, doesn’t have a large elevation increase, and is an easy trail for those of all ability levels.
If you have never met the other person before (such as if you met through dating apps), consider avoiding isolated places so you don’t have to meet a total stranger for the first time without anyone around.
Choose a location where you feel safe meeting someone for the first time – typically a trail that is relatively busy and has other people around.
How long should a hike be for a first date?
One of the biggest questions for planning a hiking date is how long should the hike be? Hikes that are too short may leave you disappointed, while hikes that are too long will be exhausting and could ruin the date.
Hikes should generally range from 45 minutes to two hours in length for a first date, depending on how much time you have available. If your hike is longer than this it’s probably better suited as a second date or third date.
What time of day should a hike be for a first date?
Hikes at the beginning or end of the day are best for first dates. Hikes can be done in the morning to start off the day with a refreshing walk through nature, or at night time to cap off an already fun date.
Hiking during midday means you’ll have to put up with hot weather and direct sunlight while hiking – not exactly ideal for hanging out on a first date!
Create a plan
Every successful hiking date (or any date for that matter) begins with a solid plan. However, the key to setting up the perfect hiking first date is finding that sweet spot between spontaneity and preparation. Have the main details planned out, while being open to changes in your plan.
You should tell your date exactly where you will be hiking (including the name of the trail), and what time. Plan if you will pick your date up or if you will meet them there so there is no confusion.
You should also let them know any specific details about the trail or the area (such as if there is paid parking), so they can prepare as well.
Lastly, make a plan in case the date goes well (which we hope it does!). Find a coffee shop or restaurant in the area where you could take your date after the hike if you wish to continue spending time together.
Having the entire date planned will make your date go much smoother, and you will make a good impression!
What to wear on a hike on a first date
When going on a hiking date, you will likely want to dress to impress. But, how do you dress well when you also want to be comfortable for your hike? Luckily, athletic clothing is fashionable in today’s society, and it can be easy to look cute!
Hiking boots, shorts or pants, and a nice shirt are all good choices for a hiking date. You’ll want to dress in layers so that you can add more clothing when it gets cold out, but not have too much on when you start getting hot from your exertion. Be sure to check out these hiking hairstyles as well!
Take note of where you are hiking before you choose your footwear. Running shoes might be a bad idea if the trail is rocky and uneven. Hiking shoes will help keep your feet comfortable.
You’ll also want to wear a good pair of hiking socks so you don’t get blisters. Hiking socks are much thicker than your average pair, and they will help protect you from rocks and sticks on the trail as well as prevent any foot pain that may occur during the hike.
Hats might also be a good idea for a hiking date since there is likely to be some sun exposure along the way!
What to pack for a hiking first date
The key to a successful hike date is being prepared, which means having packed the right items! Check out our guide for more information on what to pack for a day hike.
First and foremost, you should always pack sunscreen for any outdoor activity. You don’t want to ruin your first time meeting someone by getting a severe sunburn!
We recommend sunscreens like Neutrogena Dry Sunscreen for your body and Olay Whips with SPF 25 for your face. It does not leave your skin greasy, and I can even easily apply makeup over it! I like these options a lot, and wear them almost every day!
Check out our post on more ways to prevent sunburn and keep your skin healthy each and every day!
You’ll also want to make sure you bring plenty of water. Hiking is a physical activity, and you’ll need to replenish fluids frequently. It’s also useful for cleaning off cuts if something happens!
Choose a hiking backpack that has a water bladder in it, or bring a large enough water bottle that will last you the entire date.
Depending on the season and where you are hiking, you may need some bug spray. For example, if you are hiking early in the morning or after dusk, mosquitos might be out- have bug spray handy so they don’t ruin your date!
Additionally, if your hiking trail runs along any standing water such as a lake or pond, it is a good idea to have bug spray as bugs like to hang out around these areas.
If you hate wearing bug spray (I know I do!), consider wearing bug repellent bands that look like simple bracelets and help keep bugs away from you!
It is always a great idea to have first aid materials when you are hiking. Hikers can get themselves into a lot of precarious situations, so it is smart to have something to help you deal with injuries.
