Important Tips for Solo Hiking

An experienced senior executive, R. Scott Bushley, holds an MBA from the Boston College Carroll Graduate School of Management. He now serves as a partner with Granite Point Capital in Boston. In his free time, Scott Bushley enjoys biking and hiking.

It’s natural to be apprehensive when hiking alone. Even if you have friends to go hiking with, learning the essentials of hiking, such as what to wear and what to carry on a hike, can be tedious for some. On the other hand, the advantages of hiking outweigh these initial difficulties.

Before heading out, it is best to take precautions, such as checking the weather forecast for the day and telling a friend or family member about your hiking plans.

Check into a ranger station and inform them you’ll be hiking alone for the day. Give them information about how long you’ll be hiking, plus your full name, and tell them you’ll check out on your way back. This will make finding out if you’re missing or not easier and ensure a quick search for you. It’ll go a long way toward saving you quickly in times of distress (when you’re hurt or lost). Rangers can also give you tips on areas that have been affected by rain or snow that you should avoid on your trail.

Remember to pack a map and compass; they will go a long way. Be sure to pack a map and a compass even when you’re confident about your knowledge of the trail you’re following. Your map should include an emergency exit route, water locations, and campsites. Maps and compasses will help you navigate unfamiliar terrain, especially during bad weather.

Finally, when hiking a trail for the first time, remember to research the local wildlife and prepare accordingly. If hiking in an area known to house bears, carry bear spray along with you and make lots of noise, so animals know to stay clear.