Music is a great way to enhance any experience. It can affect your mood, help you concentrate while studying, or give you a burst of energy when hiking through that lovely backcountry trails or breathtaking mountains.
On those days when my husband or kids don’t want to come on a hike, I find myself reaching for my iPod instead, which is filled with all kinds of hiking songs to keep me company while I’m out on the trail.
Over the years, I’ve amassed a pretty diverse playlist filled with songs (both classic and new) that I find heighten my hiking experiences. I’ve chosen 11 of my favorite songs to share with you today, so check them out!
1. I’ve Been Everywhere (Johnny Cash)
Let’s start this list with the All-American charmer that is Johnny Cash. I mean, who wouldn’t want that deep voice serenading you about where he’s been, while you’re climbing up the mountain – am I right, ladies?
With so many places he says he’s been, you might be able to get some ideas for your next adventure just from listening to his song, and you’ll probably find yourself skipping along.
2. Wagon Wheel (Darius Rucker)
You might know him as the lead vocalist and guitarist of Hootie & the Blowfish, but Darius Rucker has since gone solo, creating songs that are found on many hiking playlists.
Listening to this upbeat country song will get you chanting, rock me mama, and clapping as you go higher and higher up the mountain. I know, because I’ve caught myself doing this a few times, much to the delight of other hikers.
3. Rocky Mountain High (John Denver)
This is for all you fans of old-school folk-rock or country. John Denver and Mike Taylor wrote this song in 1972 about the famous Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Back in 1973, it reached #9 on the US Hot 100 list.
When it was released, it became a controversial song for a short time, when the U.S. Federal Communications Commissions claimed that it promoted drug abuse.
However, Denver later explained that the word “high” was an innocent description of the sense of peace he found in the Rocky Mountains.
Listening to the song can help you experience that same sense of peace and elated feeling you get when climbing up any mountain – even if it isn’t the Rockies.
4. Walking On Sunshine (Katrina And The Waves)
“I’m walking on sunshine, whoa, and don’t it feel good.”
Yes, it does feel good. This, without a doubt, is a feel-good song if there ever is one. Just listening to the happy, upbeat rhythms of Katrina and The Waves will get you skipping and dancing while out on the trail.
Well hey; whatever will give strangers a smile, right? Who knows, they may even start dancing along with you.
5. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)
This song isn’t just for Ted and Marshall’s road trips anymore. While I feel like this song kind of started off as a joke in hiking playlists, I’ve realized it’s actually pretty inspiring.
It has a really steady beat to help you march along the trail. Besides, their adorable Scottish accents will keep your mind off how tired you are for a little while and get your mind into visualizing those 500 miles you would walk too.
6. Knee Deep (Zac Brown)
“Gonna put the world away for a minute, pretend I don’t live in, sunshine gonna wash my blues away.”
Now isn’t that why we all want to go hiking anyway? This is another country song for you to help get you into the mood of being one with nature.
This song was released on May 2011 about laying back and having no worries. Sounds like the perfect thing to do after setting up your tent, don’t you think?
7. Welcome Home (Radical Face)
This song comes from a band that isn’t that well known. But I’ve found that the light and easy tune of this song is perfect for the sunrise and getting up after a night of camping out high up in the mountains.
Just listen to the song and imagine yourself walking up, stepping out of your tent to stretch and take a deep breath of the cold and crispy air.
8. Home (Phillip Phillips)
This is one of my favorite songs to listen to when I’m on the way back home after a hike. I feel like this would be especially great after really long, extended hikes like the Appalachian Trail Hike or the Pacific Crest Trail Hike.
The song gives you this sense of nostalgia while reflecting on the adventures you’ve just experienced and been through.
9. To The Sky (Owl City)
“So bid the forest floor goodbye as you race the wind and take to the sky.”
I discovered this song after my sons made my husband and I watch the 3D computer-animated fantasy-adventure film, Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, which was based on the book by Kathryn Lasky.
It’s such a beautiful, light, and upbeat song that will get you looking up, wide-eyed, and looking up to the sky.
10. I Bet My Life – Alex Adair Remix (Imagine Dragons)
This is a song for all the young hikers out there because hiking has no age. I Bet My Life is a popular song that turned more upbeat through the remix magic of Alex Adair.
I feel that it’s perfect for hikes by the beach, lake, or some kind of body of water because for some reasons, whenever I hear this song, I imagine myself dancing by the seashore in a happy bliss that only the outdoors can give.
11. Hymn For The Weekend (Coldplay)
I’ll end the list with one of the most popular bands out there today. This song is truly a hymn for the weekend – even their music video feels like a celebration of life and all things wonderful.
You can even try the Seeb Remix version of this song if you’re looking for something a bit more upbeat, fun, and atmospheric.
Hearing the beautiful chorus as you approach the peak of your mountain truly is a hair-raising experience that you can only get if you try it yourself.
Load Up Your Playlist
Now, it’s time to grab your music player and load up these songs into your playlist. These are just 11 of my many, many songs that I love for hiking.
If you want more song suggestions, let me know in the comments below so I can give you some more that you can listen to. I have a library with a very very lot of songs that will fit all kinds of adventures!
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