Hey Wolfpack! It’s Amanda, Wolven’s Graphic Designer and Sustainability Specialist — and also our resident hiking enthusiast. It all started in college when I took a course called “Landscape Natural History” where we’d spend 4 hours every week exploring the local landscapes of Vermont, discussing flora and fauna species, geological shifts, and how that landscape was or wasn’t transformed by humans over time.

One of my favorite lessons from this course was learning how to sit and observe in nature alone. Our homework each week was to hike into wilderness areas alone, take notes about what we observed, and reflect inward. Getting to spend hours hiking instead of writing lengthy research papers was definitely a plus — but I also learned so much about the benefits of solo adventuring.

 Hiking solo is one of the ways I feel most connected with Earth, no distractions, just you and the natural world around you — not to mention how powerful and badass you feel reaching the summit on your own. Hiking solo can also help you learn new skills, build confidence, and inspire others to just get their boots on and go (thank you Cheryl Strayed). Solo hikes also come with challenges (nothing you can’t overcome) so it’s always important to be safe when adventuring alone. Whether you’re hitting a local trail near your home or heading out for something bigger – here are my tips for how you can have a safe, mindful, and fun solo hike.

 10 Tips To Have Fun & Be Safe While Solo Hiking 

1. Bring A Journal 

Sitting alone in nature also means sitting alone with your thoughts. Bring a journal to write down or sketch what you see, from pretty flowers to interesting rock formations. Also take the time to reflect on how you’re feeling and what ideas you may be pondering — get deep and tap into your inner Thoreau. 

2. Stick To Your Trail 

Before embarking on your solo excursion there are a few things you should do to prepare — make sure to look up the trail you’ll be hiking beforehand. Check out the weather and trail conditions, how long it will take, and the difficulty. I personally love the app All Trails! It’s the perfect tool to use when planning out my hikes beforehand…I always like to scope out the best views or waterfalls. Sticking to the trail also helps ensure you won’t get lost or encounter any dangerous situations — plus most popular trails will have fellow hikers in case you need assistance. 

 3. Carry A Spot Beacon Or Satellite Phone

 For less populated, longer hikes where you may not have cell service, it’s highly recommended that you bring a backup location or communication device. Carry a spot beacon or satellite phone to use in case of an emergency. If you aren’t venturing out on a solo multi-day backcountry trip just yet, make sure wherever you go you have a fully charged phone and know any local emergency contacts (usually posted on trailheads). 

4. Tell A Friend Before You Leave 

Don’t skip a text or call to a friend or family member before you leave! If you’ll be hiking alone, always make sure someone knows what trail you’re headed to, where you’ll be parked, and even when you expect your hike to end. Send some pics from after your hike to let them know you conquered it and are safe. 

5. Learn Skills From A Friend First 

Before trying out a solo-hike, I recommend heading out to the trails with a friend first. If you’re a beginner, this will be a great way for you to gain some experience. You’ll be able to learn more about any gear you may need while also learning what types of trails you feel comfortable on. It's important to take into account trail length, elevation, pace, and more when finding your perfect hike. Once you feel confident, you can tackle those same (or new) trails by yourself. 

6. Don’t Push Yourself 

For me, hiking solo is definitely a way to prove myself — but don’t get cocky. Make sure to take the trail at a pace that works for you. Also, don’t feel like you need to tackle a 30 mile super technical trail to gain all the benefits of solo-hiking — even a short 2 mile hike on your own can help you reset your mind, build confidence, and connect with nature.  

7. Pack Light 

While it’s always nice to have a friend help you carry some water or snacks — you won’t have that while you’re adventuring alone. Packing light on a solo hike is important so you don’t waste your energy and are prepared.  Stick to the essentials: water, snacks like granola bars or trail mix, sunblock, phone, trail map, and a small journal for some solo-hike reflections. 

 8. Mind Over Matter 

 The thing preventing you from getting out on a hike alone is likely not the physical challenges, but the mental ones. It’s totally normal to feel nervous alone in the wilderness or in a place you’ve never been before — but that’s part of the reward. Set intentions for your hike to keep your mind focused:

I will reach the summit.
I am safe and confident.
I am prepared to succeed

Once you get going, I guarantee you’ll be grateful you started.

 9. Leave No Trace

 Show love to yourself and our planet on your solo hike (and any wilderness adventure). That means if you have trash, keep it in your bag until you can throw it out or recycle it. Leaving no trace also means that you are not dropping food on trails that could harm wildlife or attract animals. Also make sure you are sticking to your trail to avoid erosion or harming wildlife. Lastly, please consider where you use the bathroom — if there are no restrooms, stay at least 100 feet away from water sources. 

 10. Be You 

 Remember the purpose of your solo-hike: to connect with nature and yourself. Find ways to have fun and express yourself — such as bringing a tripod to take selfies, or a camera to take photographs. I love wearing Wolven prints on the trails to feel empowered and creative (plus I literally always get compliments). While you’re out on a solo hike remember it’s totally cool to make friends along the way, whether it’s a fellow solo-hiker, a group, or even a tree. 

See you on the trails!

Written By:

Amanda Lapham 

Sustainability & Graphic Design Manager, Wolven

Amanda is a graphic designer and environmental advocate who loves to combine her love for art and activism. With a background in grassroots organizing and environmental policy, she loves working with others to fight for a more sustainable and equitable society — especially when it comes to switching up the status quo within the fashion industry. She's an Aquarius who can usually be found hiking with her dog in LA, thrifting, listening to pop-punk music, or chilling with a sci-fi movie and some candles.

July 19, 2022