Hiking Is Now The Most Popular Outdoor Adventure Activity

Adventure travelers are looking for more than just thrills.

According to a report by the Adventure Travel Trade Association, hiking is now the most popular activity amongst adventure travelers, beating out the more traditionally thrilling activities like kayaking and mountain climbing.

Related: The Best Hikes in America

The study, “North American Adventure Travelers: Seeking Personal Growth, New Destinations and Immersive Culture,” was based on a survey last year of 8,000 Outside magazine subscribers, Travel Weekly reported.

The study was a follow-up to a similar report done in 2006 that showed adventure travelers sought out strenuous and thrilling activities like rock and mountain climbing, rafting, trekking, sea and whitewater kayaking, and canoeing — in that order.

In the 2016 study, however, the top activities were:

  1. Hiking
  2. Backpacking
  3. Trekking
  4. Sea and whitewater kayaking and rafting

Participants said the most important components of an adventure experience were being in a natural environment, learning, meaningful human experiences, and experiencing a new culture.

The study noted that travelers are putting more emphasis on personal transformation while they travel, so it’s no wonder that hiking — often considered transformative and featured in popular books and movies like “Wild” — is a new favorite.

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