Outdoors blog


What is Switchbacks Hiking?

Switchback hiking is not the same as ordinary hiking. There are possible paths that are not straight. There are zigzag road, trail, or section of railroad tracks. This path is called switchbacks.


Some hikers avoid these paths because it takes more time to finish. However, encountering switchbacks is inevitable in the mountains.

Although switchbacks are difficult to hike, they also support the mountains from soil erosions. Also, they prevent hikers from falling due to the loose soil. Due to its elevation grade reduction, it lessens the difficulty to climb. Although it is safer for hikers, it is a longer route to climb.

To successfully climb switchbacks, you have to get in shape. Traveling the zigzag trails in the mountain would require you to have solid endurance. After conditioning your body, you need to consider the things you have to perform during your hiking activity.

You can refer to the list below for the steps to conquer difficult switchbacks.


Stay hydrated

Switchback hiking will exhaust and tire your body. With this, you need to stay hydrated to keep your energy from falling. Remember that you have to keep your composure until the end of your trip. Drink your water regardless of the temperature.

Keep a Comfortable Pace

When you are hiking, you do not have to be fast. It is not a competition, especially if it a personal activity that you planned for yourself. Keep a steady comfortable pace where you can still breathe normally. In this way, you also give yourself a chance to enjoy the view and scenery that surrounds you.

Stay Positive

No matter how long your hiking trip is, keep a positive attitude. Do not think that you can not finish what you started. It will only make you feel tired than you are. Also, staying positive will make your body to function properly. Thus, you will finish climbing the mountains in no time. In the end, you will only feel satisfaction and fulfillment as you successfully end your switchback hiking.

Bring some energy foods

Dress in Layers

Have a map and cell phone

Stand or walk slowly to rest

If you want to rest, you can remain standing or slowly walk. Do not sit on your breaks because it will return your normal heart rate. You need to keep your heart rate up to endure the rest of your journey.

It requires more endurance and determination to pursue this activity. If you are a beginner, you need to know what are the things you need to pack for hiking a trail with difficult switchbacks.

Here are some of the things you need to prepare.

First, you need to secure your hiking backpack. You can include navigation tools like maps and compasses to guide you with directions. You can also put a first-aid kit so you can attend to minor injuries that might happen while you are hiking. Additionally, you can also prepare a knife or a multitool, which you can use in difficult situations. Finally, you have to include a hydration bladder with 2-3 liters of water capacity. It will prevent you from being hydrated throughout the activity.

Second, prepare your attire based on the current weather. For spring and fall, wear a lightweight shirt, insulated water-resistant jacket, and long pants. For summer, you can wear shorts to match the temperature. For winter, wear thicker clothes and a windproof jacket to comfort you from the cold weather. For footwear, you can choose hiking boots and hiking socks.

Third, ready your food and shelter. Hiking is a whole-day activity. With this, you need to prepare food that will suffice your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Meanwhile, make sure that you bring your sleeping bag and pad for an overnight stay. Build your tent to accommodate and protect you during the night.

Hiking is an outdoor activity that requires a conditioned body to finish.

Switchback hiking is exhausting and tiring. However, the satisfaction you will feel after climbing the zigzag trails is priceless. Before you start and finish doing such an activity, you need to prepare yourself first. Condition your body by exercising beforehand. Make your heart rate up and strengthen your core muscles. On the other hand, you also need to prepare your gears to support you in your adventure.

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