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Fall Hiking Tips

Fall is one of the most beautiful times to hit the trail.  Pesky mosquitos begin to disappear, the temperatures are comfortable and the color of the leaves can be incredible!  Along with the season change comes changing conditions on the trail. Below are some tips for hiking during this time:

  • Watch Your Step!  The fall foliage is absolutely beautiful here in North Alabama and can leave a wonderful carpet of color on the trails.  But be careful!  This “carpet” can disguise rocks and roots in the foot path and make hiking treacherous. Wear good sturdy shoes and consider using trekking poles to help keep your balance. 
  • Look for Yellow Jackets! Yellow Jackets are members of the wasp family that “nest” underground.  It is not unusual to encounter nests of these stinging insects on the trail in the late summer and early fall when their numbers are at their peak and they are seeking out sugars – often people food – to eat.  If you encounter one of these “nests”, give it a wide berth as these insects are quite territorial during this time frame and will swarm and sting to protect their home.  If you accidently disturb a nest, cover your face and move away from the nest as quickly as possible. ***If you have a sting allergy, make sure that you carry your emergency medication with you!***
  • Be mindful of snakes!  During the cooler days of fall, you may see them sunning on rocks, logs, or even in the trail. Snakes are our friends!  They help keep the population of rodents and even other venomous snakes in check.  If you encounter one, back away slowly and give it plenty of space.
  • Watch the Clock!  Fall not only brings with it cooler temperatures, but less and less daylight hours.  Be mindful of sunset hours when planning your hike and keep an eye on the clock when out on the trail.
  • Hydrate!  Be sure to bring plenty of drinking water on your adventure.  Hiking involves sweating and sweating requires rehydration.
  • Know where you are going!  Even the most experienced hikers can get turned around.  Make sure to bring along a trail map and know your location.  You can find trail maps for all Land Trust nature preserves at landtrustnal.org/trailmaps.  Phone GPS can be helpful, but should your phone lose power, you will need a paper map handy!
    ***PRO TIPLand Trust Members can access a free map app to track their hike.***
    Not a member?  Join Today!
  • Leave valuables at home!  Land Trust trails are free to the public from dawn to dusk and our wonderful little critters do not set up lemonade stands!  There is no need for money and valuables left in vehicles are a temptation for criminals.  Lock your car and keep valuables out of sight.  Better yet, don’t bring anything valuable!