Leading others on a hike is a great way to share your love of the outdoors. There are precautions a hike leader should take to ensure the outing is safe and fun. Planning is essential in order to make your hike a success. Follow these steps to learn how to lead a group hiking trip.
Step 1 Choose the location, length and difficulty level of the hike. Hike the trail shortly before it is scheduled to be aware of any pertinent trail conditions or changes (such as missing trail markers). Also watch for natural changes to the trail that might require you to take a detour.
Step 2 Check the weather forecast and notify hikers ahead of time of any weather conditions that may result in cancelling or postponing the hike.
Step 3 Pack all of your gear the night before so that you know you are fully prepared. If you're bringing a GPS unit or a cell phone make sure it is fully charged. Include a first aid kit in your supplies.
Step 4 Show up at the trailhead early to reassure hikers that they are in the correct spot. Casually inspect their gear to make sure they're adequately prepared to go on the hike. If you feel that the hike will be unsafe for a participant then gently tell that person what the hike entails and why you feel concerned that it may not be suitable.
Step 5 Lead the hike. Start out slowly to give people a chance to sort out into columns. Appoint an experienced hiker who is also familiar with the trail to bring up the rear and make sure that there are not any stragglers or injured hikers.
Step 6 Stop for points of interest. Take the opportunity to draw your group's attention to any natural, scenic, historical or cultural significance of the area. Remember to allow the rest of the group to catch up if you want to share something interesting about the location. Choose one of the points of interest to stop for lunch if you have it scheduled for the hike.
Step 7 Stay around after the hike to thank your group and answer any questions. This is also a good time to let others share their thoughts. Be open to receiving feedback on the experience and your abilities to lead a hike.