Urban hiking is a form of hiking which takes place in an urban environment, rather than in nature. While on such a hiking expedition, people may explore points of interest around the city they hike in, find new and interesting places in the region, or stop for food in local eateries. Depending on how the trip is organized, it may take only an hour or so, or it may occupy the better part of a day.
There are all sorts of reasons to organize an urban hiking trip. People who are new to cities sometimes enjoying urban hiking as a way to get to know the place where they live, as these trips can help people learn the lay of the land and the grid of the streets. It is also a great way to learn how to orient oneself in relation to local landmarks, and when the trip includes an experienced native, it can be an introduction to great places to eat, hidden urban parks, and other points which may be of interest.
Some people choose to go on urban hiking trips because they cannot reach nature areas, due to lack of time or transportation. Rather than not getting outdoors at all, these individuals can get outside and get moving in their own environment. It also sometimes appeals to people who have trouble navigating natural hiking trails, like individuals in wheelchairs, people with children, or people with disabilities which make it hard to go the full distance, who might want to hike part of the way and then drop out and take public transit home.
Various maps of urban hiking trails can be found on websites which cater to dwellers of specific cities, along with tips on interesting routes and places to see. A well-planned trip, even through a familiar neighborhood, can often reveal things which were previously unknown to the hikers, and it can be an interesting glimpse into the daily lives of people living in other regions of the city.
People may go urban hiking alone, or in groups, and a wide variety of distances may be chosen for the route. Some people find weekly hikes through the city to be an excellent networking tool, using the hikes to connect with friends and associates whom they might not see otherwise. Urban hiking can be especially useful for new parents, who sometimes have trouble finding baby-friendly destinations, and for people with high-maintenance dogs, who would prefer to take their dogs with them on social events, when possible.