The BEST Songs About Walking (& Other Great Music For Hiking And Backpacking)
The BEST Songs About Walking (& Other Great Music For Hiking And Backpacking)

The BEST Songs About Walking (& Other Great Music For Hiking And Backpacking)

While I often opt to walk in silence and simply listen out for all the delightful sounds of nature, I do still occasionally enjoy popping in some earphones during my hikes.

A powerfully rhythmic tool – good music not only keeps us in tempo – but a lively tune can amp us up during a tough incline, while a more relaxed beat can slow us down and allow us really take in the wonders of the great outdoors.

Songs About Walking, Backpacking Music
With the right soundtrack, music can really enhance the whole hiking experience.

Songs about walking

Music and walking have always gone hand in hand. Scour through your song repertoire and you’ll likely find numerous songs with ‘walk’ or ‘walking’ in the title.

Recently browsing through my own song library, I’ve collated below some of my personal favourite walk-themed tunes!

Now, there are already countless blog posts out there rattling off all the big hitting cheesy classics about walking – so I thought I’d do something a little different and shed light on some of the lesser-known gems.

Don’t be expecting to find Vanessa Carlton or The Proclaimers on this list!

Have a browse below. You may just discover something new to add to your own playlists:

Walkin’ Man – Seasick Steve: Now who doesn’t love Seasick Steve? A master of crafting soulful country blues, ‘Walkin’ Man’ is one of his more laid-back and mellow love songs. With the chorus reiterating the catchy line ‘My name is Steve and I’m your walking man’, you’ll likely be repeating the lyrics to this song long after you’ve listened to it.

Walkin’ Down The Line – Bob Dylan: No walking playlist would be complete without Bob Dylan! One of the all-time great songwriters, Bob Dylan’s timeless chord progressions, poetic lyrics and harmonica interims seemlessly blend together to create some of the most flawless backpacking music. ‘Well, I’m walking down the line, I’m walking down the lineeeee’ 🎸

Walkin’ On The Sidewalk – Queens Of The Stone Age: One of the pioneers of stoner rock, this 1998 hit is a throwback from QOTSA’s self-titled debut album. The eerie yet funky bassline along with Josh Homme’s soothing vocals creates a psychedelic sound which has long remained a unique staple of the band to this day.

Walkin’ Blues – Robert Johnson: Originally written by Son House in 1930, Robert Johnson’s iteration of this tune has always been my go-to. The bluesy slide guitar riffs and soulful vocals will most definitely have your head boppin’ while you’re venturing along the trail.

Walk Right In – The Rooftop Singers: A revised version of a tune originally written by Gus Cannon, this catchy rendition was released in 1963, instantly becoming an international hit. Fun fact – The success of the song also saw Cannon (who was in his late 70s) enjoy a career resurgence, going on to release a new album and heading out on tour. A fine example of the saying ‘you’re never too old’.

A Walk – Tycho: Tycho’s music is just something else. Beautifully atmospheric, ‘A Walk’ never fails to fill me with a heavy dose of both nostalgia and wonder. Despite not having any lyrics, in my opinion the melody screams of adventure and makes for the perfect partner when hitting the trail.

Walk Alone – Jack Johnson: Jack Johnson has always been one of my go-to artists when it comes to summertime hiking. The epitome of chill, this tune is actually an earlier iteration of his smash hit ‘Upside Down’, which was released several years later. Listen to the end of the video and you can even hear Jack say ‘gotta funk that one up, huh?’

Walk Through This Life – Tedeschi Trucks Band: Only discovering this band last year, Tedeschi Trucks Band have quickly becoming one of my favourites. Susan Tedeschi has one of the most soulful voices around today, while Dereck Trucks’ guitar skills consistently leave my jaw-dropped all the way to floor.

Walk – Pantera: One of the most notorious bands in the thrash genre, this is by far the heaviest song on my list. Certainly not for everyone, but Pantera create the kind of tunes that’ll get you fired up for any particularly difficult hiking section!

Walk On – G Love: G Love kind of reminds me of a funky version of Bob Dylan. A fusion of blues, folk and hip hop, G Love has carved out a uniquely characteristic sound which has certainly stood the test of time. A charming little acoustic number, my fave aspect of this tune is when the harmonica comes blasting in.

