Fall Hiking Tips

fall-leavesFall is one of the best seasons for hiking, and the Ozarks are one of the best places to see fall foliage. That’s not just in Arkansas, but the entire country. Hordes of hikers have waited patiently for summer to come to a close, and now that fall is officially here, they’re champing at the bit to hit the trail. Here are some fall hiking tips to consider before you set out on your next hike.

Layers are your best friend

It’s frigid at night and warm in the afternoon. Plus, physical activity – like hiking – raises your body temperature. Start with a base layer, then an insulating mid layer, and bring along a shell or outer layer.

Mind the weather

Weather can change rapidly. Check the weather before hiking, and make sure that you plan accordingly. Pack rain gear if needed, or some extra insulation if it’s going to be cold.

Bring plenty of water and stay hydrated

It’s no longer pushing 100 degrees outside, but that doesn’t mean you can skimp on water. Even in the crisp fall air, remember to drink water before you feel thirsty.

Bring plenty of food

You need more calories in colder conditions. Pack plenty of food and snack throughout the day as you hike.

Protect yourself from the sun

You can suffer sunburns in any season. Apply sunscreen to exposed skin, wear a hat and sunglasses, and bring along some lip balm.

Invest in good hiking socks

Avoid cotton socks like the plague. Choose merino wool for hiking. Merino wool socks are insulate better, are more comfortable, and offer more protection from blisters than cotton socks. And unlike cotton, wool insulates even when wet.

Know what time the sun goes down

Days get shorter as the season goes forward, especially after daylight saving time. Don’t get caught trying to set up camp in the dark. Know when the sun sets.

It’s hunting season

  • Be aware of hunting seasons. Here is some information on hunting seasons in Arkansas
  • Wear bright hi vis colors so you’re easy to spot, and easily identifiable as a person.
  • Make noise; don’t silently stalk through the woods in subdued colors.
  • Choose trails where hunting is not allowed.

Let someone know where you are going

This is good practice for hiking in any season.

Soak in the fall colors

The beauty in the trees only comes around one season out of the year. Make sure you look, and appreciate the fall foliage!

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