5 Tips to Hike Alone Safely

5 Tips to Hike Alone Safely

As a mountain lover, I’m wild about hiking but I rarely find a companion to share my passion. This means that I often go for solo, wild walks which is good in one way, because I can hike alone at my pace, stop whenever I want to take a photo or simply admire the landscape, take a nap in the grass or rest in a mountain hut to have a coffee and a piece of cake.


Courmayeur, View on the Grandes Jorasses

But there’s the other side of the coin: hiking alone (like every other activity) means that you won’t have someone to rely on should you find yourself in trouble or difficulty. Thus here are a few tips that can help you enjoying a solo walk while feeling safer.

1. Prepare your itinerary: That sounds obvious, I know, but I have to admit that being sometimes a kind of wild woman I’m not always following rule number 1: study the path, its length and difficulty.


Hiking Alone


2. Let know at your hotel, guesthouse or mountain hut where you’re going: being an optimist, sometimes even a little reckless, I usually don’t think that accidents might happen. But they do happen! You might find yourself in trouble, on an isolated trail, and in the mountains cell phones are not always working. If you don’t show up in the evening, someone will call for mountain rescue and knowing your planned itinerary will make things easier and quicker.

3. Be aware of your limits: don’t launch into a trail that is too challenging, remember that you are alone. I suggest to take into account altitude, length, difficulty, height difference as well as your level of fitness. Similarly, better to avoid being obstinate if at a certain point you feel that your planned itinerary is too long. You’re not making a race and there’s nothing to win. Just go back, it’s safer.


A Mountain Hut in Austria

4. Try to anticipate possible hazards: calculate more time than usually expected for your planned itinerary (you might feel tired and needing a rest), check out before starting your hike if there are mountain huts where you can shelter in case of rain, equip yourself with everything you might need to face abrupt changes in weather conditions (which frequently happens in the mountains)

5. Look at the weather forecast and don’t challenge the force of the nature: again, you might take that tip for granted but just think at how many accidents are happening every year, involving even experienced mountaineers…

I wonder if I did write these tips as a self reminder… I can’t wait to go hiking, so better a quick refresh on a few basic tricks…


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  • nick
    Posted at 09:16h, 15 August Reply

    hi thanks for the tips, I was looking for tips before starting my solo hiking to a mountain right in front of the Dhauladhar range in Palampur..and since it is monsoon right now..so I’m looking forward for a “wow” views 🙂
    thanks again best wishes :

  • Andy Bryant
    Posted at 12:13h, 02 April Reply

    I’d second the SPOT satellite tracker, and boost it with Share Your Adventure which allows you to publish your planned route, and update progress via satellite or smartphone (assuming you’ve got spare batteries!) whilst sharing your solo hike with the world.

    I’d also take an emergency blanket, compass, water purifying tablets or UV device, and a LED torch.

  • Jenn Grover
    Posted at 15:31h, 01 November Reply

    I purchased a SPOT Satellite GPS locator for this purpose. I check in with pre-programmed messages and my family can track me at any time. It also allows me to send a message for help (non-life threatening) or to 911. Even though I feel more secure with the SPOT, nothing substitutes planning.

    • waitinginthedark
      Posted at 16:20h, 01 November Reply

      That’s and excellent tip, Jenn. I guess that I should purchase a GPS Satellite SPOT as well and everyone hiking alone should do the same. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Iain Mallory
    Posted at 18:00h, 16 August Reply

    Great tips Simon, agree with the whistle would also add a headtorch in case of becoming benighted and for extra signalling power. Also some emergency rations with high caloricfic value and some lightweight duvet (down) top again if benighted to stay warm.

    Also be aware alobg the route look/plan for possible escape routes in case you need to evacuate the hill quickly.

  • Sophie's World
    Posted at 10:06h, 07 June Reply

    Great tips – I like to hike on my own when I get the chance. Love the photo from Courmayeur.

    • waitinginthedark
      Posted at 22:46h, 07 June Reply

      Thank you Sophie. Courmayeur is one of my favorite places… Love the view on the glaciers…

  • Jeremy B
    Posted at 09:26h, 17 February Reply

    Great tips for solo hiking! For me, my greatest worry is getting hurt. I enjoy hiking but I have some of the worst ankles on earth. To mess up an ankle hiking and be on my own would be a bad situation!

  • ADKinLA
    Posted at 22:01h, 03 January Reply

    I also think letting people know where you are is very important. If you get into trouble the rangers or whoever is coming after you can be much more effective finding you if they have an idea of the route. While people don’t want to think in these terms, it is always good to worst case scenario-it and letting several people know is a great way to go!

  • Preston Ciere
    Posted at 23:58h, 05 December Reply

    I completely agree, going solo in any outdoor activity requires planning and care. I too have (often) found myself with partners who drop out turning what was a group thing into a solo portaging trip. What I remind others (as well as myself) is to be extra careful because – as you say – there’s no one around to help. It’s very important not to take any unnecessary risks – climbing that cliff to get that great photo, jumping into that lake that you’re sure is safe, or even running those rapids you’ve done so often. More to it, take your time, take it easy. You make silly mistakes when you’re tired, and it’ll take you a lot longer to limp out of the bush with a twisted ankle.

  • Dave Pidgeon
    Posted at 16:38h, 03 November Reply

    It took me a long, long time for me to admit that maybe I’m not made for solo backpacking. Solo day hikes, I love. Solo backpacking, I’m not so keen on, but like snow in January, the urge to give it a try keeps coming back. Thanks for the post!

    • waitinginthedark
      Posted at 22:48h, 07 June Reply

      Thanks to you for stopping by and commenting. I’m not sure if anyone is really ‘made for traveling solo’. It just happens, or maybe not. And it can change over time. Never say never…. 🙂

  • Melvin Saville
    Posted at 11:02h, 05 September Reply

    Good advice, I also have difficulty in finding a partner to hike with and often go on my own. Two thinks that I always carry are extra water and a whistle.

    • waitinginthedark
      Posted at 20:53h, 07 September Reply

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Totally agree on extra water (or, alternatively, knowing where you can find drinkable water along the path).
      I would never have thought at a whistle so… great from you to share this tip!
      I hope you’ll have again a look at my blog from time to time.

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