Tips for hiking alone

21 Tips For Hiking Alone in 2022 (From Personal Experience!)

Looking for all the best tips for hiking alone? 

To all the ladies out there, do you have a desire to go on a solo hike? Wondering how to hike alone as a woman?

 We have gathered some tips for hiking alone to help female hikers to hike safely and confidently.

Have you been planning to go on a hike but can’t find a hiking buddy? 

Hiking alone is one of the best ways to enjoy the scenery at your own pace. There are times when you just want to be close to nature by yourself, immersed in your own thoughts.

In 2018, I suffered burnout from overworking and needed a break so desperately. 

I just went ahead to book my trip as soon as I had blocked my annual leave. All I wanted was just a break to leave the country and hence I decided to challenge myself to go on a solo hike. That was my first solo vacation on a solo hike. 

Since then I was addicted to solo traveling and particularly enjoyed exploring topics on solo female hiking. 

Solo hiking can indeed be intimidating if you are not well-prepared. WWB writer, Angeline has got you covered on solo hiking safety tips. You can hike alone and enjoy every moment of it by following these 21 solo hiking tips. 

Tips for hiking alone
Photo by 11417994 from Pixabay

21 Tips For Hiking Alone

1. Choose A Popular Trail

2. Hike At A Familiar Trail

3. Stay On The Trail

4. Trust Your Instincts and Judgement

5. Let Someone Know About Your Trip

6. Familiarise Yourself With The Local Wildlife

7. Visit The Ranger Station

8. Take Pictures Of Key Areas

9. Avoid Unnecessary Risks

10. Avoid Wearing Headphones

11. Know Your Limits

12. Begin With Small Baby Steps

13. Plan And Research Ahead

14. Learn Map Reading

15. Check The Weather Forecast

16. Pack The Essentials Items

17. Put On Proper Footwear

18. Pack Sufficient Food And Water

19. Bring A Hiking GPS Communicator

20. Get A Travel Insurance

21. Be Open To Mingle

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21 Tips For Hiking Alone

Tips for hiking alone
Photo by chriszwettler from Pixabay

1.   Choose A Popular Trail

Popular trails usually have more hikers and you won’t feel isolated while hiking alone. 

Another important benefit is that popular trails are usually well-marked and well-maintained which improves hiking alone safety. 

Choosing a popular trail will also make your hike safer as they are usually well-patrolled. If you encounter any problems, it will also be easier to seek help from other hikers passing by.

Avoid hiking on remote trails unless you are a seasoned hiker. Personally, I will hike in a small group or at least in pairs for remote trails.

Here are some popular trails to hike,perfect for solo female travellers :

2. Hike At A Familiar Trail

There is no harm in revisiting a trail that you have hiked before. 

You might have previously hiked there with a group of people. Hence why not go alone this time, especially if it is your first solo hike. 

Use this trip to gain experience and confidence.

The advantage is that you should be familiar with the route which saves you time on doing research and minimises your risks. Some hiking destinations have alternative trails which you might have missed out on your previous hike. Use this opportunity to discover the other trails. 

3.   Stay On The Trail

You might be tempted to go off-trail to discover new places. 

The best is to stay on the trail as it is marked for a reason. It might be risky when you stray away from the trail. 

Bring a paper map so that you have a backup when your phone runs out of battery or network coverage. 

4.   Trust Your Instincts and Judgement 

Along the way, you might feel that something is amiss, be it a place, person, or wildlife and you are not comfortable continuing your journey.

 Do not hesitate to turn around and head home. It is better to err on the side of caution.

During one of my local hikes, I met an overly friendly middle-aged guy who kept following me and trying hard to strike a conversation. 

This made me feel really uncomfortable and annoyed. Although I was at the midpoint, my immediate instinct was to turn around and head back home.

 Just because you are on a solo hike, doesn’t mean that you have to entertain freaky strangers.

5.   Let Someone Know About Your Trip

Inform at least one responsible and reliable person about your trip with the following information:

  • Hike destination
  • Trail routes with start and endpoints
  • Key stations of the trail
  • Expected date and time of return
  • Actions to take when there is no update from you

6.   Familiarize Yourself With The Local Wildlife 

This could be a lifesaver when you are equipped with the knowledge of how to react when you encounter dangerous fauna and flora. 

In certain parts of the US, bears do roam in the forest. Instead of keeping quiet, one should make noises when one encounters a bear. Keeping quiet will only surprise a bear, causing it to turn on its defensive mode.

It is also common to see snakes in tropical forests. The golden rule is not to panic when you see a snake as it only attacks when provoked. Just move away slowly and quietly and try to find a way around it. 

