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What to do if you are lost hiking in the mountains ?

Are you interested to explore unknown places and see things that was never before known to you ? Then you can go for hiking on some mountain or hilly areas. It would definitely give you thrills and excitements you want to have in life. But what would you do if you are lost during hiking? Check out this article to know the tips you should keep in mind while hiking in the mountains.

Man is adventurous by nature. He loves to do things that gives him thrills and excitement. He often goes out to explore new places and find new things which were unknown to him earlier. Hiking is one such adventurous sports which most people would like to experience at least for once in life.

What is hiking?

The term hiking is used for an outdoor activity which consists of waking in natural environments, usually for pleasure or exercise. It has many advantages. Besides thrill and excitements, it increases mental alertness and has many health benefits as well. Hiking is also called trekking in many countries including India. However, there are also some risks associated with this adventurous sports. If you decide to go alone on a hike, you have to be careful and alert. You have to make some advance preparations and take some precautions before you start your adventure. They would be helpful in case you are lost while hiking.

Things to do before going for a hike

  • Try to collect as much information as possible about the route you are supposed to take during your hiking. If possible, talk to someone who has already gone over there and learn about the probable hurdles and dangers on the way.
  • Gather information about the landmarks that can be used for tracking the right path.
  • Have a map of that area and try to learn how you can use it. Also mark the major landmarks in and around your way.
  • Have a compass and know how to use it to find directions.
  • Carry an emergency kit containing all essential things to survive for some days just in case you get lost.
  • Check the prevailing weather condition of the area you are supposed to explore and the likely forecast during the period of your hiking.
  • Make sure that your mobile is fully charged before you start your hiking. Besides the contact numbers of your family members, friends and relatives, feed all the emergency contact numbers like the local police stations, mountain rescue team etc.
  • Tell someone like a family member, friend or relative about the place you intend to go and the tentative time you would need to complete your hiking. It would help them to know your itinerary and in case you do not return within the stipulated period, they would make a search for you.

During hike

  • Try to look for the landmarks you have seen on the map. It would help you know that you are on the right track.
  • Every now and then look around you and try to familiarise with the route. This would help you take the right path on your way back.
  • Use your camera to take some photographs of the path you are covering. This would help you recognise the route during return.
  • If you feel you might lost your way, make some signs like arrows on the ground using loose rocks and small branches of trees. In this way, you can track the path during your return. On your way back, go on removing them one by one.

If you are really lost

  • If unfortunately, you feel that you have lost your way, don't get panicked. Have confidence in yourself and decide your course of action.
  • Stop as soon as you realize that you may be lost. If you try to move further, you are likely to be tangled even more. Sit down calmly and take a little rest. Refresh your mind by drinking some water and eating something.
  • Think about the landmark that you last saw and the one you were supposed to see after moving for a certain period.
  • Try to remember the direction you had taken after the last known landmark on the way or the last sign you had made on the ground.
  • Observe the things you can see around you. Are they on the map as well? If yes, at what place?
  • What supplies do you still have? How long will they last?
  • Plan well about the steps you should take to make the rescuers know about your possible location.
  • If you are confident enough you may try to retrace the path you were on earlier.
  • If you are getting mobile signal, try to call for help telling your probable location and the landmarks you see around you. They may tell you how to get out or they may come for your help.

If you need to spend the night

  • Find a place that can keep you safe from the rain,wind and wild animals, if any.
  • Hang some colorful items from tree branches around you. They would easily draw the attention of the rescuers.
  • Lit a fire around the place. That would keep away the wild animals and also the smoke would act as a signal for help.
  • Make a 'HELP' or 'SOS' sign using rocks in a clearing. This will help the rescuers locate you from the air.


Although it is somewhat risky to go alone on mountain hiking but if suitable measures are taken prior to and during the hike, they can reduce the risks to the minimum making it one of the most thrilling experience of life.

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