Best Time to Hike

It can be challenging to find the perfect time for your hiking activities. Every season has advantages and drawbacks. With decades of hiking experience, we were able to put together an extensive hiking season guide. With our in-depth tips, you can decide what is the best time for you to put on your boots and hit the trail.

The best time to hike is between summer and fall when the air is warm and the mountain snow has melted. In particular, the fall is a cooler, less crowded season on the trail with long sunlight hours and fewer bugs.

However, if you are hiking at lower elevations that rarely get snow – anything below 6,000 feet or 1,800 meters – you will want to reserve those hikes for the winter and spring when you’ll experience cooler temperatures. Winter hikes in the snow are more advanced, and better for prepared hikers with additional equipment like crampons and ice axes.

The Best Time of Day to Hike

The best time of day to hike is in the morning, due to pleasant daytime temperatures and calmer weather with less chance of rain. Additionally, there is more available parking space and longer potential daylight hours for longer hikes.

However, the best time of day also depends on the season and your personal preferences. Check our detailed hiking tips for each time of the day below the season guide at the end of this article.

HIKING SEASON GUIDE

For every season, there are 5 factors to consider while hiking:

  1. Weather
  2. Clothing
  3. Crowds
  4. Landscape
  5. Risks

Regardless of which season you hike, find unique tips and information on each one in our guide:

Hiking in the Summer

Summer is the most popular time to hike, for good reasons. The snow has melted, the air is warm, and the sunlight stretches into the night. With appropriate clothing and equipment, this can be the best time to hike if you’re prepared for the dangers of the heat.

To avoid crowded parking lots and populated trails, your best strategy is to arrive as early as possible – by 6:00 am, latest, at popular locations – or to choose less visited trails. For instance, the difficult Mt. Baldy Trail in Los Angeles is one of the most crowded in the summer, but there are less crowded neighboring trails such as this 9.5-mile trail from Crystal Lake in Azusa to Mt. Hawkins.

Summer Weather

Summer weather is warm and mostly pleasant, which makes this time of the year the perfect hiking period in many regions. However, it can become oven-hot at lower elevations, and every summer people are rescued due to the heat. Hiking can be strenuous and sometimes even deadly. Avoid the midday heat in regions where temperatures exceed 90°F. It is better to start your summer hiking trips in the early morning when the conditions are more favorable.

Must-Know: Avoid direct sun exposure during the hottest time of day, which is usually between noon and 3 p.m. If you can’t avoid the midday heat, look for hiking trails at higher elevations or with more shade that keep you protected from the extreme heat. And always bring double the water you’d bring on a cooler day. In most cases, bring one liter of water for each hour of hiking; for instance, 3L for a 3-hour hike.

Higher Elevations: Alternatively, visit higher elevations during summertime. But when you’re starting the hike at a lower elevation, it can be difficult to predict what the weather will be at the top of a mountain, which is why it’s wise to look up mountain weather forecasts on websites like Mountain-Forecast.com.

For instance, if you have a permit to hike Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the U.S., you can see from forecasts that temperatures may drop by 40°F between 6,000 feet (~1,800 meters) and the 14,500-foot summit (~4,400 meters). Temperature ranges this wide require planning for clothing.

Keep in mind that summer has severe weather like thunderstorms that can quickly gather, often in the afternoon. Learn the signs of an impending thunderstorm, including cloud shapes (“like tall heads of cauliflower,” according to the NSSL). Within 12 hours of your hike, look up weather forecasts for temperatures, rain, thunderstorm predictions (NWS), and fire incidents. You can also call the local ranger station for more information.

Summer Clothing

Clothing for summer hikes should be light and layered, emphasizing sun protection and bug bite prevention. Bring sunscreen, a hat, and insect repellent.

Higher Elevations: You should also bring layers of clothing if you are hiking up a mountain, as temperatures may change drastically, and you should prepare for anything from a sudden rainfall to water crossings. Waterproof and windbreaker layers are necessary as a backup layer, but you’ll likely also need a warm layer like a puff jacket for a high-altitude summit. You can wear lighter hiking boots or trail running shoes, as long as your feet are comfortable and well-supported.

Summer Crowds

Crowds are inevitable on trails in the summer. As a result, you should always be prepared to arrive earlier than is comfortable. For instance, a 5:30 a.m. start on a trail is best on popular paths in the summer, and any later than 6:30 a.m. may mean parking one mile or more away from the trailhead.

