How To Hike Downhill: 7 Best Tips To Save Your Legs

How to hike downhill

Most trails will have a combination of up and downhill sections. Rarely, you will only need to hike downhill. However, some downhill sections can be tricky and for many people, it can be frustrating to take on these sections. Once you know how to hike downhill, you should have a better hiking motion to complete the trail.

This article aims to help you better understand how to hike downhill. We will look at some expert tips and should you be a beginner, you will notice a big improvement in your hiking pace and your movement. It should also lead to a reduction in energy consumption that should effectively make the trip easier.

How To Hike Downhill – Top 7 Tips

You must know hiking downhill puts a completely different type of strain on your body. It will put some stress on your calves and you will have to keep your core strong to ensure that you don’t fall forward. It might take some practice to master the motion, but these tips are sure to make life much easier for you.

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Preparing All Your Gear

If you have a downhill section on the horizon, you should start preparing your gear accordingly. One of the first things you would want to do is tighten your straps and secure your backpack to ensure that it does not slip off. It should not move around as this could shift the balance and throw you from one side to the other.

If you have trekking poles, this should be the perfect time for you to adjust your trekking poles. Trekking poles come in a variety of different lengths and you would want to make the poles longer for better control down the hill. The TrailBuddy Lightweight Trekking Poles could be the perfect addition and you will only need to change the feet and the length.

Find the most comfortable hiking style

The next part is to sort out your center of gravity. Keep in mind that when you lean to one side or the other, you are bound to gravitate that way. It is important to keep your center of gravity as low as possible. This does not mean that you should lean backward and you should certainly not try to lean forward.

By doing some squats in the gym, you will be inclined to take the perfect for. You will have to keep your legs bent slightly and this will make it much easier for you to slowly move down. Your backpack should be at the back and not the front as many people like to do. This will help keep your upper body balanced when gravity takes you forward.

Reducing The Downhill Hiking Stress

One of the first things that you will notice is how much stress your body takes when you are going downhill. It is important to try to alleviate this stress as much as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to lessen your load. However, you need to do planning on the route and make some of these changes before even starting.

We have already spoken about the trekking pole. However, the importance of this gear item is so much that we should mention it once again. The trekking pole can bear some of the weight and allow you to rest while you are trekking. The right trekking poles will even add some more traction, which could minimize the risk of you slipping when hiking.

Smaller Steps

When hiking, we tend to make our strides longer, especially when trying to hike at a decent speed. However, you can easily start taking smaller steps when hiking downhill. If you take longer strides downhill, you might notice that you tend to slip and your balance might even shift too much to the front, resulting in a fall.

However, smaller steps allow you to bend your knees and keep your center of gravity firmly planted into the ground. The smaller steps might take a bit longer, but once you get the hang of it, you might be able to start speeding up. Once again, the trekking pole is very helpful when it comes to controlling the length of your steps.

Your Own Pace

If you have ever watched racing like formula one, you will notice that certain cars tend to be faster than others. These slower cars hardly try to keep up with the faster cars and focus on their race and completing it as fast as possible. When hiking with some of your mats, these principles can be extracted for hiking as well.

Many accidents happen downhill when people push themselves to keep up with someone hiking in the front. The downside to following someone is that you would want to keep up with their pace. However, you should slow down and compose yourself. It is better to stay in your comfort zone and avoid risking any serious injury.

Check The Conditions Before Hand

Weather conditions can make a big difference to a slope and how hard it could be. It is better to have an understanding of the conditions and to focus on the conditions. If you arrive at a slope and the slope is filled with ice, you might often want to consider taking a different route. However, if ice is in the area, you should be prepared with the right gear as well.

The point we are trying to make is that you should not take any risks you are not prepared for and try to focus on doing what you can when hiking downhill. It might take some practice, but eventually, you should be in the groove, and hiking downhill should not be an issue.


Laser-sharp focus is something that you will need when hiking downhill. Keep in mind that one small mistake can cost you a lot and could even lead to serious injury. It is important that you keep the focus on the target and slowly move down at your own pace. Once again, we would advise you to ignore any other hikers and to do it at your own steady pace. They can wait for you.

How to Hike Downhill Wrap-Up

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If you ever wanted to become a better hiker, you must know how to hike downhill. While it is a skill, you will learn from constant repetition, you can also make the process a little bit faster by following some of these tips. Let us know in the comment section what your approach to downhill hiking is and if we have missed any important tips.

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