Tips for Trail Safety
Tips for Trail Safety
Smart trail use includes adherence to some basis safety practices. Trails are shared recreation amenities and are accessed by a variety of users at the same time. Please be courteous to all users, and remember that pedestrians have the right-of-way. All trail users should stay to the right on the trail.
- Wear reflective material and carry a whistle or noisemaker.
- Own the trail. While using the trails, project alertness, confidence, and determination. Your shoulders are back, you are aware of your surroundings, and you have somewhere to go.
- Go with a buddy. Use the trails with a friend. Two or more trail users can assist each other in the event of accident or injury, and one can always seek help.
- The day is your friend. It’s better to avoid dusk and darkness.
- Use all your senses. Listen for suspicious noises. Don’t wear headphones; they impair your ability to hear someone approaching you from behind. If you sense that an area may be unsafe for you, leave. Use discretion when acknowledging strangers, and follow your intuition about unfamiliar people and areas.
- Take what you need. Carry personal identification. If you use a medication frequently, such as for diabetes or angina, take it and instructions for use with you.
- Leave valuables at home. Don’t make yourself an obvious target. If you must leave valuables in your vehicle while you are on the trails, hide them well before you arrive at the parking area; auto burglaries are all too common.
- Have someone waiting. Always let someone else know where on District trails or parklands you will be going and when you will return, and instruct him or her to call 911 if you do not return as planned.
- Be easy to find. Use marked, authorized trails only.
- Be considerate, aware of your impact on the trail and parklands, and aware of your effect on other park and trail users.
- For everyone’s safety, stay to the right side of the trail, especially when approached from ahead or behind by other trail users, and travel single file around blind curves. When several persons travel side by side, it can be difficult for other trail users to pass safely.
- In some cases, the best approach upon encountering a group of trail users approaching you is to move to the edge of the trail yourself, or off the trail if circumstances permit, stop, and let the group pass you.
- Check behind and to both sides before changing course.
- Use marked, authorized trails only. Respect trail and area closures. Most unmarked (unposted) trails have been created by other park users, tend to erode quickly because they are not well constructed, unnecessarily degrade the view and the plant and animal habitat, and are not maintained or patrolled. The authorized trail route may be a little longer, but using it gives you a little more scenery to enjoy, a little more exercise, and the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve helped preserve your parklands. “Leave no trace.”
- Stay within park boundaries. Fence lines are marked. Please respect the rights and privacy of adjacent property owners.
- Be prepared for the weather. A regional trail or park some distance from your home may have a very different climate. Adequate water supply and sun protection are advised for all outdoor activities in hot, sunny weather. Have several layers of appropriate clothing available if cold, wind, or rain may be present, especially in shady canyons or on exposed ridgetops.
- Please do not disturb or feed wild animals in the parklands. A general rule is that if a wild animal is easily approachable, it may be ill and should be left alone. Inform a park ranger or Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol member if you see an obviously sick animal.