Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the US, and statistics show that there are more hikers per capita in America than in any other nation on Earth. Up to 58 million people will go hiking at least once in 2022 in the states, with a 60/40 split between males and females.

The country boasts over 21,000 miles of long-distance trails, and while the US cannot boast that it has the Inca Trail or Everest Base Camp, it does have Glacier National Park, Yosemite, and the Halema’uma’u Trail in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, among countless other hiking destinations.

Camping is often incorporated into a hiking trip, or should that be the other way around? And when camping it is common to bring some form of entertainment. One growing sport or game is disc golf which due to its nature is well-suited to clear, outdoor spaces.

Could disc golf be incorporated into a hiking trip, or should the like never meet?

disc golf

Disc golf involves the activity of trying to land a disc into a basket rather than hitting a ball into a hole as traditional golf would have it. It is believed that disc golf has its origins in Canada, perhaps in the mid-1920s. Ronald Brandon Cain and his friends invented a game called tin lid golf which involved throwing tin lids into holes.

However, Ed Headrick who also invented the frisbee is credited with being the father of disc golf. The game’s rules were formalized by Headrick in 1976 and there were some changes made as the years went on.

It was in the ’70s that the sport started to become more popular. Now there is an established international association with hundreds of thousands of members. It has been suggested that there could be more than 1 million individuals playing disc golf worldwide today.

Certainly, there are thousands of disc golf courses and vendors of equipment. There are dozens of established disc golf disc brands supplying amateur and professional players.

How can hiking and disc golf meet?

It has been said that disc golf is much like hiking except there is a purpose behind it. This is rather unfair to hikers who achieve not only the satisfaction of meeting personal goals but benefit from fresh air, exercise, and the pleasure of witnessing sometimes stunning scenery and nature. Hiking is also highly beneficial to mental well-being.

But, there are some shared benefits. Both involve walking a number of miles – on average – and both are activities that can only really be enjoyed outdoors. The average hiker might go anywhere from 7 to 15 miles in one day. Whereas disc golf only involves about 3 miles of walking and is low impact.

After a hike, it is a good idea to stretch and also to cool down. Walking slowly and leisurely could aid in cooling down and is better than just stopping cold. Therefore, a game of disc golf could have some post-hike benefits. If nothing else, it is still an enjoyable way to spend the last hours of sunshine before gathering around the campsite.

Alternatively, disc golf can be turned into a hike. There are many disc golf tips online to help your game, but clearly, you can only throw a golf disc so far no matter how good you get. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t spread the baskets across a wider-than-normal area to construct a course. You just need to find the space, and in the US, there is plenty of it.

How can you set up a disc golf course when hiking or camping?

disc golf course when hiking

Playing disc golf involves two things that can’t be overlooked; golf discs and catchers or baskets. The discs replace traditional golf balls, while the baskets replace the holes found on a golf course.

So, to set up a course anywhere outdoors you will either need professional disc golf baskets, some form of homemade alternative and also some discs. As you are already an avid hiker, you will have appropriate footwear for moving between the baskets of your temporary disc golf course.

The next step is to find somewhere suitable to play. There are many beautiful but dangerous camping locations so some thought should be put into where you plan to enjoy disc golf.

The site needs to be safe, it should be free of other people or at least have enough distance to not disturb them, and the terrain should suit. You can choose a rugged location to make it more of a hike between the baskets, or make a more leisurely course to be enjoyed after you have finished your daily hike.

The beauty of playing disc golf for fun is that you can adapt your course to suit yourself. Put in 18 baskets, or 9, or just set up 5 or 6. Set the par for each basket, and award handicaps to players as deemed necessary. Set a prize for the winner, and perhaps a punishment for the loser such as cooking the camp’s dinner that night.

Is disc golf easy to learn and teach?

Disc golf is very simple to learn with few rules. Whoever gets their disc in the baskets with the least throws will win is the basic rule of the game. The Professional Disc Golf Association gives plenty of advice for beginners and has a guide to the game.

As you play more, your skills should improve, and you can make your disc golf course more taxing.

Hiking is inexpensive, will disc golf involve some investment?

Hiking In The Austrian Alps

There are different types of hiking, climbing, and camping, and these involve different requirements for the equipment to bring. For instance, essential equipment for river camping would be different from that needed for mountaineering camping. Trekking equipment will be different from climbing equipment.

As someone keen on camping and hiking you will no doubt have made some investment into the proper gear. You no doubt have suitable clothing and proper hiking boots. But, once this has happened, hiking and camping are largely inexpensive activities. Indeed, hiking can often cost nothing at all.

Fortunately, disc golf is not going to break your bank either. Discs cost around $10, and you may want to invest in some other equipment such as a disc retriever for reaching awkward places. You can buy baskets at around $100 and upward, but these can be replaced in other ways.

If you are finding it difficult to make a course on your camping trip, or want to get some practice in, then you might want to look for a course near you.

The UDisc app is particularly handy for disc golf fans as it does away with the need for scorecards, and it also has locations for disc golf courses in many different countries.


Disc golf is certainly growing fast, and while it is nowhere near as popular as hiking, it is a game that suits the wide-open spaces enjoyed by hikers and campers. If you are going to free camp or boondock then you are less likely to have other people in the vicinity. This can make setting up a disc golf course that much easier.

Remember though, when you enjoy disc golf consider other hikers and campers. And whatever you use as baskets or ‘holes’ should be taken home with you. Leave no trace, and enjoy your time outdoors.

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