WeatherWeather Science


Beware of lightning dangers while hiking

Lightning Strike
Posted at 3:38 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 21:04:17-04

Every year, the coming of spring means an influx of both lightning strikes and hikers in Colorado.

While it may seem to be common sense to avoid lightning while outdoors, lightning remains to be the number weather related fatality in southern Colorado.

So, whether you're a veteran mountain explorer or new to hiking in Colorado, consider this your yearly safety reminder!

Before you go

Check the forecast! It is easy online or mobile. You should be aware if thunderstorms are in the forecast.

Hike early. Morning hikes are best when storms are in the forecast. Thunderstorms can develop in the mountains even by noon.

As skies darken

If you start to see clouds moving in and darkening, you should turn around immediately. Get below tree line. Try to get back to the trail head to find safety at your car or in a restroom.

Open air shelters, like picnic shelters and tents are not safe.

If lightning is imminent

If you find yourself in immediate danger, you will need to reduce your chances of being within the path lightning takes. Avoid water and metal. Drop your metal hiking poles at a distance. Spread out from your hiking mates to avoid group strikes. Do not stand near lone tall trees. Crouch near small bushes or shrubs.