How To Avoid Ticks While Hiking (My Experience)

If you enjoy hiking, there’s a good chance that you’ll also enjoy being outdoors as much as possible. 

Unfortunately, that means you’re likely to encounter ticks while hiking. Ticks can spread diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which is why it’s important to stay vigilant when out on the trail. 

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to avoid ticks while hiking! Here are some tips:

Takeaways from “How to Avoid Ticks While Hiking: My Experience”
Wearing long sleeves and pants can help protect against ticks.
Using an insect repellent with DEET can help repel ticks.
Checking for ticks frequently during a hike can help prevent tick bites.
Showering and washing clothes after a hike can help remove ticks.
Getting familiar with the signs and symptoms of tick-borne diseases is important.

Avoid Tick-Infested Areas

Avoid tick-infested areas. Ticks are often found in tall grasses, leaf litter, and wooded areas. Keep your distance from these places.

  • Don’t walk through tall grasses or brush
  • Don’t sit on the ground
  • Don’t walk through wooded areas
  • Don’t walk through underbrush (shrubs)

Avoiding pests in hydroponics can be a real challenge. Our article on how to avoid fungus in hydroponics provides helpful tips and strategies for keeping your hydroponic system free from pests and disease.

Stay In The Middle Of Trails

It’s important to stay on the trail and not walk off the path. Lyme disease is carried by ticks that you find in tall grass, brush, bushes and low lying vegetation. When you are hiking, make sure you avoid walking through these areas.

If you need to cross over a wet area like a stream or river use an old pair of sneakers as opposed to your regular shoes because they will help prevent water from getting into your socks and making it easier for ticks to crawl onto your skin.

Do A Tick Check

After a hike, do a tick check on yourself and your pets. Check your clothing and gear for ticks that may have attached themselves during the trip. 

If you’re not sure how to check for ticks, there are plenty of resources online to help you figure it out.

There are also some easy ways to reduce the chances of getting ticks around your home or yard:

Keep grass short by mowing regularly; this makes it harder for ticks to hide in long grasses where they can hitch rides on unsuspecting hosts like deer, mice, squirrels and other small animals

Trim brush near foundations so that any passing host is less likely to be able to slip into an opening between walls (and thus into homes)

Clean up leaves, branches and other debris from around buildings

Properly cleaning your hiking boots is essential to maintain their durability and protect your feet during hikes. Learn more about the best practices for cleaning your hiking boots in our article on how to clean hiking boots in an easy way without damaging them.

Stick To Treated Clothing

Ticks are most active from March to November, but they can be found year-round in some parts of the country. 

To avoid getting bitten by a tick, you should wear long pants and long sleeves (and tuck your pants into your socks), as these will protect your legs from ticks. 

You can also use permethrin-treated clothing, which is an insecticide that kills ticks on contact. This kind of protection won’t last forever the repellent starts to break down after about 6 washes or 60 days’ worth of wear so it’s best to treat the clothes before hiking season begins or when you buy them new.

Apply Insect Repellants

When hiking, it’s important to treat your clothes with insect repellent. This will help keep ticks and other insects away from your head and body, so you can focus more on the scenery than on pesky bugs.

When applying insect repellant to clothing, apply it to the outside of any visible fabric (such as pant legs) rather than directly on skin. 

This will help maximize the effectiveness of the product by exposing more surface area to it. You should also consider using products with DEET or other effective ingredients that kill insects on contact

Hhowever, they may not be safe for all people or pets in high concentrations so make sure you check with a medical professional before using them if needed.

In addition to applying insect repellant directly onto exposed skin (in order for it to be absorbed), consider treating footwear and socks as well because ticks tend not only crawl up pants legs but also climb onto shoes/boots and then make their way up from there into one’s home environment as well!

Hiking poles can be a game-changer for hikers of all experience levels. If you’re new to using hiking poles, check out our guide on how to use hiking poles to learn about the benefits and best practices for incorporating them into your hikes.

Stay Dry With Permethrin-Treated Clothes

One way to avoid ticks is to wear permethrin-treated clothes. Permethrin is a chemical that kills ticks, and it can be applied to clothing (and other products) in one of two ways:

Dry application: This is the most effective method, but also the most labor intensive. You need to wash your clothes with hot water and detergent before applying permethrin, then let them dry thoroughly before wearing them again. 