If you want to avoid the crowds or guarantee a parking spot at 8:00 a.m. or later, you’ll need to visit less popular trails. If you’re using the trail review website AllTrails, search for hikes with “light” or “moderate” trail traffic.

Summer Landscape

Mountain landscape in the summer is delightful: trees with full leaves; warmer mountains with melted snow; alpine wildflowers; and active wildlife.

Summer Hiking Risks

The summer is a rewarding time for hiking but has its hazards. Among the many things to be cautious about in the summer are:

  • Bugs, which are prominent, particularly in the damper months such as early summer;
  • Snakes, which are more active in the hot months;
  • Bears and other large wildlife, which are often roaming more in the summer;
  • Lightning and thunderstorms, which occur most often in the summer;
  • The sun, which can cause sunburns, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke;
  • Dehydration, due to bringing little water.

However, with appropriate safety precautions such as bug repellent, sunscreen, extra water, layers of clothing, and a plan for safely exiting a dangerous situation, you will be better prepared for these summer hiking risks.

More Tips: American Hiking Society’s Summer Safety Series.

Hiking in the Fall

Hiking is excellent in the fall, as the air is still warm, sunlight hours are long, and the bugs and crowds have dissipated. This is undoubtedly one of the best times of the year to hike, no matter where you live. In particular, early fall such as September and October will be the optimal time for hikers.

Below are factors to consider while hiking in the fall: weather, clothing, crowds, landscape, and risks.

Fall Weather

Fall weather begins to cool, making it more comfortable to hike, even at lower elevations. Just like in the summer, you’ll want to look up weather forecasts for different elevations of the mountain.

Your biggest weather concern for fall hiking is sudden wind, rain, snow, or wildfires that may appear while you are hiking. At least 12 hours before your hike, look up weather forecasts for temperatures, rain, thunderstorm predictions, and fire incidents. You can call the local ranger station for more information, as they have this information regularly updated. Since this is a season with variable weather, it is wise to plan a backup hike.

Fall Clothing

On fall hikes, you should wear warm clothing and outer layers that are waterproof and windproof. In warmer locations, you will still need sunscreen and warm-weather clothing such as hats and shorts. Wear hiking boots with good tread appropriate for muddy or slippery trails. Mountain temperatures will change drastically, and you may need warmth such as puff jackets, scarves, and gloves. In the case of a wildfire, having a scarf or face mask will protect you from inhaling harmful particulate matter.

Fall Crowds

By the fall, crowds begin to thin out on most trails. However, if you visit a famous location for autumn colors, such as McKittrick Canyon trail in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, you’ll expect fall tourist crowds. Generally, you can park later in the morning, like 8:00 a.m., and you’ll likely still find a parking spot near the trailhead. To avoid even more crowds, look for hikes with “light” or “moderate” trail traffic on AllTrails.com.

Fall Landscape

Fall landscapes are what postcard companies dream of: trees with yellow, orange, and red leaves; frost-covered mornings; golden sunlight; and active wildlife.

Fall Hiking Risks

The fall has a few risks to consider while hiking. Among the many things to be cautious about in this season are:

  • Hunters, who are looking to capture large animals like deer;
  • Animals, even snakes, which are active in the fall, looking for mates before hibernating;
  • Sudden rain or snow, which can cause you to lose your trail or become hypothermic;
  • Wildfires, which appear in regions where there are long, dry summers.

However, with appropriate safety precautions such as bright clothing, windproof and waterproof layers, and a plan for safely exiting a dangerous situation, you will be better prepared for these risks.

Hiking in the Winter

Hiking in the winter is rewarding if you prepare for the multiple risks. Without a doubt, this can be the most challenging time for hiking, as there can be heavy rain and snow. However, for less experienced hikers, you can safely hike below the snow line, which typically starts at 3,000 feet (or 900 meters) above sea level.

Below are factors to consider while hiking in the winter: weather, clothing, crowds, landscape, and risks.

Winter Weather

The weather will be cold, wet, and windy during the winter. However, it is important to remember that lower elevation trails may be drier and warmer. If you’re globally mobile, you may consider hiking in Central America, where the weather is drier, allowing for nearly perfect hiking conditions.

Before your hike, get into the habit of looking up weather forecasts on Mountain Forecast and checking for winter storms on NOAA and NWS. Call the local ranger station for more information, such as storm warnings and winter equipment needs (e.g., snowshoes vs. crampons).

