Hiking Alone: Six Tips For People Who Like To Go Out Alone

Lots of peo­ple don’t go hik­ing alone as they wor­ry that they may get hurt or lost. While these sce­nar­ios are cer­tain­ly pos­si­ble, they are not likely—especially if you pre­pare in advance.

Hik­ing alone may seem like a scary prospect, but in real­i­ty, there are lots of advan­tages to solo hik­ing. You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to and you can go at your own pace; if you want to stop to take pic­tures of a water­fall, you can. Want to take a break to sit down and have some water? You can. If you want to pow­er ahead, you can!

Hik­ing alone might be for you, here are six tips to make sure you stay safe.

1. Choose A Pop­u­lar Trail
It sounds counter-pro­duc­tive, but choos­ing a pop­u­lar trail is always a bet­ter bet. This is because pop­u­lar trails are nor­mal­ly bet­ter main­tained and safer so you are less like­ly to fall or injure your­self. It also means that you are much more like­ly to run into oth­er hik­ers. So if you do find your­self need­ing help you should have no trou­ble find­ing it.

You may usu­al­ly pre­fer qui­eter trails, as you are less like­ly to encounter oth­er peo­ple, but in real­i­ty, the oth­er hik­ers prob­a­bly won’t want to stop and chat any­way; they will just want to keep hik­ing, so you will be able to enjoy your alone time!

2. Hike Some­where You Know Well
If you are hik­ing alone for the first time, you should plan a hike in an area that you know well. For instance, you could hike local­ly, or you could vis­it a hik­ing path that you have trav­eled before. This is because you will know more about wild ani­mals and poi­so­nous plants in the area.

Don’t wor­ry that the hike will be bor­ing or repet­i­tive; the world always looks and feels dif­fer­ent when you are on your own.

3. Check The Weath­er Fore­cast Before You Set-Off
Sim­ply look­ing out of the win­dow before set­ting off for a hike isn’t enough. The weath­er could change with­in a mat­ter of min­utes, which can be very dan­ger­ous. If you think that you are going for a hike in the sun but it starts to snow after an hour, you are putting your­self at risk of hypother­mia and pneu­mo­nia. Check the weath­er fore­cast online to see pre­dic­tions for lat­er in the day or week. This way you will be able to pack the right kind of clothes for the weather.

You should also keep your eye on oth­er hik­ers that you pass. If you notice that they are all wear­ing rain­coats and head­ing to their cars, the weath­er may be about to get much worse!

4. Pack A Range Of Supplies
Always take a thick jumper, some food, some water, a map, and a first aid kit with you when you are hik­ing so that you are pre­pared for any­thing. You may also need to bring sea­son­al items, such as a peaked cap or a water­proof coat. If you don’t own a pair of qual­i­ty hik­ing shoes, you might want to get some.

5. Tell Some­one Where You Are Going
Let a friend or a fam­i­ly mem­ber know about your hik­ing plans and what time you should be arriv­ing home. Tell them that you will call them when you are back, just in case some­thing hap­pens to you while you are hik­ing (and don’t for­get to actu­al­ly ring them—otherwise they might wor­ry). Make sure that you don’t change hik­ing trails at the last moment with­out let­ting your friend know; if you don’t and you injure your­self, they may not be able to find you.

6. Drop By The Ranger Station
If you pass by the ranger sta­tion on your hike, make sure to drop in to say “hi.” Tell the rangers your name and let them know that you will be hik­ing alone today. Tell them how long you expect to be hik­ing for, and tell them that you will drop by on your way back.

This means that the Rangers will know that you are miss­ing if you don’t come back, so they will head out to look for you. This essen­tial safe­ty move could save your life if you are injured or hurt. It also means that the Rangers can let you know if any paths should be avoid­ed due to recent rain or snowfall.