Probably no other outdoor sport appeals to a wider following than hiking. The low risk and enjoyment of being outside make it an extremely popular activity for young and old. Hiking is defined as walking predominantly on paved paths, whereby the type of terrain, the metres of altitude climbed and the total distance covered can vary widely. However, neither technically demanding nor extremely exposed passages are to be expected on hiking trails. Marked hiking trails lead through beautiful countryside, to wonderful vantage points and sights, and in some cases also through populated areas.

Especially when hiking in the mountains, happiness at the summit is high on the list for many hikers, which comes when, after a few hundred metres of altitude, you have reached the summit cross with its view and the approaching summit snack. As a rule, no special knowledge such as climbing experience is required for both hiking and mountain hiking, which makes the sport suitable even for the inexperienced. Hikers can also do without technical equipment (e.g. via ferrata set, climbing harness, crampons, etc.). Merely a pair of hiking poles can provide more safety or relief for the knees, depending on the type of terrain, age and personal preferences.

Whereas most classic hikes are mainly over a period of half a day to a full day, hikers on multi-day hikes and hut hikes tackle longer distances and usually spend the night in managed (mountain) huts or similar accommodation.

Sporting variants of hiking include speed hiking, fast hiking and Nordic walking.