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Tips for Beginner Female Solo Hikers

Updated: Feb 2

Before moving to Colorado in June of 2020, I never would have imagined myself as someone who could be confident enough to be on my own in the wilderness. However, solo hiking has easily become one of my favorite ways to enjoy the outdoors. There's something so calming about just being out in nature, taking your time, and soaking in the experience. I do prefer to hike with friends, but I also don't like having to always rely on others in order to do something I want. Life is short and you shouldn't wait around for other people in order to begin. Now I say that knowing i'm privileged and white, but i'm a firm believer that we have to try and seek out the life we want and try our best to not let fear get in our way; it will be harder for some than others.

Acknowledge what you're Afraid of & Prepare the best you can

For me, i'm most afraid of wildlife. I know it's highly unlikely i'll get attacked by a bear or mountain lion, but these fears have held me back from enjoying the outdoors. I recommend purchasing bear bell + bear spray (you can use this on a mountain lion too), and then watch videos every now and then to remember what you're supposed to do if you encounter a cougar or bear and how to use your spray to protect yourself. If you're afraid of getting attacked by a person, then carry pepper spray too. My dog is reactive to other dogs, and untrained off-leash dogs are a huge problem for us (i've been bit before). I carry dog repellent to ease my worries about this now.

Choose Popular Hikes

When you're first starting out exploring the outdoors, I recommend choosing hikes that are heavily trafficked. You can tell a hike is busy based on how many reviews it has (and recent reviews/photos) that have been published on AllTrails. I recommend this when starting out because you're still gaining confidence in the outdoors and you don't want to over-estimate what you're capable of. Sometimes it's a matter of not knowing how much water you'll need or what your skill level really is. If you pick a hike with lots of others around, then you can easily get help vs. getting lost or injured due to lack of preparedness.

Here are some of my favorite heavily populated hikes in Colorado: St Mary's Glacier, Emerald Lake in Rocky Mt. National Park (RMNP), anywhere in Red Rocks or Boulder.

In Washington most hikes are heavily populated: Rattlesnake Ledge, Little Si, Skyline Trail in Mt Rainier National Park (MRNP), Burroughs in MRNP. If a trail has over a thousand reviews, then i'd say it's highly unlikely you'll be out in the wilderness by yourself.

Have a Reliable Vehicle & Check the Roads Before You Go

When I first moved to Colorado, i'll admit I had little to no experience hiking. I owned a MINI convertible and took it on some back roads that I definitely shouldn't have (especially driving alone). I drove my convertible as long as I could, but when winter came around and my convertible got stuck in a parking lot in the snow (where a group of guys had to push it out for me) I knew I needed to upgrade to a more reliable car that had All Wheel Drive. I ended up trading in my car for the MINI cooper countryman, and while I was sad at first, I have no regrets! I have way more space for Sora and my car can handle the rough winter and bumpy roads. The peace of mind that comes with being able to trust my car to keep me safe while traveling and exploring alone has made me a lot less anxious about adventuring and driving to hikes. I still like to check the roads before I hike. Some trailheads are right off the highway, while others take you down remote country roads that can be unpredictable. In the winter, some hikes are up mountain passes that aren't maintained or open, so it's good to read reviews on AllTrails (and descriptions) and check road conditions.

Bring a Tripod + Remote for Taking Photos and Videos of Yourself

If you're taking photos with your phone, then you can get a cheap foldable tripod off amazon. If you're using your camera, i'd recommend buying a durable, strong one to hold your camera. I use the aluminum Peak Design one, but before I had that I used this cheap one off amazon. If you have an apple watch, you don't need a remote to take photos with your phone, but if you're using a Sony camera like mine, then I recommend setting the self-timer on to 2-seconds and then using the Sony remote!

Taken with my iPhone 12 Pro + tripod + remote

Taken with my Sony Camera + tripod + remote

Always Check Weather Conditions Before you go & have a backup hike planned

In the winter, avalanche hazards and risks can be deadly. People die in the backcountry every year from them. It's important to check zones before you go and to not hike alone in risky areas. In Colorado summers, the afternoon thunderstorms can be dangerous lightning to high elevation or above tree-line hikes. When you're above tree line you are the tallest thing standing, and can be struck, so make sure to hike early in the morning and return down before any forecasted storms roll in. Usually during late summer, wildfire season will begin; it's been getting worse every year due to global warming. Make sure you know of any active fires in or around the area - these will hinder your views and make hiking more difficult for your lungs; it can also be dangerous since first responders will be tending to the disaster response and you don't want to take away from rescue efforts there.

Extra Things to Pack

  1. Contacts/Glasses: If you wear contacts, always keep an extra pair in your backpack or a spare set of glasses in your car. I've had numerous instances where one of my contacts fell out and I had to drive home with one good eye. After that happened twice, I always have a backup now.

  2. Ibuprofen: Colorado has lots of high elevation hikes, and it affects others differently. When I first moved to Colorado I wasn't used to it and pushed myself a little too hard. I now always take ibuprofen before I head out to the mountains and before I drive back so that I dont get too dizzy or lightheaded from the altitude.

  3. Snacks: I bring a granola bar for me and my dog; hunger can set in at anytime. When you're in higher elevation, carbs will help lessen side effects from altitude.

  4. Sunscreen/Hat: Nothing like being pale and getting sun poisoning! I have pretty fair skin, but even if you don't, you should wear protection to avoid getting skin cancer and wrinkles! Always pack these essentials and set timers to reapply.


Hi! I'm Jackie and my dog is Sora. I work remote as an engineer, but I love to spend my free time in nature and by traveling to new places. I take my camera wherever I go, and sometimes my drone.

Somewhere With Sora is a Seattle-based lifestyle and travel blog that provides helpful travel and adventure tips for all kinds of trips, with or without the dogs.

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