Increasing the Sense of Solitude in the Backcountry

Solitude—Silence—Remoteness. For many, these are the experiences to seek out even when hiking with others. Here are some suggestions for increasing the sense of personal solitude when hiking with either others or by oneself.

  • Hike with smaller groups (no more than three or four), especially with those of a like mind regarding solitude.
  • Tactfully discuss your needs for solitude and silence with fellow hikers; discuss and agree upon some of these strategies.
  • Encourage your group to agree to practice total silence for short periods (e.g., one half-hour).
  • When appropriate, drop back from others for a while on the trail; agree to connect back together at least once every hour or when the group comes to trail junctions.
  • Hike with those who are not obsessed with hiking in tandem, who do not have to keep the group together.
  • At the sound of approaching hikers, take a break a short distance off the trail.
  • Camp away from popular trails; avoid well-used campsites.
  • Get out more in the fall, winter and spring seasons—less in midsummer.
  • Plan on getting off-trail for at least part of most hikes.
  • Plan longer backpacks to more out-of-the-way places.
  • Plan some alpine traverses and scrambles where there are few if any maintained trails.

These are just some of the tactics one can use to achieve more solitude. Which are especially appealing? Can you think of more? Is it possible to experience a real sense of solitude while hiking in small groups, especially with fellow hikers who like to talk?

The above information is only part of a much longer article. The sub-topics listed below are developed in-depth in this complete article: Solo Hiking and the Search For Solitude.

Motivations for Solo Hiking and Backpacking

Author’s Experiences and Motivations

Regarding the Dangers of Solo Hiking

Soloing as an Ethical and Societal Issue

Solo Hikers With No Responsibilities To Others

Suggestions for Increasing Solitude in the Backcountry

Additional Issues for Reflection