Photo Credit: Peter MorganThe best way to make your hike enjoyable is to plan ahead. On the trail, you’ll want to make smart choices and rely on yourself. Here are some smart tips that can make your trip fun.

Tips to Keep You On Track

1. Never hike alone. You need to have a partner in case you have an accident.

2. Know how to get to your destination, which may mean buying a map and carrying a compass.

3. Along the way, you may need to refill your water supply. Know where to find water, and have that marked on your map.

4. Always look at the weather forecast ahead of time and wear layers that you can remove as you’re hiking.

5. If you have a four-legged friend, check if dogs are allowed on the trail. Everywhere has different rules about being on/off leash.

Tips to Keep You Safe

6. Your safety on the trail is your own responsibility. Stay on the trail and don’t take shortcuts on switchbacks.

7. Know your capabilities. It’s best to be conservative on your first hike. Altitude, climbing and heat can make hikes that much more difficult.

8. Keep your medical conditions in mind when you’re planning a hike. Knee and back problems, heart conditions, diabetes, asthma and other medical conditions can be amplified with exertion and severe weather.

9. Consider hiking poles to take the stress off your knees and thighs.

10. Keep your backpack as light as possible. Water and food should be the heaviest items you pack.

11. Invest in a good quality backpack that fits your style and body type.

12. Hiking boots are always preferred to gym shoes, but wear them in first so you don't get blisters.

13. Sun glasses, sunscreen, bug spray and a basic first aid kit are always good to carry with you.

Tips to Save Your Energy

14. Hike at a pace where you can talk while your walking and know when to take a break.

15. Stop once every hour for 10 minutes even if you don't think you need a rest.

16. You should never hike on an empty stomach. Be sure to eat before, during and after your hike.

17. Make sure your snacks are filled with carbohydrates and salt. The carbs will give you energy while the salts keep your electrolytes in check.

18. Always carry your trash with you. Don’t leave litter on the trail.

19. Drink before you are thirsty. For every hour of hiking, plan to drink half a quart to a quart of water.

Tips to Finish Your Hike

20. Assume it will take twice as long to hike uphill as down.

21. Give hikers going uphill the right of way.

22. Plan to end your hike before sundown. If you do end up hiking in the dark, bring a flashlight with extra batteries or a headlamp.