If you don’t bring a hiking first aid kit, bring some bandaids and a few other essential items such as antiseptic wipes and pain relievers just in case.
Bring snacks with you on your hiking date- hiking burns calories and can make you grumpy, which isn’t a good look when trying to make a good impression.
Consider bringing snacks such as trail mix, granola or protein bars, fresh fruit, or a peanut butter sandwich. Remember to take breaks as you are hiking to refuel and recharge so you or your date don’t get too tired and irritable!
Have a picnic together
If you are looking to create a romantic hike experience, put together a picnic for you and your date to enjoy. Find a flat spot to put a blanket to sit on, and plan out what you are going to eat for the picnic.
Pack some sandwiches, fresh fruit or veggies with hummus, chips or pretzels, granola bars- whatever sounds delicious!
You can even bring a cute hiking picnic backpack with a bottle of wine and a charcuterie board for an even more romantic experience!
Find a scenic or beautiful viewing point about halfway through your hike to set up your picnic spot. Find a quiet spot where you can get away from other people on the trail and spend time having a wonderful conversation!
Hiking can be tiring work so this is an opportunity to take a break from hiking and enjoy each other’s company. Your date will be impressed by your preparation and thoughtfulness!
Talk and get to know each other
As you hike with your partner, put in the effort to have some good conversation with your date. Hiking is a great way to get to know someone better and learn more about their interests, values, goals, and personality!
To prevent any awkward silences, it can be a good idea to have some questions in your mind ahead of time that you want to ask them.
If you are not much of a talker, listen and observe your date. Take in what they’re saying and show that you care by asking them follow-up questions to their story or comment.
Take pictures together at scenic points
If you and your date are feeling comfortable with one another, consider taking pictures together!
Hiking is a great way to see the beauty of nature, so take pictures at scenic points along the way. This is a great way to remember your exciting experience together.
Check out our guide on how to take the best selfies and pictures with others!
Use these hiking quotes for the perfect Instagram caption!
Things NOT to do on your hiking date
To prevent any awkward situations, there are some things you should avoid while enjoying nature with your date. Avoid these things and your hiking date should be successful!
Don’t lead the way the entire time
Often times on a trail, only one person can walk at a time. Hiking with another person can cause you to feel bad if your date is stuck behind while you’re walking in front of them the entire way. Make sure to take turns leading and following.
Give each other time to talk without interruption
No one likes never being able to get a word in. To have a great date, be sure to give your date the opportunity to talk without you immediately jumping in.
Allow them time to speak, and offer follow-up questions to show you are interested in what they have to say. Also, be sure to maintain eye contact frequently throughout your conversations to show you are interested in them and actively listening!
Avoid controversial topics
Depending on the nature of your relationship, you may want to avoid controversial topics such as politics, religion, or anything else that could start an argument. Save these topics for a second date or later where they might be more appropriate to discuss.
If you find the conversation turning argumentative, laugh it off and change the subject.
Never go off the hiking trail
Any time you are hiking, you should never leave the trail. Hiking trails have been created for a reason. Hikers go on the trail so they don’t get lost or hurt themselves by falling off of cliffs, etc.
If you feel like your date is trying to take you somewhere unsafe, turn around and head back in the direction from which you came immediately! If this happens during your first date, just head back to your car.
Hiking on a first date is not the time to try new trails that you have never hiked before either!
There is nothing more dangerous than getting lost in the woods with someone who doesn’t know where they are or how to get out of there safely. Stay safe, and stay on the trail.
Extend your date
If your day went well, consider asking them if they’d like to continue spending more time together before you head home. This is where your planned dinner restaurant or coffee shop idea will come in handy.
If your date had a fun time with you, they will likely want to continue the day! Take them out to your favorite dinner spot nearby, grab a drink, or get brunch together!
This can be the perfect way to continue getting to know your date even after the hike has ended.
Invite them on a second date!
If you both had a good first date together, invite them on another date! Have some date ideas in mind to recommend so you can make a solid plan to see each other again!
We hope that this guide will help you to plan the perfect date for you and your partner!
Before you leave, get your hiking log below so you can keep track of all your favorite hikes!