Safe Hiking Tips For Your Next Adventure On Vancouver Island

For many visitors to Vancouver Island, a trip isn’t complete without hitting the trails to explore ancient forests, cascading waterfalls, or breathtaking viewpoints. Here are some resources everyone—regardless of your hiking ability and experience—should know and have before lacing up your boots and heading outside.

What’s Frontcountry? 

Frontcountry hiking refers to trails that are easily accessible by vehicle and most often visited by day users. These hikes usually take 1-5 hours along a well-established and maintained trail. These are usually trails that are closer to populated areas, whereas backcountry refers to trails and rec sites that you’re not near a road or developed area.

Know Before You Go

  • Do some online research about the route you’re planning to do to get a sense of what kind of terrain you’ll encounter, distance and elevation, and wildlife.
  • Check the weather before you leave, but be prepared for it to change.
  • Bears and cougars also call Vancouver Island home, so ensure you know what to do if you meet one. (And please don’t try feed them!)

Pack The Essentials

Before heading to the trailhead, ensure you have more than enough snacks and water to get you through the hike.

Also, download the apps Trailforks and/or All Trails to have access to trail maps in the convenience of your mobile device. Since GPS can work without cellular service, these are extremely valuable tools for wayfinding when you’re out of service.

Here’s a basic list of everything you should bring in your backpack on each hike:

  • Whistle
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen and bug spray
  • Extra food and water
  • Extra layers of clothing
  • A small, portable battery charger with cables to charge your phone.

What To Do If You Need To Call For Help

If you find yourself unable to navigate back to your intended destination, you may need to call 911 for help. While Search and Rescue teams organize themselves to come find you, it’s important to make yourself visible and easy to find. Look for wide-open spaces out of the trees, and away from sounds so you can listen clearly. Once you’ve found a good spot, stay put and don’t wander. As tempting as it can be to keep trying to find your way out on your own, it will make the job much harder for search crews to find you. If you or someone in your party is injured, do what you can to keep them warm while help is on the way.

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