There is no absolute date on when hiking began to be taken as a recreational activity. In the last century, the world has advanced technologically in many ways, thus making people spend more time working then healthy recreating. Hiking is not something that was invented; it is something that people felt they had a need for. So if we look back on the history of hiking, we may chose a period, not a date.
The beginning of the 20th century can be a reasonable period when people started hiking as a recreational activity; more like a-first-man-to step-on activity. As soon as they took various hiking trips in the surroundings, they felt the need to go even further. People challenged their hiking abilities to reach the North Pole and South Pole; Robert Edwin Peary is the first American to reach the North Pole in 1909; Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen is the first Norwegian ho reached the South Pole in 1909; those are all historical hiking trips that gave people taste of what a hiking trip can be. The idea of going to places in nature not every one can; exploring the surroundings; separating from everyday lifestyle and etc. From then on people started to see the benefits of a hiking trip.
As years went by, more and more people got into hiking. As their number increased, the urge to achieve more then before increased also. All the enthusiasm throughout the years led to reaching the peak of Mount Everest on May 29th, 1953 by Edmund Percival Hillary. Because it is reachable, experienced hikers wanted to be the on top of the world as soon as they could. From then on hiking has become the landmark of healthy body and purified spirit.