The Ultimate Guide to Earning Your Hiking Merit Badge

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If you’re a scout, then you’re probably no stranger to merit badges. One of the most popular badges is the hiking merit badge, and for good reason. Hiking is a great way to get outside and explore nature while also improving your physical fitness. In this guide, we’ll take you step by step through the process of earning your hiking merit badge.

Introduction to the Hiking Merit Badge

Before we dive into the specifics of the hiking merit badge, let’s first take a look at what it is and why it’s important. The hiking merit badge is a badge that scouts can earn by demonstrating their knowledge and skills related to hiking. This badge is important because it encourages scouts to get outside and explore nature, while also teaching them important skills like navigation, first aid, and Leave No Trace principles.

Requirements for the Hiking Merit Badge

To earn the hiking merit badge, scouts must complete a series of requirements that demonstrate their knowledge and skills related to hiking. These requirements include:

  1. Explain the importance of hiking safety and the Outdoor Code.
  2. Describe the necessary clothing and gear for a hike, including the Ten Essentials.
  3. Demonstrate how to properly plan for a hike, including selecting a route, checking weather conditions, and notifying others of your plans.
  4. Demonstrate your ability to read and use a topographic map and compass.
  5. Demonstrate your ability to hike safely and respectfully in a group setting.
  6. Demonstrate your knowledge of Leave No Trace principles and show how to properly dispose of trash and human waste.
  7. Explain how to respond to a hiking-related emergency, including first aid and search and rescue procedures.

Tips for Earning Your Hiking Merit Badge

While the requirements for the hiking merit badge may seem daunting, there are a few tips that can help make the process easier and more enjoyable.

  1. Start with shorter hikes and work your way up to longer ones.
  2. Practice using a map and compass before attempting to do so on a hike.
  3. Study Leave No Trace principles and practice them on every hike.
  4. Always carry the Ten Essentials on every hike.
  5. Take a first aid class to prepare for emergencies.


Earning your hiking merit badge is a great way to get outside, explore nature, and develop important skills. By following the requirements and tips outlined in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to earning this coveted badge. So grab your backpack, lace up your boots, and hit the trails!

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