Winter Clothing

You should wear warm clothing such as wool base layers, scarves, gloves, hats, and waterproof jackets. Winter is the season to wear snow boots or, at least, sturdy, waterproof hiking boots with thick treads. Consider gaiters, snowshoes, crampons, microspikes, and ice axes for snow hikes. The most important thing to do is keep yourself dry and warm.

Winter Crowds

Winter is the best hiking time for fewer crowds, as cold weather intimidates many hikers. As a result, if you choose to hike a dry, lower elevation hike, you’ll probably have the trail to yourself. Days with sunshine, blue skies, and fresh snow will draw larger, curious crowds. On those days, you’ll have to arrive early at the parking lot. Remember to consider snow chains or snow tires for those days, as many underprepared drivers find themselves sliding on icy roads or stuck in traffic.

Winter Landscape

The winter can create excellent landscapes such as snow-covered trails and full waterfalls.

Winter Hiking Risks

There are multiple hazards to consider when hiking in the winter, including:

  • Rain, which creates floods, muddy trails, and fast-flowing creeks and rivers;
  • Wind, which can increase windburn or hypothermia in hikers;
  • Ice and snow, which can lead to falling or sliding off mountains;
  • Getting lost, especially on trails where the snow covers the path;
  • Driving hazards, such as sliding on icy roads or getting stuck in snow;
  • Dehydration, due to hikers bringing less water than they need.

Winter is the most challenging time to hike, and it is not recommended for new hikers to hike in the snow. However, with safety precautions such as multiple warm clothing layers, waterproof protection, winter equipment for you and your car, offline maps, extra water, and a plan for exiting a dangerous winter scene, you will be better prepared.

Hiking in the Spring

Spring can be an optimal time for hiking, particularly in lower elevations where there is no snow. Higher elevations with snow can be dangerous, as this is prime time for avalanches (typically in March through April, when the snow begins to melt). In most regions, however, spring brings warmer air, wildflowers, and gradually longer days. Hikers who have prepared with appropriate clothing and equipment will be rewarded by excellent hiking in this season.

Below are factors to consider while hiking in the spring: weather, clothing, crowds, landscape, and risks.

Spring Weather

The weather can be cold and wet during the early spring and warmer in the late spring. However, it is important to remember that lower elevation trails will be warmer than higher-altitude summits. For example, if you’re planning to hike to the top of Whistler Mountain in British Columbia, Canada, you’ll see that spring weather may only reach a high of 42°F (5°C).

Spring has severe weather like avalanches. If you must hike in the snow during the spring, there are several ways to avoid an avalanche, such as avoiding the trail when there has been heavy snow or rain or when the temperature has rapidly increased in the last few days. You may also look for cracks in the snow and feel for “hollow” snow on the path. For more, read this avalanche safety webpage. More risks are listed below.

As always, before your hike, look up weather forecasts on Mountain Forecast and check for thunderstorms. You can call the local ranger station for more information, such as trail closures due to avalanche risks or recent rains.

Spring Clothing

On spring hikes, you should wear warm clothing and outer layers that are waterproof and windproof. A hooded jacket and wool layers are likely necessary. Be sure to wear water-resistant or waterproof hiking boots with thick treads suitable for muddy or slippery trails. Gaiters are also a good idea. In warmer locations, you will still need sunscreen and warm-weather clothing such as hats and shorts. Mountain temperatures change drastically, and you may need warmth such as puff jackets, scarves, and gloves.

Spring Crowds

Hiking crowds begin to increase in the springtime as the weather warms up. You should be prepared to arrive earlier at parking lots, such as before 7:00 a.m. at popular trailheads, particularly if it is a waterfall or wildflower hike. If you want to avoid the crowds or guarantee a parking spot later in the morning, you may need to choose less popular trails. If you’re using the trail review website AllTrails, search for hikes with “light” or “moderate” trail traffic.

Spring Landscape

The spring landscape is charming as waterfalls flow, trees begin to blossom, the air warms, and wildflowers appear.

Spring Hiking Risks

The spring is a great time to begin hiking as temperatures warm up, but there are a few hazards to consider. Among the many things to be cautious about in the spring are:

  • Rain, which creates floods, muddy trails, and fast-flowing creeks and rivers;
  • Avalanches, which typically occur during late spring;
  • Bugs, which appear in late spring;
  • The sun, which can cause sunburns even in the spring;
  • Dehydration, due to bringing little water on warmer days.

