Should Women Hike Alone?

QUESTION:
I am a 53 yr old female who love to be outdoors and hike alone on
familiar territory but am always getting hassled by those who feel I
am not safe walking alone. I hike in the country and have my cell
phone on me and leave a note to my husband a general area where I am
hiking. I rarely even see a person when I walk, only deer. I refuse to
stay indoors and be afraid. It’s not that I don’t like company, I am
spontaneous and other women work when I’d like to hike.
What are your thoughts about women hiking alone?

Joyce

Should Women Hike Alone?
Should Women Hike Alone?

ANSWER:

Great question, Joyce! Leaving a plan of where you are going with your expected time of return, and taking along your cellphone are great precautionary measures.

This is a controversial subject, and I’m glad you emailed about it. My short answer is that it is preferable to hike with at least one other person, especially on trails where no one else would be around to help you if you twisted an ankle or got lost. Yet I am also in agreement with you that staying indoors and being afraid is not an option! You go girl!

Hiking Lady’s Tips for Hiking Solo

  • Leave a detailed plan of where you are going, your expected route, and expected time of return. Sounds like you already do this!
  • Take your cellphone with a fully charged battery, but do not rely on it as a crutch. Batteries die and reception can be spotty.
  • Never use an iPod. You need to be very aware of what is going on around you…so you can be alert to the sounds of other other hikers and animals.
  • Don’t hike in complete silence. Tiptoeing along the trail means that no one will hear you…and you don’t want to startle a deer or a bear (not sure if you live in bear country or not, Joyce). The same holds true for snakes. They do not want to see you either…so let them know you’re coming. Hum, sing a song, talk to yourself… 🙂
  • Be alert, but have fun! Don’t let yourself get overly panicked or scared. That will take all of the fun out of the hike.

Personally I feel more comfortable hiking with at least one other person…and I know it is sometimes hard to find other people who are available to hike with when you want to go! Ways to meet other people who enjoy hiking are through the Sierra Club, Meetup groups, and if you have a local REI store, attend some of the lectures and events…there are sure to be other like minded hikers who may want to go take a hike!

Happy trails!
Hiking Lady

Do you have a question for the Hiking Lady?

Have you signed up for this month’s Hiking Lady Contest?

7 comments

  1. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Anne,

    Thank you for your question, and thank you for reading HikingLady.com.

    It is always safest to hike with other people because no matter how fit or prepared you are, accidents can happen. However, if you do hike alone, be sure to have a detailed plan in place and leave it with a loved on. You should also consider getting a Spot Messenger device.

    Good luck, enjoy your adventure, and happy trails!

  2. Anne says:

    Hi!
    I’m an 18 y/o woman and I’m planning on doing my first solo hiking
    trip this summer. My plan is to go to Sweden alone and do the
    Kungsleden trail, which is 420 km in a quite remote part of Sweden. I
    would like to do it in around 3/4 weeks (so 15/20 km a day).
    I have had some hiking experiences of 2/3 days in the Alps, but never
    completely alone, and my physical condition is normal/average.
    Do you think it is a bad idea to do this sort of trip by myself as my
    first solo hike?
    Do you have any advice on going on a solo trip for this amount of time
    for the first time?
    Thanks in advance!
    Anne

  3. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi there, Peter. The SPOT Messenger has a great reputation – it is designed for backcountry emergencies but can also be used to send text messages to alert your family at home. The product is a bit pricey because you have to pay for an annual data plan, and like any electronic equipment is not 100% reliable, but it is quite good if you are willing to spend that kind of money ($119 for the device + $99 per year subscription plan).
    Happy trails and be safe!

  4. Peter says:

    Hello Hiking Lady and Joyce,

    I also always hike alone and I’m thinking to buy a SPOT Messenger. It’s not cheap but with a wife and two kids at home its better to come home than never come home. I’m looking for some more information about the SPOT Messenger but the only info I can find is on the website of the manufacturer (http://international.findmespot.com/)
    Maybe this is a solution as backup plan when hiking alone?

    Stay Safe

    Peter
    @P_Verschueren (Twitter account)

  5. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Christine,
    I find that pretty much every person in the wilderness I’ve ever encountered is very friendly. I’ve heard stories of “weirdos”, especially in the desert, but fortunately I have been very lucky so far! Happy trails, and be safe 🙂

  6. Christine says:

    I hike alone and will continue to until Donald can hike with me again. There are scarier people in my neighborhood than I find out on the trails…and the further in I get into the wilderness, the nicer they are.

Comment or Question:

Your email address will not be published.