14 Tips for Hiking Alone as a Woman; Safety & Peace of Mind!

Are you tired of waiting around for people to hike with but are hesitant to go alone?! If you’re a woman (or man!) looking to hike alone and wondering how to feel safe and enjoy yourself (instead of worrying) then read on for 14 tips for your safety & confidence on the trail.

One thing you don’t want to miss out on is all the amazing benefits, fun, and positive experiences hiking has to offer.

woman hiking with her black lab dog and brown leather leash
Captain ready to go with our trusty leather leash! 🥾

(A little background you can feel free to skip! 📖)

How I got into hiking on my own…

For years I waited at home with a desire to hike but was hesitant to hike alone as a woman. But then in my early 30s, something happened. I grew tired of waiting for someone (particularly a significant other) to hike with.

I thought I had to have a built-in hiking partner but year after year as that wasn’t happening I got the courage to take matters into my own hands.

I joined Meetup hiking groups near me and met the most amazing and kind people.

These hikes got me back into “hiking shape” and gave me the confidence and courage to branch off and hike alone in between events.

Trailing behind them, when they were all up ahead, gave me a taste of what it feels like to be alone on the trail.

To hear nothing but the crunch of the leaves, the birds chirping, trees rustling, and your own breath as you struggled to keep up. Thoughts calmed as the sunlight poured in and I thought – I really like this!

I knew I needed to continue hiking more even if it meant going alone because I knew it is what feeds my soul and makes me happy.

I made a very strategic move next to adopt my dog Captain 🙂 🐶 to ensure I would continue getting out there regardless if I had someone to go with or not.

This was the start of many solo hiking adventures where I learned a lot about how to be and feel safe when hiking alone.

So I hope you get inspired to start venturing on the trails solo so you don’t miss out on the amazing benefits hiking brings you.

I hope you feel empowered with the 14 solo hiking tips below!

woman and dog on top of bear mountain in connecticut in summer
Solo hike with Captain up Bear Mountain in CT


  • Time to think. Whether you have an important decision to ponder or just want to sort thoughts, hiking alone can give you that time to clear your mind. It might sound silly or maybe you will know what I mean but after some solo time in the woods I usually have lots of ideas. Sometimes I even talk into my Notes app on my phone as thoughts come up.

  • Time to not think! When you’re hiking alone you don’t have to think of what you’re going to say next or worry about making conversation with anyone! 🙂 It can be a nice break for the brain and like a little meditation.

  • Increased confidence and a sense of accomplishment when done. After hiking alone you realize that you can do it and will be more comfortable going out there next time!


  • Expect to feel a little nervous at first. This is normal when our first instinct is survival and protecting ourselves. Getting out of the car and starting out on the trail may give you butterflies at first and it may feel risky. After a few minutes of walking you will most likely begin to relax but if you find that you really aren’t comfortable you CAN ALWAYS TURN AROUND!

  • When hiking alone you can expect to feel a little nervous when you do see someone else along your hike, particularly if you are a female solo hiker and see another male. There is nothing wrong with feeling like this but chances are they are going to just say ‘hello’ and walk on by. Most people set out on the trail for peace of mind, a healthy experience, and exercise.

  • It will be quiet! Unless you pick a more popular trail which isn’t a bad idea when you are jsut getting comfortable as a woman hiking alone. I wouldn’t suggest earbuds with music as you want to remain aware of your surroundings. But there have been times particularly when I’m comfortable during the walk back that I play a podcast and keep the phone in my pocket so I can hear it but hear everything else as well.


1. Know your hiking abilities and limits

Are you a beginner who’s mainly stuck to walks 2 miles or less or have you recently tackled a New Hampshire 4000 footer?!

It’s important to reflect on your past and recent hiking experiences so you can appropriately choose the trail right for you.

2. Research and choose your hike

One of my favorite things to do is research trails on the AllTrails app!

