7 tips to avoid crowded trails

A hiking trip can be crowded at times. That’s why today I will share with you 7 easy rules to follow in order to have the trails all for yourself (or at least almost).

Words and images by Pierrick Aubert

1. Hike early (or late)

First things first, do not hike during rush-hours. Get up early to be first on the trails, or stay late to be the last one. In both cases, you won’t be disappointed. A little photographer advice: you will have the best lights at sunrise and sunset to take amazing pictures. Personally, I prefer early morning hikes. The one you start with your headlamp on and reach the top right before the sun comes up. If you are not an early bird, it is fine! Sunsets are great too, especially if you are hiking with some friends and want to share a drink before heading back home.

"People often idealize hiking as a living postcard and want perfect conditions, but each day is different."

2. Don’t wait for the perfect weather

Storms aside, there is no bad weather, only bad gear! People often idealize hiking as a living postcard and want perfect conditions, but each day is different. With some clouds or a light rain, you will have way less people around you, which means more chances to see some wildlife and have full nature all for yourself. By hiking during all four seasons, you will see that a trail can be full of surprises and is never the same. 

3. Choose week days and avoid holidays

As I said before, having the trails for yourself comes down to timing. In order for conditions to be as quiet as possible, go outside on weekdays when most of the population is at work. And if you can avoid holiday seasons, it will definitely be a plus. You will have more space to set up your picnic and more time to spend a peaceful day on deserted trails.

4. Ask the locals

Before choosing your route or along the trail, feel free to seek some advice from locals. If asked nicely, people are always happy to share their experiences. By doing so, you will find more interesting spots and avoid the popular trails where you will not spend some alone time. If you don’t know a place, go to the tourist office and tell them what you are looking for. Most of the time you will be satisfied!

5. Don’t follow influencers blogs and social media trends

Find your own Instagrammable spots. Oftentimes, popular hikes suggested on a blog or shared by influencers are paid content. These trails will be crowded during peak seasons and pretty busy the remaining periods. So it is up to you to choose the easy option or buy a map and a guidebook to set your own course.

6. Avoid trails with restaurants

The wilder the better. To get away from people, stay away from tourist attractions such as restaurants, snacks and any infrastructure holidaymakers are fond of. Make your favorite sandwich and put everything you need in your backpack. You can also take a tent and a sleeping bag in order to escape a step further in full nature.

In 3 words: keep it wild!

7. Don’t chose easy and short tracks

Hard doesn’t always mean dangerous. By avoiding easy hikes, you will avoid families and beginners, sweat a bit more than usual, and obviously, sleep well at the end of the day. Be prepared for what comes, study the map, take the right gear and make one with the outdoors. To increase your chances of being left alone, opt for hikes that take more than 6 or 8 hours to be done. It should be enough to find the perfect peace.

Pierrick Aubert

Pierrick is an outdoor geek, always on the hiking trails around his home with a camera. Living and working as a Social Media Manager in the Aravis mountain range (French Alps), not a day goes by without a short walk, or a long hike. Running, hiking, skiing, camping… No matter the weather or the hour, he simply enjoys sharing his adventure.

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3 thoughts on “7 tips to avoid crowded trails”

  1. Douglas M in Colorado

    Totally agree with all those tips to enjoy nature without crowds. Nothing refreshes me like a day(s) alone in woods.

    Another tip, get a good GPS (such as Garmin Inreach) and don’t be afraid to venture off trail. Tread lightly of course but you’ll find amazing, peaceful places to peacefully soak in the undisturbed sights, sounds and fresh smells of nature.

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