Read this before you prepare for your Utah hike
Welcome to Utah! We’re glad you are here. Utah is one of the most visited states of the United States because it has five national parks, 45 state parks, five national historic sites, and hundreds of great hiking trails. You will have a great adventure and discoveries as you explore our trails. But before you go, if you have never hiked before or even if you are an experienced hiker, there are a few things you should remember to stay safe in your outdoor exploration.
STEP ONE: Plan before you go
Decide where you want to go and research all you can about that trail. All the information to prepare for a hike in Utah is available at your fingertips. A great source is Utah.com, where you will find maps and brochures of the most popular places, or even just by searching online. The things you want to know beforehand are: How long it’s the trail? How do you get there? How long and steep is the path? If you have a disability or particular need, is this trail possible for you? Check the weather. Has it been a recent storm? The answer to these questions will help you prepare for your hike in Utah and be safe on the trail. These are just a few questions to get you started.
STEP TWO: Prepare your body for the hike
To go on a hike, it is a physically demanding activity, even if you think that it is just walking. If you have never hiked, it is always a good idea to consult with your doctor and get a check-up to make sure that you are capable of doing the hike. Once you have the OK to go, you may want to start with a more relaxed hike instead of a physically demanding one. Have a good rest the night before, and remember to stretch before you start on the trail.
STEP THREE: Follow the Buddy System
Even if you were planning on hiking solo, to meditate and contemplate the outdoors, it is not recommended, especially if you have never done it before. The Boy Scouts of America, a non-profit organization, recommends that you never hike alone. There are many unseen dangers and surprises that we cannot plan for, so please take someone with you. Never go alone. If one of you gets hurt, the other person can help you get back to your car or at least get help. For more information visit scouting.org
STEP FOUR: Dress for the occasion!
Wearing the right clothing is one of the most critical aspects of preparing for a hike in Utah. Since you already know what the weather is like (if you followed step 1), dress accordingly. Even though the temperature is hot where you parked your car, if you are going up in the mountains, the temperature at a different altitude will be a bit cooler. But please keep in mind that you may get warmer as your body heats up from the exercise. Wear comfortable clothes and dress in layers so that you can remove or add according to the temperature. Your clothes should be made of a material that can resist odor-causing bacteria, protect you from the insects, and the harmful rays of the sun. Also, don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes and appropriate for the terrain that you’ll be hiking in.
STEP FIVE: Pack the 10 Essentials
And last but not least, to prepare for a hike in Utah and any other place, carry a small backpack with 10 essentials. The American Hiking Society is an excellent resource for information, and they recommend ten essentials that you should have with you when hiking. The essentials are:
- First-aid kit: adhesive bandages, moleskin, gauze, antibiotic ointment, etc.
- Water bottle: filled and large enough to last until it can be filled again
- Flashlight or Headlamp: In case it gets dark before you finish your hike. You’ll need to see your way back.
- Trail food: pack food that is compact and high in energy such as granola and energy bars.
- Sun protection: sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, sunglasses and a hat
- Whistle: also for emergency use only
- Pocket Knife: can be handy in emergencies
- Extra Clothing: In case a storm surprises you
- Map and Compass: so you’ll never get lost and can find your way back
- Matches and Firestarters: In case that you need to start a fire
And these are the five first steps you should take to prepare for hiking in Utah before you go. Have fun in your happy trails!
If you want to learn more about additional trails go here to learn more.
If you prefer to go biking on some great bike trails go here to learn more.
If you would like additional information on preparing for hiking in some of Utah's wonderful National Parks, check out this article on visit utah.