Once you think about your true hiking ability and what you feel comfortable doing alone (2 miles versus 6) you can set your search criteria in the AllTrails app or website and see what hikes show up near you.

Here’s some criteria to think about that you can enter into AllTrails to find your solo hike:

  • Distance away from you (how far you’re willing to drive)
  • Length of hike
  • Level (Easy, Moderate, or Hard)
  • Trail Traffic/Popularity (do you want a more popular trail or one that’s less crowded?)
  • Attractions (waterfall? views? wildflowers?)

If it makes you feel better to have people around then choose a trail that is more popular!

And check recent reviews to see what people have said about the trail. People will write if maybe the road getting there is closed or if there’s snow on the trail, etc.

3. Choose a trail you’ve hiked before

If this is one of your first solo hikes then you may be more comfortable if you choose a hike you’ve done before by yourself or with others.

If you choose one you’ve been on and kind of remember then it will seem less scary to embark on it alone because you’ll know what to expect along the way.

4. Research trail conditions beforehand

Once I choose the hike I ALWAYS check the recent reviews for that trail on AllTrails. People will kindly leave a review and let you know about the trail conditions. Is it slippery?! Are they suggesting micro spikes because of ice or waterproof boots because of a wet and muddy trail? Is there is anything out of the ordinary people will usually leave that information in a review which reminds me that I should leave trail reviews more often!

5. Download AllTrails map and/or bring a map (or screenshot one from online!)

Have something you can refer to once you start the hike in order to make sure you are on the track. Some trails have trail signs and most trails have a blaze on the trees to follow that can be blue, red, or white. But you may come to a fork in the road and need to refer to a map to determine which way to go if it is not clear. At that time you can pull up the AllTrails map you downloaded or the map you brought.

I also sometimes take a screenshot of the trail so I have an idea of the shape and how many turns there are and can refer to it. Now if you don’t download the map or have one with you you may be able to up the trail on AllTrails while you’re out there. If that is your plan I suggest at least adding it as a favorite so you don’t have to worry about searching for it while you’re out there.

6. Charge & bring cell phone

Especially if you are relying on your phone to pull up the AllTrails app and map should you need it, make sure it is fully charged! If you have a portable charger you can always bring that as well but it will make you feel better if you start the hike with your phone available should you need it.

7. Check the weather

Part of being prepared and knowing what to wear is having an idea of the weather for the day! If there is a chance of rain bring a light rain jacket. For strong sun, wear sunscreen. Or if it’s cold and windy dress wear layers. I have a winter hiking gear guide linked here in case you need to check how to properly dress for cold weather hikes!

8. Bring your pup!

The main reason I adopted Captain was so I would have someone to hike with and have a little protection in the trail. Chances are it won’t ever come down to you needing your dog as a bodyguard but it makes me feel better to have the dogs with me not to mention how much they enjoy hiking as well. It’s a great bonding experience!

Check out my post about how to start hiking with your dog or the post about the best leashes for hiking to get started!

9. Make people aware of your hiking plans (not on social media)

Before leaving for your solo hike tell at least one person of your plan. You can send someone a link to the hike you’ve picked out on AllTrails and let them know what time you plan to start and about how long you think it will take. Though I enjoy sharing where I hike or maybe hiking goals coming up I never post in real time where I am. Not in an Instagram post nor an Instagram story. If I feel compelled to post something on my story while on a hike (which is rare) I never tag the location or make where I am obvious. You can never be too safe in my opinion.

10. Pack Snacks & the 10 Essentials

Appropriate footwear, water, food, and a first aid kit are just a few of the essentials on the list that I would definitely suggest. It’s much better to be safe than sorry but there have been times where I’ve been out there wishing I had more water or food. And sometimes I haven’t had a first aid kit. I survived but it would have been much more enjoyable for me had I had them. You want your solo adventure to be one that keeps you wanting more so pack extra when you are alone because there won’t be anyone next to you to ask – hey do you have an extra granola bar?? 👀

11. Pack extra protection

There’s nothing wrong with being over prepared for your solo hike and that includes bringing something for your own self defense. Mace, bear spray, pocket knife (which is one of the 10 essentials) there is no shame in bringing some protection even for your own peace of mind.

