Outdoor Safety

Have Fun & Be Safe!

Over two million hikers hike trails in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area annually. 

Each year several individuals or parties get lost or hurt in the woods. Most commonly, hikers get lost going off-trail and then lose the trail or fall from steep edges or cliffs that are all over the area.

The USDA Forest Service, Cascade Locks Fire Department & Crag Rats Search and Rescue team encourage hikers to be prepared before departing. Search and rescue efforts can be expensive, are often risky to the searchers and create worry for family and friends.

Before venturing into the Gorge the above organizations recommend the follow safety precautions:

  • Leave a trip itinerary with someone who will check in with you regarding your return time.
  • Carry the 10 Essential Systems which include map and compass, extra food, extra water, whistle, poncho, extra clothing, waterproof matches and fire starter, flashlight, first aid kit.
  • Be prepared for extreme temperatures, heat, snow and/or rain. Hypothermia is the #1 killer of outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Do not rely on your mobile device. Although GPS devices and cell phones are helpful, do not rely on them, especially in the deep canyons of the Gorge. Even a few hundred yards up some trails there is no cell phone reception and batteries wear out at the most inconvenient times.
  • Know your limitations & experience level.  Make sure you are fit for the type of outing you are planning.
  • If hiking with others, stay together; it is highly recommended that you hike with at least one other person.
  • If you think you are lost, do not panic. Stop and plan your next action, which often is to stay in one place, especially if darkness is near.
  • Leave plenty of daylight for travel. Set up an emergency camp while there is still daylight if needed.

Always #RecreatewithRespect.