Safety Tips for the Solo Hiker

This post is intended to provide safety tips for the novice solo hiker.  

Do you plan on hiking solo?  What an intimidating thought that can be! I get that!  It takes a special kind of person who can rely only on herself, especially when out on a hiking trail all alone. I have travelled solo for the past century and have only begun to take solo hikes within the last couple of years.

I love creating valuable content for you, my reader. However, there is a cost to maintaining a website. There may be affiliate links scattered throughout this site to help differ costs. By clicking on a link I may earn a small commission, BUT there will be no additional cost to you.

I love to hike but unfortunately my friends don’t, so that left me in a bit of a dilemma.  Safety concerns while hiking solo was the only thing that held me back from hitting the trails, and even now it still does at times.  After much procrastinating, I finally drummed up the courage to take my first solo hike and I have been going it alone (mostly) ever since.

Hiking alone is awesome, however, you have to remember these safety tips when hiking by yourself!

Hiking solo is not all that different than travelling solo … start small…..take baby steps, take the same safety precautions on your solo hikes as you would take when travelling on your own, and pack up your hiking essentials.

If you are preparing for your first (or second) solo hike, there are certain safety tips that you should follow. Let’s get safety ready to hike the trails alone!

Choose a Trail You Are Familiar With

For your first solo hike I would recommend choosing a trail that you are slightly familiar with.  This will make the thought of hiking alone much less intimidating and you will feel much safer being on the trails by yourself.  I personally find that loop trails are easier to navigate than the in-out trails and provide less chance of getting lost, which unfortunately I am only too good at.  A loop trail will also allow you to see different things along the way and you won’t pass the same things twice.

Read Next: Lost at Rattlesnake Point

Do your research and get familiar with the trail before setting out for the hike
Know your trail!

“Into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul” – John Muir

Determine the Tail and Route

When planning which trail to hike, several factors should be taken into consideration. How experienced of a hiker are you? What are your physical capabilities? How much time do you have available to complete the hike? Why are you taking the hike? Do you want a relaxing hike? Or do you want a hike with more of a challenge? Once you have answered all of these questions, you will be in a better position to choose the right trail for your hike.

Just One Tip: Download the AllTrails app which will show the trail difficulty level, the elevation of the terrain, and distance of the trail. It will also provide trail reviews from other hikers.

Familiarize Yourself With the Trail

If you have chosen a trail unfamiliar to you, it is now the time to get familiar with it. Google is a wondrous thing! Scroll through pictures that have been posted by other hikers. Read the reviews to get tips from previous hikers. Most importantly print the trail map.  There will be times throughout your hike that your internet connection may be a little sketchy.  Learn as much as you possibly can about the trail before leaving home, especially if it will be your first time hiking it.

it is important to familiarize yourself with the trail when you are hiking solo
Stay on the trail, especially when hiking alone

Keep a Friend Informed

I feel that this is the most important tip that I can give when hiking solo. Once you have determined where you will be hiking, advise a trusted friend or family member and let them know your expected time of completing the trail.

Just One Tip: Leave a piece of paper on the dash or your vehicle with your name, name of trail you will be hiking, time of department, and emergency contact information. If a ranger or passer-by notices a car late into the evening this will alert them.

Stay Within Your Comfort Zone

I am usually a very strong proponent of stepping outside of your comfort zone. Hiking is one area that I strongly advise against it! Pick a trail that you think that you will feel comfortable  and safe hiking alone and that is compatible with your fitness level.

when hiking, stay within your physical capabilities to stay safe
Stay within your physical capabilities

Yes, you want it to be challenging but I would recommend achieving this by choosing a trail that is a longer distance, not a trail that exceeds your physical capabilities.

Don’t Be Quiet, Make Some Noise

Prior to hitting the trail, familiarize yourself with the animals that inhibit the trail/forest that you will be hiking. This will determine if you need to take additional precautions. If you are hiking in the mountains, especially during the summer months, you might want to take bear spray with you. At the very least, when hiking this kind of trail alone, make sure that you make plenty of noise. It is okay to sing or talk to yourself along the way.