12. Stay on designated/marked trails

You might see a pretty view through the woods or may wonder what’s to the left when you know you should be taking a right, but as you build your confidence out there you are better off sticking to the well worn marked path on your solo journey. The last thing you want is to get lost or not be able to find your way back if you decide to stray off trail for a bit.

Some people have a great sense of direction and I like to think I’m one of them! 😉 But if you know that once you turn around you won’t be able to remember which way you came from then do not stray until you either build more confidence or it’s a trail and area you know real well which even then it could be risky too.

13. Limit phone time while hiking

Not only do you want to preserve your cell phone battery should you need it but you also want to give yourself time to relax and not hike and text and constantly check your phone the way you would if you were sitting on your couch. Allow yourself the benefits of being outside and take in and pay attention to your surroundings!

Also, as mentioned in the beginning of this post, do not hike with earbuds in your ear and music blasting! As a female hiking solo you want to remain aware of your surroundings. Sometimes I listen to a podcast on my way back when I’m comfortable or on a trail I know super well but I keep my phone in my pocket and listen from there so I’m not plugging up my ears. 🙂

14. Stay aware

This last tip is not to scare you! Realize that it is normal to look over your shoulder sometimes. To be aware of who’s around you and the noises you hear (which will probably just be squirrels in the leaves!) is smart no matter where you are. While I get comfortable out there when hiking alone I am never not keeping on top of my surroundings and monitoring my safety because safety really is most important.

And after those tips, what if you want to find someone to hike with?!

If you decide that hiking solo is not for you or if you just want to mix in some non solo hiking time then there are hiking groups you can find and join. I bet almost every state has a Facebook outdoor/adventure/hiking page where people talk local trails and arrange events and group hikes. I have met others this way and it just takes a bit of research. Start by typing in the name of your state plus the term ‘outdoors’ or ‘hiking’ in the Facebook search bar and see what groups you can find.

And as I mentioned in the beginning, Meetup is a great place to safely meet others for a hike. It’s where I first started getting my hiking groove back 😉 and developing my confidence and knowing my ability on the trail, with other people first. Check that it’s an established group that has hosted hikes before. You will know this because most groups have pictures of past events and hikes. Meetup is definitely a fun place to plan for a hike and have something to look forward to on your calendar. Hike numbers are often limited so sign up at least a week in advance of when you want to go. There is a way to RSVP right on the app or even be added to a waitlist.

Or if you live in a state that has the Appalachian Trail (runs all along the east coast from Georgia up to Maine!) then you can check for organized group hikes through the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) which hosts all kinds of events and group day and overnight hikes! They even organize trips and vacations. Check the AMC events page here.

Final Notes On Solo Female Hiking

Walking or hiking is one of the best forms of exercise you can do. It benefits our mind and body and to me, it is too important to miss out on just because you have no one to go with. There are lots of popular trails out there with full parking lots on a Saturday or Sunday that you can use to build your confidence while hiking.

I spent too many years “wishing” I had someone to hike with and feel like I missed out on a lot of beautiful experiences. Once I started making the decision to join the Meetup groups and then proceeded to get Captain so I could have a hiking buddy out there, it gave me all the confidence I needed to set out solo. Yes, I still look over my shoulder and keep super aware when out there alone but it is worth it to me. Always put safety first and enjoy your hiking journey.

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  1. I feel this whole heartedly! Moved to Bantam in 2020 and I’ve been trying to find people and places to hike!
    So glad I found your instagram page!
    Thank you for your guidance!!!


    1. Oh my goodness, thank you!! And I love Bantam! Used to live in Litchfield. Working on planning some group hikes too so I’ll keep you in the loop if you want!

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