Can the love of hiking and delicious gourmet food be combined? Yes, with dinner hikes.

Oh yeah. We are both avid hikers and gourmet cooks so we looked for a way to have the best of both worlds.

We started taking Dinner Hikes.

  • exercising,
  • sitting down and relaxing,
  • eating a scrumptious meal, and then
  • hiking some of it off.

In a public park, nearby State Park, or recreation area we find it a great way to decompress after a trying day, have dinner out, and get a workout.

No matter where you live there are places to take short hikes in the evening.

Limit the total distance to a couple of miles or less. It is important to have time to eat a leisurely meal.

Picking a place for a dinner hike took some thought, now for the food and miscellaneous things you will need. Everything you should need will fit in one daypack.

What you take to eat depends on the time of year and what your taste buds desire. In the cooler months we enjoy hot homemade chili or soup in a big thermos. Pack some crackers and chunks of cheese to compliment it.

Spring and Summer Dinner Hikes Menus:

Can run the gamut from sandwiches to salads, take out chicken to burgers, or any mix of cheese, bread and fruit. You can let your imagination go wild.

Here is one suggestion that combines bread, fruit and chicken.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Pineapple and Grapes fits the bill for warm weather dinner hikes.

  • Use 2 cups of leftover BBQd chicken (we like the moist meat from thighs)
  • 1 cup of chopped pineapple (fresh is best but canned will do)
  • 1 cup of red grapes halved
  • fresh herb of your choice (I recommend lime basil or lemon thyme but plain basil works)
  • tablespoon of lime juice
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green onion or red onion
  • BBQ dressing made with 1/2 cup mayo, 1/4 cup BBQ sauce, teaspoon of Worcheshire sauce, and dash of hot sauce.
  • Gently fold all ingredients together.
  • Make it the day before and chill it in the refrigerator for maximum flavor.
  • Pile this on some good bread and bite in.

And here’s some backpacking food by Melissa Miller.

What to Take to Drink?

We like to take a bottle of wine. Make sure you have some water along to keep from getting dehydrated when you are hiking.

To dessert, or not to dessert. Up to you but it adds a finishing touch. Besides you are going to be hiking some calories away after dinner anyway.

In the daypack (our favorite is Osprey Talon 22), along with the food and drink, make sure to bring a blanket or ground cloth to sit on, cutlery if needed, ice packs to keep stuff chilled, cups for drinks (we have a pair of orange plastic wine glasses), and plates (cheap colorful plastic plates are great). And if you are out during the evening, bring a torch or camping lantern.

A walk in the woods and a delicious meal followed by another scenic walk – dinner hikes are a fabulous way to combine exercise and food.

Make sure to pack out all your trash. Leave no trace where you go except your footsteps.


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