Safety Tips For Your Best Hike Ever

Are you ready to take a hike? Nothing beats lacing up a pair of hiking boots and escaping into nature, but whether you’re a beginner, or already have Everest crossed off your bucket list, preparedness is everything when it comes to getting the most out of your experience. Hiking is an amazing way to stay fit and connect with the outdoors, but following a safety, a checklist should be a priority whether you plan to head out for a couple of hours, or the entire day.

Get to Know Your Trail — If you’re new to the hike, do some research to familiarize yourself with the area. Most outdoor stores and visitor centers carry maps, and literature that tells you the distance, and difficulty level of the trail as well as any potential hazards. Some hiking spots are only open during certain times of the year, and may not be appropriate for family treks with young kids, so taking the time to plan ahead can help you avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Gear Up — Nature is beautiful, but also unpredictable. Whether you’re hiking Mount Zion or the hills in your own neck-of-the-woods, bring some basic provisions with you. Along with plenty of water, and non-perishable food items, it’s a good idea to include a small first aid kit, sunblock, and a flashlight. Properly fitted closed toed shoes, and layered clothing will help you feel comfortable, and prevent injury. If you’re in an area where ticks or poisonous plants are prevalent, be sure to keep legs, and ankles well covered.

Canine Safety — Dogs love the thrill of a hike as much as we do, but require a few safety measures of their own. Pack extra foot rod, and water, and always keep them on a leash in case of run-ins with wildlife, and hazardous terrain. A dog’s paws are highly sensitive to extreme temperatures, and sharp surfaces, so avoid hikes during intense heat and watch for things like jagged rocks, and foxtails which can easily become lodged in their toes. Flea and tick prevention is also essential as these, and mosquitoes carry harmful diseases.

Don’t Go It Alone — Hiking alone is risky even for the most seasoned traveler. If you are going it solo, let someone know when and where you’re headed, and when you plan on returning. If you’ve chosen a new route, bring a map because you’ll likely be without cell phone reception and access to GPS. As therapeutic as it is to hike on your own, it’s much safer, and a lot more fun to get together as a group, and experience nature together. With an infinite number of trails within the U.S and around the world, where will you plan your next adventure?