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How to Become a Hiking Guide

how to become a hiking guide

As the saying goes, “choose the job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.” So, you have been hiking all these years and gain a lot of experience in dealing with different trails and hiking destinations. However, you want to take this passion for hiking to another level and actually earn from it. But how are you going to do it? By becoming a hiking guide, a dream job for someone like you who likes to spend outdoors and experience nature at its finest.

With your experience in hiking, being a guide can be an easy job, but you need to know how to become a hiking guide. What are the requirements in terms of experience, certifications, and educational attainment? This article will answer this question and the different ways on how you can be a hiking guide. Also, we include additional information to make you a certified hiking guide at the soonest possible time.

What Does it Take to be a Hiking Guide?

To be a hiking guide, you will need to have different skills and abilities to perform the job at hand. Although hiking experience and the familiarity of the trails are necessary, there are other skills that you must learn to be effective in this job. Basically, you will be with paying clients for several days as you will be guiding them on the whole duration of the trip. With this situation, the skillsets below are a must for an excellent hiking guide:

Customer Service Skills

As a hiking guide, you must possess a customer service-oriented mindset to excel in working in this particular field. The reason is that customer service is the most essential skill of being a hiking guide. You must show with utmost concern the well-being of your clients with includes their safety and the overall experience they have in the hike. In other words, a successful hiking guide needs to be professional in terms of ensuring that their clients will have an unforgettable hiking experience.

A hiking guide needs to do different types of jobs to make the hikers comfortable and happy all the time. You will solve some issues and demands of your customers if there are any. It also means you will be dealing with conflicts within the group if that will happen. You will be the peacemaker in settling conflicting issues. Lastly, you will be answering a lot of questions from them as you try to meet all their demands and requests during the duration of the trip.

Leadership Skills

Leadership is an essential skill that you need to possess if you want to be a hiking guide. Being a hiking guide, you will be the leader of all other hikers in an environment that will have different challenges for the whole duration of the trip. In other words, you will be responsible for making all the decisions to make all your clients free from harm and happy all the time.
Leadership also means that you will be in charge of any untoward accidents that might happen. Remember, the priority is to keep them safe, which means you will be the one to ask for help should someone break his leg or a sudden change of the weather makes your customers unsafe on the trail. Many possibilities and challenges might arise during the trip, and it is your responsibility to keep them safe from start to finish of the hike.

Teaching skills

Being a hiking guide, you will also need to share information to make the trip enjoyable and a learning experience for everyone on the trip. It is a big part of your job to teach all your customers everything about the trail. I am talking about the history, ecology, geology, and uniqueness of the area. You can also share other information whom you think will give additional knowledge to the hikers.

Being a hiking guide, you will have the chance to take people hike for the first time. You might be guiding hikers that have never seen a waterfall or gone to the mountain top. Your job is to educate them and share all the information they need while ensuring that their trip will be an unforgettable and meaningful one.

Nursing skills

As I mentioned earlier, leading a group of hikers can be a challenge with some emergencies that might happen at any given time. This situation is the reason why some hiking companies require a Wilderness First Responders (WFR), a certification related to a medical emergency. You will be responsible for providing first-aid should someone get into an accident and needs immediate medical attention.

Counseling skills

Some people feel uncomfortable when they are out in their comfort zones. Some may experience changes in behavior, anxiety, and even small mood changes when they are already on the trail. Also, people comes with expectations that, if not meet, they become irritated and angry. As a hiking guide, it is your job to feel safe, confident, satisfied with your experience during the hiking trip.

What Qualifications Do You Need?

what does it take to be a hiking guide

A hiking guide should be familiar with the area’s trail system and have experience and knowledge in hiking. Also, a general first aid certification is a big plus for you, especially if you are applying for the job. There are other requirements that every employer needs, and it is up to you to fulfill them.

Apart from the other requirements above, the passion for exploring outdoor and the desire to guide people to love nature must be the main requirement of a hiking guide. Your employers can teach the other skills. You can even learn additional knowledge such as trip risk management, food preparation, and logistics. You will need to hone your skills further to improve being a hiking guide.


Learning how to become a hiking guide is an excellent step to bring your passion for hiking to another level. You may have experience in hiking but being a guide also requires other skills that must be developed for you to become an excellent hiking guide. But having a passion for hiking is an excellent step towards the desire of being a guide. You will only need to learn other skills to make you an in-demand hiking guide in the eyes of employers.

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