Hiking can be a stroll through the woods or a physically challenging and demanding experience. It is one of the best ways to reconnect with nature since you immerse yourself in the woods and mountains. Hiking is also a terrific exercise. Whether you are a novice or experienced hiker, planning your hike is essential. Continue reading for safety tips for your next hike.

  • Plan your Route

Find a hiking trail that meets the experience level of you and your fellow hikers. Research options of hiking trails well in advance of the excursion. You want to select a trail that all hikers in your group can successfully navigate. Most parks and state trails have information available online for you to review. If you cannot find the information, your local library can assist you. If you are in a national park, the park rangers can provide guidance.

Once you find a hiking trail and begin your hike, it is important to stay on the marked trail. As part of your planning, you should estimate how long it will take to complete the hike. That should be used to plan the start time of your hike. Make sure you leave enough time so that you do not run out of daylight.

  • Plan your Hydration

Hydration for your hike should begin ahead of time. The amount of water you should bring with you will depend on the heat and length of your hike. Water is very heavy, so that needs to be considered. Do not plan on drinking water from rivers or streams. You cannot be certain of its purity. If a trail has a dependable source(s) of potable water, it will be noted on its website or the informational kiosk at the beginning of the trail.

A challenging hike will consume quite a few calories. Packing nutritional energy bars and/or trail mix is important. Maintaining hydration and strength are key to an enjoyable hike and one that everyone can complete.

  • Plan your Equipment

To prevent injury, wearing the right kind of shoes is essential. Sturdy walking shoes for less strenuous and challenging terrain is needed. For more difficult hiking paths, wearing hiking boots will offer much better protection for your feet and ankles. Wear socks that fit and will not cause your feet to sweat. Check the weather before beginning your trek. Pack additional clothing if needed to adapt to changing conditions.

Also, pack bug spray, sunblock, and some basic first aid supplies.

  • Plan for Emergencies

When you find a hiking trail, you will also need to plan for emergencies. The amount of preparation will depend on the duration and location of your hike. In some areas, you will not have cell phone service. So, you should leave a copy of your plans and estimated time of your return with a friend or family member.

You should also develop an emergency plan in case someone in your group gets injured or lost. Set a meeting location to reunite if someone gets lost. If someone gets injured, think before acting when you send one of your group members for help.

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