Hiking is a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails or footpaths in the countryside. Walking for pleasure developed in Europe during the eighteenth century. Religious pilgrimages have existed much longer but they involve walking long distances for a spiritual purpose associated with specific religions.
“Hiking” is the preferred term in Canada and the United States; the term “walking” is used in these regions for shorter, particularly urban walks. In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, the word “walking” describes all forms of walking, whether it is a walk in the park or backpacking in the Alps. The word hiking is also often used in the UK, along with rambling (a slightly old-fashioned term), hillwalking, and fell walking (a term mostly used for hillwalking in northern England). In New Zealand a long, vigorous walk or hike is called tramping. It is a popular activity with numerous hiking organizations worldwide, and studies suggest that all forms of walking have health benefits.