How Far Should I Hike if I’m a Beginner?

In a beautiful location like Mammoth Lakes that’s peppered with multiple points of interest, it’s easy for hikers of all skill levels to get caught up in the moment. This is fine, but it can be a problem if you’re new to hiking and end up pushing yourself too hard. Here’s what you need to know about figuring out how many miles you should aim for if you’re a beginner when it comes to hiking, brought to you by the mountain sports experts from ASO Mammoth, your one-stop shop for high-quality hiking gear, safety equipment, Mammoth bike rental, and tips for exploring Mammoth’s grandeur.

Somewhere in the 5-Mile Range Is a Good Starting Point

There’s no one single rule for beginning hiker distance. Still, it’s easier to work your way up progressively if you go in increments of five miles, which means a good rule of thumb is to start with hikes of 5 miles or less. Also, consider your personal comfort level and general physical condition.

Choose the Right Trail for Your Initial Hikes

Even if you’re sticking to somewhere around 5 miles for your initial hikes, it helps to start with easier trails that require minimal climbing. Doing so will give you more of an incentive to increase your hiking miles. In the Mammoth Lakes area, the Horseshoe Lake Loop is a popular easy hiking trail, and it’s accessible from trolley stop 104. It’s just 1.7 miles, but it’s a picturesque starting point with a smooth dirt surface. Plus, there are restrooms nearby. If you prefer something longer, try the Lakes Basin Path. It’s a well-marked, 5.3-mile downhill route that will take you into town.

Add a Few Miles Each Week or So

If your goal is to gradually increase your hike duration, give yourself about a week or so of hiking in the 5-mile range to get used to the hiking experience. You’ll then be in a better position to gradually step things up each week. Have a target distance in mind so you’ll be working toward a realistic and achievable goal.

Follow a Training Plan

As you work your way up from 5-mile hikes, develop and follow a training plan to make it easier for your body to adjust to longer hikes. This could be as simple as mixing things up with other forms of exercise that target core and lower body muscles, such as swimming, biking, and low-impact aerobic workouts.

Pack Light to Make It Easier to Boost Your Miles

If you prefer a more challenging 5-mile hike, such as the one from Devils Postpile to Rainbow Falls in the Mammoth Lakes area, pack light to make it easier to enjoy your hike without added stress and strain. Take only what you need, and choose lightweight equipment. With clothing, wind shirts are a lightweight option that can also keep you cool as you hike.

Go at Your Own Pace

Remember, there’s no need to keep up with other hikers. It’s a lot easier to start at around 5 miles per hike and work yourself up if you go at a pace that’s right for you. Ultimately, this will result in hiking experiences that are pleasant and enjoyable.

If you’re looking to explore the natural beauty of areas like Mammoth Mountain, hiking is one of the best ways to do it. If you’d also like to enjoy the scenery on two wheels, you can find everything you need at ASO Mammoth, the area’s top provider of bike rentals. Mammoth visitors can rely on us for high-quality equipment and outstanding service. Stop by when you get to the mountain or give us a call at 760-965-3444 for more information.

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