Hi friends! I hope this blog post finds you well! I want to talk to you about why I believe solo hiking is the best thing ever.
If you’re like me, you love a good hike. You love to explore and see new things. But if you’re also like me, you’re often busy when others aren’t and vice versa. Sometimes, you have no choice but to explore alone. If you have never done this before, it may sound intimidating, but I promise you – you can do it!!
I have compiled a list of 6 reasons why I believe solo hiking is the BEST! I hope these sentiments help you feel better about hiking alone and inspire a lifetime of safe solo adventures.
1 – You Decide!
This might be the most obvious reason as to why solo hiking rocks, but it’s totally true. You get to choose where you go! And what’s even better is that you can change your mind!
The best example I have of this was when I set out one day to do a quick hike before work. I had wanted to try to go up Columbia Mountain a little ways just outside of Columbia Falls, MT, but missed the turn off! Arg! I’m the worst at following directions, but instead of panicking, I continued on and ended up in Glacier National Park. I took a short hike up to a lake I had never been to before, and still made it to work on time! The best part was, I didn’t have to approve my plan with anyone else, I just got to follow my intuition. It was great. Solo hiking is about what YOU want, so you get to decide!
2 – It’s Your Pace
There’s nothing worse than being on a hike with someone who sets out in front of you, leaving you in the dust. I’ll be honest though, I’m the person leaving others behind 70% of the time, and it makes me feel so bad! When you’re by yourself however, all you have to do is focus on yourself. You can go fast or slow and truly make it your hike!
Now don’t get me wrong, I love hiking with friends. It adds fun and safety! But sometimes a solo hike where you can choose your pace adds a sense of fulfillment to your life.
3 – You Learn About Yourself
I strive to be self aware, independent, and strong. Whenever I hike I find endless opportunities to challenge and listen to myself. While solo hiking, I’ve felt all the feelings one can have. Some of these include fear, excitement, sadness, loneliness, tiredness, and joy. Believe it or not, I’ve felt all of these during a single hike! It’s amazing what some miles, elevation, and natural forces can teach you about yourself!
Through all of the adversity you can face during a solo hike, you discover what you’re made of. You learn how to think on your feet, make choices that will help get you to your destination or smartly turn around, and to accept what you cannot control. Trust me, solo hiking reveals your character.
4 – Choose Your Timeline!
I love this one. There have been nights before a big hike that I cannot sleep and wish I could just get up and go! But if I’ve already scheduled a meeting time with someone, it’s not an option to get up and go. On the flip side of this, I’ve also had times where I had NO motivation to wake up and meet up with people. However, if you’re alone you can choose what time to leave for your hike. When you’re in control, a sunrise hike can turn into a sunset hike and no one gets upset about it.
5 – You Make Trail Friends!
Connecting with strangers on a hike is a beautiful thing. Sometimes it’s magic! The best experience I had of this was when I was solo hiking the Colorado Trail. I had just gone 26 miles and was exhausted! I set up camp at the next spot by water, and soon the campsite was full of other solo hikers. That night, a group of complete strangers cooked dinner together, shared stories from the trail and beyond, and laughed the night away.
This community would never have formed if it weren’t for people who decided to take a hike alone. From there on out, I was so excited whenever I would run into one of them, and was open to talking to people while on the trail. After all, you never know who you’ll meet!
6 – You’ll Look Like a Bad Ass
Oh this is so true. I have hiked alone for years! And at first I would get offended when people on trail would ask me if my boyfriend was up ahead, but now I smile and say “no, I’m alone!” It is so satisfying.
You can hike alone! People are often worried about your safety, especially if you’re a woman, but for the most part I have yet to ever feel immediate danger while alone on the trails. And when you complete a hike, you get to share about your awesome solo adventure! People will think you’re so cool…because you are! Just remember to always tell someone where you are going, when you think you’ll return, and always bring your phone!
I hope these little insights inspired you to lace up your boots or tighten your Chacos and take to the trails!