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General Hiking Guidelines

All groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.

  • Repackage food to minimize waste.

  • Use a map and comThe Leave No Trace Seven Principles

The Leave No Trace Seven Principles provide guidance to enjoy our natural world in a sustainable way that minimizes human-created impacts. The principles have been adapted so you can apply them in your backyard or your back-country. Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit.

  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.

  • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.

  • Visit in smpass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or agging.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.

  • Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.

  • Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.

In popular areas:

  • Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.

  • Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.

  • Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.

In pristine areas:

  • Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.

  • Avoid places where impacts are just beginning. Dispose of Waste Properly.

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.

  • Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.

  • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.

  • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

Leave What You Find

  • Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.

  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you and them.

  • Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.

  • Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.

Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Camp res can cause lasting impacts to the back-country. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.

  • Where res are permitted, use established re rings, re pans, or mound res.

  • Keep res small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.

  • Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out camp res completely, then scatter cool ashes.

Respect Wildlife

  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.

  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.

  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.

  • Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.

  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young or winter.

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.

  • Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.

  • Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.

  • Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.

  • Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.

  • Let more than one person know where you're going, what route you're taking, and when you plan to be back

  • Leave a note on the dashboard of your vehicle stating your start time, where you're headed and when you plan to be back

  • While some may frown on this because would-be thieves know how long you are away, ensure valuables are hidden from plain sight.

  • If you are in an area with no cell service, put your phone on airplane mode to conserve battery life

Ten Things You Should Bring on Every Hike

  1. Appropriate footwear. For a short day hike that doesn’t involve a heavy pack or technical terrain, trail shoes are great. For longer hikes, carrying heavier loads, or more technical terrain, hiking boots offer more support.

  2. Map and compass/GPS. A map and compass not only tell you where you are and how far you have to go, it can help you find campsites, water, and an emergency exit route in case of an accident. While GPS units are very useful, always carry a map and compass as a backup.

  3. Extra water and a way to purify it. Without enough water, your body’s muscles and organs simply can’t perform as well. Consuming too little water will not only make you thirsty, but susceptible to hypothermia and altitude sickness.

  4. Extra food. Any number of things could keep you out longer than expected: getting lost, enjoying time by a stream, an injury, or difficult terrain. Extra food will help keep up energy and morale.

  5. Rain gear and extra clothing. Because the weatherman is not always right. Dressing in layers allows you to adjust to changing weather and activity levels. Two rules: avoid cotton (it keeps moisture close to your skin) and always carry a hat.

  6. Safety items: fire, light, and a whistle. The warmth of a fire and a hot drink can help prevent hypothermia. Fires are also a great way to signal for help if you get lost. If lost, you’ll also want the whistle as it is more effective than using your voice to call for help (use 3 short bursts). And just in case you’re out later than planned, a flashlight/headlamp is a must-have item to see your map and where you’re walking.

  7. First aid kit. Prepackaged first-aid kits for hikers are available at any outfitter. Double your effectiveness with knowledge: take a first-aid class with the American Red Cross or a Wilderness First Aid class.

  8. Knife or multi-purpose tool. These enable you to cut strips of cloth into bandages, remove splinters, fix broken eyeglasses, and perform a whole host of repairs on malfunctioning gear.

  9. Sun screen and sun glasses. Especially above treeline when there is a skin-scorching combination of sun and snow, you’ll need sunglasses to prevent snow blindness and sunscreen to prevent sunburn.

  10. Daypack/backpack. You’ll want something you can carry comfortably and has the features designed to keep you hiking smartly. Don’t forget the rain cover; some packs come with one built-in. Keep the other Essentials in the pack and you’ll always be ready to hit the trail safely.

  11. BONUS: Trash Bag. This 11th piece of gear is essential to making sure that the trails you love stay beautiful for generations to come. A zip lock bag is a great option as well for keeping the trash you pick up along the trail separate from the rest of your gear.

Hiking Resources:· https://www.alltrails.com/ Great for finding hiking trails and info on distance and difficulty· https://www.14ers.com/ Comprehensive information on Colorado 14er peaks including difficulty rating, trailhead accessibility, trail conditions, peak conditions, weather conditions. The mobile app allows you to download pictures for reference as well as gpx files. Peak conditions are user contributed so add your own report when you can. Weather Resources: Use multiple weather sites as some may vary. Colorado weather is ever-changing so make sure you check the day before and day of· https://www.mountain-forecast.com/ Forecast and current conditions at different altitude on various peaks· https://www.weather.gov/ Preciptation radar and hourly wind and temperature forecasts· http://avalanche.state.co.us Avalanche and snowpack conditions Article sourced from: https://www.idahoconservation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/LNT-7-principles.pdf




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