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Hiking After Rain: How Safe is it?

Some of us are in love with hiking and prefer having most of our free time on the trail to holding irrelevant conversations. Sometimes we may even love the trail so much that we do not care much about getting on them after a downpour. Well, while there is almost no legal restriction (didn’t say there aren’t) to hiking after a downpour, it is essential to take very important safety precautions for both yourself and the environment.

As a quick recommendation, it is alright to hike in level ground forested areas soon after a small rainfall because the risk of slipping is quite low. Thanks to the leveled elevation and grass-covered trail. In contrast, you have to be careful if your trail is a landslide or has a small steep elevation.

After rainfall, you naturally have less balance on the ground, and hiking on steep terrains worsens an already tricky situation. We recommend you allow the trail to dry out significantly before hiking. It would be best if you allow Forty-eight hours of sunshine on the trail for a better safety guarantee.

Does Terrain Determine If It Is Okay To Hike After Rainfall?

As already stated, the choice of terrain plays a significant role in determining whether it is safe to hike. But it is not the only factor. Actually, the biggest factor is yourself. How fit and agile are you?

Hiking on a wet surface is a different ball game entirely, and you will figure this out after taking your first few steps on the trail. If you are advanced in age and often need gear support for sustained hiking, then it is definitely not a good idea to bounce on the trail a few hours after rainfall. The risk of you slipping is really high, and you could sustain serious injuries.

You need a good level of fitness and balance to navigate most trails, even if they are leveled. As already suggested, avoid landslides and terrains with tricky elevation a few hours after rainfall. Forget about your fitness level. Just stay away from them. For leveled terrain, you also need to be careful. It is best to walk on trails with grasses on the path or at least one with little to no mud.

However, choosing terrains with grasses means you will likely have your feet brush against wet grasses often. Of course, wet grasses can be quite irritating and sometimes scratchy, but they are one of the safest options after a significant downpour.

So two other major factors that determine if you can hike after rainfall are your

  • Fitness level
  • Ability to handle scratch and irritation from wet grasses
Hiking on wet land

Is It Bad For The Environment To Hike After It Rains?

Sometimes it is not just all about your safety when it comes to hiking after a heavy downpour. Most terrains are often very soft after a downpour and stepping on them right away is often not the best idea.

It’s important to be mindful of the environment when choosing when and where to hike. Hiking on wet trails can cause erosion and soil compaction, damaging plant life and making it difficult for new seedlings to take root. Also, hiking in mud can disturb wildlife habitats.

Hiking in wet weather can also increase the risk of slip-and-fall accidents.

For these reasons, it’s best to avoid hiking on wet trails or immediately after it rains. If you do hike on a wet trail, stay on established trails and walk softly to minimize your impact. By being conscious of the environment, we can all help protect our natural resources and enjoy the outdoors for years to come.

Most Tourist Trails Get Closed after Certain Levels of Rainfall

Public trails are always open, as there are no official restrictions. However, tourist trails that attract visitors due to their special nature-given charms are often legally protected. These tourists often follow fence parameters to ensure hikers do not damage them after a downpour. Security operatives are often mandated to close these special trails after heavy downpours to maintain their attraction,

So if your desired trail is an official tourist route like government-controlled parks, you should research whether they are always open in all weather. Doing this will save you time and ensure you do not waste your day.

Hiking with rain hood

Tips to Hike Safely on Trails After Rainfall

Get Great Leather Boots

The choice of boot matters a whole lot when hiking after rainfall. Get a shoe that has a very good outsole pattern. The lining of an outsole plays a huge role in countering slippery terrains.

If you really love to hike after rainfall, it is only logical you fully prepare for it by going for non-slip boots. These boots counter slips and reduce the risk of sustaining injuries.

Also, try to get a shoe that is water resistant. Just because the rain has fizzled out does not mean grasses won’t be wet. Exposing a non-water-resistant shoe to water will shorten its durability, so opt for fully water-resistant ones. If your current footwear is not water resistant, apply water-resistant treatment to it so it can serve you longer and better.

You should consider getting a hiking pole for better support and balance. It can serve quite well on a slippery trail. Getting an extra jacket can help counter the cold, which is likely to be stronger after a downpour. Generally, you may need to reinforce most of your gears to get more warmth, better balance, and great fun.

Hike in A Group or at least Have a Communication Device

Slipper terrains are common after rainfall, which means a higher risk of getting injured. Therefore, it would be nice to hike with a group that can tend to you in the event of any unfortunate incident or accident. If you are hiking alone, at least have a communication device that allows you to connect with friends for help if the need arises.

There are several communicators you can buy for seamless communication with loved ones. They do not require a cellular network and can cover a good mile range. You can get them from top online stores and enjoy great communication.

Hiking after the rain

Practice Safe Walking

Since most terrains are likely to be quite slippery after rainfall, it is best to practice safe walking. That way, you will be able to complete your hike without much concern. Ensure to make every step deliberate and try not to walk too fast.

A good boot will offer better friction, so walking steadily and with care will see you complete your hike safely. Of course, this advice is on the ground that you are hiking in a leveled terrain and not one with a steep elevation. Do not hike in the latter few hours after rainfall.

Read the Weather Carefully

A very important factor that you must never take for granted if you plan to hike after rainfall is determining if the weather will not change for the worse. You need to listen to the forecast on the local channel or at least check the weather to know if there won’t be another downpour.

Reading your weather without any official forecast can be quite tricky. While it may be sunny one moment after a downpour, a heavy torrent of rainfall can pour down the next, leaving you trapped on the tail. Unless you plan to rain hike, getting trapped under a downpour will rip away the fun and enthusiasm you felt when leaving home. It can also get risky if the trail soil starts to turn slippery.

If you are unsure about the weather after a downpour, it is best to sit out your hiking plan and try when the weather is much clearer and more predictable.

Final Thoughts

Hiking after rainfall depends on physical fitness, choice of terrain and overall preparation to do it successfully. Clearly, there are several concerns you need to address before deciding to hike after rainfall. This guide has highlighted some factors you should consider. Also, safety tips for a perfect after-rain hike were also outlined.

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