Hiking trails have historical roots as places of transportation for people, goods, livestock, and wildlife with long-distance passages connecting villages and towns. Walking for leisure took place along garden paths or local forested trails. Recreational hiking grew dramatically in North America in the 20th century as leisure time increased post-war. A surge of outdoor recreationists coincided with the environmental movement of the 1960s and 1970s. People felt an attachment to the outdoors and hiking became a means to explore nature, increase fitness, and express individuality.
Paved, gravel, natural surface – trails take on a variety of forms. They can traverse great distances into the backcountry, travel through an urban park, or roam through local neighbourhoods. Historically, trails were used for the transport of goods and livestock between local villages and towns. Walking for leisure was a luxury, mostly reserved for those with garden paths or access to local forested trails. Recreational walking grew in popularity in North America at the end of the 19th century and gained traction post-war in the 20th century.