Although Climate Hike is not an intense backcountry backpacking trip, it's important to keep your body in shape so you can enjoy the trails and be present for all of the incredible scenery. Training for a hiking trip can be as easy as finding ways to get your legs moving each day. The best option to train for Climate Hike is to simply go out and hike. Start with short easy hikes and work your way up to longer, more challenging hikes. If you haven’t hiked before, or live someplace with limited access to hiking trails, the tabs below have some tips to get you started.
Walking is great conditioning for hiking. Start walking and add distance to your walks until you feel comfortable walking more than 6 miles on flat ground. The short options on Climate Hike are around 6 miles a day while the longer options are 12-15 miles a day.
You will also want to add hills or stairs into your walks. The trails on Climate Hike are rarely flat and many of the hikes have 1,500 foot climbs. Climbing up hills or stairs not only will increase your aerobic fitness, but it will strengthen your muscles for the climbs and, equally as important, the descents.
Carrying weight is another great way to mimic the physical challenge of Climate Hike. While on the hike, you will be carrying a day-pack with 10-15 pounds of food, water, extra layers, and whatever else you want with you on the trail. Pack a small backpack with the items you will likely bring on the hike and bring it on your walks. You should also be wearing your hiking boots while training. Not only will this help break them in, but it will get you in shape as well. They say a pound on your foot is like ten on your back so it is important to condition your body to walking around in heavy boots.
Once you have worked your way up to long walks that include hills or stairs, boots, and some weight on your back, consider doing some high intensity aerobic workouts. Increasing your aerobic fitness is a great way to prepare for the high elevation trails in Glacier National Park. Some of the trails on Climate Hike reach nearly 8,000 feet and hiking at this elevation requires a high level of fitness. Consider sprints, jogging, swimming, cycling, or any other workouts that increase your heart rate and breathing rate. While you won’t be sprinting up the trails on Climate Hike, being able to fast -walk or jog up a few flights of stairs will prepare you for short steep climbs at 7,500 feet.