I have on many occasions traveled solo and on many more occasions made a point to go hiking solo.
This trip, like many other places can be scary. Inside most National Parks, cell service is extremely limited and if something were to happen no one would even know.
Even though I’m told “don’t go” or “it’s dangerous,” I still go. Why?
Keep reading to find out why hiking solo doesn’t have to be so scary.
I’m always listening to my mother tell me how dangerous something is and I always tell her driving down the street is no different. Of course, I’m her baby so she worries. Same with Brad, he worries. Which is why he bought me a GPS.
The odds of falling off a cliff— 1 in 400,737 (based on one year)
The odds of dying in a car accident— 8,000 to 1
The odds of being kidnapped on a trail—1 in 300,000
The odds of being kidnapped in a mall parking lot—5%
The odd of being attacked by a Bear— 1 in 2.1 million
The odds of being harassed walking down a street— 60%
You get the jist…
On this adventure to Zion, I knew I wanted to hike:
And I knew I didn’t want to hike:
Why would I not want to hike some of the most epic hikes in Zion alone?
1.) some of the most “epic” hikes can be on the strenuous side.
Hiking this alone could mean that you could fatigue and no one would be there to help you
2.) some of these hikes are at extreme heights with nothing but a sheer cliff on one or both sides of you.
Falling from either would leave your loved ones wondering what happened to you without even knowing the extent or how long you might be laying at the bottom.
3.) some hikes are less traveled, less frequent hikers means your less likely to be helped if something were to happen
*both Trails were also closed during my trip to Zion
How to stay safe while solo hiking (Moms everywhere are rejoicing):
-Choosing a moderate and well traveled hike is always a great plan and a safer choice. If something were to happen, there would be someone coming up or down the trail at some point within 30 minutes or less.
-Choose hikes that can be completed before sunset.
-Hike during daylight hours.
-Pack plenty of snacks and water.
-Pack an emergency kit-be prepared for anything.
-Research all trails before hiking, knowing what a trail is going to be like beforehand is very helpful!
-Most importantly, let someone know what trails you will be hiking for the day and which order you plan to hike them in. This is helpful if you need to be found!
-Get a GPS!
I cannot tell you how many times Brad asks me which Trails I’ll be hiking. Typically I give him a list and a “plan.”
Sometimes my hikes don’t go as planned because the trail is closed or I don’t have enough time.
We also discuss what time he will hear from me, if I don’t call within the hour time frame it let’s Brad know that I am not safe.
Hiking solo can be extremely rewarding:
While on the trail, you have time to yourself to think or just take in the views. My favorite part of solo hiking is that I can go at my own pace, taking time at view points for as long as I like or short as I like. Then there’s always the accomplishment of reaching the peak and being able to say, “I made it.”
Solo hiking can prepare you for anything, you will really get a chance to see how prepared you are and what kind of situations you can handle on your own. Do you tend to forget things? Solo hiking is great for forcing you to be ready for anything, checking and double checking your gear. You’ll also start asking yourself, “what if” scenarios. Making you think of how to overcome the problems.
Still unsure about solo hiking? It ok, it isn’t for everyone, but should you want to try it then start small. Short trails, close to home (if possible) and work your way up.
During this trip to Zion, I was able to accomplish every trail I set out to hike and also at precise times I wanted to!
First up was Watchman Trail when I arrived in the early afternoon. Complete RT was about 1 hour with stops for photos and a leisurely stroll near the river.
Next stop was Canyon overlook for sunset, I was a little nervous about hitting the bridge after reading it became very narrow at this point. Truth be told, the route back to the car was more worrisome than the accent because you can easily get lost in the dark on the way back. Views from the overlook were totally worth it.
After you go through the tunnel, make a stop to look at Canyon overlook and catch the stars peeking out. (These photos were taken with iPhone 11)
Day 2: I woke up extra early to hike the Narrows. You must take the shuttle out to the Narrows during the Fall season. Allow 45 minutes of travel time to get there from the Visitor Center and then a short 1 mile hike down Riverside Trail.
A few photos from the bus on the way. Check out the landslide (Middle) at Weeping Rock. We hiked down this trail only 2 years ago 🙁
The entrance to the Narrows is small, so if large groups are heading in you may want to give yourself a moment to get yourself organized. The water is really cold this time of year (November) and will be rocky the entire way. Expect water up to your waist at any given moment and try to follow the shallow parts if possible!
The Narrows is over 13 miles long one way. You can hike it relatively easily in one day. I got to about 7 miles before having to turn around due to time constraints. One of the most beautiful hikes I’ve done!
If you get a chance to be alone for any amount of time, stop and listen to the water.
Take in the views as you walk back to the bus, Zion is beautiful.
Until next time,
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