7. Visit The Ranger Station

Do make it a point to drop by the ranger station to gather information before you embark on the trail. 

Let them know your plans and return to inform them when you have finished your hike. 

In the event that you did not come back on time, they will go and find you.

They will also provide helpful hiking alone tips and information such as potential dangers and places to avoid, or the must-go areas for good pictures. These are the kind of essential details you won’t want to miss out on.

8.   Take Pictures Of Key Areas 

Tips for hiking alone
Photo by René Schindler from Pixabay

Having pictures of landmarks and key signs will allow you to make references when you are finding your way back. 

You should also take pictures of turns and waypoints as you move along the trail. No harm in taking extra pictures in case you need them for direction. 

You definitely won’t want to follow in the footsteps of Hansel and Gretel by using stones and breadcrumbs to make the trail.

9.   Avoid Unnecessary Risks

Avoid standing on the side of cliffs or on slippery rocks next to a river.

Before you risk your life for that instagrammable photo, think of the potential dangers and if it is worth taking the risk. I am sure you have heard or seen warnings of fatal accidents at certain spots of a trail.

 These should alert you of the high-risk zones. Learn from others’ mistakes and stay clear of these risky zones.

10. Avoid Wearing Headphones

Take this opportunity to be away from your gadgets and listen to the sound of nature. 

Let the chirping of birds and rustling of leaves be music to your ears. You will be more alert to sounds especially when you hear something unusual. 

If you really need your favourite soundtracks, turn down the volume or at least leave out one earbud.

11.  Know Your Limits

Gauge your own fitness and skill level and listen to your body and set achievable targets. 

Slow down and take a rest when you are tired. Nobody is going to rush you on a solo hike where you set your own pace and limit.

Especially if this is your first few hikes, choose an easy trail. 

After all, people took months of preparation to conquer Mount Everest! You don’t have to choose a challenging hike for your maiden trip. Assess your hiking skills and go for a trail that suits your hiking level.

You can always aim for more challenging trails after you have gained more experience. 

Remember to have fun while challenging and pushing your own limits. Being overly fatigued or even getting hurt isn’t going to make your hike enjoyable. 

12.  Begin With Small Baby Steps

For a start, you should try the local trails to practice the safety tips for hiking alone. 

Or you could even try solo backpacking before attempting to solo hike. You could research tips for backpacking alone and practice them in your local province. 

Have a feel of how it is like carrying a backpack filled with hiking essentials.

Most important is for you to gain confidence by rehearsing the hiking solo tips

If you are a beginner, pick a beginner-friendly trail. Most trails have a difficulty rating. Choose easy ones with flatter terrains and well-maintained trails. 

13. Plan And Research Ahead

Planning provides you with a guideline to follow and what to expect. 

Research and plan ahead by finding out the details of the trail such as the distance, elevation gain, terrain type, and completion time with all trails

Look up the online maps, blogs, and reviews to have a better understanding of the trail. The more research you have done, the better you will be mentally prepared for the difficulties instead of being shocked.

When you hike in a territory belonging to the local aboriginals, it is best to enquire and respect their traditions. 

For instance, when I visited Uluru for my graduation trip, the local guide warned us not to bring home any stones or pebbles as souvenirs. 

There have been cases where tourists brought some home and had bad encounters that they had to go back to return what they took from the place. 

Sounds eerie? But it is better to believe than to ignore such advice.

 Ultimately, it’s also about respecting the culture and environment you are in. 

Always prepare a checklist of your trip and be familiar with tips for solo hiking and tips for solo backpacking.

14. Learn Map Reading

Navigation with a paper map and compass is an essential outdoor adventure skill and ensure that you equip yourself with this skill prior to your trip. 

Learn it and practice it in your country before heading out.  When technology fails you, whether you have lost a signal or are out of battery, compass and map reading skills will come in handy.

15. Check The Weather Forecast

Always check the weather report for the day or even for the week.

 This will help you in deciding the clothes to wear, items to pack, and time to start the hike. 

Particularly, find out details of the temperature, rainfall, sunrise, and sunset. If you are solo hiking for the first time, it is highly recommended that you choose a day with clear weather. 

It might be cooler to hike in the rain. But do consider the potential hazards on a rainy day. 

Even if the sky might be clear when you start your hike, it is advisable to pack a raincoat or rain jacket. You will be glad that you are prepared to add some layers when the weather changes. Here’s 15 Best Hiking Jackets For Women [2022 Update]

16. Essential items to pack

17. Wear Proper Footwear

Wearing appropriate footwear gives you the required protection for walking on rugged trails. Choose footwear that provides good ankle support and can last you for long distances.

Trail shoes are good for short day hikes on an easy trail. 

