If you love the great outdoors, the winter can be a difficult season because it limits the kind of outdoor activity you can do. The good news is that spring always comes back around, though not always as early as you might like. To prepare yourself for the return of warmer weather, read up on spring hiking tips.
- Pack extra clothing. Spring weather can change in an instant, so bring some extra clothing with you to stay comfortable. It might seem warm when you’re starting out, but the temperature can drop unexpectedly, or it might rain. It’s best to wear light layers so you can add or remove clothes as needed.
- Keep your first aid kit stocked. You should always bring a first aid kit with you when you go hiking, but spring is a particularly unpredictable time of year, so you should be extra prepared. Even if you think your kit is full, you should check to make sure nothing has expired.
- Choose your location carefully. During the spring, you need to be particularly mindful when choosing your location because some areas might still have snow while others do not. Pay attention to what other hikers are saying and take advantage of sources such as ranger stations and park service websites.
- Check snow and ice conditions. Though the weather may be warm and the sun shining, there could still be snow and ice on the trail. Check the conditions in your area before you head out so you can bring along the appropriate equipment.
- Be ready for the mud. As the snow melts and the spring rains settle in, mud is almost a guarantee for spring hiking. Make sure you have a good pair of hiking boots so you can walk directly through the muddy spots instead of going around and widening the area.
- Don’t take unnecessary risks. During the spring, rivers and streams are likely to be running high from melted snow. Be very careful when crossing bodies of water and keep an eye out for other obstacles such as fallen trees.
- Be mindful of invasive species. The spring is when plants start to grow and insects reemerge. To avoid accidentally spreading invasive species, make sure you remove any plants and mud from your boots before entering recreation areas and never remove anything from the area.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen. Over the winter, you probably didn’t worry too much about sunburn because you were so bundled up. In the spring, however, you should make sure to protect any exposed areas of skin before you hit the trail.
- Stay properly hydrated. If you’re hitting the trail for the first time in months, your body may need some time to adjust. Make sure you are staying properly hydrated and energized because your body might be working a little harder than usual for the first few hikes.
- Drink it all in. The spring is a beautiful time of year, so take advantage of all the beauty nature has to offer! Take notice of budding flowers and native wildlife as you hike, just don’t disturb the natural habitat or take anything out with you.
When you’re out on the trail, safety is of the utmost importance. In addition to following the spring hiking tips provided above, make sure you are following basic safety guidelines. And don’t forget about trail etiquette as well!