Hiking Tips

Hiking Tips

  1. Start out slowly, gradually increasing your pace and distance traveled.
  2. Let the slowest person in your hiking party set the pace. This is especially important when children are part of your group.
  3. Plan the trip ahead of time and assign tasks that people enjoy. The goal is to have a good time outdoors.
  4. Take turns leading the group and sharing decision-making responsibilities.
  5. Hike only on marked trails in wilderness areas unless bushwhacking is allowed and you have excellent navigation skills.
  6. Hike in groups as much as possible, especially during winter and on hazardous terrain.
  7. Leave your itinerary with a friend or family member and check in with them upon your return.
  8. Learn basic repair skills for fixing a backpack or a camp stove. Remember to take repair kits on your trip.
  9. Mountain weather is generally cooler, cloudier and windier than in lowland areas. For every 1,000 feet of elevation, the temperature often drops three to five degrees.
  10. Wear sunglasses and a hat or visor when you hike. Snowblindness, caused by the sun's glare on snow, can also be caused by sunlight reflecting off water or boulders. Keep your eyes and face covered, especially during your first few days outdoors.
  11. Always bring sunscreen. You can get a painful sunburn even in subfreezing temperatures.
  12. Develop an emergency plan before you start your trip. Make sure everyone knows what to do if they become lost or a medical emergency arises. Give children whistles with the instructions to "stop and blow" if they become lost.
  13. Take frequent rests or vary your pace to recover from strenuous activity spurts. A steady pace works best.
  14. Drink plenty of water. Water is heavy to carry, but thirst on the trail is a hazard. Take a tip from athletes: Before a hike, drink some water so you're well hydrated and energized. Don't run out of water. Backcountry water supplies are unpredictable. Treat or filter all water.
  15. Pack carbohydrates – energy bars, granola, candy, gorp and fruit provide an instant pick-me-up on the trail.
  16. Bring a first-aid kit tailored to your outing.
  17. National parks and many state parks and other federal lands prohibit dogs. Be sure to keep pets on leashes in restricted areas, especially in cattle and sheep country. Bring water for pets and make sure they have name tags. Watch for injuries to your dog's foot pads in rocky areas, on ice or in extremely hot terrain.
  18. If camping, pay attention to local regulations, especially concerning camp fires. In many desert or drought areas, fires are prohibited and you must use a camp stove.
  19. Dress in layers. Polyester clothing worn closest to your skin will trap warm air next to the skin and transfer or wick body moisture away.

Terms of your use of this information.