Summer may be clinging on for a few more weeks in your neck of the woods, but fall is right around the corner, bringing a whole different experience for outdoorsmen.

For those who don’t let a little drop in the temperature or the return of a school schedule get in their way, fall hiking can be a great adventure. Here are four things to keep in mind, however, when you’re preparing for a fall hike.

Watch the Weather

September and even early October aren’t too bad, but once mid-October and early November roll around, the temperatures will start to drop consistently. Keeping an eye on the forecast before hitting the trailhead can make all the difference in safety. Some regions even experience snowfalls during the later fall months and checking incoming inclement weather ahead of time will allow you to prepare by grabbing an extra layer of clothing, gloves or a warm hat.

Keep Your Packing Game Strong

Any overnight hiking or camping trips you take on this fall will require some extra supplies that you may not have needed in the spring and summer. With the cooler temperatures, it’s wise to pack an emergency space blanket, sleeping bag liner, extra food and water and batteries. Furthermore, you’ll want to bring clothing layers to shed/add as needed and perhaps even look into a sleeping bag/tent that’s rated for colder temperatures. Bonus Tip: Fall can be pretty damp, so a waterproof shell and reliable fire-starting tools are a must.

Do Your Homework

Even your favorite trail can present different types of challenges during the fall months, so it pays to do a little bit of research ahead of time, no matter where you’re going. Feel free to contact local DNR offices for advisories or suggestions for where you’re planning to go. The other side of this coin, though, is that some areas offer a more breathtaking experience of fall’s colors than others, so doing some research can also lead you to experience some of the country’s most beautiful fall destinations.

Stand Out from the Crowd

Fall also means hunting season, which means you’ll need to be wary of hunters if you’re trekking through permitted hunting areas. It’s always smart to keep an orange vest on-hand if you’re planning to hike and camp during the fall months. Respect hunters by keeping a fair distance between you and if you hear gunshots, try to discern their location and make yourself as visually noticeable as possible while you cautiously continue.

Photo credit: Wikimedia