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Solo Hiking Risks

Solo hiking risks: a worthy topic for any female hiker.

I've been reading a lot lately about whether it's safe to hike by yourself as a woman.

Many voices paint a picture of the terrors, traumas and huge risks for a female alone on the trail.

Other voices chime in with testimonials of the freedom and rewards of going solo.

Who to trust?

Who to believe?

So I sat down and generated a list of risks any hiker faces when out on the trail, and put them into "unavoidable" and "avoidable" categories.

Now the question becomes "Is a solo female at higher risk?"

  Solo hiking risks include
curveballs from Mother Nature

That's the whole point, right? To get out into Mother Nature's big playground and see what there is to see.

But what if she surprises you with a spectacular display of power?

Or catches you off guard when you're just cruising down the trail minding your own business?

Most of the following risks can be avoided to a certain extent by staying on top of changing weather conditions and checking weather forecasts and trail reports before you hit the trail.

But not everything on this list is completely avoidable.

What then?

That's where advance planning and knowledge are going to be your ace in the hole.

a) Storms: Wind, rain, snow: keep an eye on any of these.

b) Earthquakes

c) Fire: What to do if a forest fire breaks out near you?

d) Falling limbs

e) Lightning (dry or storm associated)

f) Floods: flash, storm associated, getting trapped by washed out bridges, or uncross-able streams afterwards

Solo hiking risks involving
unpredictable humans

a) People acting weird or giving off weird vibes

b) Violence

c) Verbal harassment

d) Annoying trail behavior

Wildlife associated trail risks

a) Bears: Think through what to do BEFORE you're face to face with this large mammal. 

b) Cougars: Chances are they see you while you remain unaware of their presence.

c) Snakes

d) Biting/stinging insects

e) Chewing rodents (cute tho' they may be)

Believe it or not, chewing rodents are one of the biggest solo hiking risks!


Here's a little light reading on what could go wrong. Learn from it!

a) Getting injured

b) Avalanche

c) Unexpected exposure to weather extremes (gear failure, falling into a river, bad planning) leading to hypothermia

d) Water crossings gone bad: Don't get in over your head!

e) Burns

Fear & anxiety...
such a lovely couple (not)

a) Being alone

b) Social ridicule

c) Getting lost

d) Loss of solitude

e) The dark

If you're wrestling with some of these fears, take a peek at the course I put together on just this topic.

And be sure to read this about gaining solo hiking confidence.

Poor judgement and human errors

a) Over reliance on technology

b) Over exertion

c) Over confidence

d) Not carrying the ten essentials

What did I miss on this list?

Drop me a line and I'll add it to the list.

And if you have an illuminating anecdote we can all learn from, please include that as well.

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