Pay Attention to the Trail Markers

Many trails are very clearly marked, but not all of them are. Always pay attention to the trail markers along your route, especially if it is an in-out trail.

Take Note of How Busy the Trail Is

If the trail is highly travelled, you will likely feel a lot safer and more comfortable hiking solo. If you run encounter any problems along the trail there will always be somebody there to help you out.

Stay on the Trail

Trails are usually marked for a reason.  It is important to stay on the trail for your own safety.  Whenever venturing off of the trail, you risk getting lost or encountering danger.

Stay on Dry Land

There will be times that you may come across a river that will make the hike quicker if you cross it.  It is not advisable to hike through any rivers or streams when you are hiking alone.  It is always safest to stay on dry land if at all possible and to find an alternate way to cross.  If other hikers are in the area and it is absolutely necessary to cross through the river or stream, ask if you can join them until you are safely across the river.

Read Next: Benefits of Hiking Solo

One of the most important safety tips for the solo hiker is to stay on dry land and avoid crossing water
Remain on dry land

Don’t Hike After Dark

It is always important to determine the expected time of sunset and the length of time that it will take you to complete the trail. It is never safe to hike alone after dark. You want to make sure that your hike will be completed prior to sunset.

Stay Put

Whenever hiking, whether solo or with others, there is always the possibility of getting lost or encountering other problems.  If you do happen to get lost or encounter difficulties during your hike, it is important to remember the following:

  • don’t panic
  • stay where you are, it will be easier to locate you if you stay in one spot
  • sound an alarm (blow a whistle, scream, play music from your phone, etc.). Do whatever it takes to lead someone to your location
  • if you are in severe danger, DO NOT call a family member. Call 911!

Read Next: Best Hikes to view Fall Foliage

If you get lost when hiking solo, it is important to stay where you are so that it is easier to find you
Enjoy the view, breath in the air, and stay safe!

I hope that I haven’t scared you off from hiking alone, as it really is one of the most peaceful experiences that you will have.  As a newbie to solo hiking, make sure you take your time, breathe in the air, and enjoy the forest!   Who knows, the trails are also the perfect place to make new friends, but always use these safety tips when hiking solo and STAY SAFE!


Kelly xoxo

Travel Solo Like a Pro!


♥  CheapOair and WayAway offer flights at a resonable rate. Let CheapOair or WayAway find the cheapest and best flight for your destination


♥  I use to book all of my accommodations, both domestically and internationally


♥  Get Your Guide and Viator are the absolute best sites to plan and book any adventures, activities, and all things fun


♥ will find the best prices for bicycles, motocyles, and scooter rentals any place in the world.


♥  Economy Bookings will provide rental prices worldwide, which making it a one stop shop for the most reasonable car rentals


♥  Kiwitaxi is who you want to contact for transportation from the airport or train station.  Why not arrange for a PRIVATE CITY TOUR with Kiwitaxi at the same time.


♥  Cruise Critic not only provides reviews and answers questions, it also offers great cruise deals. If your a cruise lover (like me), I highly recommend that you check it out!


♥  Travel insurance these times of natural disasters, travel interruption and baggage loss is no longer a place where you can cut costs. essentials.  It has become an essential part of travel. Visitors Coverage will take care of all of your insurance needs.


90 thoughts on “Safety Tips for the Solo Hiker

  1. Pingback: Lost At Rattlesnake Point – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  2. Pingback: 7 Life Changing Benefits of Hiking Solo – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  3. Pingback: Huron Natural Area | In My Own Backyard – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  4. Pingback: Best Tour Companies To Plan Your Dream Vacation – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  5. Pingback: Best Trails In The Waterloo Region For Beginner Hikers – JUST ONE PASSPORT

  6. Pingback: Guide to Desert Hiking in the Coachella Valley – JUST ONE PASSPORT

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.