12 Hiking Date Tips and 5 Things to Avoid on a First Date Hike

Last Updated on 27/10/2022

Hiking Date Tips

Hiking Date Tips For First Dates

In this article, you will learn our hiking date tips. Whilst hiking on a first date can be an excellent way to get to know someone and get some exercise at the same time, like anything, there are guidelines that should be followed in order to make things as enjoyable as possible

Safety when dating is paramount, so you should make sure that you take all the necessary precautions in order to feel safe and relaxed on your hiking date. You should pick easy to moderate trails so you can concentrate on getting to know each other and you should be sure to plan ahead for any eventuality.

It’s also good to establish some ground rules to make sure you are both on the same page or to weed out people you are not very compatible with. If you follow our tips, you’re sure to have a great hiking first date!

Is Hiking a Weird First Date?

Whilst it is a bit of an unusual first date choice, hiking for a first date isn’t necessarily weird. It might be weird if you or your date insist on going hiking as a first date when neither of you is a particularly active hiker, or if neither of you enjoys hiking. 

Alternatively, if one or both of you enjoy hiking, then it’s an excellent first-date idea. We think hiking can be a really good first date and here is why…

Do Hikes Make Good First Dates?

Firstly, as the objective of a hike is to get to a destination (usually a great lookout point), it gives the date direction. This means that even if you’re not entirely enjoying the company, at least you’re not sitting awkwardly looking at each other in a restaurant, waiting desperately to leave.

That being said, you might find that you don’t like your date, and then you still have the rest of the hike to go – under those circumstances, chalk it up to a learning experience and try to enjoy the hike for what it is; exercise with a lovely view and maybe a new friend.

I’ve found hiking first dates to be really enjoyable, mostly because I have done some good vetting prior to agreeing, which meant that I knew I was at least hiking with someone I liked. The best part of hiking dates is the fact that you get to really know each other.

couple hiking date tips

12 Tips for Hiking on a First Date

Hiking on a first date is good exercise and good fun! But seeing as hiking with a near stranger can itself be quite dangerous, we have a few tips to make sure things go smoothly. 

1. Get to Know Each Other First

If this is someone you’ve met through a hiking group or you’ve hiked with them before and you’re confident they’re not a weirdo, then you can probably safely assume they’d enjoy a hiking date and that you’d be safe.

However, if you’ve met this person on a dating app, or you simply don’t know them very well, it’s a good idea to maybe chat for a few weeks first and get to know them. 

Find out about their hobbies and level of activity first and maybe loosely suggest a hiking date and see how they react. If they seem keen then you’re all set!

2. Meet for A Drink Before the Hike

Going on a hike for a first date can feel like a big commitment, as you’re stuck with them for at least several hours. Offset any potential awkwardness by meeting for a drink a few days before, or even a coffee the morning of the hike.

If you’ve not met in person before, this is a good way to see how you click first. Sitting face to face, you might find you really like them or really don’t. This gives you the chance to bail if you don’t feel a spark or if they’re weird.

Also, this gives you a chance to get past the awkward stage early on, grab a coffee, perk up and get ready!

3. Tell a Friend

Safety is incredibly important when it comes to dating, not just when going on a hike for a first date. Tell a friend exactly where you’re going, what time you’ll be setting off, and what time you’re expecting to be back – and stick to them!

As well as this, check in with your friend periodically via text, and have an understanding that if they haven’t heard from you by a certain time, they will raise an alarm. Make sure you don’t forget to text your friend, even if you’re having fun and things are going well.

using a map on a first date hiking

4. Tell Them

Another good safety tip for hiking dates is to tell your date that you have told a close friend that you are going on a hiking date with them. I would go as far as telling them that you have sent a picture of their face and their number to your close friend and that he/she expects to hear from you periodically and definitely by a certain time.

It is unlikely that your date would have any nefarious intentions for your hiking date, but if they did, knowing that you have taken the above precautionary steps is likely to put them off trying anything untoward. 

5. Establish Some Ground Rules

Whilst not exactly a fun part of the dating experience, establishing some ground rules can help set the tone for the date and can also ease some tension, so you both can relax a little and just enjoy yourselves. 

Ground Rule Examples

  • No physical touch – if you just want to go on a hike and get to know someone, it is ok to establish that physical contact is off the table. If anything, that might help your date relax if they feel pressured to ‘make a move’
  • Establish a start time and finish time – a predetermined understanding that you expect to be home by a certain time is a good way of keeping yourself safe
  • No drinking or drugs – drinking or doing drugs whilst hiking is highly dangerous, so it might be a good idea to make sure you are both on the same page about substances

6. Easy Access

Pick somewhere to park that is close by, with easy access, and not in the middle of nowhere. It might even be an idea to pick a trail you already know and are comfortable with. If you want to enjoy your date and relax a little, it’s best to keep things like location and logistics easy. 

7. Choose an Easy or Moderate Trail

Nobody looks their best when struggling to climb a mountain, so a good hiking date tip is to use an established trail that will have other people about and that has some basic facilities like a toilet or cafe/pub. 

