How Cannabis Enhances Seven Travelers’ Hiking Trips 

By Ashley Laderer

In a time when we’re so caught up in technology, sitting at desks and staring at screens, it’s more important than ever to get up and get moving in the great outdoors. One of the best ways to do this is hiking—an excellent low-cost (maybe even free) activity for you to do during your travels or in your own locale. 

Like many other activities, smoking cannabis before or during a trek can heighten your experience. When you go hiking high, on a high-ke, if you will, you may perceive your surroundings to be even more beautiful than they already are. The sun might feel extra good on your skin, and the trail mix you pack will probably taste extra yummy. 

If that doesn’t get you pumped, then maybe another puff or two will. According to a recent study consuming cannabis before a workout can make you more motivated. 

We spoke with seven avid high-kers about their favorite places to hike, and how cannabis helps them enjoy their experiences even more. 


Bachalpsee Lake Hike, Grindelwald, Switzerland

“This hike has to be seen to be believed. It truly makes you feel a part of the vastness of this planet. I’ve never been so connected in my entire life. In Switzerland, CBD with less than 1% THC is legal, so I consumed a joint before this eight-hour hike, and my heart absolutely sang the entire time. No fear, no anxiety, no pain. I highly recommend consuming some CBD and light THC before seeing this breathtaking sight. Switzerland has my heart. I’m glad of it.”

—Jessica J., Los Angeles, California


Coyote Gulch Hiking Trail, Utah 

“It’s an amazing slot canyon, a beautiful oasis in the middle of the desert, with ankle deep water to backpack through. I love smoking to be able to relax my brain and soak in the colors of the leaves, the sound of the water, and the amazing colors of the sandstone. [Smoking beforehand] started as pain management for hiking, but it’s helping liberate my soul to enjoy the peace of taking in the views and wonder of the natural elements. Plus it’s great to smoke at the end of a trek to relax and enjoy camp and company—or peace and quiet when you’re solo.”

—Kristin W., Magna, Utah 


Grand Canyon, Arizona

“I read somewhere that, on average, people spend about seven minutes looking at the Grand Canyon before they get back into their cars and continue driving around the park. On other hikes I’ve taken around the world, I’ve watched other travelers work all day long at getting to the summit, just to stand with their hands on their hips and gaze out at the view for five minutes before continuing back down. I personally like to invest my time in this journey of each hike, and pack a journal, a snack, maybe a book, definitely my camera—and always a joint. Once I get to the summit or wherever else I see fit with a rewarding view, I set up camp, which can last as long as hours. My reward is this paradise I’ve created for myself to take in the views and let it have lasting effects on my day. There’s nothing like sitting on a peak unbothered puffin’ a freshly rolled J with a book in my hands, especially when I see dozens of people come and go while I’m up there. Hikes should be enjoyed and remembered. Smoking weed at the highlight creates a more laid back and memorable experience, and allows the body to register the surroundings in a different way. While I was up in the Grand Canyon, I found a red rock crevice with shade, put all my stuff in there, practiced some yoga on the cliff, and sparked a joint!”

—Alex S., Long Beach, New York



Photo by Peter Bjork
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Fryman Canyon Trail, Studio City, California 

“I have a theory that you don’t actually live in L.A. unless you hike. Although Runyon Canyon is super popular, I love some scenery and greenery when I’m hiking. I love to go to Fryman Trail down the road from where I live, either with friends or by myself. I love going hiking stoned because I feel like it helps me become more present and appreciate the moment more; I’m able to relax and leave behind the stresses of my life. One of my favorite things about Fryman, however, is that there’s a rest area that is really a meadow with some picnic tables. I love hiking and then bringing a blanket and joint and spending time communing with nature, taking in the beauty of Southern California as I smoke and listen to music. The hike and then the time taken after to decompress just feels better with some cannabis.” 

—Gabriela S., Studio City, California


The Rock of Guatapé (aka Piedra Del Penol), Colombia

“Hiking Guatape Rock in Colombia was so fun and tiring. When you look at the Rock and the 750 steps that you have to hike, it can be very intimidating. […] I was too scared to travel with my vape here, but I ate an edible when I woke up in the morning and it had kicked in by the time I got there, it definitely gave me the motivation I needed to get up to the top. The views are amazing, unforgettable, and worth the hike. It was definitely a workout—I do not recommend it for the faint of heart, or those who are not used to moderate to advanced physical abilities.”

—Frances A., Rincon, Puerto Rico 


Photo by Ld at English Wikipedia; cropped
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Harriman State Park, New York

“One of my favorite NYC getaways is waking up and driving up to Harriman State Park before the sun rises. I love the rock scrambles I’ve come across, and the creeks and waterfalls are so calming to be around. Once I get a solid mile out on my hike, I pull over and find a rock to pack my bowl on. There’s something so special to be alone in the woods, surrounded by trees, being uplifted and completely grounded and in touch with nature.”

—Alexa W., Queens, New York


Photo by Peter Stevens
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Shriner Peak Trail, Mt. Rainier, Washington

“I love solo hiking, it affords me the peace I crave during the week and allows me to decompress with a workout and some views. A favorite in the Pacific Northwest is Shriner Peak. It’s a lonely hike (lesser known), a workout and a bit of a slog, but the payoff of Mt. Rainier makes every muscle pain or curse at the heavens worth it. The view is the best part. Anyone familiar with the Seattle area will tell you, ‘The mountain’s out!’ when the weather is clear. Hikes like Shriner Peak provide up close views of this amazing stratovolcano that you might get lucky enough to have all to yourself. The added bonus for me is getting high while getting high. I use cannabis when I hike because it helps me focus on the journey ahead while giving me the perspective to enjoy my surroundings. It calms my mind, relaxes my body and puts me in a really comfortable head space that helps me focus on the effort and the beauty of where I am.”

—Kim G., Redmond, Washington


Now, before you go off on your own hike, we wanted to remind you of a few quick safety tips. Hiking with a buddy is your safest bet, but of course, there are adventurous hikers who prefer to hike solo. In this case, if you’re heading off alone, we recommend sharing your location with a trusted friend or family member on your phone and/or letting them know the trail that you’ll be heading to. 

Also make sure to bring enough water to sustain you for the duration of the hike. To prevent dehydration, the National Park Service suggests drinking one-half liter to a full liter of water per hour so that you’re not over-exerting yourself. If you feel weak or dizzy during your hike, don’t hesitate to seek help. 

Of course, the most important tip is to have fun. Our planet is beautiful—go out there and see it! Weed optional, but highly recommended. 


Photo Credit: Alex Spergel

Emerald contributor since February 2016


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