Hiking Safe During Coronavirus

En route to Berkeley Park, Mount Rainier National Park. September 2019.

Hurray for hiking! It’s one activity we can still do. But have you noticed? There’s an uptick of people out of the trails. We’re seeing many, many people who aren’t even moderately prepared. No backpack. No hats. No water bottles. Some are hitting backcountry trails in sandals or flip-flops.

As with practicing hand washing, social distancing and the like, remember to hike with the 10 essentials. This is perhaps even more important now that our medical/emergency services are under stress.

From The Mountaineers:

Ten Essentials: The Classic List

  1. Map
  2. Compass
  3. Sunglasses and sunscreen
  4. Extra clothing
  5. Headlamp or flashlight
  6. First aid supplies
  7. Firestarter
  8. Matches
  9. Knife
  10. Extra food

Ten Essentials: Freedom 9 Systems

  1. Map, altimeter, compass (GPS device), PLB of satellite communicators, extra batteries or battery pack
  2. Headlamp plus extra batteries
  3. Sun protections: sunglasses, sun protective clothes, sunscreen
  4. First aid including foot care and insect repellent
  5. Knife plus repair kit
  6. Fire: Matches, lighter and tinder, or stove as appropriate
  7. Shelter: carried at all times (can be light emergency bivy)
  8. Extra food: beyond minimum expectation
  9. Extra water: beyond minimum expectation, or the means to purify
  10. Extra clothes: Beyond minimum expectation

Remember, the ten essentials are the ten essentials. Not the ten suggestions. Carry them and know how to use them.

More Tips & Info

Additionally, the Washington Trails Association recommends staying local, hiking lesser-traveled trails, and visiting parks or green spaces in urban areas during off hours or walking around your neighborhood to ensure adequate social distancing. If you get to a trailhead that’s crowded, use WTA’s Trailblazer app to find another location. Or save your hike for another day.

Here’s a list of What’s Open and What’s Closed via the Washington State Coronavirus response site. The list includes camping on state lands:

To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, all campsites, roofed accommodations (such as cabins, yurts, and vacation houses), group camps, and day use facilities are closed through April 30, 2020. If you have an existing reservation, you will be contacted for a refund. Learn more at the Washington State Parks reservations website

What are you doing to hike safe?