Ever been on a sunrise hike? Well, I highly recommend it – there’s nothing quite like waking up with the sun and depending on where you’re hiking, you are in for an absolute treat. I’ll be sharing some tips to help you plan your next sunrise hike. Remember, these tips will vary depending the area, weather, wildlife, etc… I’ll be sharing about my experience in the Canadian Rockies.
Bring a Source of Light
My personal fav thing to use is a headlamp, allows you to be hands free. Remember to bring extra batteries for your headlamp…funny enough, my headlamp died in the parking lots for my first sunrise hike. Luckily, I had extra batteries. You can also purchase a rechargeable headlamp and charge it the night prior. Remember, you can’t rely solely on your phone as a flashlight!
Pack Everything the Night Before
Pack your food, backpack, and even plan out your clothing the night before. You’ll likely be tired waking up early. It’ll be one less thing to worry about and save you time in the morning, as you can grab your belongings and go!
Plan for the Weather
Will it be cold? Will it be hot? Will you need extra layers? Is there avalanche risk? Are there other environmental risks or concerns? Many questions to ask yourself. I did my sunrise hike in the winter time, in the Canadian Rockies. The end goal was the summit of a mountain. This meant I had to bring extra layers due to hiking in colder temperatures and also to protect myself from being exposed to winds at the summit. I also checked Avalanche Canada for trail conditions, as avalanches are common in the area. Check the weather prior to leaving and even ask your local park officer for updated trail conditions.
Be Aware of Wildlife
Check with you local park, what kind of wildlife is in the area? I knew I was in bear country. I was hiking in March, so also knew that the risks of a bear encounter or other wildlife were low, however I still made sure to bring my brea spray and was bear aware during this particular hike. Again, check what wildlife may be on the trail and educate yourself on how to stay safe if you happen to have a wildlife encounter.
Start with a Trail you are Familiar with
Choosing a trail you’ve already done in the daytime, will make things way easier for you. You’ll know what to expect, how long it will take you to hike to whatever view points you may want for the sunrise. You’ll be familiar with the trail as you’ve hiked it in the daytime and will be prepared to hike it in the dark.
Share your Plans with Someone
Always always always share your plans with someone! Whether it be a friend or a family member, tell them. Let them know, where you are hiking, when you will be back, how many people are with you, etc… This should be done at all times when hiking.
Do your Research
I suggest always doing some research about hiking trails, and especially with sunrise hikes. I spent lots of time asking people online for information on the trail I wanted to do for the sunrise, I asked folks on Instagram and some on Facebook hiking groups. Look online at blogs as well, I almost guarantee there’s something written out there with a specific sunrise hike of a trail you want to do! Make sure to also look at what time the sun is expected to rise. Knowing that time, you’ll want to arrive at your view point 15-30 minutes prior. As that’s where you experience the magical morning glow. I did this, in order to plan what time I wanted to summit.
Now you’re all ready to go! Pack up your snacks, water and get your shoes on. Enjoy that sunrise hike!