We all have our reasons for solo hiking. Maybe we can’t find an available hiking partner, maybe we crave alone time or maybe our pace is just not suitable to others. Whatever our reason may be, some places are more appropriate for solo hiking than others. I have hiked on 5 continents, and I love the security and social experience that solo trekking in the Alps provides. Here are our top 9 reasons the Alps are a great choice for solo hiking.
9. Dangerous animals aren’t a thing
There may be a few bashful bears that call northern Italy home, and an occasional wolf sighting, but the most dangerous animals in the Alps are probably the ticks. And even the ticks are only an issue if you go off trail in the lower, wooded areas. Thank the avid hunters of the past and strict laws against wild camping for the lack of thrilling wildlife encounters in the Alps.
8. Low crime
Compared to many areas around the world, the Alps have low crime, especially Switzerland, Austria and Germany. Hikers are relaxed and readily leave valuables unattended in the huts without consequence.
7. Easy and affordable public transportation
Affordable transportation is key when traveling solo, since you don’t have anybody to split your taxi fare or rental car fee with. The Alps may very well have the best public transportation network of any hiking hotspot in the world. There is bus service to the villages and even to almost every trailhead.
6. Sleeping in huts
Some solo hikers tend to feel uncomfortable and vulnerable in a tent at night. The amazing network of mountain huts that are scattered across the Alps (over 800 of them!) allows hikers to avoid this concern altogether.
Utilizing the dormitory rooms at huts also allows Alpenventures UNGUIDED to offer tours without an additional single supplement. Check out our hut to hut hiking tours. Learn more about Staying in Mountain Huts.
5. Signage and trail markings
Overall, trail markings and signage throughout most of the Alps are fail-proof. Unless, of course, you are too busy admiring the view. While general navigation skills are always critical to have, the Alps offer comfortable navigation for less confident trekkers.
4. Eating in huts
Evening meals can often feel lonely when you are out and about on your own. Thankfully, almost all the huts serve meals community style, forcing exhausted hikers into jovial and uplifting social interactions while replenishing burned calories. Check out our Facebook Album, A Taste of the Alps, for a preview of what awaits.
3. Help is never far away
One of the things I miss most about the western U.S. is the wilderness and the wide-open spaces. The Alps are more settled and don’t really fit my definition of wilderness. This can be a great thing when solo hiking. If you run into trouble, the nearest village or hut is certainly not that far away.
2. Trail culture and camaraderie
The classic treks in the Alps, such as the Tour du Mont Blanc and the Alta Via 1, are not only frequented by like-minded hikers, but they also facilitate friendship and connection. On these classic treks, it is common to see the same hikers again and again, as they move along the designated route at similar paces. Being alone on these treks, means you are more approachable and more encouraged to step outside your comfort zone and chat with strangers.
1. You might be solo, but you aren’t alone
I love the solitude and reflection that comes with being in the wilderness, but with that comes a requirement for self-sufficiency and independence. After a couple days on the trail on my own, I crave the exact opposite and need an escape from the constant chatter in my head. The Alps attract a large number of trekkers each year, meaning it’s nearly impossible to spend a summer day on the trail without the company of other hikers.
Here are our solo-friendly hut to hut hikes in the Alps.
(this is an extremely difficult route with technical challenges and should only be solo-hike by those with appropriate experience)