Hiking Versus Trekking

hiking vs trekking

Hiking versus trekking, what is the difference? Well, people often use the terms hiking and trekking interchangeably. Though they both involve walking in nature, they are different.


Hikes start and end at the same point, whether they go out and back on the same path like the Grindelwald – Pfingstegg – Berghaus Bäregg – Grindelwald hike or in a loop, like the Europaweg Skywalk hike. Hikes typically take a day and range from 1-8 miles. At Alpenwild, our hiking tours typically offer hikes to and from one to three inns/hotels over the course of the tour. 

Europaweg skybridge
My husband and me on the Europaweg Skybridge! It is worth the hike but not for those with acrophobia!


Treks start and end at different points. This method of travel requires more planning to coordinate logistics such as pack weight and accommodations. For example, the Haute Route starts in Chamonix, France and ends in Zermatt, Switzerland. Alpenwild guests have the luxury of luggage transfers and stay in huts, inns and hotels along the way. (Deluxe Haute Route guests do not stay in huts, get a rest day, spa and laundry services.) Another popular Alpenwild, and world renowned trek, is the Tour du Mont Blanc. Over the course of the trek, guests ultimately do a giant loop, leaving from and returning to Chamoix, France. However, on a daily basis, they trek from hotel to hotel (Deluxe Tour du Mont Blanc). Hence, we call it a trek.


Terrain on hikes versus treks can vary but hiking is typically involves better marked trails, dirt paths and secure footing. Trekking is more technically difficult and typically involves boulder fields that require an advanced sense of balance and orientation. 

rocky paths
Terrain on hikes vs treks can be similar and starkly different. Be sure to research the length, terrain and difficulty of your adventure to ensure you’re in the proper shape to enjoy it.


As mentioned above, hikes typically take one day to complete. Treks take multiple days to complete. One aspect of a hike versus a trek that people fail to consider is that it may be possible to hike eight miles, but trekking 8 miles per day for 10-12 days in a row, like on one of our other Alpenwild treks is another level of difficulty that requires endurance over several days as the body will not have time to rest and recover. 


When comparing hiking vs trekking tours, Alpenwild hiking tours are typically less strenuous than trekking tours. On a hiking tour, it is possible to return to the same hotel and rest in between. Where as on a trek, it is necessary to continue moving forward day by day as the next hotel reservation and your luggage will be waiting for you. 

At Alpenwild, we offer adventures in the Alps. These tours are ideal for go-getters that love getting the most bang (scenery) for their buck. For the more relaxed, we offer active rail and food tours. By active, we mean that there is about 1-2 miles of walking per day. It is important to know that you will move on our tours – we offer vacations that will help you enjoy the movement of a healthy body and an adventure in the Alps. Now that you know the difference between a hiking versus trekking, what are you waiting for? Visit Alpenwild.com and join us for a trip!

Emily Jones
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