Hiking Safety Tips for Los Angeles and Southern California

Whether you’re a native of sunny, Southern California, or just planning a visit, you are sure to find plenty of outdoor adventures to choose from!

As with any hike, being properly prepared is essential for ensuring a safe and exciting experience. If you’re new to hiking, or just new to hiking in the region, it is important to research safety considerations for the area. Weather, topography, and wildlife can transform a seemingly easy hike into a far more significant challenge.

Here are a few tips to make sure you’re ready for whatever challenge comes your way!

Make a Plan

No matter where you are, planning out your hike before you go is key. Downloading a trail map using TOTAGO, for example, will help keep you on track regardless of whether or not you have cell service.

Having a map is great as you’re hiking, but don’t forget to take a close look before you go. Different trails mean different obstacles — steep climbs, tricky footing, river crossings, wildlife — so make sure you’re ready for more than just the mileage.

Be Prepared to Adapt

Imagine you are mid-hike, following your trail map when the river you knew you would have to cross is higher than you had expected. Or, perhaps the part of the trail you had planned to take has been closed off. Make your decisions carefully. If you’re not sure whether you should continue, don’t take the risk. There are always more adventures to be had.

Wear Sun Protection

Hiking in the Golden State means you will more than likely be soaking up some sun. Wearing sunscreen, UV-protective sunglasses, and cool, sweat-wicking fabrics will help keep you from getting overheated.
Even on a rare overcast day, it is important to keep these things in mind as harmful UV rays can still pass through the cloud cover.

Hydrate

No hiker wants to find themselves halfway through their hike and already short on water. If you’re used to hiking in grayer, cooler areas, you may be surprised at how much water you go through. So sip often, and make sure to bring more water than you typically would.

Snack

Hydration is key, but water alone won’t provide you with the energy you need to make through the hike. Bringing electrolyte-rich snacks or munching on complex carbs as you go will give you the sustained energy you need.

Take a Breather

There is no shame in taking a moment to catch your breath! Taking a break to recharge is also a great time to break out your water and snack to fill up before heading back out.

Additional safety information

If you’re looking for even more information, Modern Hiker is a great asset. They have written an article specific to hot weather hiking that serves as an excellent resource for those unaccustomed to high-temperature hikes.

The Washington Trails Association’s website is also full of great information. It includes an article on Safety Essentials that provides an excellent starting point for anyone new to hiking — in Washington and beyond!

Hike Suggestions

Now that you’ve looked into where you’re going, what to look out for, and what to bring, here are three excellent hiking options in Southern California!:

Trail map of Fish Canyon Falls
Moderate – Fish Canyon Falls
Trail map of Old Boney Trail
Experienced – Old Boney Trail