At some point, everyone’s a beginner in the mountains. And through enough trial and error, you learn a few things about what to do and what not to do. Regardless of summits completed, every hiker makes a few mistakes that simple education can prevent.

Let’s look at some of the most common hiking mistakes and how to avoid them!

Not Checking the Weather

A safety precaution before taking off on a hike is checking the weather. By knowing the conditions ahead of time, you can prepare better, ensuring safety in unpopulated areas. Harsh conditions can affect your hike and ultimately create a more challenging environment.

Wearing the Wrong Attire

In addition to being aware of the climatic conditions, having the incorrect clothing and gear can weigh significantly on your ability to complete a hike. Wearing weather-appropriate attire is essential for sweat resistance or warmth, and improper footwear is one of the most common mistakes.

proper hiking shoe or boot can keep your feet stable on uneven terrain and help you find the right footing. Depending on how long the hike takes you, ensure support throughout the footbed and a sturdy shaft to support the ankles.

Getting Too Ambitious

Regardless of athletic ability, taking on a hike outside your skill level is both dangerous and exhausting. Overextending yourself can take the fun out of the hike altogether and potentially put you back physically. Take on more gradual hikes, so you have the time to acquaint yourself with the terrains, and repeat similar hikes to build confidence until you’re ready to advance.

Making Assumptions About Amenities

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is assuming the trail is accommodating. Often, hikes and trails are in remote locations like The Sierra, with little to no amenities. It’s critical to prepare ahead of time in the event of an emergency or accident. Tell a friend where you’re headed and pack accordingly. Examples of things to consider include:

  • Hydration
  • Snacks
  • Additional clothing
  • First aid kit
  • Sanitary napkins

After going through common hiking mistakes and how to avoid them, your next trip will be easier to navigate before, during, and after. Remember to have fun, always!



Publisher of Sierra Rec Magazine. An avid hiker and explorer of mountain lifestyle and adventure. I love to discover new trails, hike along rivers and hang a hammock along the shores of a mountain lake. I often great people on the trail and have found some of my favorite places from the advice of people I meet in the Wilderness. I love the sierra and just like sharing what I know.

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