Fall is a beautiful time of year. There’s nothing like witnessing the changing of seasons as the leaves begin to change, the temperature drops, and the humidity begins to break.
The crisp autumn air along with the vibrant fall leaves make for a great time of year to go hiking.
Fall hiking can be fun because not only are temperatures (most likely) not too hot or too cold, but you get to experience all the outdoor fall colors in all their glory.
However, there are a few key fall hiking tips to keep in mind. This includes being extra aware of your surroundings, weather, and what to pack so you are fully prepared for an enjoyable hiking experience. The last thing you want to do is be caught up in a storm miles from your destination!
In this article, you’ll learn the top five tips for fall hiking so you are fully prepared and safe on your hike to have a fun, enjoyable time making lasting memories outdoors.
1. Tell A Reliable Friend Or Family Member Where You’re Going
Regardless of whether you are an experienced hiker, you should always tell a reliable friend or family member your hike route and the approximate time they should expect you to contact them when you reach your final destination.
This safe hiking tip ensures a few things. First, you never know what may happen to you during your hike. If you are hiking alone and do encounter a dangerous, life-threatening situation, time is of the essence. Therefore, telling a reliable person the time you expect to be back, gives you someone that will react and call for help if you don’t make it back on time for whatever reason.
Likewise, you won’t have a cell connection on your hike. If no one knows you are even going out hiking, and you lose connection, this could worry friends and family if you aren’t responding to their messages after a long time has passed, even if you are safe hiking.
2. Pack Hiking Essentials
You always want to be prepared when you hike. Autumn weather, though mostly perfect, can sometimes be unpredictable. Therefore, you should pack for the worst in case of an emergency. Consider packing hiking items to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable hiking fall trip, including:
- Sleep Systems
- Extra Food
- First-Aid Kit
- Extra Liquids
- Map and Compass
- Rain Gear
- Fire Starter
- Tarp For Unpredictable Weather
The above is a basic safe list of hiking essentials you should always bring with you. Furthermore, if you take specific medications, be sure to remember to bring those along on your hike too, especially if you expect to hike for more than one day.
3. Plan Your Hike Accordingly
To make the most of your fall hiking experience, make sure you time your hike just right. Fall time is truly beautiful, and you don’t want to miss your chance to see the changing of the leaves during your hike.
If you do end up missing the changing of the leaves, you’ll still want to ensure you are prepared if any snow or ice storms have recently occurred that could make your hiking trip difficult. Or, be aware of any potential storms that could occur during your hiking trip and put a damper on your hiking experience.
You’ll also want to plan your hiking destination accordingly. If you’re a relatively new hiker, you may not want to take on a difficult, long hiking path to start. Instead, be sure to do your research on different potential hiking trails you can try. Read reviews on how difficult each hike is labeled so you choose to plan a hike on a trail that matches your current skill level.
Also, be aware if your hike includes trails there are no hunting zones or not. Although this will be discussed later in this article, if you don’t want anything to do with being near hunters, ensure you do your research to find a hiking route where hunting is not permitted.
4. Check The Weather Beforehand
Fall’s crisp autumn air and cool temperatures are fantastic. However, what’s not great about fall is its rather unpredictable weather patterns. This makes for a bit of added difficulty in terms of planning your fall hiking experience.
This is because you want to be able to enjoy your hike and not face any unwanted challenges that could make your hike more difficult than it needs to be. For instance, the last thing you want to do is be stuck in a rain or snowstorm in the middle of your hiking journey.
And, you also want to check wind conditions and temperature highs and lows, especially if you are doing a hike longer than the span of one day. This is because, although it may seem warm in the daytime, at night if you have to camp overnight on your hike, temperatures can drop significantly. As a result, you’ll want to be prepared for these fluctuating temperature conditions with enough clothing and tarps in case of inclement weather.
If you are flexible with when you can hike, keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan your hike on the best weather days. This way you can reduce your risk of running into any unwanted bad weather hiking situations.
5. Be Aware Of Hunters
Fall time is hunting season. Therefore, be aware and cautious that hunting season is in full swing and plan accordingly. Be sure to wear a brightly colored orange vest that is noticeable, especially if you are near an open hunting area.
Likewise, be aware of your surroundings. If you hear gunshots, try to judge on how far away approximately the shot was and look out for hunters. Also, be extremely visible and don’t hide from hunters so they don’t mistake you for a deer or other animal.
As long as you wear brightly colored clothing, are aware of when hunting season starts, and are visible, you shouldn’t have any issues and the idea of hunting season shouldn’t scare you off on hiking in a particular area.
However, if you don’t want to worry about running into hunters, consider hiking in a no-hunting location.
Fall hiking is the perfect opportunity to enjoy beautiful landscape, fair temperatures, and less humid conditions. There’s nothing like taking in the crisp autumn air and vibrant foliage to make for an enjoyable hiking experience. But, don’t wait too long to go on your fall hike! Otherwise, you’ll risk missing out on the breath-taking changing of leaves and near perfect weather conditions. By following the above fall hiking tips, these will ensure you make the most of your journey to be both safe and happy during your hike.