6 Tips for Hiking in the Rain

The spring in the Shawnee National Forest typically brings rain showers. It means that at some point, you’ll be hiking in the rain or skipping hiking on rainy days.

I’m telling you not to skip those hike days because hiking in the rain has its benefits.

I’ll show you how to hike in the rain comfortably and enjoy every minute of it.

There is a lot to do and see when it rains in the Shawnee National Forest or where ever you might be.

1 – Choose the Right Trail when Hiking in the Rain

Make sure you choose an appropriate trail for hiking in the rain. The trail should have features that depend on the rain. This might include a waterfall or a scenic creek.

You want to avoid trails with scenic vistas and overlooks or ones without a lot of tree cover. These aren’t going to be the best on rainy days.

In the Shawnee National Forest, our waterfalls depend on significant rainfall to flow at their best. Keep that in mind when hiking in the rain to see waterfalls.


2 – Wear the Right Clothing when Hiking in the Rain

Don’t wear clothing that is going to hold water. Blue jeans, cotton leggings, and tennis shoes are not the best hiking clothes when it rains.

You want to wear hiking-specific or athletic clothes when hiking in the rain. Clothing that dries fast, like nylon, polyester, wool, or spandex, is the best choice for wet weather.

It’s always a good idea to wear a raincoat or even a rain suit to keep yourself dry. Remember to layer up if it’s cold and wet.


3 – Choose Quick Snacks for Rainy Hike Days

You want to be able to take a drink of water and eat a snack quickly when hiking in the rain. This is so that whatever you’re eating and drinking isn’t getting soaking wet in the process.

I like taking a water bottle and trail bars with nuts and fruit on rainy days. I don’t want to take my cheese and beef jerky sticks when it rains because the cheese can get wet and very messy.

If you like to take candy with you on hikes, go for hard candy when hiking in the rain. You want something you don’t have to hold for long, so you don’t get wet and messy.

Hiking in the Rain

4 – Slow Down and Don’t Kill Yourself

Hiking in the rain can be tough, even if you consider yourself a seasoned hiker. I hike over 1,000 miles a year, and I still have trouble hiking in the rain from time to time.

The ground is wet, which means it’s slippery more than normal, muddy more than normal, and harder to hike on. If you get into a hurry, it will be easier for you to slip and fall.

Be especially careful around the edges of cliffs and bluff tops when hiking while it’s raining. The last thing you want to do is fall.


5 – Use Trekking Poles

You can help make your hike in the rain easier by using trekking poles. As I said above, the ground will be slippery, and any help you can get to walk on it is a great help.

I especially get nervous when I cross a creek and go hiking in the rain. The rocks are already slick, and the rain makes it difficult. I’ll use a trekking pole of my hiking stick to cross the creek with some balance from the stick or pole.

If you get telescopic trekking poles, you can fold them up and carry them in your backpack when you don’t need them.


6 – Hiking in the Rain vs. Hiking in Bad Weather

There is a big difference between hiking in the rain and hiking in bad weather. If it’s just raining, going hiking isn’t so much of an issue. But if it’s bad weather, that changes everything.

Don’t ever try to hike when you know thunderstorms will be in the area. Lightning and wind can easily take down trees, which could fall on you. Don’t take a chance with hiking in bad weather.

Always watch the weather and understand what kind of rain is coming. If it’s just a simple rain shower, it should be fine unless flooding concerns it. But anything more than that should make you think twice about hiking in the rain that day.


And that’s how you can go hiking in the rain without ruining your day. Please share this article with a friend if you’ve enjoyed it. Be sure to subscribe to my free monthly newsletter for more information and tips like the one listed in this article.

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Thanks again for checking out another one of my articles and until next time, I’ll see you on the trail!

Shawn Gossman

Shawn Gossman

Founder, Hiking with Shawn

Howdy folks! My name is Shawn Gossman and I founded Hiking with Shawn. I’m an avid hiker, cyclist and outdoorsman here in the Shawnee National Forest. I was born and raised in Southern Illinois and never want to leave. Click here to learn more about Shawn Gossman

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