Do not leave anything valuable in your car. If you do experience a break-in, be sure to report it to law enforcement
Do not leave food in your car or in a trail shelter. Any food that is left in an unsealed container is an attraction for wildlife.
Bears have been known to break into cars if they smell food. Even unopened containers left in trail shelters have been broken
into by wildlife. If you must leave food, use a bear-proof canister and secure it out of the reach of bears.
Do not drink unpurified water from open streams, lakes, or ponds. Bring water from home or use a water purifier.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Avoid dehydration by drinking water regularly. You know you are drinking enough if you urinate often and the urine comes
Avoid getting lost by staying with your group, staying on the trail, and paying attention to trail markers. If lost, either
backtrack or use a cell phone to call for assistance.
Avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be deadly. Stay cool and avoid the sun in the heat of the day. Drink plenty
of water. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing that blocks and reflects the sun.
Avoid hypothermia by staying dry, wearing appropriate layered clothes (no cotton), avoiding exposure to wind, drinking
plenty of water, and eating high-energy food in cold weather to stay warm. Hypothermia usually occurs gradually and
hypothermic people are often not aware that they need help. Hypothermia can result in shivering, stumbling, slurred speech,
reduced breathing rate, fatigue, and eventually cardiac and respiratory failure and death.
Avoid insect pests by learning which insects are prevalent in your area at the time you are on the trail, wearing protective
clothing, avoiding perfumes, including perfumed hair sprays, shampoos, and soaps, and covering exposed areas of your body
with insect repellent.
Avoid exposed areas when thunderstorms may occur. Take cover in advance of a storm and stay away from tall trees and
bodies of water. Take off metal backpacks. Crouch down on dry ground with an insulating object under your feet.
Avoid poisonous plants by learning to recognize poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Avoid contact by wearing long
pants and sleeves in areas where poisonous plants occur and washing your clothes when you leave the trail.
Be prepared for inclement weather by checking the weather forecast before you hit the trail. Be aware of signs of worsening
weather and prepare to take an alternate route or return to your vehicle. Carry alternate clothing, plenty of food and water, and
map and compass if necessary.
Be prepared for adverse trail conditions, including fallen trees, washouts, landslides, floodwaters, and patches of ice and
The following general courtesy and etiquette guidelines may not apply to all trails or all uses. Be sure to follow any
trail-specific guidelines posted on trailhead kiosks.
Don't litter. Pack out your trash.
Take only pictures. Leave what you find.
Be friendly and courteous.
Stay on the trail. Shortcutting the trail and bypassing muddy areas destroys vegetation, leads to erosion, reduces habitat
quality, and causes unsightly damage to the landscape.
Avoid using trails when they are excessively muddy.
Respect wildlife. Keep your distance. Never feed wild animals.
Respect private property.
Respect other visitors and their experience. Avoid excessive noise.
Use extra caution when using headphones. You may not be able to hear warnings.
Keep your dog under control at all times.
Keep yourself and your bike or horse under control and proceed at a safe speed and within your ability at all times.
Anticipate other trail users around blind curves.
Share the trail. Keep to the right except to pass. When in doubt, give the other user the right of way. Warn people when you
are planning to pass.
Bicyclists yield to pedestrians and equestrians. Runners and hikers yield to equestrians.