Hiking: An Ecological Perspective

A group of people pause to look at the view of the mountains and river during a Norway hiking tour.

Hiking is a practice that people do just about everywhere in the world. From trekking across plains to challenging steep hikes in the mountains —the appeal of traveling through a natural habitat on foot seems to be appealing to all kinds of people.

The experience of hiking is undeniably fulfilling, with the forest shade flickering above or the crunch of dried grass under your soles. Some people find pleasure in being around the immense, towering greenery, while others appreciate the breathing space it gives them from urban noise.

However, in Norway hiking isn’t just about inner peace. We believe strongly in hiking as an activity that encourages us to be eco-friendly and sustainable.

Why Hiking is Eco-Friendly

Now that global conversations about sustainability have become extremely relevant, tourist companies and travelers alike have been exploring ways to be more generous to the environment during their trips and activities.

Hiking, by its very nature, is eco-friendly. The whole point is to experience the natural landscape, whether there’s a steep climb involved or not, as well as to push oneself to get the blood flowing.

If done ethically and thoughtfully, hiking not only allows you to experience the magic of exploration without disturbing the ecosystem but it also helps you form an emotional attachment to the natural elements around us. It’s the underlying emotional attachment to nature that we believe can motivate people to be kinder to the environment.

How Hiking Can Become Harmful

However, that doesn’t mean hiking can’t be done improperly. In areas where hikers tend to walk through the terrain carelessly and litter as they go; vegetation, wildlife and the very ground can suffer from damage.

Hikers need to be aware that every single pair of feet that walks through the trail has an impact. For example, a common thing hikers do is to walk narrowly around the trail rather than staying on it. This is called bog skirting and can result in slow erosion, increased mud, and trail widening.

A group of hikers climbs up a steep, rocky, mountain slope.

Sustainable Practices to Keep in Mind

To preserve the true nature of hiking and its intention, you should take care to follow some basic ethical practices that will ensure your presence on the trail isn’t a damaging one.

For example, if you need to snack during the way, don’t carry plastic packaging or single-use containers. Instead, a reusable water bottle and some small boxes with sustenance is the way to go. If you must use plastic wrappers, littering is a definite no-no – be sure that whatever you carry in you also carry out.

You should also stick to the trail and make sure that you don’t scare or tease or feed any wildlife you come across. Tread lightly, hold positive emotions, and remember that you are a guest in the natural landscape.

Outdoor Norway’s mission is to provide eco-friendly adventure opportunities for travelers, which is why these values hold true for all the services we offer. Ski adventures, SUP tours, Mountain bike tour in Norway, etc. are all performed with Outdoor Norway’s assistance in an environmentally friendly way — and you’re welcome to join us!