Best Hiking Tips for Fall
Fall weather is blessedly ideal for hiking. It offers cooler temps so you don’t overheat, yet we still get sunny enough days to strip right down to that T-shirt. With the trees turning anywhere from shades of gold to red, almost seeming too brilliant to be real, these are some of the prettiest seasonal views you’ll find all year. Whether you’re new to hiking and wanting to give it a try, or love to hike and are just curious whether you include everything on our list – here are some best hiking tips for fall.
Best Hiking Tips for Fall
- Dress in clothing layers – You can’t beat layers when it comes to controlling your body temperature and comfort level during a hike. It may be sunny and gorgeous when you start out, but the weather can quickly change. Having three items should cover it for most fall hiking: a short sleeve layer (preferably moisture wicking material that dries quickly), a warmth layer, and a wind/water layer (if applicable to your area). And if your hike will be more than an hour, today is not the day to test out that new pair of hiking boots.
- Fuel your body throughout the trek – Hydration can’t be stressed enough on a hike. One could argue that if you insisted on hiking uber light, a water bottle would be the single most important item to bring along. Packing snacks is smart and practical, keeping your energy level high and also serving as part of your safety/survival preparedness. Energy bars are compact and provide efficient nutrition–bring a handful!
- Stick to the trail – I’d tell you to bring a compass (and they are pretty darn cool), but how many people could truly navigate their way out of being lost in the wilderness by using just a compass? Yeah. Just stick to the trail, and if they are numerous and split off frequently, make sure you know the area well, or have a trail map. Letting someone know where you are going to hike is always a good safety measure to take.
- Let the weather guide you – I know you are super excited to reach the lake at the trail’s end. But if it’s later in the day, and there are serious looking clouds looming and winds kicking up, play it safe and head back. It’s not worth the risk of being caught in a storm, and I promise the lake will wait for you to return another day.
- Be aware of the area’s wildlife – Please don’t let this scare you away from hiking altogether. Spotting critters can be one of the most rewarding parts of being out in nature. Just know what species are native to the area, so you can be smart about the possibility of meeting any of the larger variety. If it’s a mountain lion area, I keep my toddlers and dogs very close – not letting them journey ahead on the trail.
- Pack some basic survival items – I’m not suggesting you need to go all ‘Girl vs. Wild’ here. Just throw a few emergency items in your backpack: matches, a whistle, a garbage bag, and a bandana (to name a few). Head lamps are also smart and very handy to have on hand. If you get lost, find a sheltered spot and STAY THERE. Search and rescue can find you if you are in a fixed location. Wander, and the danger level increases dramatically, making their task much more daunting. The whistle is to signal for help if needed – it’s easier and lasts much longer than your voice. And you can tear a face hole in the bottom of that garbage bag, sit down and pull it over your body to help you stay dry and warm.
We’d love to hear your ideas–what makes your list of best hiking tips for fall?
– Tami Mittan, Stonewear Designs Ambassador, Colorado Mountain Mom