The cooler weather is finally here, and if you're in Texas (or any state that doesn't experience the true 4 seasons) that means perfect hiking weather! With weather conditions quickly changing during the fall season it is important to be prepared and take caution on each and every hike.
1. Watch weather forecasts & be prepared for any weather scenario.
In fall, weather can turn cold and rainy in an instant. If you encounter foul weather or treacherous conditions, it might be best to leave the hike for another day when you can hike without risky conditions. The National Weather Service is a good source for weather forecasts.
2. Share the trail with hunters.
Autumn is hunting season, and each year hunters come out to pursue elk, deer, and other game. Being cautious and aware of your surroundings is key when heading out to the trails in the fall.
3. Always pack the 10 Essentials on any hike.
These include: a topographic map and a compass (and the knowledge of how to use them), extra food, extra clothing, a firestarter, matches, sun protection, a pocket knife, first-aid kit, and flashlight. In unpredictable weather, it’s also a good idea to bring some sort of emergency shelter, even on a day hike. Hiking poles or ice axes can be helpful on stretches of unexpected rocky trails. Remember, cell phones don't always get reception and batteries can fade quickly in cold weather. They are not a substitute for carrying the backcountry essentials that could save your life.
4. Check the latest trail conditions.
Check for recent trail condition reports from national park service. And you can always call ahead to local ranger stations for conditions, too.
5. Let someone know where you are going.
Use this simple hike itinerary form ALL TRAILS and share it with someone you trust. Be sure to call or text your contact when you return home safely. If your destination changes, let your contact know before you are out of range.
Remember to stay safe & most importantly have fun.