For an x-half marathon runner, explaining urban fast hiking is simple. Urban fast hiking uses lightweight gear to cover as many miles as possible, but missing nothing. Importantly, one leaves from their front door – camera in hand. Typical urban fast hikes cover bike paths, running paths, and other walk-ways with as little time as possible around busy streets.

Why an urban fast hike?

Urban fast hike with sunrise

First, as a carbon-karma conscious hiker, driving is a cost that needs to be carefully balanced with time hiking and benefits to share (experiences and photos). Urban fast hiking is from my front door – no car – very low carbon-karma.

Second, sometimes time is a constraint. I want to put in some miles, test out some gear, or exercise without machines. Wasting no time driving means more walking, more miles in the time-box.

Third, why not get to know your neighborhood and the creatures that live there? Urban fast hiking at odd hours around town often offers surprises not seen other times, or places.

urban fast hike neighbor gb heron

How I do it

My favorite urban fast hikes leave home about an hour before sunrise with a headlamp, getting out away from brighter lights for the sunrise. Urban fast hiking typically covers between 8-15 miles – pavement is not foot-friendly for longer at my age.

I change my pack, using a light 24L North Face day pack that I’ve had for 15 years. My gortex rain gear stays home and I carry a good water / wind shell to keep dry for a couple of hours. A down vest replaces the puff jacket. Emergency kit comes along, and the needed consumables, water and food. Pack weight around 10-12 pounds.

One of the best parts of urban fast hiking is the possibility to catch a cup of hot tea mid-hike and then carry on …

Additional pointers

An examples: 3-31-2002 – Spyglass to Dorris Ranch – Some resources for Eugene walking from the city, and my guess is that most west coast cities have similar resources and opportunities.

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