Adam Sawyer's Hiking Tips: Have a Plan Skip to content

Tillamook Coast Life Blog

Adam Sawyer’s Hiking Tips: Have a Plan

Hello good people!

When Tillamook Coast Visitors Association approached me about teaming up to get the message out about minimizing our impact, what to do, and what not to do in the great outdoors, I jumped at the opportunity. So for the next few months, I’ll be posting about a wide range of topics that reside under that umbrella. From how to plan an outing and trail etiquette, to foraging safely & sustainably and volunteer opportunities. And I’d like to begin with “Have a plan.”

Here are some great tips from the American Hiking Society –

Have a Plan. Let people know where you’ll be hiking and when you expect to be back. This is important whether you are going on a day hike at a nearby park or on a multi-day hike. The best insurance is a written reminder or text with all your information for someone who is not going and who is expecting you back or to check in by a certain time.

Study your maps before you begin the trip. Have a good idea of which route you will hike, how strenuous it will be, and the type of terrain you’ll be encountering. Here on the coast, as well as in numerous places across the Northwest, you can hike through varied landscapes in the same outing. So be prepared for those going in.

Time control plan. Predetermine where you ought to be at certain points of the day using your map. Factor in your walking speed based on the number of people on the hike as well as their fitness level. Also, for every 1000 feet of elevation you gain, add about an additional hour of hiking time. Remember that when traveling as a group, you are only as fast as the slowest person in the group.

Graph your route. Especially for backpacking trips, but it’s helpful for day outings. Highlight the route you will be taking. Mark potential campsites, water stops, and major road intersections.

Check the weather and pack accordingly. Spend enough time outside in Oregon and you’ll eventually experience one of those “every season in one day” kind of outings. It probably won’t snow on Neahkahnie Mountain in July, but keep in mind that the weather at the base of a mountain and halfway up a mountain can be vastly different. Bring the “10 Essentials,” which we’ll cover deeper in a future post.

Learn more about how you can be a steward of our trails and natural areas by visiting Caring For Our Coast.

A Picture of Adam Sawyer
Adam Sawyer
Adam Sawyer is an outdoor and travel writer, photographer, and published guidebook author based out of Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Northwest Travel, Portland Monthly, Columbia River Gorge, Central Oregon, and Backpacker Magazines. He currently pens articles as the Portland Hiking Examiner for and authored the bi-weekly column Portland Family Outdoors for Craigmore Creations. He was the co-host of the KEEN HybridLife Radio Show for its duration and now serves as a Brand Ambassador for the company. In addition to “Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon” he is the author of the forthcoming "Best Adventures Near Portland," and the co-author of "Hiking Waterfalls in Washington," all for Falcon Guides. Adam is also a “Resident Expert” for Portland Walking Tours and leads a variety of tours through the streets of Portland, including the company’s popular Epicurean Excursion. Follow him at: