16 Hiking Quotes To Get You Inspired

"Take a hike" should actually be seen as awesome advice, not a brush-off. Here are some hiking quotes that'll inspire you to get some fresh air.

Intimidated by the word “hiking?”

Don’t be! Hiking is basically just walking, but in prettier surroundings, says Jessie DiCerbo, licensed outdoor guide and co-founder of Destination Backcountry Adventures in New York. That alone makes it one of the most accessible types of exercise. All you need is hiking footwear and a map.

Hiking is powerful medicine

The benefits of hiking are both physical and mental. Physically, hiking strengthens your immune system, improves cardiovascular health, builds muscle and stamina, and lowers your risk of everything from diabetes to some types of cancer. Mentally, hiking can improve your mood, reduce depression and anxiety symptoms, clear your head, boost creativity, and make you more resilient.

It’s not just about these measurable benefits of nature, however. There’s something transformative, almost magical, about trekking in the outdoors. Many hikers often describe it as not just a hobby, but a way of life.

“Being out in nature has a way of removing barriers and helping you focus on a goal,” DiCerbo says. “Hiking helps me make sense of the world and provides constancy. I’ve never found anything else that gives a greater sense of peace and accomplishment.”

Just do it

And yet, despite all of the above, hiking is something many people never get around to actually doing. To get—and stay—motivated, DiCerbo suggests keeping “a hiking bag packed and ready, so you can head out whenever the urge strikes you.” (Here are the hiking gear essentials you’ll need.)

Another way to motivate yourself is to enlist a hiking buddy. “Being on the trail with others, all in one place and working towards the same goal is powerful,” says DiCerbo. Her other pro tip: Leave your cell phone behind (or at least hidden in your bag), so you can be fully present and focused on the people you’re with and the nature around you.

Hiking quotes that’ll inspire you

To inspire you to lace up your hiking boots and head outdoors, we’ve rounded up some of the most inspirational hiking quotes. If you’re not sure where to start, these are America’s stunning hiking trails.

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Hiking home

“Hiking is not escapism; it’s realism. The people who choose to spend time outdoors are not running away from anything; we are returning to where we belong.”—Jennifer Pharr Davis, author of The Pursuit of Endurance: Harnessing the Record-Breaking Power of Strength and Resilience and National Geographic 2012 Explorer of the Year

Being outdoors is so beneficial that some doctors are even “prescribing” nature walks or hikes. It’s a great way to counteract the amount of chronic sitting so many of us do every day. (Here’s the best desk exercise to do if you sit all day.)


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Nature’s antidepressant

“If you are in a bad mood, go for a walk. If you are still in a bad mood, go for another walk.”—Hippocrates

Simply going outside is an automatic mood booster. But combine nature with the endorphins from hiking, and you’ve got a serious antidote to depression and anxiety. Research suggests walking boosts your mood even if you do it for only 12 minutes.


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Think outside the box

“Think outside, no box required.”—Unknown

Hiking is a great way to work through problems, find solutions, and get inspiration. The peace and quiet give you space to think, and the walking itself is a type of moving meditation. If you like these hiking quotes, you’ll find additional inspiration in these meditation quotes. Try thinking about them while you hike.


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Make time for nature

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”—John Muir, naturalist

Hiking takes a little bit of extra planning. But it’s worth it for the benefits. Keep a bag packed and a list of nearby hikes and “dream” hikes, DiCerbo says. How many of these spectacular summer hikes can you check off your list?


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Change is the only constant

“You can walk the same trail twice, but you’ll never take the same hike.”—Unknown

You don’t have to travel around the world to enjoy hiking. In fact, even doing the same hike you’ve done a hundred times reaps rewards, as the experience will feel different each time. The brain benefits of hiking are amazing and last long after you step off the trail.


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Dream big

“Over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley.”—Theodore Roethke, poet

Everyone has their own figurative and physical mountains to climb and going off the beaten trail can feel risky. But there’s no reward without some risk. You’ll love these 17 mountain quotes that remind you no hill is too high.


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A life well lived

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”—Unknown

Everyone’s definition of a “good life” will be different. The important thing is to decide what your priorities are for your time on this planet. Hiking is a great way to figure those out. These are the life skills everyone needs to know for health, wealth, and success.


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Calling all morning larks

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”—Henry David Thoreau, essayist, poet, and philosopher

Taking a hike in the sunshine, first thing in the morning, is the secret recipe for health and happiness. The combination of fresh air and vitamin D is particularly invigorating. Here’s what science says about why watching a sunrise is the best way to improve your mood.


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So many places to explore

“I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on earth, then I ask myself the same question.”—Harun Yahya, author

Exploration is a way to keep your spirit young and your mind sharp. (It’s also one of the secrets of people who’ve crossed major items off their bucket list.) Check out trails both near and far and find your own adventure.


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The easy way out

“It’s easier to go down a hill than up it, but the view is much better at the top.”—Henry Ward Beecher, social reformer

The same is true for life as it is for hiking: Real growth happens when you stop looking for the easiest way forward, and start looking for the challenging way. Start with these risks to take before 40.


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Life is short

“Cover the earth before it covers you.”—Dagobert D. Runes, philosopher

We all have a limited amount of time on earth. Make the most of yours by seeing as much of the earth as possible. Hiking is a great way to see new things, as it forces you to slow down and enjoy the journey as much as the destination.


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Wet feet are sad feet

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”—Sir Ranulph Fiennes, explorer

Having the right clothing and other gear can make all the difference between the hike of a lifetime—and a slog of misery, DiCerbo says. (Learn how you can walk more steps each day.)


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Escape the tyranny of technology

“Let’s wander where the WiFi is weak.”—Unknown

Constantly being tethered to your phone affects your body and mind. Hiking is the perfect opportunity to set your phone to “do not disturb” and practice mindfulness.


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It’s no coincidence

“To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles.”—Mary Davis, social activist

Have you ever really thought about what goes into growing a single leaf, much less a whole tree of them? Or a whole forest of trees? There’s no other way to describe the harmony of nature than utterly miraculous. In our busy lives, it’s all too easy to forget that—hiking can remind you. If you love miracle stories, check out the most miraculous medical recoveries.


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The trail is transformative

“Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance hiking. You have grown outside the puzzle and your piece no longer fits.”—Cindy Ross, adventure author

Spend enough time in nature, and returning to your regular life can be jarring. All of those things that felt like necessities suddenly aren’t that important. And what you found yourself missing the most—your loved ones—become much bigger priorities. Going outdoors is one of the proven ways to boost creative thinking.


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Hot showers and clean socks

“After a day’s walk, everything has twice its usual value.”—GM Trevelyan, historian

A hot drink after a long day is always nice, but after a day on the trail? A divine luxury. Hiking helps you learn to appreciate all the little things. Counting your blessings and being grateful have a host of benefits. Start with these 30 big (and little) things to be grateful for right now.

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Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Charlotte Hilton Andersen has been covering health and fitness for many major outlets, both in print and online, for 13 years. She's the author of two books, co-host of the Self Help Obsession podcast, and does freelance editing and ghostwriting. She teaches fitness classes in her spare time. She lives in Denver with her husband, four children, and three pets.