Trail Safety

Protect yourself

  • Know your limits. Prepare for sun and heat. Wear sunscreen, hats, insect repellent and appropriate clothing and hiking shoes. Bring a first aid kit.
  • Heatstroke and hypothermia can kill. Wear layers of clothing so you can adjust to temperature changes. 
  • Drink plenty of water. Your body loses fluid quickly when you’re on the trail. Bring a quart of water per hour of activity. Eat a salty snack with each drink to maintain energy and avoid illness.
  • Wear a helmet when biking. When mountain-biking, check with park headquarters to match the trail to your skill level. Wear a helmet to protect yourself in case of a crash.

Protect your pet

  • Carry water for your pets, as not all trails have water.
  • Know your pet’s limits.
  • Check for pet restrictions. Not all trails are suitable for pets, and pets are not allowed on some trails.
  • Keep pets on leashes for their safety, and to protect wildlife.

Plan your hike

  • Weather changes quickly. Check forecasts and prepare for changes in the weather.
  • Tell others where you’ll be. If possible, avoid exploring alone. Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • You may not be able to connect. It’s a good idea to take along a cell phone and GPS unit, but don’t count on them. In this environment, both may lose reception. Both depend on limited battery power.
  • Check for trail closures. Certain trails may be closed during prescribed burns or for other resource management work. Check with park headquarters for current trail conditions and trail closures.
  • Take a trails map. Pick up a paper map at headquarters or download one to your phone. 

On the trail

  • Trails can be rough. Unpaved trails may have wet sections, loose rocks, thorny plants, tree roots and/or low-hanging limbs, and can be tough going for a stroller or wheelchair.  Park staff can advise about the suitability of trails for your group.
  • Potentially harmful plants and animals live in parks. You'll see them more easily if you stay on trails.