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Safety tips for hikers

Last Modified: October 20, 2022

Safety & Prevention

Hiking Safety

Blazing foliage and cooler temperatures are ideal conditions for a walk in the woods. If you’re heading into the mountains or hitting the trails, preparation is key for safety. Lieutenant Tony Knox and Lieutenant Greg Wajer, Parkview Police and Public Safety, offer some tips for packing and preparing for a good hike.

Preparing for the hike

Before you leave, make sure you take the time to consider the logistics of your hike. Much of this will depend on how long you plan to be out in the woods, and how far you plan to walk.

Some things to consider, include:

  • What's the hike plan and route and who else knows it? This should include time, location, route and check-In.
  • What’s the weather supposed to do? What clothing is needed? This might include rain gear, different footwear, etc.
  • Do you have the most up-to-date maps? These are typically available at the ranger station at most parks or can be downloaded online or to your phone beforehand.  
  • What's the fitness level of everyone going? If you’re taking someone who is not in strong physical condition or taking young children, what’s the plan if they need to get off the trail?
Packing for a hike

Depending on the length and duration of your hike, you’ll need to carry a number of items in a waist bag or backpack.

Among other things, you’ll want to pack:

  • Cell phone, fully charged with a small, pocket-size battery charger for emergencies. Bonus! A phone also functions as a flashlight, compass, locaton tracker and more.
  • Pocket knife
  • Fire starter – Cotton balls dipped in petroleum jelly in a mini metal mint tin will work, as will a lighter or matches in a waterproof container
  • First aid kit
  • Chemical agent, for protection
  • Fluids – water, sports drink
  • Food – granola bar, power bar or trail mix 
  • Whistle

For more hiking safety tips, visit the National Park Service website

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