How To Handle Hikers Who Might Be Lagging Behind

There is no first prize for getting to the top of the hill or for being the first one back to the trailhead when you are out hiking.

I’m sure there are plenty of hikers out there who like to go at a certain pace. Everyone has their preference.

However, there are those instances where you might be hiking with someone or with a group and there is someone who can’t quite keep up.











Personally, it doesn’t bother me. For example, when I take a group out with The Hiking Society MeetUp, I am always conscious of how everyone is feeling.

While I’m not getting paid to organise and host these hikes, I still feel a sense of responsibility for the people I am with to ensure they arrive back at their car safely and without injury.

Further to that point, I make sure any interested hiker knows what they are getting themselves in for by including as much detail about the hike as I possibly can.











This might include information about hills, theĀ overall difficulty of the trail etc. I really want to make sure that they can make an informed decision either way.

However, you might be hiking with someone who falls behind a little every now and again.

The way I tackle this – regardless if I am hiking with that person only or they are one person out of a group of people – is that I make a point of dropping back and walking with them.

BecauseĀ let’s face it, there is nothing worse than feeling like you are by yourself when everyone else is ahead of you.


The flipside of this is that you might get someone who is okay for the group to get a little bit further ahead.

My only advice to those people is that they must know where the rest of the group is heading so they don’t get lost.

But this is just one way of doing it. If you take groups out for hikes, what do you do when someone falls behind?


4 Responses
  1. Nelson Mandela’s advice seems pertinent here for the hiking group leader: “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”

  2. Margaret Ljubicic

    I had to show this to my friend that I hike with……we have just joined a bushwalking group and she is worried about falling behind …..and the cause…..she is tiny under 5ft……so while everyone is walking at a set pace her little legs are doing 1 1/2 steps to everyone’s 1 step …..she puts herself down all the time so I remind her that’s she is SHORT not SLOW ……and this article made her day

    1. John Feeney

      Correct, Margaret. Like the old saying goes – you’re only as quick as your slowest person. I don’t ever want anyone in my MeetUp group to feel like they are being left behind. It can be so daunting!

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