Having long (or short) hair when you’re out on the trail can be tricky, especially if you don’t have a great way to style it.
One of the most important things to me regarding my hair when I’m hiking is having it off of my neck and out of my face.
So after years of hiking, I’ve finally figured out a few of my favorite styles that help me keep those flyaways out of my way!
In this post, we’ll go over 17 different hiking hairstyles to give you some ideas on how to style your hair for your next time on the trail.
Best Hiking Hairstyles for Medium and Long Hair
Having medium to long-length hair can be a blessing and a curse when you’re out hiking.
For instance, it makes styling easier, but it also seems to always go wild and end up all over the place…
Below you’ll find 10 different hairstyles that you can put together to wear on a hike if you have medium to long hair.
1. The Simple Ponytail
Ahhh, the classic hairstyle that *almost* everyone can do on their own and pull off!
This one is definitely the most simple of all of the styles on this list and takes the least amount of time to put together.
Most people know how to do them, which is really great considering that some hairstyles take a bit of skill to complete.
I personally wear a ponytail for most of my hikes because it’s just so simple and takes me literally 10 seconds to do.
They’re easy, fast, and can be done with most length hair, plus you can spice it up a bit by using scrunchies, fun hairbands, or adding a cute headband.
2. French Braid
This one takes a little more skill, but learning to french braid your own hair is actually pretty simple!
And if you don’t know how to do it, chances are you might know someone that does because it’s a pretty common style!
(Fun fact; my mom doesn’t know how to French braid, so I taught myself how, so now I’m always the one braiding her hair!)
I love french braids for days when I’m going to be wearing a hat because my hair sits flat on my head and is still out of my face.
I also love them for days when I know the hike is going to be strenuous because they really keep my hair back.
I’d say that french braids are one of the more “sporty” hairstyles, which is what makes them so perfect for hiking.
And for those who have bangs, they’re an easier way to get your bangs out of your face, especially if you just use a few bobby pins where needed.
I don’t have a ton of experience in hiking hairstyles for curly hair because obviously, mine is pretty darn straight (ugh), but this works pretty well for that also!
3. Messy Bun
Another classic and super easy look is the messy bun, which as the name suggests, doesn’t have to be all clean and nice looking.
Simply grab a hair binder and wrap it around your hair in whichever direction it falls.
You can of course use some bobby pins if you want, or use a headband to hold up the pieces that have fallen at the back of your neck.
Messy buns are my favorite hairstyle for when it’s really hot outside and I just can’t bear the thought of any hair touching my neck at all.
It’s perfect for getting everything out of your face and helping to keep you cool during those hot summer hikes!
4. Double French Braids
Double French braids are just a spin-off of the classic French braid, which is just one simple braid down the back of your head.
With the double braids, you’ll just split your hair into two sections, right down the middle, and braid each section separately.
I personally prefer this over the single braid because I find that I can get the braids tighter and I like having something on both sides of my neck.
Braids are one of the best styles to wear when you’re going to be outside because they really hold their own when it’s windy.
Again, you can pair these braids with a hat or headband if needed!
5. Bubble Braids
Here’s another fun one for those with medium or long-length hair, that looks similar to a braid but is much easier to actually do!
Simply secure your hair into a high ponytail, and then tie small elastics around your hair, every 1-2 inches.
Then lightly tug on the small sections to help fluff them up a bit.
It’s a really simple and easy style but adds a bit more spice to just a classic ponytail.
You can also create this hairstyle in a way that looks a bit more similar to a French braid, which you can find tutorials for online such as this one.
6. Low Messy Bun
I wear a lot of low messy buns when I’m out on the trail because they are so simple to put together and really require no effort at all.
There are sometimes when I think that it’ll be okay to leave my hair down when I’m hiking… and then I’m sadly mistaken.
So I need a quick way to get it off of my neck, and that’s when I pull out the low messy bun.
Just gather your hair as if you were going to put it into a low ponytail, and then wrap the hair binder around it as if you were making a normal messy bun.
