If hiking is already a challenge, hiking after a downpour rain will be doubly challenging. However, hiking after rain comes with some benefits. First, the trail won’t be busy because many hikers want to avoid wet and slippery grounds. Moreover, you’ll see better and greener trees and plants when hiking after rain. Plus, you’ll notice that wildlife tends to be livelier and on full display.
Most established trails are safe to hike after a certain amount of rain. So, if you will tackle one of these safe routes, you don’t need to worry if you hike after rain. Yet, if you want to ensure how much time should elapse before you embark on hiking, well, the answer will be relative to the trail you will hike and your level of preparedness for tackling such a trail.
Different Hiking Trails and The Potential Perils Along the Way
As mentioned above, hiking trails vary from each other. Some consist of woodlands; some are flat trails. You will also find mountainous hiking trails that could be dangerous after rain. Below is a short explanation of the potential risks involved in each type of trails:
If your hiking trail consists of woodlands, you can start hiking after rain, provided you got the right gear. The primary risk involved in this kind of hiking trail includes hypothermia. Nevertheless, you could avoid such a risk if you got your waterproof gear.
Another potential problem you will encounter is slippery ground. If you have excellent trekking poles and hiking footwear, you can lessen the risk concomitant with the slippery ground.
If you would tackle a route characterized by flat trails and areas, you might encounter hazards like flash floods and muddy grounds. Thus, if it rains profusely, you must wait for an hour before you start hiking on flat trails. In this way, you can assure yourself that floods have already subsided.
If you would tackle mountainous trails, you should be mindful of rain. Rocky mountains, however, are safer for hikers after rain because they can drain water quickly. Yet, it doesn’t mean they are not fraught with dangers after rain.
Some of the potential hazards you will encounter after rain include overflowing and flooding rivers and creeks. So, it will help if you wait for several hours after the downpour to ensure that you are safe to hike.
Another hazard you will encounter when hiking a mountainous trail is an avalanche. Landslides can also occur days after a downpour. They also happen mainly during the wet season. So, you need to be wary of landslides after rain.
Another problem you might encounter is lightning. So, before you set out on a trail, you need to know the weather forecast and check if a potential thunderstorm is brewing on the horizon.
Lastly, you will encounter slippery ground. The ground can still be slippery. Hence, you need to take extra precautions when hiking after rain. Moreover, if you’re tackling dangerous mountainous trails, you should be extra careful with your steps for any miscalculation that might lead to injury or death.
Hiking Risks After a Heavy Downpour
There were times when mountain rescue teams were busy rescuing stranded and injured hikers and some of these hikers got injured because of bad luck. Yet, most of them could have had avoided the lurking dangers had they prepared well and were a bit cautious. So, if you plan to hike after rain, it will be best to know the following risks and hazards lurking around after rain:
Muddy and Wet Grounds
Many ideal trails for hiking become badly soaked after a heavy downpour. They also become muddy, making it difficult for hikers to proceed without slipping. So, if you don’t want to get your shoes entirely muddied, you need to wait a little further for the ground to dry a bit.
You might find it doubly challenging to keep your footing and traction while you tackle a trail after rain. Hence, you need to wear boots that offer excellent traction to lessen slips or accidental falls. Such hazards like wet grass, slippery rocks, and fallen trees after rain can put your stamina to the test and your safety in jeopardy.
Would You Be Safe If You Hike in the Rain?
As mentioned above, the paramount consideration in your decision to go hiking after rain is the hiking route and your preparedness to tackle it. Hiking is not best for the impulsive ones. Hence, you should know the hiking trail you will engage in and prepare for such a trail well.
If you would tackle, for example, the Nagarkot Hiking trail or the Chisapani Hiking trail in Nepal, I bet you should think twice about postponing your hiking after a heavy downpour. Nevertheless, if you deal with an established foot trail or multi-use trails, you can quickly hike after rain or even when it is raining.
Hiking trails, of course, come in different types. You’ll find foot trails, bikeways, boardwalks, interpretative/nature trails, and multi-use trails. But if you would engage in hiking without trails, I think you better choose the days you would hike. Check with your park and get the required permits for hiking in those areas. You should also check the rules to follow when hiking without trails.
When hiking when raining, the main hazards you would encounter include flash floods, mudslides, rockfall, avalanches, landslides, thunder, slippery rock and ground, and hypothermia. So, make sure you are well-prepared to deal with such hazards if you are adamant about hiking without a trail.
If you are well-prepared, your hiking in the rain becomes considerably safe. “Being prepared” means you got all the appropriate gear with you to minimize the effect of the hazards mentioned above. Moreover, “being prepared” means you know the trail so well that you can avoid any severe danger along the way.
Additional Tips for Safe Hiking After a Downpour
Aside from knowing the risks concomitant with hiking after rain or in the rain, it will also help if you are cognizant of the following safety tips when hiking after rain:
Set a Limit to Your Hiking Distance
If you set out on a trail after rain, don’t aim for a long-distance route. Just limit the distance you will tackle. There is a big chance that the storm might return. So, it will be best to select a short trail to ensure that you will not get exhausted and finish the course safely.
Ensure that you don’t go too far from your supply if the rain returns. In this way, you can backtrack to your car if the trail becomes too dangerous to finish.
Select a Safe Trail
Hiking trails are many, and they vary in difficulties and challenges. When it rains, you should select a safe trail route. Always remember that your safety should be your paramount consideration when hiking unless you’re a daredevil type of hiker who thrives in challenges and never shies away from hazards.
Yet, as mentioned above, the not-risky trail becomes risky when it rains because the ground becomes slippery. So, as a reasonable hiker, you need to factor in all the risks concomitant with the rain and decide which trail is safe enough to deal with when it is raining or after a downpour.
Wear the Appropriate Clothing and Gear
After the rain, it will be best to avoid clothing materials like cotton because they will readily absorb raindrops and moisture. It will be best to wear a waterproof jacket and hiking boots or shoes. Don’t wear water-resistant shoes or boots because waterproof and water-resistant boots or shoes are two different things.
Don’t forget your cold drinks when hiking likewise. Besides, you should bring with you your hiking poles and extra socks.
Hiking is a healthy sport. It allows you to get in touch with nature, and it is always beneficial to your health if done right. It will also enable you to discover new corners and help you take away your mind from the stress and hassles of urban living. Hiking, however, has different types. It could be a day hike, thru-hiking, section hiking, peak bagging, base camping, hut-to-hut hiking, off-trail hiking, and heli-hiking.
If you’re a newbie hiker, it will be best to engage in day hiking after it rains, for this type of hiking requires the least supplies and comes with a few risks. Of course, day-hiking is not only for beginners. It can also be very challenging with stiff routes to scale. But this hiking type is the best for beginners.