Our Top Tips for Ethical Hiking

While hiking may seem like a fairly ethical activity in itself, many world-famous hikes have become very commercialised. So if you want to ensure that you’re protecting the beautiful places that you trek through and supporting the communities you visit along your way, it’s essential that you’re proactive and deliberate about how you hike and who you hike with.

With a growing number of non-profit organisations around the world using hikes as fundraisers (often known as Charity Treks or Fundraising Hikes), we also call on these organisations to ensure that they are partnering with hiking companies that align with their organisational values.

Depending on where you’re thinking of hiking, we’ve come up with three top GOOD questions you might want to ask a hiking company before signing up. I have to admit here that I used to feel a bit uncomfortable asking lots of questions because I didn’t want to bother people or waste their time - but I’ve realised I was wrong. The best way to transform the travel industry into a force for GOOD is to create demand for ethical and sustainable tourism. So by asking these kinds of questions to hiking companies, you’ll either be encouraging companies who already do GOOD or you’ll be making other companies reflect on how they might be able to improve their practices.

The best way to transform the travel industry into a force for GOOD is to create demand for ethical and sustainable tourism. 


Tourism is often promoted as a great way to create jobs for local people - but it’s only great if employers treat their staff well and unfortunately this is not always the case. Here are a couple of examples of questions you might like to ask:

  • Are all your guides and porters provided with fair salaries, appropriate equipment and clothing, insurance, and maximum loads? Check out the International Porter Protection Group for guidelines on suitable weight limits for different hikes.
  • Are you a member of a local porters rights organisation, union or equivalent?


There are some great hiking companies out there who are proactively working to protect the places they visit - both through their own practices and also by encouraging travelers to trek responsibly. Show them that you care too by asking about their environmental policies. For example:

  • What steps do you take to ensure that the environmental impact of your company is minimised?
  • Do you have a company environmental policy and/or environmental code of conduct for hikers?


Trekking not only impacts on the environment you pass through but also the communities you visit along the way. If you agree that these communities deserve to benefit from your visit, here are a few questions you might like to ask:

  • How do you give back to the places we visit?
  • Do you support any community or sustainability projects?
  • What percentage of your staff are local?

Of course it’s not just about the company you trek with - it’s also about YOU! Here are our top three GOOD tips that apply for hikers on any hike, anywhere in the world:

  • Rubbish, trash, litter, garbage: Whatever you call it, make sure you bring it back with you –  and if possible pick up some extra along your way.
  • Tread lightly: GOOD Travellers love to get off the beaten track, but when it comes to hiking, we follow the trail.
  • R.E.S.P.E.C.T. : Remember you are a visitor and everywhere you pass through on your hike is someone else’s home - respect the land, creatures, and people you come across on your journey.

We know many of our readers are avid trekkers so please use the comment section below to share your top ethical hiking tips too! We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Over our next few blog posts we’ll be exploring some of the world’s most popular hiking destinations and sharing some of our favourite GOOD hiking companies with you. We’ll take you to Machu Picchu and then onto the Himalayas and then to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Enjoy!

July 23, 2023
5 min read