Wednesday, November 29, 2023


How to take a hike without all the crowds…

The good news? We scored a camping spot for our RV. The bad news? Hiking trails near us are overwhelmed with people. While my extroverted hubby is fine hiking with crowds, I (the introvert) prefer to enjoy the majestic overviews without having to wait my turn because of all the people standing in front of me.

What’s going on here?

It’s as if a “great awakening” has happened. Overnight, it seems, everyone and their extended family, friends, and furry pets are suddenly into the outdoorsy lifestyle. I’m happy for them. Really. The world we live in is truly spectacular. It deserves to get more views – in person, not just posted on the internet. I’m thinking hubby and I may need to change things up a little if we want to hike in relative solitude.

Here are a few ideas we’re considering to hike without crowds

  • Hike the trails that are farthest from populated areas. It makes sense that trails close to larger cities will attract more hikers. Use hiking apps to help you locate trails away from cities and suburbs. For example, use the AllTrails app or REI’s Hiking Project app. Both are free.
  • Plan hikes earlier in the day. Peak hiking time seems to be early morning until noon, especially with the recent summer heat. We’re thinking we’ll get up at first light (before 5 a.m.) and hit the trails ahead of the pack. With an earlier start, we can be heading home just as the crowds arrive.
  • Hike later in the day. There’s something magical about walking at dusk. Deer and other nocturnal animals begin to awake as other animals and birds call it a day. A good hike after an early dinner can help us sleep better, too. It stays lighter longer during the summer months and we’re planning to take advantage of that by hiking after the crowds go home.
  • We may avoid large crowds if we set our sights on some longer trails. Many families with children understandably prefer shorter hikes. That means fewer people on the longer trails. If the trail is too long, we can always hike “by time.” For example, one hour in and one hour out. We simply turn around when we’ve reached our prearranged time. This same idea applies to more difficult trails, too. Not as many folks attempt the more challenging hikes, and this will work to our advantage. Again, we can always reverse course if needed.
  • Toughen up! The heat and/or cold never seem to bother my hubby. He can hike in any kind of weather and enjoy it. I think we can avoid crowds by thinking like my hubby. The weatherman calls for rain. So what? We can pack along rain gear and hike anyway. Other hikers may be dissuaded by the forecast and we’ll experience fewer crowds. Colder weather at higher altitudes can also drive folks away. We can dress in layers to stay comfortable. We plan to use the free app Gaia GPS. It will provide information on trails, campsites, and even the weather forecast. (Note: Always be aware of the possibility of flash floods, wildfires, and other dangerous natural occurrences. Take necessary precautions to stay safe!)
  • Forget amenities. Sure, it’s nice to have improved restrooms and on-site drinking water available. But think about it. These are perks that many other hikers demand. By hiking on trails that do not offer these creature comforts, we might avoid hiking on an overcrowded trail.
  • Finally, hubby and I plan to ask hiking buddies about their favorite, more secluded trails. We can also check with Park Rangers to see which trails are less frequently used in nearby parks and preserves. By staying away from the most popular trails we may find the solitude we’re looking for. You can use the AllTrails app as we did and search for “trails less traveled.” You’ll receive a list of less-frequented trails.


Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.



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Eric (@guest_132662)
2 years ago

One more tip. If possible avoid hiking on weekends.
One more peeve: Hikers who have speakers playing music. Most use “ear buds”, and only they can hear it, but speakers when hiking, and in camp, are a thing, and very disrespectful to others who are there for peace and quiet.

Last edited 2 years ago by Eric
Ellen (@guest_132658)
2 years ago

Great suggestions! We’ve been full-timing for over twelve years now and have seen a steady increase in the number of people out and about. I worry we’ll all love these beautiful places to death! I can understand wanting to experience them, and feel fortunate I was able to see them years ago. Lately we’ve been spending more time in the general BLM and Forest Service lands. For example, we find old forest trails, drive until we find a nice parking spot by a two-track (or other open trail areas used by snowmobiles in the winter, when we’re in the mountains), then head into the forest. Open desert areas are great (in the winter) for roaming. You’d be amazed at what you’ll see, even if it’s not on the cover of Outdoor magazine. Just always remember to pack in & pack out, no smoking/fires… and dogs often keep wildlife out of sight, so if you want to see deer, elk, fox or other creatures, leave pets at home.

Luke (@guest_132599)
2 years ago

We love to hike and do so throughout our RV adventures. I do, however, have a couple “pet peeves”. The first has to do with other hikers talking loudly and carrying on. You can usually hear these folks long before you see them on the trail. All wildlife in the general area have vacated the premises and the peace that we look for while hiking is vastly disturbed. The second, is the wearing of massive amounts of perfume and/or cologne (depending on gender). These folks can usually be identified long before one hears them, re previous “peeve”. Ladies and Gents, please leave the loud conversations and dollar store mask scents for back in camp, please……

Bob (@guest_132516)
2 years ago

The other problem with groups now days is that everyone needs at least 2 or 3 selfies and a group photo or 2. So without reguard of who is waiting we must photograph.

Billy Vitro (@guest_132503)
2 years ago

I hate to say it, but you also need to treat your favorite hiking trails like people used to treat their favorite restaurants – tell almost no one about them. Once the word gets out, people swarm places and ruin them.

Glenda Alexander (@guest_132495)
2 years ago

On those trails without “amenities” what do you do when Mother Nature calls? This is especially problematic for us gals, ya know.

Pammy (@guest_132755)
2 years ago

Get a “P-Style” on Amazon – changed my life!

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