I tend to pull out a few small pieces around my face and loosen the strands a little bit to make it more comfortable!
But, this one can definitely get a bit annoying if it’s hot outside because it’ll be on your neck.
Winter hiking can be tough because you need to wear a hat to keep yourself warm, but you also need to get your hair out of the way.
This I why I’ve made this list so that most of them are able to be paired with a simple beanie!
French braids, dutch braids, low messy buns, bubble braids, and even a ponytail can all be paired with a beanie or hat!
You can also of course where one with your hair just down, but I personally don’t love that because it tends to get really messy and knotted.
There are tons of different types of hats to choose from including merino wool, waterproof, lightweight, etc.
I also love that there are hats like this one that have holes in them to put your ponytail through, which is just genius!
8. Braided Messy Bun
If you want a nice easy hiking hairstyle that is a bit cuter than some of the other options on this list, try out a braided messy bun.
There are a few different ways that you could do this, depending on how intricate you want to get with it.
The first option is to start as if you were doing a classic French braid and only go to about the crown of your head before tieing it off with an elastic.
And then just secure your hair up into a messy bun and use bobby pins as needed.
The other option is to create a deep side part and braid it across the front of your head before securing the rest of your hair in the same way.
These both will take a little bit more time, but they’re super cute and are a bit more stylish if that’s what you’re hoping for!
9. Dutch Braid
A Dutch braid is similar to a French braid, but is basically inversed which creates a totally different look!
You’ll start the process in the same way that you would with a French braid, but instead of braiding over, you’re going to braid under.
There are many videos online that can help you learn this, such as this one, because if I’m being honest, I’m not the best at Dutch braiding!
But when I can figure them out, I love them for the same reasons as a French braid, they keep all of the hair out of my face and it flat to my head.
10. Bubble Pig Tails
Bubble pigtails are similar to the bubble braids that we talked about above, but these are just in pigtail form instead!
The best way to achieve this look is by separating your hair into two large sections and securing them with a ponytail, on each side of your neck.
Then take a small, rubber elastic and tie that around your pigtail, about 1-2 inches down from the first binder.
Continue until you’ve reached the bottom and tug on the small sections just enough to kind of fluff them up.
Best Hiking Hairstyles for Short Hair
I totally know the pain of looking up fun styles to do for your hair and only being able to find ones that work for hair that’s down to your butt…
When I had short hair, I really struggled with this, which is why I wanted to give you a list of some of my favorite sporty styles for shorter hair.
11. Half-Up Messy Bun
Depending on the length of your hair, it may be difficult to pull it all up into a messy bun without hairs in the back falling out.
Which is why I spent months wearing a super simple half-up messy bun for literally every activity in my life.
Even for hiking, when I couldn’t even get my hair in a ponytail, I went ahead and did this super simple style!
Simply grab half of your hair and wrap a hair binder around it multiple times until you’ve created a small messy bun at the back of your head.
You can pull some strands out to make it look the way you want, but this is really nice to keep the hair away from your face.
12. Low Ponytail
If you’re already out on the trail and need a super easy way to get your hair away from you right now, try a simple low ponytail.
It’s as easy as it sounds.
Just grab your hair and tie it with a hair elastic at the base of your neck.
This one will seriously take you like 5 seconds and you’ll be good to hit the trail!
13. Baseball Cap
One of my favorite parts about most of the styles on this list is that they can be worn with a baseball hat!
French braids, Dutch braids, ponytails, low buns, many of them can be worn simply under a cap to help keep the sun out of your eyes.
Or, just wear one instead of doing anything to your hair, because that can be just as great too!
I personally prefer a visor to a hat because my head gets way too sweaty and itchy, but whatever suits you, go with it!
14. Half-Up French Braids
Another beautiful hairstyle for short hair that is really simple and will keep your hair out of your face is a half-up French braid-do.
To achieve this style, simply create a middle part and then take a very small section of hair from one side on the top of your head and begin French braiding it.