However, with appropriate safety precautions such as waterproof layers, bug repellent, sunscreen, extra water, and a plan for exiting a suddenly dangerous scene, you will be better prepared for these spring hiking risks.

BEST TIME OF DAY TO HIKE

Each time of the day has its advantages and disadvantages. While mornings are considered the best time of day, evenings are another good time to hike due to cooler temperatures. Night hiking is best left to the most prepared and adventurous hikers. In this part of the guide, we’ve outlined six separate times of the day you may hike:

  • Early morning (between sunrise and 9:00 a.m.)
  • Late morning through midday (between 9:00 and 2:00 p.m.)
  • Afternoon (between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m.)
  • Evening (between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m.)
  • Night (between sunset and sunrise)

For every time of the day, there are six factors to consider while hiking:

  1. Physical performance
  2. Weather
  3. Temperatures
  4. Daylight hours
  5. Wildlife
  6. Clothing to bring

Each of these factors is discussed in the sections below.

Hiking in the Early Morning

The early morning is the best time of the day to hike, particularly if you are planning to hike for more than a couple of hours. The air may be cool but as you exercise in the rising sun, you will warm up. This is also the best time to avoid full parking lots near popular trails. At some locations, it is best to arrive by 6:00 a.m. at the latest, especially if you are hiking on a weekend day.

Physical Performance in the Early Morning

Contrary to popular belief, the human body does not have the most energy for physical activity in the morning (Study – Effects of Exercise) However, as long as you’ve had enough hours of sleep, you should be able to energetically start hiking in the early morning. You will also be hiking in cooler hours, saving you from losing energy and electrolytes through sweating. If you are interested in hiking for fitness, an early morning hike will also kickstart your body so that you will be burning calories for the rest of the day, even after the hike has ended.

Early Morning Weather

Weather is often calmer in the early morning when there is less chance of rain, storms, or strong winds. For example, if you are hiking up a mountain or over a pass, you’ll want to be over the summit by midday to avoid the afternoon storms that appear. Morning is also the time when fog is more abundant. While it reduces visibility, a foggy landscape is often a fascinating photo opportunity during an early hike. Additionally, it usually clears quickly in the morning.

Early Morning Temperatures

Temperatures in the early morning can be cool or even cold, depending on the season and elevation. For winter mornings, you may wish to start later in the morning. But in the summer, the earlier the better as temperatures can become dangerously warm, and more hikers are arriving at trailheads. Summer hikes are best concluded before midday, to avoid heat and sun exposure.

Daylight Hours in the Early Morning

Daylight dawns in the early morning, so you’ll be on the trail before many others even press their snooze buttons. You’ll return to continue the rest of your day, feeling excited about your adventure! If you’re planning a long day hike during a season when there is less daylight, like late fall, it is important to start at daybreak to take advantage of the hours of sunlight. For this reason, an early morning start is more important in darker seasons like late fall through early spring.

Wildlife in the Early Morning

Typically, wildlife like deer and coyotes are more active between the hours of dusk and dawn, at night. As a result, the early morning is a time when you may encounter wildlife who are at the end of their night of eating and traveling. If you’re wanting an animal encounter, this may be the best time to get a photo.

However, if you prefer to avoid more dangerous animals like snakes and mountain lions, remember that they are active around dawn. Snakes may choose to warm themselves in the sun and mountain lions may be hunting for deer. Stay alert to avoid stepping near suntanning snakes and prepare to make a loud noise if you see a cougar.

Clothing for the Early Morning

Due to the cooler morning temperatures, it is best to wear layers of clothing such as long-sleeved shirts that you can easily remove when it warms up. In the summer morning, you may choose to wear shorts and a t-shirt under a light jacket. On a winter morning, you may prefer to wear a puffer jacket over a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. However, you’ll warm up as the air temperature increases.

Hiking in the Late Morning through Midday

If you’re a late riser, you may find yourself hiking during this time in the late morning through midday. The air is warm or hot, and the parking lots at popular trails are full. However, for a short hike in a cooler climate or during a colder season like winter, this may be the ideal time to hike.

Physical Performance in the Late Morning through Midday

The late morning is a peak time for hiking when your body is still energized from a good night’s sleep and – if you eat it – breakfast. The earlier the hike, the more time you’ll have to begin burning calories throughout the day. However, if you are hiking in the midday, your body will become more fatigued due to heat and sun exposure. You’ll want to hike slower during the midday hours to save energy.

