How to find a good hiking blog

If you’re reading this site, you probably like to go outside once in a while. Whether you’re looking for a new trail run near your house or planning out a killer weekend backpacking trip, the first step in any new trail experience is finding good beta.

In the days of old (OK, maybe not that long ago), you’d go into a trusted outdoor store and ask the employees what their favorite trails were and maybe get a recommendation for a good guidebook to thumb through when you got home. Then you’d get out on the trail and find that the guidebook’s description was 6 or 7 years old and find yourself staring at a wide open meadow where a majestic oak forest used to stand.

The outdoors eventually came indoors to the blogosphere, where it was easier and faster to get updates on trail conditions, but not all sites are created equal. Here are five ways to find the perfect hiking blog for you.

guidebooks

  1. Look for Longevity
    The very first thing you should do when searching for good online trail beta is to look for a site that’s been around for a while and maintained a consistent output. If there’s nothing older than a few months on the site, it may not have the expertise you’re looking for. If the posts are sporadic, the person running it may not be fully invested (or able to answer any questions if you’ve got ‘em!)
  2. Find the Right Blog for You
    Everyone hikes at a different pace and everyone’s looking for something different from the trail. If you’re looking for a good butt-kicking workout up steep inclines, a blogger that dives into detail on the native plants and history may not be the best match – and vice versa.
  3. Avoid User Reviews
    A good idea in theory, user-generated reviews are a bit of a nightmare in practice. While an open-sourced, wiki or Yelp style blog does open up a wider range of contributors, that’s not always a good thing. When you’re getting info for any sort of outdoor trip, you want to be getting it from someone who knows what they’re talking about, not someone who will rate a trail poorly because he saw a rattlesnake or it was hot outside (although sometimes those can be good for an unintentional laugh).

Yelp Review of a popular LA hiking trail

  1. But Read the Comments
    That said, if a blog has built a healthy community (see point 1), the comments on trail info posts can be invaluable sources of up to date information. All sorts of conditions both natural and man-made can drastically change the condition of a hike, so you want to know about them. Plus, you don’t ever want to hike to a waterfall to find out a drought has totally dried up the flow.
  2. Support the Writers
    The vast majority of outdoor bloggers do what they do out of a genuine love and passion for the outdoors and a desire to share those amazing outdoor experiences with others. Follow them on social media, share their content with your friends, and give them some high-fives if you see them on the trail.

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

Share your insight on how you find great hiking / outdoor blogs and what makes them great below in the comments.

 

SHARE
Previous article9 of North America’s Most Fascinating Long-Distance Trails
Next articleBreak the Routine
Casey Schreiner is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Modern Hiker, the most-read hiking blog in California. He is also writing a guidebook of day hikes around Los Angeles for Mountaineers Books. Modern Hiker is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to expand its coverage and provide a venue for local hiking experts in the Western U.S. Help at http://bit.ly/HelpModernHiker