Your safety depends on your own good judgement, adequate preparation, and constant attention. Pay attention to trail descriptions and difficulty - as even short distances can be considerably difficult due to elevation changes and terrain.
Here are a few basics to help you get started:
- Let a responsible person know your route and return time. Have them contact PARKWATCH at 1-800-727-5928 or 1-800-PARKWATCH if you do not return within a reasonable time.
- Lock valuables in the trunk of your car or take them with you.
- Always hike with another person. Keep your hiking party together and stay on officially maintained trails. Always keep children in your sight when hiking?do not allow them to get ahead of you or fall behind.
- Wear shoes or boots that provide good ankle support, especially for more strenuous trails. Steep, rocky areas and slippery stream crossings require extra attention and careful footing. Even for trails marked “easy,” it is advisable to wear flat or rubber-soled shoes for comfort and good traction. Wearing sandals, “flip-flops,” or high heels can result in accidents.
- Check the current weather forecast and be prepared for quickly changing conditions, common in these mountains even in mild seasons.
- For your safety and the protection of the natural features of the landscape, stay on established trails. Shortcutting at switchbacks causes soil erosion, disfigures the trail, and makes it difficult for other hikers to find their way. Take advantage of log walkways, steps or other trail construction. They are there to minimize human impact on the natural environment.
- Do not drink the water in streams or springs. Bacterial diseases can be contracted by drinking untreated ?wild? waters.
- Carry a current park trail map and know how to read it.
- Carry 2 small flashlights or headlamps?even on a dayhike. If you have trouble on the trail, darkness may fall before you can finish your hike.
- Take adequate water?minimum 2 quarts per person per day. All water obtained from the backcountry should be treated either by filtering or boiling.
- Carry a small first aid kit.
- Avoid hypothermia (the dangerous lowering of body temperature) by keeping dry. Avoid cotton clothing. Dress in layers that can be easily removed or added as you heat up or cool down. Always carry a wind-resistant jacket and rain gear?even on sunny days!
- Don?t attempt to cross rain-swollen streams; they will recede rapidly after precipitation stops and the wait may save your life! When crossing any stream more than ankle-deep: unbuckle the waist strap of your pack, wear shoes, and use a staff to steady yourself.