Walk The Line – Johnny Cash: A song that surely needs no introduction! ‘Walk the Line’ was Johnny Cash’s first number 1 hit on the Billboard Charts, selling over 2 million copies and staying in the charts for a whopping 43 weeks! Celebrated for its up-tempo rhythm, its actually said Johnny Cash originally planned this song as a slow ballad, but producer Sam Phillips persuaded him to speed it up. Do you think the song would’ve been as successful if it was slowed right down? I’m not so sure…

Jesus Walks – Kanye West: The fourth single on Kanye’s legendary debut album – ‘The College Dropout’ – Jesus Walks is a true fan-favourite and largely regarded as one of the all-time great hip hop tunes. The dark and rhythmic drum beat blended with Kanye’s characteristic vocals creates a truly enticing sound like no other.

Walk Away – Eagles: I’ve always had a soft spot for the Eagles. Having released countless chart-topping country anthems, Walk Away really showcases the band’s musical aptitude with its fantastic rock solos and pitch perfect vocal harmonies.

Walk – Foo Fighters: Foo Fighters have always had a knack for writing some of the most catchy rock’ n’ roll tunes, and The Walk is yet another example of this. Frontman of the band, Dave Grohl, states this song is actually based around the time he was helping his youngest daughter on learning to walk.

Old Pine – Ben Howard: One of the finest folk songs ever crafted, Old Pine’s melody and lyrics ooze of outdoor wonder. Accompanied with a music video of Ben walking down a country lane mixed with awe-inspiring countryside panoramas, the song is based around a surfing & camping trip Ben had where he almost died after falling from a pine tree!

Walk The Proud Land – Bob Marley & The Wailers: Reggae is absolutely fantastic walking music. Characterised by rhythmic chugging guitar sounds and good vibe melodies, the genre is funky, bouncy and never fails to lift my spirit. The king of the genre, Bob Marley is in top form here, bellowing out the hook of the song; “walk the proud land my friends!”

Walk on Boy – Doc Watson: A true legend of country and bluegrass, Doc Watson was one of the first to bring the technique of flatpicking to the mainstream. Walk On Boy has one of the most catchy country licks around, and the magic Doc works on the guitar is infinitely more impressive considering he’s blind. A musical genius.

Dr John – I Walk On Guilded Splinters: One of Dr. John’s most popular tracks, this tune was first released in 1968 and has been subsequently covered by countless artists over the years – including Paul Weller and The Allman Brothers Band. The obscure lyrics are based on a traditional voodoo church song, and legend has it the tune was even used in actual New Orleans voodoo rituals 👻

The Walk – The Cure: My Dad is a big fan of The Cure, so their tunes were pretty much on loop in the car through most my childhood. This catchy song always sticks out to me, and I always remember chuckling to the obscure lyric, “I saw you look like a Japanese baby!”

You Walk My Soul – Gary Numan: Best known for his synth-pop hit ‘Cars’, this hidden gem of Numan’s perfectly blends his iconic voice with hypnotic electronica instrumentation. One of the darker tunes on this list but also one of the most entrancing.

Walking Contradiction – Green Day: The fathers of pop-punk, Green Day’s blend of heavy riffs and catchy melodies were a staple sound in my rebellious teenage phase. ’Walking Contradiction’ is a prime example of the band in top form and the music video is well worth a watch if you fancy a chuckle. Following the three band members walking through town and unintentionally causing dramatic accidents and explosions, the video was even nominated for “Best Music Video, Short Form” at the 39th Grammy Awards in 1997.

Walk Softly – Barefoot Truth: In my opinion, Barefoot Truth are one of the most underrated folk bands going. Garnering a cult following in the US, they’re sadly still largely unknown in the UK. Both this song and the album it features on are called ‘Walk Softly’, and I’d strongly encourage fans of folk music to listen to this album in its entirety. ‘Mama’s Minstrel’ is my personal fave.

Walking on the wild side – Notorious B.I.G: Now this is what I call a proper head bopper! A sublime hip-hop mashup featuring legends of the genre Az, Nas And Emily King; this groovy number possesses impeccable flow and has long remained a regular track in my rotation.

