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Humans like to complicate everything . Create boxes in boxes. Sub-categorize. Marketing loves it too. So, you “must” have 15 different pairs of shoes, one or two for each activity, whether hiking, trekking, Nordic walking or trail. Same goes for the 1000 varieties of yogurt: the diet one, some with fruits or an infinity of exotic flavours, not to speak about the one with sheep milk or those good for your intestinal flora or your complexion …

In short, Google is like the yoghurt section of your supermarket. It’s nice. It makes you want to buy, definitely. But you can spend hours looking for what you really need or wish.

Here are some definitions, if you have in mind to move your legs! It is fairly puzzling, no? Why? Because it’s not that simple. Between hiking , trekking, Nordic walking you end up not really knowing what suits you .

Randonnée, trekking, marche nordique, rapide…c’est quoi la différence ?

Randonnée, trekking, marche nordique, rapide…c’est quoi la différence ?

Let’s take a closer look …

Hiking, trekking, Nordic walking, fast walk… what’s the difference?

WHAT about rambling?

Let’s start with a definition of our famous dictionary Larousse. Who describes hiking as a “long walk, which is usually done on foot, by bicycle, on horse, on skis, etc., most often on marked paths.”   

In short, hiking requires to be outdoors, and for a few hours. And it is not necessarily limited to walking since hiking can also be practised on bike, ski, horse etc …

Of course, I will focus on hiking, which is done on foot. Once you’ve said that, let’s see in more detail. Because yes, there is hiking and hiking.

Hiking, trekking, Nordic walking, fast walk … what’s the difference?

Randonnée, trekking, marche nordique, rapide…c’est quoi la différence ?

Randonnée, trekking, marche nordique, rapide…c’est quoi la différence ?


It is a walk of several hours, or even several days. Following a path, marked or not. Meaning some physical exercise and a minimum of equipment.


It is less demanding and intensive. It is the Sunday digestive walk, the little tour in the forest or along the river with the dog. More of a relaxing and short activity really.


It is a fast walk with walking poles, inspired by cross-country skiing. It is also a very complete sport. The big difference with hiking? The “pole plant”! Not only Nordic walking is necessarily practiced with these famous poles but those have to be planted behind you: by pushing down on the poles, you propel yourself forwards. Unlike hiking where the poles are usually planted in front of you. There is of course a large choice of poles but with a good seller it should not be very complicated! It is an hyper dynamic sport, around 1 to 2 km / hour, faster than hiking.


Very sport oriented too, and easy to practice daily. With a steady pace ranging from 5 to 10 km / hour. No poles are used for it.

Trekking or trek :

It’s a long hike, a trip on foot. It is sometimes difficult to clearly characterize trekking, as its designation is increasingly used for anything and everything. But for the purists, trekking is a long-distance hike, like walking in the mountains for several days or weeks, sometimes in faraway destinations. You sleep in a tent or refuge but can also couch-surf. Quite the big adventure!


Finally, the difference between hiking and trail is very simple:  on a trail, you are generally running. Mostly on footpaths.

Now we have said all this about hiking, trekking, Nordic walking and trail, you know almost everything on all the ways to use your feet! Bravo! you’ll be able to show off at the next family meal! Or teach a few things to the seller at Decathlon !

Do not hesitate to ask me all if you have outstanding questions!

 alt="Randonnée, trekking, marche nordique, rapide…c’est quoi la différence ?"

Trail Nice

N’hésite pas à me poser toutes les questions qui resteraient en suspens ! Pas sûr que j’ai la réponse mais je ferais au mieux … et retrouve mes articles dédiés à la randonnée ” Pourquoi la randonnée c’est génial“, au trail et à la marche nordique pour en savoir plus !

Photo by Elaine Casap et Tyson Dudley on Unsplash

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Bienvenue sur mon site sport, outdoor et bien-être au naturel

Mon équilibre de vie, au naturel.

Passer plus de temps à l’extérieur m’a permis de me reconnecter à la nature et de repenser mes priorités. Au point de plaquer mon quotidien parisien pour venir vivre plus près des grands espaces. Ici, c’est mon espace pour partager avec toi…ma passion pour les sports de nature, mes conseils bien-être, ma réflexion sur l’écologie ou encore mes aventures dans l’entrepreunariat.

Cam Dewoods