Hopefully by now you’ve been convinced that hiking is one of the best ways to spend some time in nature and take new Instagram pictures of the views. Now the challenge is going to be how to share this with others. Leading group hikes can be a little scary at first, but the key is to plan in advance to ensure a safe and fun time for all participants. Below are just a few of the things you need to keep in mind. The nice thing with hiking in LA is that these guidelines are super easy to follow so I hope to see you up in the hills with your group soon!
Be Familiar with the Trail
As the leader of the hike, you’ll want to have a good understanding of the trail, potential threats (such as poisonous plants, aggressive animals, wicked weather, the friends you brought along…), and rules of the park you’re hiking at. This means that you should hike the trail yourself first, noting the terrain, length, and intensity. Bonus: If you notice anything interesting, such as a little waterfall, along the hike, you can keep this in mind to point out to your hikers! You’ll also feel a lot less stressed if you know the trail like the back of your hand, and will be able to enjoy leading the hike more.
Know Your People
In addition to knowing the trail, you’ll want to know the people that you are taking with you. Consider their ages, athleticism, level of sobriety, and special needs and plan accordingly. A little cousin might not be as interested in the scenic views as the lizards you find, or a friend might prefer going slowly so they can fill you in on the latest gossip. Also, have a list of the hikers you’re expecting and their contact information so you don’t leave anybody behind and can call them if conditions change.
Prepare your hikers with critical information before the hike: what to bring or wear, when and where to meet, the best places to park, potential brunch plans after hiking, etc. It’s super important to make sure that they know to wear — it’s never fun to over or under dress! Additionally, sometimes shoes can make or break an experience. When hikers get there, let them know where they can expect the restrooms (if any) of the hike to be located. During the hike, be decisive in where to stop for breaks or which fork of the road to take so as to not confuse your participants!
We all know that it’s hard to remember to bring all the important things, so your job as the leader of the hike is to bring a little extra of everything in case your hikers forget. This includes products like sunscreen, insect repellent, a simple first aid kit. To sustain yourself and the hikers, bring plenty of water and some energy-rich snacks (trail mix seems appropriate 🙂 ). And of course, don’t forget a sturdy backpack to put these things in, and a trail map if you need it to lead!
Some final thoughts: Hiking is one of the most fun activities to do and especially in the LA area but it also requires maturity and awareness. You’ll want to plan a hike well in advance, set the supplies in your car the night before, and arrive at the hiking location a little early to welcome your hikers. It’ll be a great, breathtaking hike!
Pictures by Lyvly Ambassador: Janmay