Rules For Visitors

Welcome to the Pike, San Isabel National Forests
and Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands! 

As a visitor to the National Forests, you are asked to follow certain rules designed to; protect the Forests and the natural environment; ensure the health and safety of visitors; and promote a pleasant and rewarding outdoor recreation experience for all visitors.

Regional Foresters and Forest Supervisors may issue orders that will close or restrict the use of certain areas if the need arises.  Such orders will be posted so visitors to the National Forest can become familiar with them.  Copies of the orders pertaining to the Pike and San Isabel National Forests and Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands (PSICC) are available at each office and on the PSICC Special Orders Web page. (Click here to view current orders)

Please remember to be careful!  You are primarily responsible for your own safety.  Look out for natural hazards and dangers when you are in the forest.  If you hike off trails or swim or dive in streams or lakes, you do so at YOUR OWN RISK.

Any search and rescue efforts must be initiated by the local Sheriff's Office. Please let friends and family know where you are going, when you are expected to be back and the local Sheriff's office number for your visit.


Audio Devices
Business Activities 
Fee Areas
Fireworks and Firearms

Operation of Vehicles 
Pets and Animals 
Public Behavior 




All visitors and users of the National forests are subject to Federal Regulations.  The points of conduct listed here are generally included in and enforceable through Federal Regulations.  All of the regulations are published in Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations and are on file at all Forest Supervisor and District Ranger offices.  Violation of orders and regulations is subject to punishment by a fine or imprisonment.

Authority: 16 USC 551, 7 USC 1011(f).

State traffic and game laws apply to National Forests unless otherwise specified.

Audio Devices

  • Operate any audio device, such as a radio or musical instrument, so that it does not disturb other visitors.

  • A permit is required for operating a public address system in or near a campsite, developed recreation site, or over a body of water.


Business Activities

  • Permits are required for any commercial activity.



  • Obey restrictions on fires.  Fires may be limited or prohibited at certain times.

  • Within campgrounds and other recreation sites, build fires only in fire rings, stoves, grills, or fireplaces provided for that purpose.

  • In undeveloped sites, a fire ring of rocks must enclose campfires.  DO NOT leave a campfire unattended.

  • Be sure your fire is completely extinguished before leaving.  YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR KEEPING FIRES UNDER CONTROL.



  • Camping is allowed throughout the District in both developed and undeveloped sites. 

  • There is a 14-day stay limit anywhere in the Forest; vehicles MUST be parked in established sites. 

  • You may camp outside of developed campgrounds if you do not cause any resource damage, and keep your vehicle within one vehicles length of main roads.

  • Use picnic sites, swimming beaches, and other day use areas only between the hours of 6 am and 10 pm.

  • Campgrounds and other recreation sites can be used only for recreation purposes.  Permanent use of use as a principal residence without authorization is not allowed.

  • In campgrounds, camp only in those places specifically marked or provided.

  • At least one person must occupy a camping area during the first night after camping equipment has been set up, unless permission has otherwise been granted by the Forest Ranger.

  • Do not leave camping equipment unattended for more than 24 hours without permission from the Forest Ranger.  The Federal Government is not responsible for any loss or damage to personal property.

  • Remove all personal property and trash when leaving.


Fee Areas

  • You must pay a fee to use certain developed sites and facilities.  Such areas are clearly signed or posted as requiring a fee.

  • Where fees are required, you must pay them before using the site, facility, equipment, or service furnished.


Fireworks and Firearms

  • Do not set off fireworks or other explosives within campgrounds or other recreation sites.

  • Firing a gun is not allowed: a) within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site, or occupied area; b) across or on a road or body of water; c) in any circumstance whereby any person may be injured or property damaged.

  • Hunting is allowed in the Forest and State regulations apply on National Forest land.



The following is NOT allowed without a permit:

  • Transplanting trees, shrubs or plants from the National Forest.

  • Cutting or removing fuel wood

  • Cutting and removing boughs.

  • Cutting and removing Christmas trees.

  • Removing rocks, soil, vegetative matter or any natural matter.

  • Removing any Forest product or natural feature.

  • Occupying National Forest Land leased for residential purpose.

  • Posting, placing or erecting any notice, advertising material or sign.



  • is not permitted in congressionally designated Wilderness Areas per FSM 2320, or in any other nationally designated areas such as national scenic areas, historic or scenic trails.
  • is permissible in all other General Forest Areas provided there is no natural resource damage or vandalism to government facilities.
  • is not permitted within areas designated as national historic landmarks, sites, or pre-historic sites.
  • natural resources are not to be disturbed, nor are they allowed to be removed from NFS lands. That includes soil disturbance/digging, removal of vegetation, disturbance of natural features, etc.  Avoid sensitive areas like wetlands or streams.
  • historical artifacts or features are not to be disturbed or removed. 
  • Geocaching shall not interfere with other permitted activities such as outfitter and guide designated campsites.
  • motorized vehicle use and parking shall be in compliance with PSICC travel regulations and Motor Vehicle Use Maps. 
  • Geocaching via horseback is not permitted in developed recreation sites other than those designated for equestrian use.
  • Geocachers are not required to have a permit provided that they are in-compliance with all other FS regulations and policy concerning group size and fees.
  • Please label Geocaches as such to avoid any confusion or safety concerns

Operation of Vehicles

  • Obey all traffic signs.  State traffic laws apply to the National Forests unless otherwise specified.

  • When operating vehicles of any kind, do not damage the land or vegetation or disturb wildlife.  Avoid driving on unpaved roads or trails when they are wet or muddy.

  • Within campgrounds and other recreation sites, use cars, motorbikes, motorcycles, or other motor vehicles only for entering or leaving, unless areas or trails are specifically marked for them.  Park only in marked parking areas.

  • Do not block, restrict, or interfere with the use of roads or trails.

  • Obey area and trail restrictions on use of trail bikes and other off-road vehicles.

  • NO vehicle parking is allowed behind barriers.


Pets and Animals

  • Pets must always be restrained or on a leash while in developed recreation sites.

  • Pets (except guide dogs) are not allowed in swimming areas.

  • Saddle or pack animals are allowed in recreation sites only where authorized by posted instruction.



  • Do not carve, chop, cut or damage live trees.

  • Preserve and protect your National Forests.  Leave natural areas the way you find them.

  • Enter buildings, structures, or enclosed areas in National Forests only when they are expressly opened to the public.

  • Indian sites, old cabins, and other structures, along with objects and artifacts associated with them, have historic or archeological value.  Do not damage or remove any such historic or archeological resource.

  • Private property is found within the boundaries of the Pike National Forest.  DO NOT damage nor destroy public or private property.  Respect the property and rights of others.


Public Behavior

  • Quiet hours are from 11pm to 6am.

  • No fighting or boisterous behavior.

  • Keep noise at a reasonable level.  Please be considerate of fellow visitors.



  • Throw all garbage and litter in containers provided for this purpose, or take it with you.

  • Garbage containers, when provided, are reserved for the use of visitors to the National Forest, not visitors to or owners of private lands or lands under permit.

  • Wash food and personal items away from drinking water supplies.  Use water faucets only for drawing water.

  • Prevent pollution--keep garbage, litter, and foreign substances out of lakes, streams and other water.

  • Use toilets properly.  Do not throw garbage, litter, fish cleanings, or other foreign substances in toilets and plumbing fixtures.


  • Motor vehicles and motorized equipment are not allowed in wilderness areas.

  • Preserve the wilderness--"Leave only footprints, take only pictures."