In this article, you will learn how to become a hiking guide.
From your love of the outdoors, there is no reason why you should not share the same with other enthusiasts.
But first, here are 7 things you need to become a hiker guide:
- Hiking guide entails education
- Love for outdoor recreation sports
- Good knowledge of the trails
- Good knowledge on hiking equipment
- Good customer care
- Get certification for hiking guide
- You must be a good marketer
Finally, here is a way that you can get paid by doing what you love doing most. Imagine, it is as if someone paying you good money to do your hobby!
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Anyhow, since you are here, let’s dive straight in, and see how you can become a hiking tour guide.
What does a hiking guide job entail?
You need to know everything that this job entails.
As a guide, individuals and groups will depend on you to do much more than just show them the way. Therefore, you have to be versed in different areas of guiding.
They are as follows:
1. Hiking guide entails education
People don’t just hike for the sake of walking on the trail. They are also looking for an opportunity to learn something new.
Specifically, they want to learn about the wildlife in the park or wilderness. They want to know of the flora and fauna found there.
If they have children, you can be sure it will be a learning tour. Therefore, know the names of trees, plants, animals, insects, rocks, mountains, rivers and ponds found in the area where you want to guide hikers.
Know the history of the place where you will be guiding. If people want to hike there, it must be interesting!
2. Love for outdoor recreation sports
Outdoor enthusiasts who hire a guide are not looking for a person to take them from the trailhead and back. Rather, they look for an engaging personality and a daredevil when it comes to outdoor recreation activities.
Therefore, you must be fit for hiking. You must also be able to take up activities such as mountain bike riding, horse riding, dirt bike riding, bungee jumping, rafting and even kayaking in white waters.
We are not saying that you should be an adrenaline junkie, but you should come close. Today more than ever, many people take hiking to lose weight, others to harden up and so on. If you cannot help them achieve their goals, they will not come back.
Some people just want solitude on the trails. Therefore, it is alright to offer a full catalogue of activities and it is also alright if some customers don’t need them.
Just be ready to meet them at the point of their needs.
3. Good knowledge of the trails
This entails knowing the trails and their difficulty rating really well. For example, if you want to know how to become a hiking guide in Canada, you must know about the best trails. These include Ganaraska Trail, Casque Isles Trail and many others.
Basically, if you are taking seniors on a hike, trails with difficulty rating of easy and moderate would be perfect for them.
If you are taking a hardened GI Joe hiking, you can hit them with challenging trails with difficulty rating of extremely difficult.
The bottom line is that you should know what to offer every group of hikers depending on their needs, age and experience.
If the hiking will go on for hours, you need to be able to select the best spots for resting, for lunch and so on.
If one wants to hike on a waterfall trail, you should be able to get them there.
4. Good knowledge on hiking equipment
Hiking involves the use of gear such as hiking poles. You must know how to use them.
You must also know how to fit and adjust hiking backpacks so that you can help your customers accordingly.
For those overnight hikes, you must know how to set up camp. This includes knowing how make a fire safely, how to choose a good, sheltered camping site and many more. You must also know how to pitch a tent.
You should also be able to advise your guests appropriately on the type of gear they should have with them for different hiking experiences.
You must know how to administer first aid. This means knowing how to use bandages, antiseptics and other things that may come in the kit. You might have to take a crash course in first aid.
Besides, your customers will feel more at ease if they know you have some emergency protocol in place.
5. Good customer care
How to become a hiking guide in Australia, USA, Canada or anywhere else is pretty much a customer care job.
Therefore, you must have people skills. If you don’t like dealing with people, how to become a hiking guide in Canada or anywhere else in the world is not the right job for you.
In your guiding job, you will meet people from all walks of life, all races and with all types of requirements. You must be able to treat all of them fairly.
Many of these things such as cooking are not required. However, they are extras that you can give your customers as they rest, or at least help them.
6. Get certification for hiking guiding
Find out whether you can get any form of certification to become a hiking guide.
Actually, you can check out the Hiking Training, a website that is dedicated to training and certifying hiking and wilderness guides.
They will train you to meet the standards set by UIMLA – Union of International Mountain Leader Associations.
Hiking Training goes out of their way to train you about food handling in the backcountry, safety, hiking on different terrains and many others.
Bottom line is… if you have some sort of guiding certification, well, it will inspire confidence.
7. You must be a good marketer
After you have gained all that experience, you need to let people know what you can do. You have to market yourself.
Start a blog, a Facebook page or group to advertise your services. You could also open a YouTube channel.
Advertise on well-established outdoor websites to reach more people.
That is it for how to become a hiking guide and share your love for the backcountry and the wilderness with others. If this is the kind of job you can do, get started now. The sooner you get to it the better.