Then, when you’re ready for your hike or camping trip, put on all of your dry clothes at once shoes included and spray them all with permethrin solution made specifically for treating outdoor gear and clothing. 

The treatment lasts through several washings, so if you do everything right once in preparation for each trip, then all you need do each time after is spray down any new additions (like socks and shoes) before putting them on as part of your regular pre-hike routine

Cover Up As Much As Possible

The easiest way to avoid ticks is to cover up as much as possible. Wear long pants, a hat, a scarf and long-sleeved shirt and gloves. 

If you’re planning on spending time in the woods or grassy areas where ticks are common, it’s also recommended that you wear light-colored clothing this makes it easier for you to spot any creepy crawlers who might have found their way onto your clothes.

Be sure to do a full body check after being outdoors for an extended period of time especially if there are wooded areas nearby where ticks like to hang out.

Preparing your body for a hike can make all the difference in your experience on the trail. Our article on how to get in shape for hiking provides tips on exercises and activities that can help prepare you physically for your next hike.

Stay Away From Shrubs, Tall Grass And Leaf Litter

  • Ticks like to hide in thick grass, shrubs and leaf litter.
  • If you are hiking through tall grass or shrubs, you are more likely to be bitten by a tick than if you are walking on a trail.
  • Ticks can also be found on the ground in leaf litter and branches of shrubs.

Follow A Trail Buddy Around You As You Brush Past Underbrush Or Tall Grass

When you’re hiking, it’s best to follow a buddy around you as you brush past underbrush or tall grass. 

This way, if there is any tick activity nearby, the person behind you will spot it first and can warn you appropriately. In this situation, it’s best to be aware of what’s going on around your body at all times!

Proper attire is essential for comfort and safety during a hike. Our guide on how to dress for hiking provides tips on choosing the right apparel and gear, tailored to different types of hikes and weather conditions.

Tuck Your Pants Into Your Socks And Wear Long Sleeves When Possible

If you’re going to be in tick-infested areas, you may as well have a plan for dealing with them. When you head out on your hike, tuck your pants into your socks so that the ticks can’t climb up any higher than that. Wear long sleeves (or use insect repellant) to avoid being bitten by ticks at all.

Finally, check yourself for ticks when you’re done hiking but don’t panic if one gets on you! The CDC recommends using tweezers or forceps to pull the tick off quickly and carefully before disinfecting the bite area. 

If there’s any concern about Lyme disease or other tick-borne illnesses, consult with a doctor immediately after removing any possible ticks from yourself or pets.

Wear Light Colored Clothing To Help Spot Ticks Better

The next thing you should do is wear light-colored clothing. Ticks are easier to spot on light colored clothing, so this will help you spot them more easily. 

You can also use tick repellents that are fluorescent, which will make the ticks stand out against your clothes even more.

Remove Any Ticks You Find Asap

Check yourself (and your dogs) for ticks frequently, and remove them if you see one.

Wash your clothes in hot water to kill the ticks before washing them again at a normal temperature.

If a tick is still attached when you find it, use tweezers to grasp it as close to the skin as possible and pull upward with slow, steady pressure until the tick detaches from your body. Don’t twist or jerk; this can cause the mouthparts to break off inside your skin, causing infection or other complications. 

After getting rid of the tick, disinfect both its mouthparts and where they entered your body with rubbing alcohol or peroxide and then clean any scratches or cuts left behind by applying antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin or Polysporin before covering them with bandages. 

And don’t forget: Ticks are tiny! They can be difficult to see even if you’re looking for them; try searching in places like armpits and groin areas where ticks tend not to hang out on people that often (but know that these areas aren’t immune).

Wear Light-Colored Clothing

While there are not many research-backed tips on how to avoid ticks while hiking, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk. One of these is wearing light-colored clothing.

Light-colored clothes will make it easier for you to spot ticks on yourself when checking for them after hiking or camping.

If you’re going camping in an area that’s known for having lots of ticks, consider wearing white or light-colored clothing (if possible). This will make it easier for you to see any little critters crawling in the brush or hanging out on your skin after the trip has ended.

Use a flashlight if it’s dark outside so that any ticks hiding out in crevices will be more visible than usual!

