Hiking Safety

There are several things you can do to ensure a safe hiking experience:
  • Don’t hike alone. There is safety in numbers.
  • Make a hike plan. Decide where you’re going and when you’ll return. Leave this information with someone who will follow up if you don’t return on time.
  • Take a map and compass or GPS unit (with extra batteries) and know how to use them.
  • Bring the right gear with you and be prepared. Hiking or trekking poles are a good idea to help with difficult terrain and can be tools for emergency situations, such as fending off aggressive animals.
Never feed wild animals and don’t leave garbage behind that might attract them to the trail.
Wildlife attacks in Nova Scotia are very, very rare. The key is to avoid wildlife encounters in the first place: make noise while you hike (bear bells are an option); be cautious when near food sources or fresh kills; and be aware of wildlife signs like scat and other markings. There are ticks with Lyme Disease in Nova Scotia, so take the necessary precautions.

Be aware of your environment and the conditions before you go and plan accordingly.

AdventureSmart: a list of what to bring and how to prepare for going on a hike
Living With Wildlife: a good overview of how to deal with wildlife encounters
Hunting Season: check when various hunting seasons are happening and take necessary precautions
Ticks and Lyme Disease: check out our page on ticks and Lyme disease and how to protect against it
Nova Scotia weather: check it before you go
NS Forest Fire Index: check it before you go
Tide Charts: check the tide predictions before you go if you’ll be hiking on the coast
Weather Situational Awareness Tools for NS: good info all in one place
Hiking Etiquette: check out this page for how to keep things respectful on the trail
Hiking with Dogs: tips and advice for hiking with your canine pals

Consider taking one of Hike NS’s courses or workshops to improve your outdoor skills and stay safe while hiking.

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Promoting Hiking, Walking and Snowshoeing throughout Nova Scotia.