Tips to Get the Most Out of Fall Hiking

You can have a good time on the trail year-round, but fall hiking takes the cake. Fall is the season to get outdoors. The leaves are lovely, the air is crisp and cool, and the ticks, mosquitoes, and poison ivy that can make life miserable have receded.

The key to any good hike is being comfortable and enjoying your experience. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your fall hiking trips!

Footwear matters

It’s amazing the difference a good pair of socks can make. Get a comfortable pair of merino wool hiking socks and a pair of dedicated hiking boots or trail shoes.

Work smarter not harder

Trekking poles make inclines easier and descents a breeze. Whether day hiking is your jam or your prefer long distance through-hikes, a good set of trekking poles will make your hike more enjoyable.

Layering

Layering is important any time you head outdoors, but it’s especially important when hiking in the fall. Aerobic activities generate a lot of body heat, and fall temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day. Wear a base layer that isn’t made from cotton, an insulating mid layer, and a shell.

Accessories

Hats, arm warmers, neck gaiters, gloves, etc. can add extra warmth and are easy to remove when you start to get a little too toasty hiking up hill.

Be safe

Is hunting allowed where you’re going hiking? Arkansas hunters are required to wear 400 square inches of blaze orange during big game hunting season, but those laws don’t apply to hikers.

That being said, it’s in your best interest to wear blaze orange, or other bright colors, while hiking during the fall. In fact, it’s always a good idea to wear brightly colored, highly visible clothing when you hike, regardless of the season. You want to be seen.

Warm beverages

Don’t underestimate the comfort that comes with a hot cup of Joe. Hot drinks like coffee, tea, cider, or cocoa will fill you with a warm fuzzy feeling and lift your spirits. Pack a thermos if you’re on a day hike, or bring a stove a few sachets of your favorite beverage on long hikes.

Shorter days

Sunlight hours will keep getting shorter until we hit the winter solstice. A fall sunset can sneak up on you. This can be a fun adventure, a little frustrating and inconvenient, or in some cases dangerous. Make sure you know what time the sun sets, know your pace, and have a plan in case you can’t make it to your destination by sundown.

Enjoy the season.

Fall in the Ozarks is magical. People travel from all over the country just to see the Ozarks in the fall. Look up every once in a while. Take a deep breath and soak it in.

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