Be sure not to pick up too much of the sides, because you want half of your hair to stay down.
Do the same thing on the other side, and secure both pieces at the back of your head, near the top.
This is a really simple style that, in my opinion, is super cute and still serves as a great athletic hairdo for hiking.
15. Reverse French Braid
This one might be a bit tricky, but it works decently for short hair because it braids from the bottom up!
Start by flipping your hair over your head and combing it out with your fingers.
You’re going to be braiding the hair underneath for this one!
Then grab a small section of hair and start French braiding it just as you would if it were the top of your head.
Continue braiding it until it’s almost to the top, and then either tie your hair into a ponytail or a messy bun!
For more details, check out this video that explains how to do it!
Wearing a headband is a really simple way to keep your hair out of your face, without having to put a whole ton of work into it.
You can wear a headband in many different ways, which is what makes it such a great choice for wearing on the trail.
Whether you choose to just wear one with your hair down, in a ponytail, in a messy bun, or in a braid, it’s a great choice.
Plus, if you’re hiking in the winter, it can help keep your ears warm! Win-win!
17. Basic Three Strand Braid
Last but certainly not least, one that everyone knows, is the classic three-strand braid.
If your hair is really short, you may struggle a bit to get this one down, because you will require just a little bit of length to braid.
But this is just the basic braid that you can find tutorials for everywhere!
Section your hair into three chunks, and begin crossing them over each other until you’ve reached the bottom of your hair.
Secure it with a hair binder and pair it with any sort of hat or headband to add a little bit of spice to it.
It really can’t get much easier than that!
Tips for Styling Hair While Hiking
If you’re just heading out for a day hike, it isn’t as necessary to do a lot of haircare, but if you’re backpacking, you’re going to want to pay a little more attention.
Here are a few tips for keeping that wild hair under control when you’re on the hiking trail.
- Comb it out before styling or every day when you’re backpacking
- Keep it back and out of your face to make your hike more enjoyable.
- Your hair can get tangled easily out in nature, but try not to rip through it with a brush when you’re done because it can get damaged easily.
- Use headbands or a hat to cover your hair to keep it from getting too tangled.
- Use hairstyles that you’re comfortable in to ensure you don’t get stuck out on the trail with something that you don’t like.
- If you have bangs, consider trying a hairstyle like a French braid that you can tuck them back in, or bring a comb for them.
Best Hair Products for Hiking
When I’m getting ready for a hike, I like to use as few products and accessories in my hair as possible to make it easy on myself.
But there are definitely a few things that I use that I need for almost every single style that I do, which you’ll find below!
How Should I Wear My Hair for Hiking?
You can wear your hair however you want for hiking, but I recommend wearing it up so that it’s out of your way.
Some of the best ways to wear it are in a ponytail, braid, or a messy bun.
How Do You Hike With Short Hair?
If you have short hair, consider trying half-up half-down hairstyles such as a half-up messy bun or half-up french braids.
This works nice for short hair and will keep the hair out of your face.
Or if you’d like your hair up, try a reverse french braid.
What Do You Do With Your Hair When Backpacking?
When you’re out backpacking, you’re going to want to keep your hair protected and back so that it doesn’t get too messy.
Personally, I think that the best way to do this is by putting it in a braid because it prevents it from getting all knotted.
I also recommend using headbands or hats to help keep your hair under control.
How Can I Wear My Hair When It’s Windy Outside?
When it’s windy, the best way to wear your hair is up and out of your face.
I don’t like wearing it down or in ponytails when it’s windy because it gets really snarly.
But with braids, I don’t typically see that same mess, so that’s what I always opt for!
Conclusion: Hiking Hairstyles
When you’re looking to head out on the hiking trail, sometimes it can be a real pain in the butt to figure out what to do with your hair.
In this post, I shared 17 different hiking hairstyles that will help you easily style your locks.
Whether you have short, medium, or long hair, there’s some sort of style that will work great for you.