Guidelines for Leading Hikes

So you’re interested in leading a hike? Fantastic!

Please take a moment to read a few suggestions on leading hikes.

As an Event Organiser, leading a hike is a big responsibility. There are various things members will expect from you and this page will help you fulfil your role and meet the needs of members for the duration of each event you participate in as a leader.

What to do before your event:

  • Know the trail and route you’re taking members on. You should have researched the trail and be familiar with it before taking members there. I.e. don’t get lost! If you plan an “exploratory” style event, clearly say so in your write-up!
  • Try to post your write-up on the site calendar approximately two weeks prior to your event date. (This is a rough guideline. Multi-day hikes may require longer notice to organise effectively). I have found in general that shorter notice yields less attendance. Longer time-frames often means people forget they signed up and  fail to show on the day, so keep this in mind also.
  • Accurately describe the event when you post it (distance, duration, grade, style, summary, location, directions, etc.). Look at other events on our calendar for examples and read the information on how to post a hike.
  • Call and check trail conditions with the land manager of the park or region that you plan to enter. This is necessary for hikes in alpine area where snow and/or bush fire can cause trail closures.
  • Check the weather conditions and bush-fire warnings a couple of days ahead of your event.
  • Follow comments on the event page and try to answer any questions that arise from members.
  • Must have item: Map and Compass.
  • Nice to have: Mobile phone, GPS, first-aid kit, extra water.

What to do during your event:

  • Arrive early to meet and greet other members and get ready to start on time.
  • Take attendance so that you know the size of your group.
  • Be sensitive to late arrivals, do a quick check of the parking lot to see if there are any hikers who may be joining your group.
  • When you’re ready to begin, gather the group, introduce yourself and the trail, outlining any challenges they are likely to face. Have every member confirm they are happy to meet these challenges (if any).
  • Ensure that everyone it suitably equipped and is carrying enough water for the hike.
  • Remind attendees about waiting for the entire group at trail junctions and ask them to tell someone if they need to go to the toilet while on the trail. It is a good idea to advise them to leave their pack on the trail, where they, so you know where to start looking if they go missing.
  • Should a hiker have a child who needs a break on the hike, pause the hike. Give them a chance to try to stay with the group. Speak with them one-on-one and see if they would prefer to have one person stay with them to finish the hike or stick with the group. Use your best judgement as it is always best to keep the group together.
  • If someone is not feeling well or has a medical situation, be sure that someone capable walks that hiker back to their car, waits with them until they feel okay, and then get their number and check in with them later in the day.
  • Be familiar with and enforce the recommended Code of Conduct. It helps to know what’s expected of attendees.
  • Go and have fun!

What to do after your event:

  • At the trail-head, make sure everyone who began the event makes it out okay.
  • Advertise upcoming events if you recall them and encourage skilled hikers to host a hike of their own.
  • Post photos on the Trail Hiking Facebook Page or Trail Talk Group and/or tag photos you or other members post.
  • Don’t forget to comment on how well the hike went.
  • Plan your next event! 🙂

The following links will help you with Preparation, Safety, Navigation, understanding the Skills and Gear required for an enjoyable outdoor adventure. Download a free copy of my Hiking Guides for additional information.