If you enjoy the outdoors and are considering options for a first date then hiking is a great option.
Hiking is a good first date if you enjoy being outside, and you know the other person also enjoys the outdoors. If you want to make an impression on your first date, then choose hiking. Hiking, like dating, is an adventure.
In this post, I will share some of my experiences going on hiking dates and offer seven suggestions for creating a memorable experience.
Hiking On A First Date.
You got up the nerve to ask this person out on a date and they have accepted. You are obviously interested, so do something unique and make an impression.
You could take the person on the cliché dinner-and-a-movie date, or you could choose a beautiful hike with an amazing water feature.
If you are an avid hiker, then sharing your passion on a first date is a great way to test the waters and see if there might be chemistry – be sure that you don’t pick a hike that is too challenging.
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I spent a reasonable amount of time in the woods, fishing, hunting, or hiking with friends and family. It was natural for me to take people on hikes for a first date.
Hiking is a blast. I wrote a post recently about why hiking is so fun to try and understand what it is that happens when we hike. Hiking activates something within our psyche that resonates with our species. There is a good chance that your date will respond positively to the experience.
In 1989 I went on a first date to Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, a US National Scenic Area. It is a beautiful sight and the power of the water is breath-taking. It is an easy hike to the top of the falls, especially when you are 18.
In 1993 I took another date to Trillium Lake near Timber Line Lodge on Mt. Hood. This was her first trip to the USA, and the outdoors brought us together. Instead of sitting silently watching a movie in the dark, we were walking along trails around a beautiful lake in July, sharing time.
I met a beautiful girl in Florence, Italy, on July 4, 2005, while she was on vacation from New York City. She came back to Italy from NYC to see me again a month later. When she came back, I brought her to the Cinque Terre to go hiking. I wrote a post about hiking Cinque Terre. Nine months later, we got married in Upstate New York and have been happily married ever since.
There are a thousand things you can do for a first date. Hiking gives you the chance to get to know someone since it is just the two of you, your conversation, and nature.
Is Hiking Even Considered A Date?
Absolutely! The point is to spend time together, getting to know one another. You asked that guy on a date because you were interested in him, but you might not know anything about him.
Hiking is a challenge and people come together to meet challenges. Therefore, hiking is an exceptional first date for coming together.
How much more interesting would it be to go on a day hike, watch a movie in the early evening, and then go out to dinner? Now that is a pretty extensive first date, but by the end of all that; you should have a clearer idea about how you get along with this person.
Suggestions For First Date Hikes.
For a date, I suggest picking a local hike that is easy to moderate. You don’t want to try a 14er on your first date unless you are both avid hikers and find this sort of challenge enjoyable.
1. Pick a hike that has some spectacular features along the way.
Water is sure to win. If the hike follows a mountain stream and there is a waterfall at the end of the hike then you have struck gold.
The first hike I can ever remember going on was the Hamilton Mountain hike across the highway from Beacon Rock in the Columbia River Gorge. It has an easy trail along a stream that takes you to some waterfalls in the middle of the woods.
2. Try A Hike With A Beautiful View.
Hiking to the top of a mesa in New Mexico may not provide any babbling brooks but the views will be spectacular. If you live in a big city with few local hiking options then pick a trail that offers some elevated views of the city.
Great heights and distances are sublime, stirring awe and wonder in us. Wow that person with a breathtaking view
3. Bring A Picnic On Your Date Hike.
In our busy lives, a picnic feels like you’ve hit the pause button. Imagine bringing your date on a beautiful (and easy) hike that features an expansive view of the city far away. In your backpack, you have stashed some goodies – a bottle of white wine, some crackers, and cheese.
As you can imagine, someone has already thought of this. I quickly searched picnic backpacks and found a few options that would be amazing on a first date. This one from Picnic Time is designed specifically for carrying a picnic on your back.
There are lots of other options. If you really want to impress this person then a custom backpack for picnics would do the trick.
4. Pick A Hike That Is Nearby.
Your date together will be about driving if you go much farther than one hour away by car. The drive will give you a chance to get to know this person, but you don’t want to spend two hours driving to arrive at the trailhead for a one-hour hike.
5. Ask Your Date What Their Favorite Hike Is.
Tell your date that you are taking him hiking and ask him if he has a favorite local hike. If your goal is to have a good experience then why stack the deck in your favor by asking your date where their favorite hike is. This will give the person a chance to share some of their experiences on this trail with you.
Knowing where you are going, might also relieve some stress for you date. Wanting to surprise someone with a hike on your first date could backfire.
6. Gauge Your Date’s Response.
Is this person having fun? Are they talking? Are they stopping every few minutes to catch their breath? Keep a close eye on your date. If they don’t seem to be having an enjoyable experience then be flexible. Cut the hike short if you need to.
When I brought my future wife to Cinque Terre, we started our hike at Vernazza and headed straight up the hill toward Monterosso. After 5 minutes, she was winded, but she kept going and never gave up. Sharing these challenges will tell you quickly what kind of person you have in front of you.
7. What Are You Missing For Your Hike?
You have thought of everything and planned a first date hike with someone that you want to get to know better. You drive 45 minutes to the trailhead and are one mile into your hike, and she asks you if there is a bathroom nearby.
You summit the small peak outside of town and are enjoying spectacular views of the area. He says he is thirsty.
Just as you would on any hike bring along the items that both you and your date might need.
Sharing an experience such as hiking can be a great way to get to know someone. Happy hiking!