There are two types of people in this world: those who enjoy a 10-mile trek up a steep incline with the goal of getting to the top of a mountain as quickly as possible, and those who prefer something a little more chill. If you fall into the latter category, soft hiking is for you.
Soft hiking was coined by Lucy and Emily of @softgirlswhohike on TikTok. Their mission? To show the world that hiking doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it can be soft. If you want to stroll through the woods, stop to look at the scenery, pause for snacks — or just take your new Patagonia fleece for a spin in the park — it all counts as hiking, even though it doesn’t involve scrambling or buckets of sweat.
The original post about soft hiking already has over 340,000 views, as well as comments that show just how much the trend strikes a chord. One person wrote “Love this! I’ve wanted to get more into hiking but I prefer going at my own pace” and another said, “No I actually love this as I love a sunny day walk but hate hills.” So real.
While seasoned hikers might look for a challenging trek, soft hiking — a term that now has over 120 million views on TikTok — is all about slowing down, breathing the air, and meandering through nature.
In their video, Emily and Lucy note that they’ve been out on the trails with seasoned hikers in the past, but worried the whole time that they weren’t strong or fast enough to keep up with the expected pace. After going on more traditional hikes, they realized they had different motivations. While one person wanted to crush a sweaty, steep hike on a Saturday morning, they just wanted to go outside and ramble around.
By leaning into soft hiking, they’ve learned that they’re capable hikers, too... just in a different way. They don’t push themselves to the limit or try to reach a certain goal — like hitting a summit or walking a certain amount of miles — while out on a trek. Instead, they revel in nature and enjoy the stroll outdoors. And that’s still super beneficial.
The key to soft hiking is to go slow, take in your surroundings, and stop for regular water and snack breaks. You should feel free to go off trail to look at a cool tree, pull over at an overlook to take photos, explore a historical site — or whatever else strikes your fancy. There’s no need to rush or push or keep up with others. As long as you’re present and having fun, you’re doing it right.
Soft hiking is taking off on TikTok likely because it fits right in with lazy girl workouts, at-home walking workouts, and other trends that allow anyone to exercise and get moving, even if they don’t have a high level of fitness, a ton of gear, or a gym membership. Welcome to the soft workout era, y’all.