Hiking Safety Tips from Georgia’s State Parks

To find trails ranging from easy, paved paths to more challenging hikes, visit GeorgiaStateParks.org.

Safe Hiking Tips

  • Avoid hiking alone because the “buddy system” is safer during any type of activity. 
  •  Tell someone where you are going and when you will return.  Don’t forget to check in with them when you get back.
  •  Stay on marked trails.  Making shortcuts and “bushwhacking” causes erosion and greatly increases your chance of becoming lost. 
  • Never climb on waterfalls.  A high number of injuries and deaths occur on waterfalls and slippery, wet rocks.
  • Always carry quality rain gear and turn back in bad weather.  If you become wet or cold, it is important to get dry and warm as quickly as possible, avoiding hypothermia.
  • All hikers should carry a whistle, which can be heard far away and takes less energy than yelling.  Three short blasts is a sign of distress.  
  • Carry plenty of drinking water and never assume stream water is safe to drink. 
  • Don’t count on cell phones to work in the wilderness, but if they do, be able to give details about your location.
  • Don’t rely on a GPS to prevent you from getting lost.  Batteries can die or the equipment can become damaged or lost.
  • Wear bright colors.  Don’t dress children in camouflage.  Keep dogs on a leash because they sometimes become injured or lost too.

Carry an Emergency Kit
Each hiker should have these items:

  • Water
  • First-aid kit
  • Whistle
  • Small flashlight with extra batteries
  • Glowstick
  • Energy food
  • Brightly colored bandana
  • Trash bag (preferably a bright color, such as “pumpkin bags” sold in autumn).  Poke a hole for your head and wear it as a poncho to stay dry.

What to Do If You Are Lost

  • Stay in one place.
  • Make shelter.
  • Stay warm and dry.
  • Be visible and heard.
  • If helicopters are searching overhead, seek an opening in the forest.  Lie down so you look bigger from the air.

Comments are closed.