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Hiking Safety

Each year, thousands of people discover that walking and hiking on California State Park trails is safe and healthy fun, if you follow a few tips:

  • Hike with a friend or family member.  The companionship in the great outdoors is fun and you can encourage one another to meet your fitness goals.
  • Take plenty of drinking water.  Leave stream, river and lake water for the park wildlife.  Although it looks clean and refreshing, mountain stream water can make you ill.
  • Let someone back at camp or at home know where you are going and when you plan on returning.  Take a mobile phone for emergencies only or to let them know you have returned safely.
  • Don’t walk off-trail.  Cutting across switchbacks erodes the hillside and eventually destroys the trail.  Plus, walking off-trail increases your chance of suffering an injury or getting lost
  • Wildlife lives in all of our state parks, even near urban areas.  Although rare, black bears, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes may be seen Whenever you encounter wildlife on the trail, keep your distance back away slowly, and do not run.  Report your sightings to a State Park Ranger.
  • Poison oak is a common plant throughout much of California.  Learn to identify its shiny, three-leaf pattern and avoid touching it.  If you touch poison oak, wash immediately with water and mild soap.  Pat dry with a clean towel.
  • Make your visit to a California State Park better with these Hiking and Camping Safety Tips.