Hiking Safety Tips
“Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” – John Muir
Are you always searching for ways to spend more time outdoors? Do you love to go for walks? Take a bike ride? Or head out hiking?
If hiking is your way to get out in nature, then you are probably a huge fan of fall. Cooler weather and the changing colors of the leaves can make fall hikes ideal. Of course, you want to make sure that safety is at the forefront of your mind.
And while you know that you need to be safe on the trails – there are a few things you should do before you even head out the door. Here are some hiking safety tips to keep in mind the next time you want to head out on an outdoor adventure.
- Don’t Hike Alone: If at all possible, don’t go hiking alone. Invite a friend or family member to enjoy the outdoors with you. It’s safer to have someone with you – just in case.
- Let Others Know Where You Are Going: No matter how many people are hiking with you, let someone who is staying behind know where you are going. Tell them where you’ll be hiking and your estimated time to arrive home. Set up a check-in time with that person – so that they know you are safe and well.
- Be Prepared for Emergencies: Emergencies can arise at any time – and unfortunately, you may not have cellular service while hiking. Be prepared by packing some emergency essentials in your backpack. You can never go wrong with packing matches, a flare, first aid supplies, and even a change of clothes.
- Dress for the Weather: While you know what the weather is when you head out the door to go hiking, have you checked the forecast for the entire day? What’s the temperature like at noon? Or 4:30 p.m.? Is there a possibility for rain – or even snow? Make sure you check the forecast for the duration of the time you’ll be hiking and dress for all of the weather. (Layering your clothes can help!)
- Pack Your Essentials: You know to pack some emergency supplies, but you also need to pack your essentials. Food and snacks are necessary, along with water, and, perhaps, some gear for changing weather.
- Wear Your Sunscreen: Yes, even in the fall, you’re going to need sunscreen. Put some on before you go and then pack some to reapply throughout the day.
- Bring Extra Water: While you may think you have plenty of water, it won’t hurt to throw in some extra. You never know if you might need it or those you’re hiking with. Better to be long on water than to be caught short.
- Stick to the Trail: Hiking is growing in popularity, and more and more people seem to be heading to the trails. You may even think the trails are rather “crowded.” While you might want to head into the woods and hike off-trail – try to resist the urge. It’s much safer to stay on the trail.
- Watch Your Time: Have you ever gone for a hike and thought, “I’ll be back in a few hours,” – and then it took you much longer? You want to keep an eye on your time. Keep track of how long it’s taken you to get to specific locations and make sure you can make it back to your vehicle before dusk. You don’t want to be lost in the woods after dark.
Hiking can be great exercise, allow you to get out in nature, and spend time with family and friends. And when you follow these tips, you can be sure you’re doing it with safety in mind.