Weather in the Late Morning through Midday

Weather is still likely to be calm in the morning through midday, though you’ll have an increased chance of rain, storms, or strong winds in the early afternoon. If you are hiking over a mountain pass or attempting a high-elevation summit, you’ll want to determine that your hike won’t last more than a couple of hours to the highest elevation.

Temperatures in the Late Morning through Midday

Temperatures during the middle of the day will be warm or even hot, depending on the season and elevation. During the winter, a late morning start is smart as you’ll hike in the warmest temperatures of the day. But in the summer, this can be a dangerous time to hike and it is not recommended to walk in the hottest hours of the day, which are typically 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. If you are hiking in an exposed, hot area during the summer, choose a shorter hike (like 2-3 miles, or 3-5 kilometers) and wear the appropriate sun protection.

Daylight Hours in the Late Morning through Midday

These midday hours are filled with daylight (or at least bright clouds). However, you’ll have fewer hours of daylight to complete a long day hike, so starting at this time is better for hikes that are less than 10 miles (or 16 kilometers) long. If you’re planning a longer hike during a season with less daylight, you will need to start early in the morning. You’ll also want to bring a headlamp in case you are still hiking after dark.

Wildlife in the Late Morning through Midday

Good news; wildlife is usually less active during these hours so you are unlikely to have an animal encounter unless your hike continues into the dusk hours. Regardless, be aware of snakes that are warming themselves in the sun as they’re more likely to sunbathe during these hours. Give them the space they need to exit the trail.

Clothing for the Late Morning through Midday

This is the time of the day when you can wear your lightest clothing such as t-shirts and shorts. On a summer day, you may wear shorts and a t-shirt, with extra layers in your backpack for higher elevations where it is cooler. On a winter day, you may choose to wear a long-sleeved sun-protective shirt and long pants with a puffer vest or windbreaker jacket. The most important items you’ll need during these hours are hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and other sun protection like sun sleeves or sun gloves.

Hiking in the Afternoon

Fewer hikers start in the afternoon, but there are some advantages to starting at this time. For one, if you’re hiking to a waterfall, lake, or river, this is the best time to go swimming. The parking lots begin to empty as the morning day hikers go home. And because this is the warmest time of the day, an afternoon hike is ideal in the winter.

Physical Performance in the Afternoon

During the afternoon after lunch, your body may want to signal that it is time for a nap. If you are already exerting yourself through exercise, you’re likely to feel sleepy. Your body will also become tired in the heat and sun, so you should save energy by hiking slower. You may also take a caffeinated drink with you, such as an iced coffee to stay cool and boost energy.

Afternoon Weather

Weather can be dangerous, particularly in the summer afternoons when there is a strong chance of rain, storms, or winds in the mountains. Check your weather forecast and prepare for a change in weather by packing waterproof layers. If you’re hiking in the winter, the weather may become cold and icy, so you should bring warm, waterproof layers.

Afternoon Temperatures

Afternoon temperatures will be hot in the summer but can drop quickly in the late fall, winter, and early spring. During the summer, an evening hike is a better time to hike when the temperatures are cooler. In the winter, however, you may find afternoon temperatures are the warmest and most pleasant. Regardless, choose a shorter hike so you can reduce your time in the summer heat and safely exit the trail in the cold, winter darkness.

Daylight Hours in the Afternoon

Afternoon daylight is one of the most pleasant times of the day. Yet it also marks the end of daylight, so this is not a good time to start a long day hike. It is the best time to begin a sunset hike, however. In both cases, you should bring a headlamp in case you are hiking after sundown.

Wildlife in the Afternoon

Wildlife is the most active in the late afternoon hours, before and during sunset. Large animals like mountain lions and small animals like coyotes enjoy hunting during this time. To avoid a dangerous animal encounter, it’s best to leave the trail before dusk, which may be as early as 3:00 p.m. during the winter, depending on your latitude.

Clothing for the Afternoon

You should dress in layers for the afternoon, as the temperatures may change later in the day. You’ll still need sun protection such as sun-protective shirts, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen. On a winter afternoon, you may choose to wear layers such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and jackets.

