How to protect yourself on hiking trails

Alarming headlines about missing hikers, or worse, can trigger panic about trail safety and the risks of exploring remote areas.

The potential for danger exists no matter where you are, but the best way to guard against it is to be prepared and alert.

Here are some tips for how to stay safe while hiking in remote areas, culled from the National Park Service and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Whether you’re alone or in a group, it’s wise to tell someone else where you’re going and when you intend to return. Establish a plan for checking in and follow through with it. If your plans change, let your contacts know.

There’s no harm in bringing your phone (except for taking perilous selfies), but it would a mistake to rely on it for directions. Find a current map and bring along a hard copy of it. Study it and make a plan for where you intend to go. And make sure you know how to orient yourself before you set off.

Places where people congregate – such as roads, shelters and campsites – can carry greater risks of unwanted interactions. Try to make yourself as inconspicuous as possible by camping away from roads and finding a location that’s not clearly visible from a trail.

More tips here…


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