A lot of people ask me that! What is Urban Hiking? I realized that as an urban hiker (and biker) I needed to have a real answer for this question. In my head I think of it as walking around the city looking at cool stuff, or exploring if you will. There you go, urban exploring. A lot of my urban hiking is in Buffalo, so I try to find places within the city to go where I might have been before, but haven’t really ‘seen’ it. Or have heard of it, but aren’t really sure what the place is all about. So I go explore it, and see what I can see. When I see something interesting, I research it, and bring it to you.
Here is some of the criteria I use when choosing a place to urban hike:
1. I like to find green spaces and nature where you wouldn’t expect to see them.
It’s so cool to walk into a tiny pocket park, where there are tall buildings all around and the action of the city is right there, but you’ve entered into a virtual sanctuary in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city. I love that feeling! Sometimes, though, it’s a big park in the middle of the city too. It’s when it hits you that it feels like you’ve just driven an hour to get to the incredible spot you’re in…but you haven’t. You’re still there, in the city, and can be back to work or home in a couple of minutes if need be!
2. Urban hiking has to be in an urban environment.
In a city, or at least not out in the country. Regular hiking would take place in a rural setting, in the woods or on trails in the mountains etc. Urban hiking is city. The two are alike in some ways. Both are walking. A lot. And the views you may encounter in both can be spectacular! Only on an urban hike, the view might be large buildings, or rusty bridges in the background! It can be a gritty, city look, but yet still a beautiful sight! It can be really cool to see a little bunch of flowers growing up out of the gritty-ness of the city! Sounds crazy, but that can be beautiful too! I actually like to think of Buffalo as that flower, growing beautiful through the grit and rust. And I’m loving every minute of it!
3. There has to be a spirit or a feeling of discovery involved.
Just about every time I do one of my planned hikes, I notice something I hadn’t previously noticed. Or I see the changing seasons and how it affects the views etc. I like my urban hikes to be exploration and learning! And fun! If I see something on a hike that I’ve never noticed before I’ll go home and research it, and find out something new! That, for me, keeps it interesting!
4. Urban hiking is meant to be exercise too.
Not like running a marathon, or climbing a mountain. When you finish, you feel like you’ve exercised, but you didn’t really notice that you were exercising during the actual hike itself! Let’s face it people, no truer words were ever spoken than ‘move it or lose it’! Urban hiking is a great way to ‘keep it’! It covers some distance…miles in fact. It has to be more than just a ‘walk’. On an urban hike, both the body & mind are engaged with your surroundings.
So I guess Urban Hiking is a lot like walking and hiking, but each has its own unique qualities. And those qualities are in the perspective. You’re own perspective, that is. Whatever kind of hiking you like to do, get out there and do it! You’ll be glad you did!