Hiking Safety shares with you simple tips for all levels. Nothing ruins a hike like sore feet, being cold, being wet, injury, or … getting lost! When following these simple tips, you will increase the chances of a successful, fun outing.
Take the time upfront to find trail guides. Review the guides and become familiar with the area.
Let someone know your plans. Where you’re going. When you plan to return.
Don’t hike alone. Go with a family member or friend.
When you’re with a group, stay together. If possible, let the slowest person lead.
If there’s a ranger station or kiosk to register, do so.
Take plenty of water, even if you’re only going on a short hike. That stream may look beautiful and clear, but don’t drink water from it unless you boil it or treat it with tablets or filters.
Wear comfortable hiking boots or walking shoes that provide good support.
Wear appropriate clothes for expected weather conditions. Dress in removable layers to avoid sweating too much as the physical activity warms your body.
Keep dry to avoid hypothermia, which can occur even in summer. Take rain gear just in case.
Know the weather forecast and watch for changing conditions, especially if your trip takes you into the mountains.
Stay on the trail. Don’t be lured by photo ops. Don’t take off-trail shortcuts, even at switchbacks.
Know your physical limitations. As you get tired, hiking safety awareness decreases and that’s when injury occurs. Know when to turn back.
Watch where you’re walking. Don’t stare at the scenery and continue to hike. This is when you’ll trip or twist an ankle.
Be aware. Wet leaves and ice are slippery and can conceal uneven terrain.
Here are a few words about animals. Wild animals don’t like to be around people. If you are concerned about bears, you can avoid them by making noise. Tie a couple of metal objects (tin pans for example) onto your backpack so that when you walk, they make a clanging noise. Keep food in sealed containers. Sleep at least 100 yards (110 meters) from the cooking area. If you sight a bear, keep your distance and don’t run. If you’re going to bear country, don’t just read about hiking safety, brush up on all of the bear safety tips.
The other animal concern people have is snakes. Just watch for snakes around old buildings, stone fences, and rocks around streams. Animals out in nature are in their own natural habitat. Respect their domain and privacy.
Hiking safety is all about planning and preparing to be safe.