Benefits of Hiking in the Rain

Outdoor Adventure Programmer

With the right gear, a walk in the rain can be a beautiful and rewarding experience. Photo David Tipton

Picture this: it’s Friday, and you’ve been looking forward to the weekend because you have a beautiful day planned in one of Ohio’s many parks (or any park, really!) Maybe you’re planning a few miles on Highbanks’ Dripping Rock Trail, or an afternoon biking along a section of a Greenway Trail. But then you check the forecast, and an ominous black, rainy emoji has popped up for the exact day of your adventure. Surely, you’re considering cancelling. But I’m here to tell you that’s not your only option.

Hiking in the rain can be a wonderful experience, exposing you to a more hidden side of nature. The mere threat of rain will drastically reduce the number of other hikers on the trail, often leaving those who choose to weather the rain with an extra peaceful experience. Breathing in the fresh air and listening to the sound of raindrops is one of the most relaxed feelings I’ve ever felt. A rain jacket, some waterproof hiking shoes, and maybe a hat to block the rain from hitting your face directly will greatly reduce any soggy discomfort and allow you to open up your world to brighter colors, and possibly new animal friends!

A banana slug rests and hides from the rain under a natural mushroom shelter. | Fresh rain darkens this tree’s bark, emphasizing the bright green color of the moss that thrives on the moist air. Photos Megan Harris

Rainy days in nature can bring out a whole new view of a trail that you’ve hiked a million times in the sun. While fog and rain clouds may obscure mountain top views, it will enhance forested hikes, or even low hills. Existing waterfalls, emboldened by the extra water strengthening them, get even more beautiful, and new ones sometimes pop up where there wasn’t one before.

Something else you might notice on a rainy day hike is more animal activity. Rather than the usual squirrels and chipmunks, you’re more likely to see hydrophilic varieties such as frogs, salamanders, newts, slugs, etc. If these guys don’t peak your interest, you can also depend on a higher likelihood for mushroom varieties that decided to sprout their fruiting bodies while the humidity is high.

So, the next time you’re looking to get outside and catch a glimpse of wildlife, to exercise, or just to breathe in the fresh air and take in the beauty of nature, don’t let the rain stop you! You might be surprised at what you’ll find when you add a little bit of rain to the scenery.

Who knows what you might see on a walk in the rain? Fungi are always a good candidate, such as this trio of white marasmius, stalked scarlet cup, and a species inocybe fungi. Photo Patrick Kelly

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