A friend of mine who is hiking the PCT this year asked me to recommend some good songs that I like to hike to, so I figured I’d share some of my favorite hiking playlists here. Good music is subjective, of course, and the music that I listen to on trail isn’t too far removed (if at all) from what I listen to off trail, so maybe you’ll like these songs and maybe you won’t. I have noticed, though, that there’s a similar vibe to a lot of the songs I like to listen to when I’m hiking. Many of them have a fast tempo which is great for keeping pace and powering up big climbs. Some of them are dramatic and moody and complement the scenery oh so well. And nearly all of the songs I listen to when I hike are catchy and melodic and, well, just incredibly awesome. Although I’ll admit, some of them are horrible, but, you know, awesome-horrible.
I feel the need to include this disclaimer: I use earbuds when I listen to music while hiking so as not to disturb the wildlife or other people who might be nearby. While almost everyone I’ve encountered in the wilderness also uses headphones, there’s always that one asshole on trail blasting Sublime through a speaker. So, you know, maybe don’t be that guy.
Anyways, if you’re in need of some good hiking tunes, I hope you enjoy some of these. Let me know if you have any good recommendations of songs for me to add to my playlists for the AT!
This playlist, Carry The Zero, consists of lots of songs by some of my favorite bands. Song #2 was really special to me on the PCT. It’s still kind of hard to listen to without getting misty. Song #7 is a tribute to hiking through Oregon. I listened to song #17 a lot in the days leading up to my departure from Campo. It just makes sense.
Explosions in the Sky are one of my favorite bands. I don’t smoke weed, but if I did, I’m pretty sure all I’d want to do is get stoned and lie in a meadow listening to their songs. Song #11 was the very last song I listened to while hiking the PCT, and Ballbuster told me it was his, too. It’s a good one.
This playlist got me through Washington. I imagine, with the unforgiving grade of the AT, it’ll be getting a lot of play very soon.
Just some damn fine songs here.
Another good playlist for big climbs. It’s amazing how much faster I’m able to hike when I throw on some early Metallica.
I’d listen to this playlist a lot in the morning and as the sun was setting in the evening. Lots of wonderful songs that make my heart go pitter-patter.
Lots of super cheesy but super fun eighties jams on this playlist. When I was hiking through the Bull Run Watershed in Oregon, I was having one of those days where I felt physically and mentally exhausted beyond belief and needed something to help snap me out of it. I took a quick break to pound my favorite drink–3 Starbucks Via packets, one vanilla Carnation Instant Breakfast, cold spring water, shake vigorously– then put on this playlist and BAM! I quickly got my much needed second wind and before long I was having a grand old time dancing with my trekking poles and belting out the ballads as I hiked. A friend later told me that this 9-mile stretch of PCT travels through a highly restricted area that houses Portland’s water supply and is monitored with security cameras. If there are, in fact, cameras along the trail there (which I’m sort of skeptical of), then you’re welcome security guards. That must have been quite an amusing show.