Is Hiking Getting More Popular? – (2022 Study)

In the past 4 months, we did a lot of public interviews and researched many sources that will let us decide if hiking is getting more popular. Because that is the question that makes us all confused, and no one can give a certain answer to that. So we as a team of hiking enthusiasts that are involved in trekking since we were kids, would like to give you all the proper answers that are related to this topic. But let’s get back to the beginning to help you understand what drives us to make this case study.

Our team recently decided to do something that will make us all proud of our work, so we spend a few days thinking about what should we write about to make our audience more informed about the topic that we all here love which is hiking. So we decided to ask people who are involved in this sport because they are most likely going to help us create a great case study based on a certain question which is “Is hiking getting more popular?”.

Here in this article, we will gather all of the information that we were able to find all over the internet about hiking’s popularity, and also, involved some minor trekking communities to make our statistics more clear, so we are all set and let’s decide once and for all if hiking is getting more popular.

What do people say about hiking’s popularity?

A lot of people involved in hiking think that it is growing in popularity and here are some most frequent reasons that people provide when answering the question “What do people say about hiking’s popularity“:

  • People often do hiking even without knowing about it.
  • Hiking builds character.
  • Hiking is a great way to get fit and stay active.
  • Hiking is perfect when you want to lose some additional body weight.
  • Hiking connects you with nature.

Those answers above are partially right because those positives are great, but sometimes they are not enough to make this sport globally popular. And to understand this we will have to jump into the history of hiking.

What is the origin of hiking?

One of the most popular activities enjoyed in nature is hiking. But what is the origin of hiking? The word “hike” dates back to the early 17th century, and probably comes from the Old English word “hiccian”, which means “to jump or move quickly”.

So, it seems that people have been hiking for centuries! There are many different reasons why people enjoy hiking. Some enjoy getting out in nature and taking in the beauty of the landscape around them.

Others enjoy the challenge of hiking up a steep hill or mountain. And still, others enjoy the sense of adventure that comes with exploring new trails. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that hiking is a popular activity that isn’t going away anytime soon!

Do people use Google to search for hiking?

How can we decide if something is getting popular without checking it on Google? In 2022 Google is one of the best sources of information, and that’s what we decided to check out first.

So just typing into Google “is hiking popular” can give you mixed opinions about this, that’s why the Google team created something called Google trends where you can check how popular was a certain term in the past and compare it to our data.

Unfortunately but data was gathered only from 2004 up to the day where this article is created and we have no further data about the exact term “hiking”. Internet is a great thing but the data from search engines was collected not that long ago. Here below we put a graph from Google trends that show you how the exact term “hiking” was searched by people in the past 18 years.

Hiking getting more popular - Google Trends
Hiking getting more popular – Google Trends

This graph is based not only on a single term “hiking” but on every search term that involves this single word, so for example when any user types in the term “Is hiking possible with my partner?” it also counts as a single hit for the term “hiking”.

We can see on the graph that the trendline is slowly going upwards, but in the last 5 years, the trend remained flat. Uptrend slowed a bit in 2016. We could even see the highest historical peak in 2020 in summer.

The trend has slowed down in 2009 but also this year it started to rebound from the bottom. The growth is not increasing very fast, but we can notice small peaks in the summer of each year.

We can expect the trendline to continue going upwards, which means that hiking is slowly getting more attention from people. It is worth mentioning that this chart is based on worldwide searches and not only in the US.

One thing is certain according to Google’s trendline, the hiking term is getting more searches than it was in 2009 and years onwards.

Trekking – Google Trends

Here is also a graph that represents the term “trekking” which is often used as a synonym for hiking, but as you can see both graphs are very similar because people use both “trekking” and “hiking” to ask search engines the same question. There was a higher peak in 2009 than it was in the case of hiking but, the overall trendline is very similar. The above charts are based on the whole world searches and not only to the US, but they look very similar, even when we look at the whole 18 years of data.

Hiking United States – Google Trends

Here is also a trend line based on only the US searches and as we can see it is very different from the charts above this one. Since 2017 the trendline has remained flat. The peak was in 2009 which is the opposite of the global search results.

What do people say online about hiking popularity?

We spend a lot of hours recently on popular forums like Reddit, Quora, and many more, where you can find a lot of people who are interested in trekking and hiking, and those places are great for looking for opinions about the popularity of our beloved outdoor activity. 

People are generally positive about hiking and its future popularity, and it is strictly related to how our modern society works. We tend to spend a lot of time in urban environments where we can’t feel natural, and that is the biggest positive aspect of hiking and trekking. Nature makes you healthier, and calmer, and lets us think about important things in our lives.

People tend to say that hiking is recognizable all over the world but it is not practiced by many. The important fact is that people often don’t know that it is called “hiking”, so they think that it has no name whatsoever, and call it simply “walking in the woods” or something similar.

Do people think that hiking is getting less attention in 2022?

