Why Do People Hike? Hiking the Israel National Trail

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The main aim of this study is to better understand why people hike the Israel National Trail (INT) and the behavioural, experiential, and spatiotemporal phenomena that accompany this activity. In this explorative study, we assumed that hiking the INT encompasses both universalistic aspects of hiking, in its capacity as a mobility system shared by hikers of long-distance trails worldwide, and particularistic aspects of hiking, that can be identified through the scientific research of hiking using concepts such as ‘place attachment’, ‘sense of place’, ‘state and nation building’, and ’socialisation of civic consciousness’, within the particularistic framework of Israeli nationhood, culture, and history. The first stage of our research was the formulation and distribution of a questionnaire aimed at assessing hiker motivation and the nature and features of their hiking mobility on the route, including spatiotemporal dimensions, experiences and behavior, and place identity and sense of place. Altogether, 210 questionnaires were completed by hikers on the INT over a one-year period, from March 2013 to March 2014. Overall, our analysis of the findings through the lens of Parson's particularism vs. universalism pattern variable revealed hiking the INT to be a mobility system characterized by many of the general, universalistic aspects of hiking, but also, and perhaps most notably, by a number of particularistic aspects that are key to understanding the unique role of hiking in Israeli society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-687
Number of pages19
JournalTijdschrift Voor Economische en Sociale Geografie
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG


  • Israel National Trail
  • hiking
  • ideology
  • mobilities
  • motivations
  • place attachment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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