Tips for Solo Hiking
Mornings are my absolute favourite time to hike. The light peaks through the trees and wakes up all of natures beauty.
The forest is quiet and still and the only sounds you can hear are the birds and your boots crunching the dirt and leaves under your feet.
When you hike alone, there’s something sacred and calming about spending a day in nature by yourself. It allows you to process your thoughts and emotions.
While I still wouldn't consider myself an expert, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks for hiking along the way. While hiking can be a wonderful and healing experience, it’s also necessary to practice safety and sustainability.
FINDING NEW HIKES
If you’re new to hiking, I recommend starting small. As intriguing as it may sound to “get lost in the woods,” it’s a bit of a risk to go off into the wild without a plan.
A shorter trail 1-2 hours is a great way to start and break in your new boots! You may feel more comfortable too as there will be a few more people on the trail.
A great place to start is Google Maps to find an area you want to explore and search for trails and parks near by.
Another wonderful resource is the AllTrails. You can search on both desktop and on the app by area, distance, popularity ect. You can bookmark your hike and even log your route as you walk. This app is probably by favourite for discovering lesser-known trails rated by hikers in your city.
WHAT TO BRING
Depending on the length of your hike, your needs will change. If you are starting with a shorter 1 hour hike, you may only need your water bottle and cell phone
For longer or full day hikes, some great items to bring are snacks, water, sunscreen, map/GPS (paper or digital) and first aid supplies. For more remote locations a whistle and an extra layer of clothing is also a good idea. Honestly, you can never be too prepared when it comes to nature.
Make sure you have proper clothing and shoes. One of the biggest issues beginner hikers have is blisters. Your shoes should be tight and you should have a good pair of thick socks. When you bring a backpack, make sure you understand how to evenly distribute the weight on your body before you walk out of the store.
It's always a good idea to check to see if the park or area requires a permit or sign in as well.
Tell someone your plans. I hike with my cell phone, and I share my location with someone once I’ve reached the trailhead. I text them the trail name, mileage, and when I expect to be back. Service can be spotty in remote places so it’s best to take all precautions.
Start Early. This tip is as much for sun protection as it is to give yourself a time cushion. Even if you only plan to hike a few miles, start early in the day. The weather is cooler and, if you happen to miss a turn and go the wrong route, you still have plenty of daylight to retrace your steps.
Understand the Animal Situation. Depending on where you are in the world, there are times you may come across a larger animal in the woods. While I would hope this never happens, it’s best to be prepared. Consider carrying bear spray (for back country hiking) and a whistle which doubles as a scare tactic for animals and can alert other hikers that you need help.
It’s essential we respect the land we’re hiking on, through sustainable practices and leave no trace principles. Here are some tips on how to be respectful and sustainable on the trails
As tempting as it may be, don't cut the switchbacks.You may end up trampling the flora that needs to survive. By staying on the designated trails you protect what takes so long to mature.
If faster hikers approach, it's courteous to let them pass as they may be hiking a longer distance and requiring a faster pace.
WHEN MOTHER NATURE CALLS
Ready to go on your next adventure? I hope you can find time and space to get outside and explore your nearest trails—whether alone or with loved ones.
Want to bring the trail inside to you? Give our Trailblazer candle a try!