We did not limit ourselves to the work of other people and that’s why we also added a poll with specific questions to our site monthly poll, and we did that to ask our audience about this topic. Here we will put a specific question that we have asked and percentages of specific answers to compare them.

The poll is no longer available because we gathered data that we needed for this article, and instead, we have placed a new poll for another study, but more on that in the future. Let’s get back to “popularity” questions about hiking.

At first, we have to say that almost all of our website’s audience has done many hiking trips in their lives, so the data can be a bit skewed by that, but it makes it a great place for those types of polls. We did ask 4 questions. The first question was “How old are you?“, to let ourselves compare it with others.

The second question was “Do you think that hiking is getting more popular?“. A simple question to get us the information about a person’s opinion about the popularity of this outdoor activity.

The third and fourth questions are the most important because they provide us with information about people who joined hiking and people who dropped out of hiking, so they were as follows “How many people have you been on a hiking trip?“, and “How many people were only once on the hiking trip with you and never again?“. Those questions will let us decide if the trekking community is growing or decreasing.

Here is the table with comparisons of our data, we have split it based on the experience of a certain group of hikers. And also we have rounded the numbers in it to don’t get our audience too confused while they were answering those questions.

How old are you?Opinion about hiking’s popularityHow many people have you been on a hiking trip?How many people were only once on the hiking trip with you and never again?
18 – 24 yearsHiking is gaining popularityMore than 20 peopleAround 10 people
25 – 34 yearsHiking is gaining popularityAround 10 peopleAround 5 people
35 – 44 yearsHiking is losing popularityAround 5 peopleAround 3 people
45 – 54 yearsHiking is losing popularityAround 5 peopleAround 3 people
55 – 64 yearsHiking is gaining popularityAround 10 peopleAround 10 people
65 years and moreHiking is gaining popularityAround 10 peopleAround 10 people
Hiking popularity poll

As you can see in the table above we have the data gathered from people with rounded answers. After many hours of diagnosing the data, we have come to the following conclusions.

The first thing that is very clear is that almost every age group said that hiking is gaining popularity, except people between 35 and 54 years old, and that can be related to the fact that people in middle age prefer to hike alone or only with their most loved people like wife, husbands or kids.

This is also proven by the number of people they have hiked with. The middle age group has the least number of people who have hiked with them. There is also a common belief that we have the least friends when we are in middle age, so this is another proof that those people don’t have many friends to hike with.

Another important thing that we have noticed is that the youngest group has the most friends to hike with and that’s because when we still study in school then our group of people is the largest, and that’s why even though they have the smallest amount of experience they have traveled with the biggest amount of people recently.

Also when we are younger we tend to hike with bigger groups of friends, sometimes for camping in the woods, and something as a pack of friends just to feel that excitement at a young age.

The number of people who we have traveled with and people who dropped out of hiking is very similar after 55 years old, and that’s because as we grow older we don’t need new people to hike with, because we have experienced and are always ready people for that.

Should I be worried about hiking’s decreasing popularity?

Even if your conclusions are that hiking is decreasing in popularity, and you are involved in this outdoor activity then you should stay positive to make this even more famous in the future. Every single social media account about hiking is going to increase hiking’s popularity.

So if you would like to help then starting a social media that posts regular content will spread information about hiking and its positive aspects to people who didn’t discover it yet. A lot of younger people don’t think that hiking trips can give them a lot of beautiful memories and many positive health benefits on top of that.

This is a very long process and it will take years for the trend line to change its current destination. And You have to remember that right now according to Google Trends the hiking trendline is going a bit upwards, but there is no denying that it can be different after a few next years.

Let’s summarize this up – Is hiking getting more popular?

The answer is not that simple but let’s connect all the data that we have pointed out above, which are:

  • What Google Trends have shown us for the past 18 years
  • What people tend to say
  • Our personal hiking poll

The most important here is Google’s data in our opinion because it is based on the largest group of people. But overall hiking getting more popular each year is a fact. The speed of the uptrend looks very healthy, and it doesn’t seem to stop growing in the next year. No one can be 100% sure what the future will show us, but hiking has been with us technically forever even though it was named differently, so it is definitely going to stay with us until there will be beautiful and natural places to discover.

Note that there are still a lot of possible chances of hiking getting a big boost to its popularity and rising even higher than that peak from 2020 because we who are involved in this outdoor activity should help our beloved sport to grow in the eyes of people from all over the world. Maybe one of the future influencers will make it famous, and maybe one of those future influencers is you who are reading this article right now.

It’s important to acknowledge the fact that many people prefer to hike alone, and there is nothing wrong with it, so if you are one of those people then you should check out our new article about it here “Is It Weird To Hike Alone? – (Is It Safe?)

If you currently struggling with finding new people to hike with or simply you don’t know what you should talk about with them then here is a great article for that “How to keep the conversation going with a girl while hiking?“.