How To Avoid Ticks While Hiking? Ways To Protect Yourself

How To Avoid Ticks While Hiking Ways To Protect Yourself

If you hike, you’re undoubtedly well aware of the dangers of tick bites. How to avoid ticks while hiking? The bacterium that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, can be carried by ticks. Elrichosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are two more diseases that can be contracted via a tick bite. It is important to stay away from ticks when hiking because none of these diseases are beneficial.

Common Tick Species

The country is home to a variety of species, each of which carries and spreads diseases unique to that species. However, only a few specific species, many of which are seasonally dependent, bite humans and spread disease. Tick populations may be present in some of the general areas mentioned below. The CDC has very useful maps showing the geographic distribution of each species of tick. 

The American Dog Tick, also known as the Wood Tick, is widely distributed east of the Rocky Mountains. and also takes place in a few spots along the Pacific Coast.

In the Northeast and upper Midwest, black-legged ticks are most common. In the spring, summer, and fall, you run the greatest risk of getting bitten. Nymphs and adult females are both known biters, but adults can bite at any time when the temperature is above freezing in the winter.  

The CDC refers to the lone star tick as a “very aggressive tick.” It is prevalent primarily in the southeastern states, though some cases have also been reported in the upper Midwest and the northeast. The nymph and adult females are most likely to bite humans and spread diseases like Heartland virus, tularemia, and STARI, as well as Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia ewingii (which cause human ehrlichiosis) and Ehrlichia chaffeensis and ewingii. Additionally, it may result in an allergy known as Alpha-gal. 

Rocky Mountain wood tick: This tick can be found between an elevation of 4,000 feet and 10,500 feet in the Rocky Mountain states as well as southwestern Canada. Large mammals are the main prey of adult ticks.

Less than 1% of adult Western black-legged ticks feed on humans, so they are likely the least dangerous ticks to be concerned about. They can mostly be found along the U.S. Pacific coast. Northern California in particular. 

US and Hawaii are both home to the brown dog tick. Dogs are the main victims, though they occasionally bit humans and other mammals as well. The disease is spread by adult females in the Rocky Mountains. 

Gulf Coast tick: Predominantly found along U.S. coastlines.S. along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts. While adult ticks feed on deer and other wildlife while larvae and nymphs prey on birds and small rodents, adult ticks have been linked to the transmission of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to humans.

Normal Tick-Borne Diseases

Several tick-borne infections are dangerous for both humans and dogs, according to Dr. Daniel Cameron, MD, MPH, a nationally renowned expert on ticks. Here are a few of the well-known and recently discovered tick-borne diseases.

The most dreaded consequence of a tick bite is Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), which is spread by deer ticks. If left untreated, it can lead to chronic illness that lasts a lifetime and is very difficult to diagnose once you have it. A few weeks of antibiotic treatment will effectively treat the majority of Lyme disease cases. Fever, headache, fatigue, and an erythema migrans-like skin rash are among the typical symptoms of Lyme disease, according to the CDC. In most areas, one out of every two female deer ticks carries the spirochete that causes Lyme disease, so be careful when removing ticks. Vital is the first 48 hours.

The rickettsial infection is known as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Rickettsia rickettsii) primarily affects areas east of the Rocky Mountains, though it has been reported in a few isolated locations on the Pacific Coast. The disease is highly lethal if you aren’t treated for it by the fifth day following a bite. 

Pacific Coast Tick Fever, caused by the tick-borne illness Rickettsia Philippi, can affect both humans and dogs.

Tularemia is a rare infectious disease that affects the skin, eyes, lymph nodes, and lungs and is also known as rabbit fever or deer fly fever. It is brought on by the bacterium Francisella tularensis.

STARI (Southern tick-associated rash illness). Some bites from the Lone Star Tick result in a less severe circular rash that resembles the rash of early Lyme disease.  

Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose (also known as “alpha-gal”) is a carbohydrate that is present in the cells of many mammals that humans eat, including cows, sheep, and pigs. The Lone Star Tick carries alpha-gal, and its bite can cause the immune system to overreact and go into defense mode. You might develop a lifelong allergy to meat. 

Lone star ticks are the main source of Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia ewingii in humans and dogs. Fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches are common symptoms that appear one to two weeks after a tick bite.

Babesia, also known as a “piroplasm,” is a parasite introduced by ticks that can cause malaria-like symptoms and behaves very similarly to the disease when it infects red blood cells.

How To Avoid Ticks While Hiking

You don’t have to end up with a tick or two on you, despite the fact that it might seem almost inevitable. These are the best ways to avoid ticks while hiking, and they don’t require a lot of forethought or preparation.

Clothing To Wear To Avoid Ticks

The first line of defense against ticks is wearing the appropriate clothing. The best defense against tick bites is wearing appropriate clothing from top to bottom.

