Benefits of Hiking Alone and Safety Considerations

I’ve been sharing my adventures on social media after hiking alone and a few people have some comments about it, and I wanted to address them here!

I think because I grew up in foster care, I have a tendency to just go for things. Over the years I learned that allowing fear and anxiety to control things in your life, it can zap the joy right out of you.

But I’ll be honest, I didn’t go hiking for a long time because I didn’t feel like I could. What would people think if I go hiking without my partner? And yeah for a moment I thought about the evil in this world. Here’s the thing, my partner would LOVE to go but due to health conditions is limited and it sucks for sure. But I am so glad he’s supportive that I don’t have to miss out on something I enjoy!

I started off small on the trails located near my house before venturing off into the Mountains that are 30 to 60 minutes away.

Hiking is such a great way to explore the outdoors, get some exercise, help your mental health and connect with nature. While some people prefer to hike in groups or with friends, I like hiking alone. I am going to share some of the benefits of hiking alone, safety considerations, and tips for solo hikers.

Benefits of Hiking Alone

Hiking alone can provide a unique sense of freedom and self-discovery. When hiking solo, you have complete control over your pace, route, and schedule. You can stop and take in the scenery, take a break whenever you need to, and push yourself as far as you want to go. Hiking alone also provides an opportunity for introspection and reflection. With no distractions, you can fully immerse yourself in the present moment, and connect with your surroundings. And this last bit may be my favorite part. It almost feels like solving my problems as I am detached from it at home.

Solo hiking can also be a confidence-building experience. You are solely responsible for your safety, and when you successfully navigate a trail on your own, it can boost your self-esteem and sense of accomplishment. After I hiked Three Ridges, I was ready to take on some more challenges for sure and can’t wait what the year will bring.

Safety Considerations

While solo hiking can be a rewarding experience, it’s important to prioritize safety. Here are some safety considerations to keep in mind before setting out on a solo hike:

  1. Plan your route carefully: Before setting out on a hike, plan your route carefully and research the trail conditions. Make sure you have a map, and be familiar with the area you will be hiking in.
  2. Share your itinerary: Let someone know your planned route and expected return time. This can be a friend, family member, or even a park ranger. Once you know your pace, you can estimate how long a trail can take you, +- an 2-3 hours. I always give a rough estimate calculating rest time and unexpected challenges. I don’t share it on social media in advance however!
  3. Carry the necessary gear: Bring enough food, water, and clothing for the duration of your hike. Make sure you have a first aid kit, self-defense items, emergency shelter, means of communication (such as a cell phone or satellite messenger) and power banks to charge your phone.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert and aware of your surroundings, especially if you are hiking in an unfamiliar area. Keep an eye out for wildlife, and be mindful of potential hazards such as loose rocks or steep drop-offs. I used to hike with headphones in listening to an audiobook but I don’t anymore.
hiking alone Doyle’s River Loop
Doyle’s River Loop

Some additional tips for Solo Hikers

If you’re just starting off solo, here are some tips to help you make the most of your experience:

  1. Start small: If you are new to solo hiking, start with shorter hikes and gradually work your way up to longer and more challenging trails.
  2. Stay on the trail: Stick to designated trails and avoid taking shortcuts or off-trail routes. This will minimize your impact on the environment and reduce the risk of getting lost.
  3. Take breaks: Don’t be afraid to take breaks and rest when you need to. Use this time to enjoy the scenery and recharge your energy.
  4. Trust your instincts: If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts and turn back if necessary. It’s better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your safety.
  5. Practice Leave No Trace principles: Be mindful of your impact on the environment, and follow Leave No Trace principles. Pack out all trash, avoid disturbing wildlife, and respect other hikers’ right to enjoy the trail.

Hiking alone is such a rewarding and empowering experience, but it’s important to prioritize safety and be prepared. With careful planning and preparation, solo hiking can provide a unique opportunity for self-discovery, introspection, and adventure.

Have you done a solo hike? I would love to know about your experience!

German by birth, living, hiking, and camping in the US. Addicted to Coffee. Enjoys going to concerts. Also, Artist + Author. I love to encourage you to explore beyond your backyard. 

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