12 Tips for Safely Hiking Alone as a Woman

Regardless of gender, it can be intimidating to go hiking alone. Whether it be because of treacherous hiking conditions or the sadly unpredictable nature of strangers, it can be dangerous to go hiking alone no matter who you are. However, there are sadly several ways that it’s more dangerous for a woman to go hiking alone because there are many bad and unpredictable people in this world.

When hiking alone as a woman, make sure to research the trail and bring at least 1 liter of water for every 2 hours of hiking. Keep your phone handy and bring a portable charger in case your phone dies on a long hike. It helps to bring a hiking GPS or compass if you haven’t hiked the trail before, especially if the park doesn’t have maps for you to take.

Bring your dog with you if you want some extra company or for protection, as long as the trail allows them. Stick to national parks or trails that are monitored by park rangers if you are unsure of the area. Follow along as we highlight 12 tips for safely hiking alone as a woman.

Hiking Alone as a Woman: 12 Safety Tips

1. Research the Trail

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When hiking alone as a woman, it’s important to research the trail before you head out. Not only should you find out what type of terrain you will encounter, but you should also research key facts about the area. This includes everything from statistics about hiking accidents and fatalities to crimes in the area.

Resources like NeighborhoodScout can provide crime statistics that give you an idea of how safe it is to hike there alone as a woman. Researching the trails and area can also tell you what you should bring. Find out how long the trails are so you know how much water to bring.

Pack at least 1 liter of water per 2 hours of hiking. That said, seasoned solo hikers typically pack more water than they need because it’s better to have a surplus than to run out.

2. Check the Forecast

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The last thing you want to do is get stuck on a hiking trail in heavy rain. This is especially true if you’re already a mile deep into a 3-mile trail where you’d have to turn around and hike through mud. Even if you planned your hike a week ago, it’s important to check the forecast the day of the hike as unexpected rain can pop up at any time.

3. Bring Your Phone

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Not all hiking trails have the best cellular service. However, you must still bring your phone when hiking alone as a woman in case of an emergency. You can use your phone to tell the time and direction, or even find an overhead view of the trail if you have service.

It’s also fun to use your phone to take pictures and videos of the experience along the way. Apps like AllTrails are also quite useful and can help you find more hiking trails.

4. Pack a Portable Phone Charger

You never know how long a day of hiking will last. Sure reputable trails and national parks put estimated trail times on maps, but hikes can take longer than expected if the trails are congested. Because of that, you may use more of your phone’s battery than expected when hiking alone as a woman.

Many seasoned hikers bring portable phone chargers in case of emergencies. Charge the portable charger before hiking so it has the most power possible. It takes up to 4 hours to charge a portable phone charger, and you can charge a phone up to 6 times with one depending on the model you have.

5. Tell Friends Where You are Going

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If nobody knows where you are while hiking alone as a woman, you are in a vulnerable position. Tell your close friends and families where you will be before you leave for your hike. Don’t put it on social media unless you have a private profile so (potentially dangerous) strangers cannot see your location.

Share your location through Find My if you have an iPhone to be extra safe. Your friends will know right away that something is wrong if you get hurt or lost and fail to respond within the timeframe that you typically would. Never hesitate to reach out to your friends, family, or the police right away if you encounter someone who seems threatening while hiking alone as a woman.

6. Take Your Dog With You

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If you’ve already researched the trail, you should know whether or not it’s appropriate for a dog. Many calm trails are dog-friendly. Not only is it nice to bring your furry best friend with you on a hike, but your dog will also serve as protection when hiking alone as a woman.

Bring a dish of food and water for your dog as they will likely need to stop several times along the way. If you’re thirsty, your dog is too, so bring extra water. Make sure to bring plastic bags to clean up after your dog as well. However, you can face penalties if you bring your dog on a monitored trail that doesn’t allow dogs.

7. Stick to Familiar Trails

Hiking alone carries more dangers than hiking with friends, so it’s best to stick to familiar trails. Ideally, you should pick a trail that you’ve hiked at least once before so you know what to expect. This will help you determine what to wear and how much food or water to bring.

8. Hike at Monitored Parks

When hiking alone as a woman, it’s best to pick parks and hiking trails that are monitored. Most national parks are heavily monitored and feature emergency call towers. Look into the parks and trails you plan to visit to find out if they are monitored.

Famous and notable parks typically have a heavy ranger presence. Park rangers patrol the trails and parking lots at national parks. Check out this index of national parks in the United States to get an idea of which trails will be the safest to hike.

9. Bring a Hiking GPS

Your phone may serve as an adequate GPS, but hiking GPS systems are typically more accurate. Brands like Garmin and SUNROAD produce affordable hiking GPS systems that are more reliable than your phone’s GPS. This can also give your phone a break to preserve its battery in case an emergency pops up.

10. Pack a Compass

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If you’d rather not spend $100 or more on a hiking GPS, you could always simply bring a classic compass. They come in handy while hiking alone as a woman, particularly if it’s a trail you’ve never hiked before. You don’t need a fancy compass with smart features, and a simple analog compass is more than enough.

Make sure to bring a map of the trail or take a picture of the map at the start of the trail. That way, you can compare the directions on the compass to the map of the trail in case you get lost.

11. Carry a First Aid Kit

If you fall and get hurt while hiking alone as a woman, you won’t have a friend to help. Because of that, you must pack a first-aid kit to tend to your wounds. Make sure it includes bandages, cause, disinfect spray or wipes, splints, and liquid bandages.

That may seem like too much, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Water purification tablets are also useful if you run out of water and aren’t sure if the local water is potable.

12. Pace Yourself

You have all the time in the world when hiking alone. There’s no reason to overexert yourself, especially if you have a long hike ahead of you. Naismith’s rule calls for one hour per 3 miles, but many hikers can walk 2 ½ miles in an hour.  

So, Is it Safe to Hike Alone as a Woman?

It’s safe to hike alone as a woman if you are familiar with the trail, research it, and check the weather forecast. Pack clothes, snacks, and enough water to suit the length of the trail and the temperature of the day. Bring your phone with you and pack a portable charger to be extra safe. It also helps to bring a GPS or compass if you aren’t familiar with the trail.

2 thoughts on “12 Tips for Safely Hiking Alone as a Woman”

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