You should always wear long sleeves and pants, even in the summer. Because ticks are easy to spot on light-colored clothing, dress in light colors.

In areas with a lot of vegetation, tucking your shirt and pants into your socks will help keep ticks from getting under them.

The gap at the bottom of your pant legs can be covered by a pair of tick gaiters if you don’t want to tuck your pants into your socks.

How To Avoid Ticks While Hiking Ways To Protect Yourself
How To Avoid Ticks While Hiking? Ways To Protect Yourself

Only very loosely knit mesh can be penetrated by ticks when wearing clothing. They are adept at crawling around, though, until they get inside.

You should put on a hat to protect your head and scalp. Wearing one with a flap that covers your neck and your shirt is recommended.

Ticks should be removed right away if you discover them on your clothing. Ticks can be removed from clothing using the sticky side of duct tape, according to some people.

In addition, some people use duct tape to seal the bottoms of their pants. If you don’t have leg gaiters to keep ticks away, this might be able to help.

Arming Yourself With Tick Repellent

On exposed skin or clothing, you can use a tick repellent in Canada that contains DEET or icaridin. You can purchase items in the USA that contain permethrin, a fabric insect repellent treatment. Despite not being sold in Canada, permethrin products have received safety approval there. These are frequently purchased in the United States because many cannot be shipped to Canada.

Ticks, mosquitoes, biting flies, gnats, and other insects can all be repelled by DEET repellent. According to my research, REI is one of many American websites that won’t ship permethrin products to Canada. But I was able to find some permethrin-treated clothing on Amazon, including this long-sleeved top and these tick-repelling leggings.

Where To Hike To Avoid Ticks?

When hiking, pay attention to your steps. On the hiking trails, some places have a higher tick density than others. For instance, on warm days, the most common places to find ticks are in tall grasses and dense brush.

Ticks do not fly or jump, despite popular belief. However, they can attach themselves to you if you walk through brush or tall grass while passing them. The ends of grass blades or on shrubs are typically where ticks are hiding out. Stick to the middle of the path as much as you can if you want to know how to avoid ticks while hiking.

Keep in mind that if you brush something with your bag, ticks may also attach themselves to your backpack. When checking for ticks on yourself, it’s a good idea to also check your personal belongings. If you stop to rest on a rock, quickly check for ticks before starting your hike again. Additionally, if you’re playing in a leaf pile, you might be playing with creepy crawlies as well!

When To Hike To Avoid Ticks?

Although they are present all year round, ticks are most active in the spring and summer. Even on slightly warmer winter days, ticks can be active! Any day that the temperature is above freezing, ticks can be found. It’s the extremely warm days that come right after a cold day that can be particularly dangerous. Ticks will be active and particularly hungry.

Thus, I wouldn’t advise against going on a hike between the summer and the fall, as those are arguably the best seasons of the year for being outside. In order to avoid ticks, the coldest winter days are the best for hiking. Fortunately, there are precautions we can take to ensure we can spend the entire year enjoying the great outdoors.

How To Check For Ticks?

At the conclusion of your hike, you can check for ticks on your skin and clothing. Before you get in the car and drive home, sweep your gear and clothing off. When you return from a hike, it’s also best to check yourself for ticks.

Check your clothing for ticks after removing it. To check for ticks, run your hands over your skin. Ticks enjoy climbing up your body to a warm location where they can start their meal. Ticks tend to bite most frequently on the head and hair, in and around the ears, on the back, under the arms, around the belly button, around the groin, on the legs, behind the knees, and between the toes.

Why Should You Concerned About Ticks?

These blood-sucking insects are not something to take lightly. Several dangerous diseases can be spread by a simple tick bite.

Many more ticks carry diseases than the few that are known to do so. The illnesses range from unpleasant to gravely dangerous.

Lyme disease is reportedly spread by deer ticks. When infected, this illness targets your nervous system and lingers for years.

Rift Valley Fever is spread by dog ticks. This condition is regarded as the most hazardous tick-borne disease in the U.S.S.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever can result in a sudden rash, body pain, and a fever of up to 103 degrees. Kidney failure is one of the long-term effects that it may have.

Bites from lone star ticks can result in alpha-gal syndrome, which leads to a red meat allergy. All red meat can cause anaphylactic reactions in sufferers.


Luckily, avoiding ticks is not difficult at all. You’ll probably have no problems with ticks if you wear the appropriate clothing, apply bug repellant, and stay away from areas where ticks are common. You should take extra care if you’re trekking in an area where ticks are very prevalent. All of that has been explained to you.

Between May and July, when tick larvae develop into nymphs, is when tick bites are most common. Sadly, this is also the most ideal time of year for hiking. You don’t necessarily have to stay away from paths, though, to avoid ticks.