Trail Slang Dictionary

Hikers have a lingo all their own. Those new to the hiking community may not be familiar with certain terms. Hopefully, this dictionary can help anyone who hears a term they don't recognize get some clarity. Know that this list is missing something? Submit a new term.

blue blaze

A hiking trail that is a branch off of the official trail, often to a road or parking lot, but could also be an alternate route.

cat hole

The hole you dig in the ground to poop in, so that any can't get to it, it decomposes more quickly, and other hikers can't smell it. Traditionally about 6 inches deep.

cowboy camping

Sleeping under the stars, without a tent or being under a shelter of any kind.


Stands for "Fastest Known Time". This is the fastest any has thru hiked a trail. Often qualified with catgories such as supported, unsupported, women's, men's, etc.

hiker box

A place, usually a box, where hikers put gear or food that they either don't want or need. Other hikers are able to take from this box freely.

hiker midnight

Whenever it gets dark out, usually around 9PM. This is when hikers usually go to sleep.


Stands for "Leave No Trace". It means to leave a trail in the same state you found it by not leaving any trash, and consciously minimizing your impact.


A day where you hike far few miles than your average, often starting or ending in a town.


North bound. It means you are hiking towards the nothern terminus of a trail.

pink blaze

Finding a love interest on trail and adjusting your hiking pace or plan to hike with them.


A down jacket. Very light and compressible.


Going to town to get more food or other supplies.

section hike

Hiking a piece of longer trail.


A service, often paid, that will pick you up at a trail head and drop you off where you need to go.


South bound. It means you are hiking towards the southern terminus of a trail.


When a trail makes repeated sharp turns to make it up or down a very steep section.

thru hike

Hiking a trail from one end to the other in a single year.

trail angel

Someone who helps hikers with whatever they may need out of the kindness of their own heart.

trail legs

When your legs have gotten used to hiking over difficult terrain day in and day out. They no longer tire as much from hiking and one is able to hike further.

trail name

A name you either give yourself or someone else gives you while hiking. It's the name other hikers will call you.


Having a backpack that weighs less than 10 pounds (4.5 kg), when the weight of food and water is not considered.

yellow blaze

Following the general direction of the trail, but doing so by either hitch hiking or driving.


A day where you hike no miles.

Cade Rosche © 2022
*This data is estimated and should not be relied upon without further research. It is meant as a starting point for hike planning, not as the only information used to plan your thru hike.