I remember when I was first manifesting how I wanted to get out more in the outdoors, I had to choose to do something that seems a bit crazy to others: I had to seek out solo hiking. Of course, you can go on a hike with your friends and family, but it may not benefit you the way that going on a hike alone can do for you.
Solo hiking is more of an activity that you do for yourself and not for others. For me, I saw it as a way to get connected with my inner spiritual, physical, and emotional health. Sure, it can be seen as “crazy” because it is riskier, but there are some great things about it that you may not know.
As long as you are well equipped and knowledgeable of where you are going then solo hiking is always possible. I wrote a WHOLE guide completely on solo hiking here – you can read it on how you can achieve being smarter in this.
Here are 6 reasons why solo hiking is actually good:
1. You like to go at your own pace and want to keep it that way.
Maybe you’ve had that frustration once that you may have been ahead or behind while hiking with someone else. It may then make you feel like hiking is a sprint and not a marathon.
You have your own style and your own fitness level that makes you capable of your pace in hiking, but it can be discouraging with others whose levels differ from you. When solo hiking, you have all the ability to hike on your own pace, which makes it a less stressful experience.
2. You can go on your own time.
Another less stressful experience is that you want to go on a hike when you’re available only, and not to work out a day and time that works with others. You do not have to wait around for others to confirm or you do not have to make your own time flexible for others.
You can choose whether you want to go on a sunrise hike or sunset hike or even a night hike if that makes you comfortable! Go walk slowly or go on a trail run, whichever you want. It’s all about going on your own time because you are the only one making the plan to hike.
3. You have a desire to become braver.
The most important and life-changing aspect of solo hiking is that you will become braver — and it will hit you in all areas of life you’ll be conquering. Solo hiking can allow you to feel independent because all of the planning is on you so you have to remember to trace your steps back, read your own directions, cross sections without assistance, and you have to really use good judgement.
Since I’ve been solo hiking, I really embraced having to sit alone in restaurants without fearing what others think. I want to have that restaurant experience and eat food in the comfort of my own company, so the opinions of others start to feel little in comparison.
The first time I experienced solo night hiking, it was a case of trial and error. I came out to South Mountain when the weather was still cool (so sunset came down earlier) and I wanted to watch the sunset go down from the top of Dobbins Lookout.
Little did I know, the hike was longer than I expected and I had to come down at night, but lucky for me, I already had a headlamp and a flashlight. Knowing that coyotes were known for hanging around that mountain, I did feel quite paranoid around me and my heart was racing because I feared if I’ll run into creepy crawlers or wildlife that are active at night, which I did not. Looking back at that experience, I definitely felt proud of myself.
4. You truly think out on tough decisions or plan better.
Along my point that you’ll become braver, you really could come across making decisions but sometimes, that just sets you up to be a better planner. You learn to face nature with yourself and that means knowing what is out there in nature, but being well aware of what to do in emergencies.
You could be hiking and you come across a section that looks abnormal and have created a road block, so you think what do you do? Do you just go back and not finish this? Do you find another way? Do you attempt to even cross it?
What happens if you get caught up in a sudden storm that came pouring out of nowhere? You may think, “Where do I have to go to walk for safety?” or “Am I well protected in my gear to withstand harsh conditions?” A lot of questions just fly out when you’re not in the comfort of your home. But, remember to always use smart and good judgement!
5. You prefer peace and quiet.
This is the biggest reason for me why I love myself a good solo hike. I love using solo hiking to help me reflect on things a lot more. Because with all the noise, it comes with distraction, so this means knowing not to bring anyone else with me. The less noise, the more clearer we can think of things. I also feel awkward that I may have to force some conversation if it becomes very silent from the concentration of hiking, no matter if this is my family member I’ve spoken with so many times.
You just learn to remain so much into your zone that solo hiking starts to become a routine for you when you’re craving to meditate. In fact, there are a few studies that say spending time in nature has been found to help mental health and overall wellbeing.
6. You need a boost for creativity.
This doesn’t only apply to the creatives, but for anyone who needs to further think of ideas that they want to do next in their life. Maybe you’re planning on decorating a new house, but you can’t decide whether you want to paint the walls a peachy salmon color or a vivid magenta? Maybe you’re thinking about going on a vacation, but you’re stuck between a tropical beachy destination or to see the snowy national parks of Canada?
When you’re alone, you can really hone in the details of your next creative project and not feel like you have to focus on hearing others’ stories or conversations. You may even notice something in nature that sparked a realization in you. I know I did when I wanted to create this blog post!
Will you be going to try a solo hike after reading this post? As an ambivert (extrovert-introvert), I benefit from my solo hikes each time!