Hiking in the Evening

The evening hours between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. can be an excellent time to hike. Arguably, this is the best time of the day to hike during the summer when the sun is still shining. If you are planning to hike for just one or two hours or are going for a sunset hike, the evening is a fantastic time to walk in nature. This is also a smart time to avoid full parking lots. Finish a hike before dinner or enjoy a picnic meal on the summit.

Physical Performance in the Evening

Most people perform better later in the day, as the body is at its peak energy. According to studies, muscle power, flexibility, and endurance are better in the evening than in the morning. You may also feel energized by the day’s last light. You will be hiking in the day’s cooler hours, saving you from overly sweating and losing electrolytes. This is a great way to finish the day with memorable physical activity. Additionally, hiking in the evening can really help blow off some steam and reduce stress for better sleep.

Evening Weather

Evening weather can be calm when temperatures cool, the light fades, the winds disappear, and the storms cease. This is a good time to enjoy the quieter weather of the day.

Evening Temperatures

Evening temperatures can drop to cool or even cold air. For winter evenings, you’ll need to prepare for icy temperatures. In the summer, these temperatures may still drop, particularly if you are in a high elevation. Expect cold air and you may be surprised by a warm, breezy evening.

Daylight Hours in the Evening

The sun sets in the evening, sometimes as early as late afternoon if it is the winter. If your goal is to enjoy a sunset hike, you’re hiking during the right time of the day. However, with less light comes a greater chance that you may not see the trail. Be sure to pack a headlamp to return to your car or tent. This isn’t the best time to begin a long hike unless there is a full moon and you’re prepared to hike in the dark.

Wildlife in the Evening

This is the time of the day when wildlife like bears and deer are most active. In other words, the evening is a prime time for an animal encounter. As long as you stay safe and at a distance, you may get a good photo of the animal. However, if you prefer to avoid animals like coyotes and mountain lions, remember that they are hunting and traveling in the evening. When you’re hiking in the evening, prepare to act defensively during an animal encounter, which may mean shouting at the animal or playing dead.

Clothing for the Evening

In the evenings, it is best to wear layers such as long-sleeved shirts, hats, gloves, and jackets. During summer evenings, you may choose to wear shorts and a t-shirt under a light jacket. In winter evenings, you may wear a warm jacket over a long-sleeved shirt and long pants.

Hiking in the Night

Only the most adventurous hikers start at night. It’s the most challenging time to hike, due to a lack of daylight. However, for those who are willing to hike during a full moon or bring headlamps, this type of hiking will be memorable. One of my favorite hiking memories was a guided “haunted” hike (we didn’t see any ghosts, but the fireflies spooked us). If you are planning to hike at night, be prepared with maps, light, and warm clothing. You may also need to check about night parking permits, as many parks close after sunset. Enjoy the most underrated time to hike: the night!

Physical Performance in the Night

You may feel sleepy at night, so this isn’t a good time for a strenuous hike. However, you may feel energized by adrenaline as you anticipate all the dangers of the night – animals, ghosts, and more. Since you are hiking during the coolest hours of the day you are unlikely to sweat, saving energy.

Night Weather

Weather at night is the quietest and calmest time of the day. The air becomes steady, so it is the least likely time for a storm or rain. The wind is lighter as the air stabilizes. You can also expect reduced humidity through most of the night, making this a comfortable time during the summer. However, by late night, the humidity will increase as morning arrives.

Night Temperatures

During the early hours of the night, temperatures will begin to drop. By late night, the temperatures will be at their coolest. Expect cold, even freezing or below freezing temperatures, from fall to spring.

Moonlight Hours in the Night

As there is no daylight at night, you can expect moonlight instead. If you are looking to experience a full moon hike, prepare by reviewing the moon phase calendar here. This calendar also lists the moonrise and moonset times.

Wildlife in the Night

While many animals go to sleep at night, many others spend their time hunting. Unfortunately, you are less likely to see a crouching cougar or black bear in the shadows. This is a time to be extra vigilant, hike with others, and be prepared for an animal encounter.

Clothing for the Night

During the night, even in the summer, you should wear your warmest clothing such as long-sleeved jackets, long pants, hats, gloves, and thick jackets like puffers. You may also wear long underwear and wool socks under your clothing layers. If you are hiking near a city, wear reflective and light-colored clothing so that car drivers may see you.

Our summary: The best times of the day to hike are in the early morning and evening, due to cooler daytime temperatures. However, hiking at night can be an exciting challenge for more experienced hikers.