What To Do While Hiking in a Thunderstorm

What To Do While Hiking in a Thunderstorm

Hiking can be a fun and immersive experience for many people, but it can also be dangerous when thunderstorms roll in. As much as we try to predict the weather and plan our trips around it, sometimes it takes more work to avoid a sudden climate change. Thunderstorms can be incredibly dangerous for hikers, but they can also create a thrilling experience if you know what to do. This blog post will discuss what to do while hiking in a thunderstorm.

Risks Associated with Hiking in Thunderstorms

One of the most significant risks is hiking in a thunderstorm. Thunderstorms can bring lightning, heavy rain, and strong winds, all of which can be hazardous. Hikers are exposed to these risks, especially in open areas or high elevations. In such situations, lightning can quickly strike the ground, causing severe injury or death. Therefore, being prepared and informed about the weather forecast before hiking is vital. Knowing what to do in case of a thunderstorm can make all the difference in ensuring a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.

Preparation Before Hiking To Avoid Thunderstorms

Check weather updates

Before embarking on your hiking journey, it’s essential to check the weather updates. Thunderstorms usually give off warning, so monitor the forecast hours or even days before your hike. If there’s a chance of a thunderstorm, consider postponing your hike. It may not be enjoyable, but it’s better than risking your safety.

What to Do When Thunderstorm Strikes While Hiking

Avoid open spaces

If you ever get caught in a thunderstorm, finding a safe shelter to wait it out is crucial. Open spaces are unsafe during a thunderstorm because lightning tends to strike the highest point in the area. Stay away from the tallest trees if you’re in a forest or jungle. Try to find a cave or a low spot around the area where you can wait until it’s safe again to travel.

Stay away from water sources

Water is an excellent conductor of electricity, so staying away from water sources such as rivers, streams, and lakes during a thunderstorm is essential. If hiking near a water source, find a higher ground to stay safe.

Put on extra layers

Thunderstorms bring in cold wind gusts, and the temperature can drop rapidly. It’s best to put on extra layers of clothing to avoid hypothermia. If you’re wearing a rain jacket, wear a warm layer of clothing underneath. If you have a backpack, put a spare set of clothes in them, including warm clothing, in case of emergency.

Don’t use metal hiking gear

Metal conducts electricity, so avoid using metal hiking gear during a thunderstorm. If you carry a metal hiking pole, keep it away from your body and avoid pointing it directly at the sky. It’s also best to remove jewelry or any other metal pieces.


The adrenaline rush of hiking and exploring nature during a thunderstorm can be part of an exciting experience. Following the tips mentioned above and trusting your instincts and knowledge, you can stay safe while enjoying your hike. There is no single way to explore the great outdoors, but keeping yourself informed and not taking unnecessary risks is essential. So the next time you decide to hike, remember it could be raining or thundering, but that won’t stop your appreciation for nature! So go out there confidently and safely and start exploring!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I continue hiking if I see lightning in the distance?

Finding shelter immediately when lightning is spotted is recommended, as it can strike from a considerable distance.

How do I stay updated on the weather while hiking?

Check the weather forecast before your hike and carry a charged phone to receive real-time updates.

Are there specific clothing recommendations for hiking in thunderstorms?

Wear waterproof and moisture-wicking clothing to stay dry and comfortable during adverse weather conditions.

What should I do if I get caught in a flash flood during a hike?

Move to higher ground immediately and avoid crossing flooded areas, as currents can be strong and unpredictable.

How long should I wait after a thunderstorm before resuming my hike?

Wait until the storm has passed and assess trail conditions before continuing.

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