Benefits of Wearing Light-Colored Clothing

Makes ticks easier to spotWearing light-colored clothing makes it easier to spot ticks on your clothing or skin.
Reflects sunlightLight-colored clothing reflects sunlight, insulating the body from heat and preventing overheating while hiking.
Reduces attraction to ticksTicks may be less attracted to light-colored clothing, as darker colors can mimic the appearance of animals that ticks often feed on.
Wicks moisture awayLight-colored clothing, especially made from moisture-wicking fabrics, can help absorb sweat and prevent moisture buildup, reducing the chances of attracting ticks.
Keeps you visibleWearing light-colored clothing can help keep you visible to other hikers, reducing the risk of getting lost or separated from your group.

Wear Long Pants

The first thing you can do to avoid getting ticks on your hike is to wear long pants. Ticks tend to attach themselves to the tops of socks and pant legs, so wearing pants that are longer than what you would normally wear will help deter them from attaching themselves to your skin. 

Additionally, wearing light colored clothing will make it easier to spot ticks before they have a chance of attaching themselves.

If you find a tick on your body after the hike has ended, remove it as soon as possible using tweezers or by using fingernails (carefully!). 

Do not use alcohol or petroleum jelly when removing a tick because this could cause the tick’s mouthparts to break off inside your skin. 

Once removed, cleanse any bite area with soap and water then apply an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin or Polysporin before covering with a bandage if desired. 

If fever develops within 36 hours of removal contact a doctor immediately; 50% of all lyme disease cases are misdiagnosed initially and prompt treatment can greatly reduce symptoms (and potential complications) associated with Lyme disease!

Check Yourself For Ticks After The Hike

After you’ve spent time in the woods, you should check yourself over carefully for ticks. This can be done by running your fingers through your hair and looking in the creases of your body. If a tick is found, remove it with tweezers as soon as possible. 

The longer a tick feeds on blood, the greater likelihood there is for infection and disease transmission (source). You can also ask someone else to help you look for ticks if you’re unable to do so yourself (source).

If no ticks are found after checking yourself thoroughly, be sure to continue looking at regular intervals during evening hours until dusk (source). 

Although most people will not find any ticks during this time frame, it’s important to keep an eye out anyway because these insects usually remain hidden until they have had time to attach themselves securely onto their hosts’ bodies (source).

Importance of Checking Yourself for Ticks After a Hike

Prevents tick-borne illnessesChecking for ticks after a hike can help prevent tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Anaplasmosis.
Stops tick infestationEarly detection of ticks can help stop infestations before they can spread by removing ticks before they lay eggs.
Ease burden on healthcare systemPreventing tick-borne illnesses means less people need to seek medical attention in emergency facilities, freeing up resources for more critical cases.
Quick and easyChecking for ticks just takes a few minutes and can be done at home after a hike.
Promotes full awarenessChecking for ticks promotes awareness of possible exposure to tick-borne illnesses and helps individuals be more proactive and cautious in the future when in areas that ticks thrive.

Use An Insect Repellent And Apply It Before Going Out

The first step to avoiding ticks is to use a repellent with DEET. DEET stands for N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, and it’s one of the most effective insect repellents around at repelling ticks.

It’s best if you apply your bug spray before heading out on your hike so that the insect repellant has enough time to dry before you leave home. Apply it directly to your clothing and exposed skin—don’t put it near your eyes or mouth or nose or hands (or face).

Wear Gaiters When Hiking In Wet Areas

If you’re hiking in an area where ticks are common, it’s a good idea to wear gaiters. These thin fabric tubes cover your shins and keep your pants dry, which helps prevent ticks from crawling up into them. 

They also help keep ticks out of your boots. Gaiters can be found at most outdoor stores for just a few dollars or less and are easy to put on and take off.

Advantages of Wearing Gaiters While Hiking

Protects clothingWearing gaiters can protect your pants from dirt, mud, and other debris, keeping them clean and dry.
Prevents tick bitesGaiters act as an extra layer between you and ticks, keeping them from crawling up your legs and preventing tick bites.
Keeps feet dryGaiters help prevent moisture from entering your shoes or boots, keeping your feet dry and reducing the risk of blisters.
VersatileGaiters are useful in many different hiking conditions, including wet, muddy, and dusty trails.
AffordableGaiters are a budget-friendly option for preventing tick bites and keeping clothes and boots clean.

