How to hike safely depends on WHERE you are hiking. Wear adequate boots with ankle support and the right kind of socks. It's worth the $15 you pay for socks to get a pair that doesn't move inside your boot. Use a treking pole or two. Make sure your pack is evenly distributed on your shoulders or back so that the weight doesn't create imbalance and muscle abuse. Carry along a pair of lightweight water shoes or the like to cross/ford streams with. Avoid unecessary torques in your hips and other joints. Watch where you're walking. A treking pole makes a great tool to find a snake before it finds you. Don't cross logs. Step on them and look down before landing (snakes love to hide there). Avoid foot placement on rocks and if unavoidable, recognize they may move when you do. Safe hiking is mostly sound common sense, but it is also an all encompassing endeavor. Use your head and your toes and you should get there safely.