Do you love everything about hiking during the summer months except for the crowded trail conditions? If so, you may want to peruse my list of suggestions for avoiding the crowds. Here it is:
If there is one thing that my former work in the travel industry has taught me, it's to visit popular places at unpopular times. In my experience, hiking trails are often less crowded mid-week and a day or two after major holidays. That's because most people are either at work or have to return to work at those times.
Hike Early in the Day
Hiking early in the day is also helpful when it comes to avoiding crowds on the trail. I have found that on the weekends, the hiking trails in my area don't tend to fill up with people until around 10 a.m. Based on my experience, hiking early in the morning is also ideal when it comes to staying cool. The reason why it tends to be cooler in the mornings is that the sun traditionally doesn't reach its highest point in the sky until later in the day.
Hike Late in the Afternoon
Hikers that don't consider themselves morning people shouldn't despair. The crowds often found on hiking trails also tend to thin out after 4 p.m. Those that do decide to hike later in the day should select short trails that may be completed safely before sunset. I'd also recommend that late day hikers carry a flashlight with them just in case the sunlight wanes earlier than expected.
Hike Less Popular Trails
Another great way to avoid crowded situations while hiking is to select routes that may not be as popular as other trails. At least doing so has previously helped me to circumvent the crowds during peak hiking times. For example, I like hiking at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. It is popular with summer visitors but most are there to check out the observation tower and the boardwalk. Accordingly, I tend to restrict my hiking activity to the trails that are located outside of those areas. In doing so, it's rare that I'll encounter a crowd.
Hike in Less Popular Places
Hikers that prefer solitude on the trails should also consider selecting lesser known destinations close to home. One way to do that is to think about where tourists would want to hike and then head in the opposite direction. Oftentimes, some of the best hiking destinations are ski resorts and county parks that are devoid of services.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys summer sports and recreation with her family. She has also traveled extensively.
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