Hiking boots are meant for longer hikes on technical terrains. These have to go well with wool socks. 

18. Pack Sufficient Food And Water

Food and water are the most basic essentials to fuel your hike. You will need these for energy and strength. It is best to pack extra supplies than required. Stock up on sufficient energy bars and snacks if you do not plan on cooking with a campfire. 

Consider carrying a hydration bladder instead of a water bottle. The 3-liter pack will keep you well-hydrated. 

19. Bring A Hiking GPS Communicator

A GPS communicator will track your location in terms of longitude and latitude. It will also send signals to request help in case of an emergency. 

20. Get Travel Insurance

You can’t prevent accidents with travel insurance but at least you have a sense of assurance that you will be covered financially should there be any losses or injuries. 

Find out the details of the coverage plan, and read the policy thoroughly, especially the fine prints. Some policies require you to purchase additional coverage for high-risk activities. 

21. Be Open To Mingle

Tips for hiking alone
Photo by Trekking Weekend from Pixabay

Going solo hiking doesn’t mean that you have to be detached from people.

 Be open to meeting other fellow hikers. Even a simple smile or greeting to hikers passing by brightens up the mood and atmosphere. Most hikers are nice and friendly people looking to have an enjoyable time. 

Be open to striking up a conversation with someone.

 They might provide valuable information or tips for hiking alone. Keep your options open to join a local hiking tour when you have second thoughts about hiking alone. Sites like Meetup allow you to meet like-minded individuals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Safe To Go Hiking Alone As A Woman?

Yes, it is safe to go hiking alone as a woman. However, there are bound to be certain risks that some female hikers don’t deem worthy of the solo experience. For example, getting injured, sexually assaulted, or being attacked by an animal. Otherwise, you will usually have a pleasant experience.

How To Hike Alone As A Woman?

Follow these tips for hiking alone and you will learn to enjoy solo hiking.

1. Choose a popular trail

2. Hike at a familiar trail

3. Stay on the trail

4. Trust your instincts and judgement

5. Let someone know about your trip

6. Avoid unnecessary risks

7. Plan and research ahead

What Are The Benefits Of Hiking Alone?

  • Freedom to hike at any time
  • Freedom to hike at any places
  • Understand more about yourself as you go on a journey of self-discovery
  • Opportunities to meet new friends along the way
  • Increased confidence after having accomplished a trail
  • Great sense of achievement after completing a hike

And the list goes on…….

Is It Safe To Go Hiking Alone After Dark?

No, it is not safe to go hiking alone after dark. Unless you are an expert hiker, do not hike alone after dark. Darkness can make the terrain riskier even on familiar trails. It is hard to spot dangerous objects and you need to go slow in the dim moonlight.

Is It Weird To Go Hiking Alone?

Concerned that people might think it is weird to go hiking alone? No, it is not weird to go hiking alone. There are times when we just want to be alone and enjoy the solitude. Chances are you might bump into many solo hikers.

How Do You Protect Yourself When Hiking Alone?

Practice these hiking alone safety tips and be alert and extra cautious when you are on your own.

1. Stay on the trail

2. Trust your instincts and judgment

3. Familiarize yourself with the local wildlife

4. Avoid unnecessary risks

5. Avoid wearing headphones

6. Know your limits

7. Pack the essentials items

8. Put on proper footwear

How Do I Overcome My Fear Of Hiking Alone?

To overcome your fear of hiking alone, do your research and read up as much as possible on tips for hiking alone. Read about others’ experiences to inspire yourself.

Practice in your local neighborhood. Learn the basics of tips for solo backpacking, and hiking alone.

1. Choose A Popular Trail

2. Pack The Essentials Items

3. Familiarize Yourself With The Local Wildlife

4. Begin With Small Baby Steps

5. Plan And Research Ahead

6. Pack The Essentials Items

Solo hiking essentials

Conclusion

Tips for hiking alone
Photo by Olya Adamovich from Pixabay

All set and ready to take up this challenge to go hiking alone? Do not hesitate and book your solo hike trip right away! Don’t forget to jot down and follow these 21 tips for hiking alone before heading out.

Always bear in mind that your top priority is safety. 

Treat the safety tips for hiking alone like a bible. No doubt that you will be looking forward to having some fun and adventures.

 I am sure you would want to bring home good memories of this trip without any bad experiences.

We hope that this guide on hiking solo tips will help you to gain confidence for your solo hike trip. 

Who knows, you might end up finding a hiking partner after this solo hike trip. Do share your stories and inspire others to go on their solo hike as well. Personally, I have stories of some of the best solo hiking trips in the US.

Stay safe and have fun!

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