Hiking, while a major part of our culture today, wasn’t always the ubiquitous weekend warrior activity is today. Before Walden, Thoreau, and John Muir there was Romantic and Transcendentalism movement, art and cultural shifts to the natural order and time spent being outside. A reaction to the Industrial Revolution, train schedules, 90 hour work weeks and more.
The idea of taking a hike turned romantic and peaceful.
Since the 1800s, hiking has steadily built into the hobby that it is today. This is especially true in the early 1900s to mid-century, as technological innovations allowed us to push ourselves farther and accomplish more in the fields of mountaineering and hiking than previously thought.
Furthermore, the popularity of rock climbing helped propel hiking deeper into the cultural vernacular as most climbing areas require a small hike to reach. Hiking is, really, a gateway drug to other, stronger versions of outdoorsmanship. Skiing, rock climbing, and canyoneering are all just things to do along the trail.