It might even be an idea to pick a trail you already know, that way you know you are not too far outside of your comfort zone if you are already feeling a little nervous.

If you’re both experienced hikers, maybe pick a moderate trail both or at least one of you know – there’s probably nothing worse than getting completely lost and exhausted on a first date!

bringing a dog on a hiking date

8. Bring a Friend

A fun idea could be to double date – you both bring a friend! This could be a really good way to break the ice as it will mean that both of you are a little more relaxed as the situation is a bit less intense.

Alternatively, a friend could be your (or their) dog! Bring your four-legged friend along for the hike if your furry pal can handle it – but remember to bring extra water!

9. Pack Snacks

Trail mixes and bags of nuts are great for nibbling while you hike to subdue hunger and provide energy. On that note, remember to pack some proper snacks like sandwiches, brownies, crisps, chocolate bars, cheese, and bread… you get the idea. Or you could go a level up and make something to impress, such as homemade hummus!

10. Plan Ahead

Make sure to do a bit of research on the trail you’ll be hiking so that you don’t get lost. Be sure to wear the correct clothing (e.g. proper hiking boots or shoes) and to pack for unexpected weather (e.g. bring jumpers or a raincoat just in case).

Check whether you will have patches where you won’t have a signal during the hike, and try to download an offline map if you can. If there will be areas without a signal, remember to warn your friend that there may be gaps between you checking in. 

Be sure to bring enough water too, as you can’t be sure that you will find any on your hike. And don’t forget your sunblock!

hiking date at view point

11. Aim for Some Kind of Viewpoint

A useful hiking date tip is to give your meetup a sense of direction like trekking to a viewpoint for sunset – so you’re not just aimlessly wandering around. A good viewpoint would be the top of a mountain, a lake, a waterfall, or wherever you feel tired and need a rest.

This could become a really romantic place to rest where you could watch the sunset together (and maybe a first kiss?). If things work out, you never know, it could be the place for a proposal!

12. Be Ok with Peeing Behind a Tree or Rock

With hiking as a first date, the reality of the situation is that you might need to pee at some point, and there might not be any facilities. Everyone has to go, so do the polite thing and turn your back or walk on ahead. On that note, maybe also bring antibacterial gel with you. 

5 Things to Avoid on A First Date Hike

There are a few things to avoid doing for any first date, but for a first date hike, there are some specific mistakes you should avoid. 

1. Red Flags

If your date throws up any red flags, or if your gut is telling you something is wrong, you are entirely allowed to say you’re not feeling it and head home. A moment of awkwardness is nothing compared to a miserable afternoon with someone you know you don’t like, or worse. 

This is why chatting for a bit first and meeting up for a coffee or a drink in the first instance is a good idea, because you identify any red flags before committing to the hike.

Red Flag Examples

  • Suggesting a particularly secluded or unnecessarily remote place for your first hike, whilst not necessarily a red flag, is still something to be mindful of if any further behavior rings any alarms
  • Saying weird things about the fact you are both going to be alone together for an extended period of time
  • Getting weird when you tell them about the precautionary actions you have taken to be safe (e.g. that a friend is expecting you to check in periodically)
  • Making rude comments about your appearance, clothes, etc
  • Asking weird questions that make you uncomfortable 
  • Being disrespectful of any boundaries you make them aware of

2. Bad Weather

Whilst it might be a cute story later down the line, or a fun bonding experience to get caught in the rain if things are going well, it’s still not overly enjoyable to hike in soggy clothes or footwear. 

Make sure to check the weather before you go on the hike and maybe discuss a backup plan if the weather isn’t optimal on the day – you could always just go for lunch instead (or any other daytime activity) and hike another time.

3. Difficult Terrain

As a good rule of thumb, it is best to stick to easy trails, or at least trails you already know quite well. It’s hard to put your best foot forward and get to know someone if you’re both gasping for air or sweating buckets if you’re a bit out of shape. 

Avoid any unnecessary embarrassment by avoiding difficult terrain unless you are confident and want to show off, but that isn’t a good idea in general.

4. Alcohol Before the Hike

There’s nothing wrong with taking a beer or two when you get to the top to celebrate your achievement. Or even after your hike, if you’ve enjoyed yourselves, why not continue the great date by going for a drink?

However drinking before a hike is not a great idea, you might feel bloated, or it might give you a headache. Stay healthy and hydrated – stick to water before a date.

5. Dehydration

Dehydration and heat stroke are no laughing matter, make sure to bring and drink enough water on your hike date. You could even bring a sports drink filled with electrolytes to help with rehydration or use a hydration reservoir so you can drink as you hike. The last thing you want is to fall sick a few hours into the hike and have to turn back early. 

(Written by Melanie Lafanechere)

We hope these hiking date tips have helped you decide to give it a go if the conditions feel right. 

Gear Assistant
Gear Assistant

This article has been written and/or edited by Andrew N. 20+ years of hiking, mountaineering, and camping experience, with access to all the latest outdoor gear.

Gear Assistant