Day-hiking alone can be fun, but certain precautions should be taken.
Hiking alone in the woods can be a peaceful, quiet way to enjoy the outdoors. It allows a hiker to be lost in their thoughts, to slow down and revel in nature. However, hiking alone can also have certain risks, which need to be taken into consideration when stepping out alone onto the trail.
The Pros of Solo Hiking
There are several reasons why someone would want to go day-hiking on their own. Sometimes it’s hard to find a hiking partner, due to scheduling conflicts or work. Or, the trail may be a short trip that a hiker does all the time, perhaps on a weekly basis. This means that the hiker will be very familiar with the trail and its surroundings.
Perhaps the biggest reason to take a day-hike alone is to have the opportunity to enjoy the natural world alone, without distractions, lost in one’s own thoughts. It can be a peaceful way to reenergize and reflect after a busy day or week of work and pressure.
The Cons of Solo Hiking
There are several considerations that one should take before hiking alone. These include:
- The possibility of being injured, such as rolling an ankle, while hiking alone.
- Having a health issue while hiking, such as becoming dehydrated or being stung by a bee.
- Safety considerations of running into a sketchy person.
How to Have a Fun and Safe Hike
Despite the cons, there are ways to have a fun and safe.
- Plan ahead. Research the trail’s information from the local land manager. How long will you be on the trail? Is it a popular trail?
- Bring what you would need for the hike. A short trail run might only require some water and an energy bar, while a hike that’s several hours long might need more water, food, clothing layers, and other gear needed to be out for the day.
- If allergic to bee/insect bites bring an epi pen, or an inhaler for asthma.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you’ll be back. This could be casual, such as, “I’ll be hiking this trail this morning, and we can get together for coffee afterwards.”
- Many hiking trails are not far from urban areas. Consider if the trail is safe, and if not consider another route.
- Bring a cell phone, in case plans change and you need to let someone know you’ll be out longer, or contact help for an emergency.
When planning a your solo day-hike, consider your personal hiking experience. If this is your first day-hike, then going it alone may not be the best idea. This is because nothing can replace experience when making judgment calls about trail navigation or weather conditions. However, if you have significant experience, and have even hiked the trail before, then taking a solo hike may be a reasonable option.
Solo hiking can be a rewarding experience, but should involve some planning and considerations for safety issues.