As one is exploring the outdoors, trail safety should be at top of mind. While human attacks on most Colorado trails are quite rare, it's important to know what can help prevent one from happening.
Here are a few quick safety tips:
1. Avoid hiking alone
Hiking with a buddy is an easy way to deter would-be assailants. Remember – strength in numbers.
2. Hike during busier times
While hiking on a crowded trail can be a drag, having more people around could limit the risk of an attack. Avoiding early morning and late day hikes can help you avoid hiking in an isolated situation.
3. Avoid using headphones
Blasting music or a podcast through your headphones can limit your awareness of what's going on around you. Keep your ears open to send a signal to a would-be attacker that you're able to fully hear them coming.
4. Carry an emergency signaling device
Consider carrying a GPS device that lets you report an emergency situation. Reporting a dangerous situation quickly and accurately is important for search and rescue crews that may be needed.
5. Bring a hiking whistle
By carrying a loud whistle, you're able to quickly and efficiently alert those in the area to a dangerous situation that's unfolding. Many hikers prefer to keep their whistle around their neck for easy access.
6. Learn self-defense
Take a few self-defense classes at a local martial arts studio to learn a few basic techniques. These skills can be crucial to stopping an attack and escaping the situation safely.
7. Know the trail
Research a trail beforehand and consult others that have been along the route. This will often tip you off to general sketchiness or other hazards that may be present.
8. Consider bringing pepper spray
Not only can pepper spray be used to prevent an animal attack, it can also be used to ward off dangerous humans. Obviously, pepper spray should only be used in the most dire of situations when using it is legal. It's also a smart idea to practice using the pepper spray on a mock target prior to carrying it so that one knows how to use it and what the experience of using it is like.
9. Wear proper gear
Proper gear will allow you to keep moving regardless of inclement weather that rolls through. Don't put yourself at a disadvantage by wearing shoes that are hard to walk or run in if things get muddy.
10. Tell a friend where you're headed
Whether you're hiking alone or with someone else, a trusted individual that's not there should know where you're headed and when you're expecting to be back. This will allow them to alert authorities in a timely manner if you don't return.
11. Pay attention to your surroundings
It can be easy to get lost in the moment of enjoying a natural scene, but remember to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Take note of people that might be following you and other occurrences that just seem a bit off.
12. Put that canine to use
If you've got a dog, bring it on the hike as a safety measure when you can. Dogs are often a deterrence for crime when they're large enough to protect their handlers if need be.