Walk With You – Dispatch: Another underrated band in the UK. I’ve been a fan of Dispatch ever since I first heard their chilled-out number ‘Bang Bang’ over 10 years ago. Incorporating just the right amount of cheesiness into their tracks, the long and entrancing instrumental intro of ‘Walk With You’ really showcases this band’s fantastic talent.

Walkabout – Red Hot Chili Peppers: Despite being found on one of RHCP’s weaker albums (according to the critics), I still regard ‘Walkabout’ as one of the band’s funkiest tunes. Inspired by Australian Aborigines, the lyrics are reference to how they’d connect with the spiritual world during their ‘walkabouts’. Groovy, psychedelic and pumping with Flea’s legendary basslines, what’s not to love?

(Walking On) Air – JJ Grey & Mofro: JJ Grey & Mofro have dominated my Spotify library for well over a year now. Groovy n’ soulful blues through and through, JJ’s tracks are equally at home performed in a big band or stripped-down acoustic setting. With such flawless song writing, you very well may find yourself binging on the band’s discography after hearing a couple of their tracks!

Walking with music – my favourite playlists when hiking & backpacking

Music doesn’t need to necessarily be about walking to be enjoyed while hitting the trail however! The vast majority of my favourite trekking music has absolutely nothing to do with hiking.

Bottom of Ben Nevis, National Three Peaks Challenge, Walking Music

Quite the contrary, much of what I listen to when rambling has minimal-to-no lyrics and serves more as a backdrop to the hike rather than the focal point of attention. Simply find a BPM which matches your pace and step to the rhythm.

Some of my favourite current artists and curators are:

  1. Adam Heaton’s Techno, House & Electro Playlists Quite possibly my favourite curator on Spotify. If you’re big into electronic music then Adam’s your man. Covering countless sub-genres within the niche, you’ll surely find a playlist which caters towards your taste and walking tempo. Garnering a cult following over the last few years, it seems I’m not the only one who’s a big fan of his. For all you fellow electro geeks, be sure to head on over to Adam’s official site here!
  2. Classical HikingFor fans of classical music, deweyray’s hiking playlist is perhaps the best curation out there at present. I’m always awe-inspired by how talented these classical composers are, and I do find this genre really makes me slow down and take more notice of just how magnificent mother nature can be.
  3. Acoustic Guitar Hiking – Andy Mckee – I was lucky enough to see Andy Mckee live in Manchester around 10 years ago and I’m still mesmerised by his playing to this day. How one man and his guitar can make such full-sounding and incredibly beautiful tracks is astounding. Instrumental fingerstyle guitar and hiking have always gone hand in hand, and you won’t find any better in this genre than good ol’ Andy Mckee.
  4. Hiking Songs For The Great Outdoors – For fans of folk, this playlist curated by Mikkel Mandrup Fogt may be right up your street. A collection of indie-influenced folk tunes, Mikkel states his playlist is ‘perfect for a hike in the mountains or a walk in the forest.’ Can’t say I disagree.
  5. Positive Vibes ReggaeThe perfect soundtrack for a sunny day, reggae music never fails to keep spirits high when hiking in nature. When I’m in the mood for some feel-good vibes on a ramble, this playlist by butchermusic1 is usually one of my go-tos.
  6. Walking Rock Music – For ramblers hankering for some music on the heavier side, this rock’ n’ roll playlist might be just what you’re looking for. The weighty riffs and lively energy injected into these tracks really gives you that pick-me-up when pushing through those difficult moments on a trek.
  7. Just Hip Hop – BackpackingThe smooth, easy-listening and beat-focused sounds of hip hop are perfect for keeping you at pace when hiking. This backpacking playlist by Simon Hyenes contains 92 carefully chosen tracks all tailored towards keeping your head-bopping while on the trail.

Tips for listening to music while hiking

When enjoying music on a hike, it’s always important to be safe and considerate of other fellow ramblers. With that mind, please be sure to:

  • Keep an eye on your phone battery
  • Wear earphones/headphones
  • Always stay aware of your surroundings

Happy walking 🎵🚶