Night hiking is a unique take on outdoor adventure. Going on a night hike can give you a chance to be a part of the sights and sounds you wouldn't experience during the day. It's always important to be prepared when hiking, especially at night. Here are some tips to ensure everyone stays safe and has fun!
Start your night hike at sunset. This will allow you to make sure you’ve got everything prepared in daylight and you may even have the chance to encounter a beautiful sunset as your hike begins! Get a good view of where your vehicle is parked to ensure you know what landmarks to look for when you are all tired and ready to pile into the car to drive home.
Choose a trail that is familiar to you. You may not want to hike an unfamiliar trail since your vision will be limited. Choosing a trail or location you already know can help prevent you from getting lost or injured if you run across holes, or steep terrain.
Don't hike at night alone. Always hike with a buddy or in a group. Be sure to let someone else, outside of the group, know where you are going and when you plan to be back in case of any emergencies. Be as specific as possible with the time and location.
Be prepared! Make sure to bring plenty of water and high protein snacks. This will help keep both hydration and energy up and will help avoid any tiredness or discomfort along the way. Make sure to wear comfortable and warm clothing. Wearing layers is the way to go and allows you to put on or take off layers as the temperature changes. Check the weather before leaving to help you know what to expect. Wear comfortable socks and hiking boots to prevent blisters or pain while walking long distances. Make sure to have everything you need packed with you and always bring supplies in case of an injury or emergency including a first aid kit and whistle.
Bring a light source. This can include a flashlight, headlamp, or both! Be sure to check and change the batteries before you leave. It’s a great idea to equip each hiker with their own light source so they have the ability to shine light on areas of the trail to avoid large rocks or roots that could be a trip hazard. It’s much easier to get lost during the nighttime, but if you are prepared with great lighting, you have nothing to worry about.
Be mindful of animals. During your hike, you may hear and see more wildlife than usual. Remember that this is their home and you are a just a visitor. Be sure to keep your distance and let animals be. This can also be a great hands-on way to learn about nocturnal animals and their environment. Bring along an informational book to help with animal or habitat identification.
What you take in, be sure to bring out. Any trash, clothing, food, or container, doesn’t belong in nature. Make sure to bring along a bag for collecting trash or have a designated pocket in your supply back to place any trash into. Don’t hesitate to pick up any trash you come across even if it’s not yours. Eliminating trash will help protect the trails and animals from harm and keep nature looking beautiful, as it was meant to be.
Bring items to enhance your trip. Be sure to bring along your nature journal, a pencil, your compass, and your hiking guide or map. Make a fun scavenger hunt out of it and get everyone involved in trying to cross items off the list. Make up a fun song as you hike along or play a game of night I-spy. There are endless ways to build onto the adventure to make it both enjoyable and memorable for everyone.
Let the nighttime adventures begin!
Interested in getting out, learning to hike, and adventure with your littles? Check out these blog posts for more helpful tips and information!