Inspect Your Gear And Clothing For Ticks Before Bringing Them Into Your House

Before bringing gear, clothing, or pets into your home after the hike, inspect them for ticks.

Wear light-colored clothing while hiking to help spot ticks more easily.

If you’re wearing long pants, tuck the pant legs into your socks before going out on a hike in areas where ticks are common. This will prevent ticks from crawling up inside your pant legs where they’re harder to find.

Check yourself for ticks after each outing and take off any tick that’s found on you right away; don’t wait until you get inside! 

You may have already gotten bitten even if it wasn’t painful at first because they need time to inject their saliva before causing symptoms like rash and fever.

Inspect Your Pets For Ticks Before Bringing Them Into The House

When you get home, check all of your pets for ticks before bringing them into the house. If you find a tick, remove it immediately. 

If you can’t remove the tick yourself and it’s near your skin or eyes, go see your doctor as soon as possible.

Reasons to Inspect Your Pets for Ticks

Prevents tick infestationsChecking and removing ticks from your pets before bringing them inside can help prevent tick infestations in your home.
Protects your family from tick-borne diseasesRemoving ticks from your pets can help protect your family from tick-borne diseases, as pets can bring ticks into the house.
Early detection and treatmentRegular tick checks on your pets allow for early detection and treatment of tick-borne illnesses they may have contracted.
Prevents tick bitesChecking pets for ticks can also prevent tick bites to humans as pet ticks can get onto humans during close contact such as snuggling or hugging.
Reduces health risksInspecting pets for ticks regularly can help reduce the health risks associated with ticks and tick-borne diseases.

Shower As Soon As You Get Back From A Hike

After a hike, it’s important to shower immediately. Ticks are more likely to attach themselves to your body if they’re moist and active, so after a hike, you want to make sure that you get as much of the tick’s saliva off of your skin as possible. 

If a tick has already attached itself to your skin and begun sucking blood from it (from which it will then become engorged), showering can help wash away the saliva left behind by the tick and prevent further transmission of Lyme disease bacteria into your bloodstream.

To avoid becoming ill with Lyme disease or another form of tick-borne illness:

Make sure that you’re wearing long clothing with pants tucked into socks when hiking in grassy areas where ticks live; this will protect most of the exposed areas on your body (especially those around ankles and wrists).

Wear light-colored clothes so that ticks are easier to spot against their background color; while they may be small enough not to notice them crawling on clothing at first glance, seeing white specks moving around could be an indication that something is wrong!

Benefits of Showering After a Hike

Removes ticksShowering after a hike can help remove ticks that may have attached themselves to your body.
Prevents tick-borne diseasesRemoving ticks can help reduce the risk of getting tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease.
Cleanses the skinShowering can help cleanse the skin of sweat, dirt, and other debris accumulated during the hike.
Reduces itchinessShowering can help reduce the itchiness that may result from tick bites or contact with other irritants on the hike.
Promotes relaxationTaking a shower after a hike can be a relaxing and rejuvenating experience, especially after exerting yourself in the outdoors.


If you’re still worried about ticks, we can help. Call us today and we can give you the tools needed to keep your family safe from ticks and other dangers.

Further Reading

CDC – Preventing Tick Bites – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide detailed information on tick prevention methods specifically for people who spend time outdoors.

CleverHiker – How to Protect Yourself from Ticks While Hiking – CleverHiker offers expert advice on how to protect yourself from ticks while hiking, covering everything from clothing choices to tick repellents.

The Manual – How to Avoid Ticks While Hiking – The Manual provides tips on how to avoid ticks while hiking, covering topics such as tick-borne diseases and tick repellents.


What diseases can you get from ticks?

Ticks can carry a variety of diseases, such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Powassan virus.

How do you know if you have a tick bite?

Tick bites can cause redness and swelling around the bite area. Some tick bites can cause flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, and muscle aches.

Can you prevent tick bites?

Yes, you can prevent tick bites by using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, checking for ticks after spending time outdoors, and avoiding tick-infested areas.

How do you remove a tick?

To remove a tick, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure.

What should you do if you develop symptoms after a tick bite?

If you develop symptoms after a tick bite, such as fever or rash, contact your healthcare provider right away. Early detection and treatment can help prevent serious complications.