One of the most asked questions we get about hiking is how to get in shape for hiking. While we are not trainers or athletic coaches, we do know what works for us. Here are our top five tips on how you can get in shape for hiking:
1. Start hiking! Just start small. Go on short, flat hikes and increase mileage and elevation gain slowly. Really the best way to get in shape for hiking is to hike.
2. Start weight training 3x a week. Focus on leg strength, back strength, and core strength since those are the three muscle groups you use to propel yourself up a trail.
3. Add intense cardio 3-5x a week. Stair stepper, elliptical, stationary bike, and the treadmill with an incline will all help get your cardiovascular system ready for hiking. Switch it up so you don’t get bored and will work your body multiple ways.
4. Use food as fuel. Once we changed our mindset on food from eating just to eat and eating to fuel our bodies, our hiking game went to the next level. Clean eating is a huge part of this, but also learning what our bodies need in terms of carbs vs. protein and when to eat them was just as huge. Figure out what works best for your body and stick to it. It will change the way you feel not only when you’re climbing a mountain but all the time.
5. Be patient. All of this takes time so stick with it. The payoff is huge and you will feel better all of the time, not just when you’re standing on top of a mountain.
Consider starting a yoga practice to help improve balance, gain core strength, and help with recovery after hikes. It is a great practice to add to improve your hiking.
Keep in mind, hiking can be as much mental as physical. Your mind can give up way before your body does so a determined mindset can help you get further on the trail.
"If you crave adventure, love the outdoors and welcome a challenge, then this is the experience for you! Through the Trailblaze Challenge, you will challenge yourself, meet new friends and make a difference in the lives of children battling critical illnesses."
We are proud to announce we are a community partner for Make a Wish’s Trailblaze Challenge San Diego! Not only are they raising money for a worth cause, they are changing the participants lives through the power of hiking! This is something we can definitely stand behind.
WHAT IS THE TRAILBLAZE CHALLENGE?
Designed as a one-day endurance event, the Trailblaze Challenge gives participants the opportunity to hike 28 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail in picturesque Big Bear, California. In addition to hiking, participants raise much needed funds to grant the wishes of children in San Diego. This is a hike, not a race, and caters to all levels from novice to advanced outdoor enthusiasts.
2020 Hike Weekends: May 15–17 (Hike Day Saturday, May 16) and May 29–May 31 (Hike Day Saturday, May 30).
ABOUT THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a treasured pathway through some of the most outstanding scenic terrain in the United States. The famous hiking trail spans 2,650 miles (4,265 kilometers) from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon, and Washington. It reveals the beauty of the desert, unfolds the glaciated expanses of the Sierra Nevada, travels deep forests, and provides commanding vistas of volcanic peaks in the Cascade Range. Wildlife sightings can be common, and hikers will love the challenge of this beautiful trail.
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE HIKE EXPERIENCE?
•Specialized training program including a workout calendar and weekly group hikes
•Training Clinics – topics include hiking boots, socks & other trail essentials, hydration, nutrition & cross training
•Support and coaching from experienced Trailblaze Hike Leaders and Make-A-Wish staff
•Hotel Accommodations on Hike Weekend at The Lodge at Big Bear Lake, a Holiday Inn Resort (3-days/2-nights)
•Trailblaze Challenge duo-dry shirt for Hike Weekend
•Transportation to and from the trail on Hike Day
•Friday night Pasta Party to carbo-load before the big day
•Trail support at multiple locations throughout your journey, including hydration, snacks, first aid and encouragement
•Saturday evening post-hike celebration to share trail stories
•Sunday post-hike Victory Recognition Breakfast before heading home
IS THERE A FEE TO PARTICIPATE?
Each Trailblazer will be asked to raise a minimum amount of funds to cover their expenses and to help Make-A-Wish
continue its mission to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. A non-refundable $100 donation is required at the time of registration and will be credited toward your fundraising goal.
HOW WILL I REACH MY GOALS?
Make-A-Wish will support hike participants each step of the way by providing each participant with a personalized fundraising webpage, as well as sponsorship and fundraising materials, tips and advice. Each Trailblazer will be provided with a specialized training program and will be invited to attend weekly group training sessions and informal meet-ups.
JOIN THE CHALLENGE
If you’re ever in the Las Vegas, NV area and have a full day to explore, we highly recommend checking out Valley of Fire State Park. A short 60-minute drive from the strip, Valley of Fire State Park is a perfect day hiking trip while in Vegas. Most of the trails are fairly short, so you are able to hike multiple trails in one day and see most of what the park has to offer. We recommend hiking this area October-April as it is really hot in the summer months.
The park has a host of unique attractions including the fire wave, a brightly colored Aztec sandstone formation, ancient petrified trees, 2,000-year-old petroglyphs, and unique rock formations. There are also campsites in the park so if you want to spend more than a day, that is an option as well. The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset and there is a $10 entrance fee. Camping is $20.00 per night + $10.00 for sites with utility hook ups and are available only on a first-come, first-served basis. The visitor center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
On our last trip to the park, we spent the day hiking the Fire Wave Trail, Mouse’s Tank Trail, Pinnacles Loop Trail, Rainbow Vista Trail, and Elephant Rock Loop. We also made stops at the Petrified Logs, Atlatl Rock, Clark Memorial, and the cabins. Although it was a packed day, we had plenty of time to enjoy all of it!
Fire Wave Trail
Our favorite trail in the park was the Fire Wave Trail, although short and easy (1.5 miles round-trip with 175 feet of gain) it ends at a spectacular bright red sandstone formation. The beauty of it took our breath away.
Mouse's Tank Trail
After starting the day with the Fire Wave we though there would be no way the other trails in the park would be as spectacular. We were not disappointed. The Mouse's Tank Trail to Petroglyph Canyon is also a short .75 round trip hike with very little elevation gain that ends at a natural water tank. There are also petrogyphs. Thousands of them. We literally spent over an hour looking at the amazing 2,000 year old carvings that have been well preserved on the steep walls of the canyon. Suns and bighorn sheep and native dancers carved into the wall tell a story of the people long past. It was beautiful and moving to see such an amazing piece of history.
Pinnacles Loop Trail & Atlatl Rock
We had an inside tip to hike the Pinnacles Loop Trail because of the solitude we would find being it is a longer hike and not very popular. We took a chance and found a real gem of a trail. We didn’t see one other person the entire time. The trail starts on the opposite side of the road from Atlatl Rock and heads up a wash. At the end of the wash, you’ll end at a beautiful rock formation, the pinnacles, and looking back, a great view of the park. If you hike and out and back, it’s 4 miles round trip. If you do the whole loop, it’s 7 miles.
Rainbow Vista Trail
A short 1.5 mile round trip trail that meanders through colorful rocks and ends at an overlook. It is a stunning view with stunning colors of pink, red, crimson, salmon, set against sage green brush.
Elephant Rock Loop
Probably one of the most photographed rock formations in the park (mostly because of its proximity next to the main road), elephant rock really looks like an elephant. It is a short 1.5 mile loop hike that takes you to the backside of elephant rock. If you’re looking to grab a photo of it, this is the trail to take to get it.
We also made our stops at the Clark Memorial, the Petrified Log, and the Cabins- and had to get our photo at the Welcome sign! All in all, this is a beautiful park to visit.
Visit the state park website here for more information: