Creek Walking 101

The temperatures are rising, but that doesn’t mean you have to be stuck indoors. Now is the perfect time to go for a creek walk—a fun and refreshing way to get outside! If you’ve never gone creek walking before, think of it like taking a walk or hike, but along the path of a creek instead of a trail. In fact, incorporating a short creek walk into a hike is a great way to get started. Just follow the tips below and you’ll be ready to take your first creek walk.

The Best Time to Creek Walk

Nothing beats walking in the cool water on a warm day, so give creek walking a try during the summer months. Planning ahead will be helpful, especially if you’re taking a trip far from home. Check maps to see the creek’s route, and plan your walk accordingly. You may want to do a little scouting ahead of time to find a stretch of water that’s walkable—not too deep, not too strong (especially if you’ll be walking against the current at any point), and not too rocky. You should be able to see the bottom at all times. Once you’ve found a great location, head out early in the day to avoid mosquitoes.


Taking a break in the PackSeat™.

 

What to Wear When Creek Walking

Even in very shallow water, you should dress to get wet. Fortunately, you don’t need to invest in hip waders or a wetsuit—just wear swim trunks or shorts made of quick-drying fabric.

The right footwear is also essential. Sandals are not recommended, since flip flops can float right off your feet as you walk, and other open styles can let in small stones and debris, making walking painful. Instead, opt for water shoes, which offer better protection and dry quickly. A pair of old tennis shoes can also work here, as long as you find them comfortable.

Finally, don’t forget to wear sunscreen on all exposed skin. Even if the UV index is forecast to be low, sun protection is essential when you’ll be spending the day near the water’s reflective surface. Reduce the glare by wearing a hat with a brim and a pair of sunglasses. Bonus: opting for polarized sunglasses will give you a much better view of aquatic life in the creek!


Enjoying the view from the Pod Rocker™.

 

What to Bring on Your Creek Walk

As with hiking, what you’ll need to pack for a creek walk depends on how long you plan to be out. A short walk in a local creek could take 30 minutes, while creek walking a gorge trail could be a much longer and more arduous undertaking. In either case, you’ll want to bring along at least a backpack with first aid supplies, a water bottle, and a snack or picnic lunch. Stash a few plastic baggies in your pack as well, so that you can seal up your phone, keys, and any other items that could be damaged if they get wet.

Many creek walkers also like to bring along one or two trekking poles. If you come to a sudden slope or drop-off, or encounter a slippery rock, trekking poles will help you keep your balance and avoid a potential injury. For very flat, shallow creeks where the bottom will be visible throughout your walk, one pole should be adequate, but in deeper waters or unknown terrain, play it safe and bring two poles.

Of course, there’s another piece of gear that makes your creek walk more comfortable, and that’s a foldable chair. To keep your pack light, bring along the PackSeat™, our portable stool which weighs only 1.3 lbs. yet can support up to 250 lbs. The PackSeat folds up to about the size of a closed umbrella, and can be clipped onto your bag or belt loop with the carabiner on the included drawstring pouch. This makes it a great option for quick stops, whether you’re eating a snack or admiring the view. If you anticipate a longer break—for instance, a short creek walk to have lunch by a waterfall—consider a backpack chair instead. Our Wilderness Backpacker™ has adjustable backpack straps as well as a built-in storage pouch, so your hands stay free for those trekking poles!


Ready for adventure with the Wilderness Backpacker™ .

 

Finally, while the water may feel cool and refreshing during your walk, no one enjoys a wet car ride home. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to bring a couple of towels as well as a change of clothes, although these could be left in your car instead of carried in your backpack.

What to Do While Creek Walking

One of our favorite things about creek walking is that there’s no pressure to do anything—just enjoy the sights and sounds around you! Whether you’re on your own or with a friend, this can be a relaxing or even meditative activity. To form a deeper connection with the nature all around you, be deliberate in your observations, paying attention to details you might otherwise miss if you were paddling by on a canoe or kayak. This can mean counting the number of tree species you see along the banks, trying to identify the bird calls you hear, or just stopping frequently to peer into the water for fish or scoop up rocks from the bottom.

If, however, you’re looking to turn your creek walk into a larger adventure, there are plenty of possibilities:

  • Bring your fishing pole and look for a promising spot to cast.
  • Grab some trash bags and clean up garbage along your route.
  • Enjoy a fun family outing by bringing an inflatable raft for younger kids.
  • Make it a learning experience by bringing a plastic container and magnifying glass to get a better look at rocks, plants, and small creatures you encounter.
  • Hunt for treasure in the creek bed by bringing a metal detector along.

However you decide to do it, creek walking can be a fantastic form of exercise and lots of fun, and it will give you a new vantage point from which to experience the great outdoors.


Relaxing in the
RoadTrip Rocker after a great day outdoors. Photo: Forged from the Wild