There are so many benefits of hiking alone that will change your life and the way you view the world!
Does the thought of hiking alone scare the shit out of you? Not to worry, you aren’t alone in feeling that way. There are definitely ways to over-come this feeling and once you feel confident you will find that there are many benefits to hiking solo.
For many years I missed out on the benefits that hiking has to offer as I didn’t have a hiking buddy to go with me. I eventually bit the bullet and decided that enough was enough and I hit the trails on my own.
I had been travelling solo for over a decade, so I figured that hiking solo couldn’t be all that different. And it isn’t, however, when travelling solo you usually have the benefit of being surrounded by people even though they’re strangers. When hiking solo, you are completely on your own and that can be both scary and exhilarating.
Safety When Hiking Alone
Obviously, safety is always a number one concern when hiking alone, but preparation can help to limit your chances of running into trouble when on a trail by yourself. The following are just a few things to think about before hitting the trails. For more detailed safety tips for hiking by yourself you might want to read Safety Tips for the Solo Hiker.
- choose a trail that’s well within your physical capabilities and preferably one that you are somewhat familiar with
- study the trail and download a map of the trail
- let a trusted friend or family member know where you will be and your expected time of return
- pack everything you need in case you get lost. I recommend packing at least 24 hours worth of supplies (food and water)
- plan your hike so that you return prior to night fall
- dress appropriately
Just One Tip: For a more in-depth look at the essentials to have packed for a day hike, click here.
Packing For A Solo Hike
As mentioned, it is more important than ever to pack all of the day hike essentials when hiking solo. Even if your hike should only take a couple of hours, it is always possible that you might get lost so you should always be prepared for the unexpected and have an abundance of supplies packed….just in case.
- water and snacks
- compass and maps (you won’t always have cell service when on a trail)
- blanket and garbage bags to keep dry and warm
- appropriate clothing for the time of year
Benefits of Hiking Solo That Will Change Your LIfe
Once you have drummed up the courage to hit the trails alone, it won’t take you long to realize the many benefits of hiking solo. The following are just a few of the benefits that I’ve taken away from my many solo hikes:
Self-Sufficiency and Independence
When hiking by yourself, you can only rely on yourself for your own safety. It is up to you to be self-sufficient and completely dependent on your own skills and decisions. You will rely on these skills right from the planning stage through to the completion of your hike. This alone will help you to realize that you are enough and you can do it on your own.
Time Alone to Take in the Beauty of Nature
Let’s face it, most of us love nature, otherwise we wouldn’t be out in the woods or on a trail. When hiking alone, there is more opportunity and less distractions which enable you to take in the beauty of the nature surrounding you. You will find yourself more in the moment and trust me when I tell you that even if you’ve hiked a trail a million times, you will notice things that you’ve never noticed when hiking with a buddy.
Hike at Your Own Pace
One of the things that I love the most about hiking solo is that I can go at my own pace. I love to take pictures when I’m in nature and hiking solo allows me to stop whenever I want to. The only person that I’m in competition with is myself.
Choose the Trail That You Want to Hike
Hiking solo allows you to choose the trail that you want to hike. Whether it be a familiar trail or a completely new trail, the choice is yours. Not only can you choose the trail you want to hike, but you can choose the time of day.
JUST ONE TIP: When hiking solo, it is highly recommended to go early in the morning so that the hike is completed before the sun goes down.
Meet Fellow Hikers
Much like travelling solo, hiking solo provides you with the opportunity to meet fellow hikers while out on the trail. Don’t be afraid to stop and chat along the way. Who knows, you might even make a new friend or two. I compare hikers to campers. There is something so natural and friendly about hikers and I never feel uncomfortable or intimidated about approaching them.
Get To Know Yourself Better
Yes, I know it’s an old cliche that travelling alone helps you to learn more about yourself, but it’s even truer when hiking solo. You are completely responsible for your own planning and safety which is certainly something to be proud of. There is also something to be said about being one with nature. It definitely helps to clear your mind and helps to put life into proper perspective. It’s a win, win, situation.
Finally, the sense of accomplishment that you feel upon completing a solo hike is undeniable! You and only you not only planned the hike, but you completed it successfully and finished feeling invigorated and ready to take on the world.
Life Changing Benefits of Hiking Alone
I hope that I’ve convinced you to try hiking solo if that’s what you want to do. As you can see, the benefits of hiking alone far outweigh any fear that you might have. Hiking by yourself is a life altering experience and I highly recommend that you hit the trail on your own and become one with nature, at least once.
SAFE HIKING 🙂