Outdoor Tips for Planning a Successful Adventure on Your National Forest

Outdoor tips

Preparedness is the key to having a good and safe time at any of our national forests or grasslands. Before you head out on your next forest adventure, be sure to prepare for any surprises or challenges - wildlife, harsh weather, medical emergency - you might encounter at the forest you are visiting.

We are committed to everyone’s physical, psychological and social safety. So we encourage you to check off each item on this outdoor checklist before heading on your next forest adventure.

Our forests and grasslands provide incredible recreational activities for you and your family. Prepare properly for these activities and they can be both fun and safe.



Know Before You Go BadgeKnow before you go

Check with your local forest to know if the campground you desire is available and whether there are any trail closures or fire restrictions.


Plan Badge IconHave a plan

Check road conditions and fill your gas tank. Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.



Water Badge IconBring water

Stay hydrated! Water is scarce on the ridges and in desert areas. Be aware that water is not available in many campgrounds and dispersed camping areas.



Map badge iconKnow your route

GPS technology is not available in all areas of our national forests. We recommend you download or print a map of the area you are visiting. Mark alternate exit routes and emergency services stations in case of emergency.



campfire iconPrevent wildfires

Don’t build a campfire during periods of high fire danger, even if there are no restrictions. Use an alternative. Humans cause nine out of 10 fires so, if you do build a campfire, be careful. Never leave your campfire unattended. Bring supplies to properly extinguish it, such as water and a shovel. Remember, if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.



Pocket Knife Badge IconPocket knife

A pocket knife or multi-tool can help with food preparation, gear repair, first aid and other emergency needs.



Whistle Badge IconWhistle

You can whistle for much longer than you can yell for help. If you become lost, stay put and signal by blowing three blasts (a well-known emergency signal).



Gear Badge IconProper gear

Whether you’re hiking, biking, camping or fishing, be sure to pack the right gear for your forest activity. Proper shoes, clothing and a first aid kit are key for a good time at the forest.



Sun Protection Badge IconSun protection

Sunny days are great for forest adventures, but sun exposure can damage your skin. Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses can help protect you from sun exposure.



Flashlight Badge iconFlashlight or headlamp and extra batteries

Forest adventures can take you to both high places and low. Having a source of light can guide you out of a dark place or help you return to your vehicle at night.



Snacks Badge IconFood

A nutritious meal or snack can give you the energy you need for all your forest activities. Remember, store food and sweet-smelling items in bear-resistant containers away from your campsite.



cooking badge iconCooking supplies

Ensure you have matches or a lighter for a stove or campfire. Bring pots, eating utensils and trash bags.