Are you new to the wild, wonderful world of hiking and not sure where to begin? Welcome to the Edenwood Ranch “quick start” guide. This month’s blog is geared to get you the key beginner hiking essentials so that you can be outside enjoying the trails [safely] as soon as possible! Read on for the top four things you need to know to make the most of your first few trail adventures (so you’re ready to maximize your next family vacation Wisconsin adventure).


1: Get to Know Your Gear

It’s important to have the right equipment to support your trek into the wilderness. Of course, the exact details will fluctuate depending on the length and location of your hike but there are some general essentials that will apply to just about anywhere. And don’t feel pressured to buy the top-of-the-line model for everything. Visit an outdoor gear store and ask for recommendations on “beginner” options for the following items:

  • Backpack
  • Water bottle
  • Lightweight clothing (worn in layers)
  • Extra socks
  • Great hiking footwear (be sure to break ‘em in easy – don’t wear fresh-out-of-the-box boots on a 14-hour hike)
  • Rain gear
  • Headlamp or flashlight

Also, be sure to choose gear and equipment that allow you to follow the universal hiking code: leave no trace. This includes taking into consideration toiletry needs and food packaging/waste. If your route is more than 6-8 hours long, consider taking along some toilet paper, a zip lock bag [to temporarily “dispose” of the toilet paper until you return home] and a shovel for if the more solid form of nature calls.


2: Pick the Right Route

While it may seem appealing to dive right into an advanced hike for your first adventure, we encourage you to consider more of a conservative approach. Here’s why: If your first hike is an easy one, it will leave you wanting more. Whereas if it is a more challenging route, it may put you in a position of regret and unpreparedness. Ideally, hiking will become so much more than a one-trip experience. Give yourself the opportunity to patiently learn to enjoy it one trip at a time.

A good beginner’s route will have all the following:

  • A predictable and calm forecast for the area and duration of the hike
  • Easy to navigate trails with clear maps – ideally both handheld as well as posted signage along the trail
  • Flexible time constraints; the earlier you start, the more daylight you have to work with
  • Clear directions regarding parking and location of trailhead
  • A good match for your level of fitness
  • Minimal climbing and 5 miles or less


3: Don’t Hike Alone

Not only is it more enjoyable to hike with a buddy or two, but it’s also a smarter approach. This is especially true if your hike is part of a family vacation Wisconsin-style. We think hiking in the lush, peaceful Northwoods with your closest family or friends is pretty much the best way to enjoy nature. Together you can spot wildlife, take a picnic break or even warn each other about the tripping hazards along the way.

Speaking of tripping hazards, not only is it more enjoyable to go in a group but it also makes the hike safer. If your group includes young hikers, encourage them to pair up with someone over the age of 18 so they are less likely to wander off. If someone needs a break to rest or recharge, have them rest with at least one other member of your hiking group.


4: Be Safe

Although it’s technically our last tip in this list, safety is always FIRST in importance. Without safety considerations in place, it won’t matter that you have the perfect route, highly recommended gear or the most amazing hiking squad on the plant. Be sure you’ve done your due diligence in these areas before you hit the trails:

  • Research local wildlife and be prepared with appropriate ways to respond to encounters
  • Bring along a well-stocked First Aid Kit that is intentionally crafted for hiking – think waterproof and portable
  • Invest in a Personal Beacon Locator (PBL), especially if your hike is in a remote location
  • Always tell someone where you’re headed and a ballpark estimate of start and end time


Outdoor Vacation WI

Not only does Edenwood offer fantastic hiking options for beginners, but we also offer a wide variety of outdoor fun for everyone. We are a premier private vacation destination and hunting preserve offering guided trophy deer hunting, glamping tent packages, luxury cabin rentals and a variety of outdoor activities that the whole family will enjoy. Have your wedding, family reunion, private retreat or vacation getaway in Wisconsin’s Northwoods at our unique and PRIVATE venue. Open all year-round! Get in touch today to book your next adventure.