Outdoor Safety and Ethics

Please take time to review these safety tips to follow when enjoying your public lands. 

Whether you're roughing it in a tent or planning a family outing to the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest, there are many ways to make sure your experience is fun and safe. Here are just a few reminders to consider while enjoying a hike, ski, bike ride or camping trip on our forest.

  • Thunderstorms often develop in the afternoon in the Colorado high country. Visiting early in the day and being back near or in your vehicle by afternoon is advisable.
  • Be aware of high altitude sickness, it can be life threatening. If you are not acclimated, do not overexert and drink plenty of water! 
  • Hypothermia can be a hazard year-round. It is the number #1 killer of outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Watch the weather in September and be prepared for an early snow storm.

General Travel Precautions

  • Many forest roads are gravel and rough. High clearance vehicles are advised. Take your time and stay on your side of the road.  
  • Travelling on the mountain passes should not be attempted by low clearance passenger cars.
  • Be aware of tourism traffic on our windy roads.
  • Watch out for animals in the road, such as cattle, deer, sheep, and elk.
  • Comply with speed limits.
  • Be aware of pedestrian and trail crosswalks.

Plan Ahead

Outdoor Safety Tips

Campfire Safety

Don’t let carelessness be the cause of a devastating wildfire! If lighting a campfire, remember these important tips:

  • Never build a campfire under trees or overhanging branches.
  • Clear a 10-foot area of pine needles & grass.
  • Keep plenty of water on hand, and have a shovel handy.
  • Keep all campfires small.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended.
  • Be sure your campfire is ‘dead out’!
  • Check for fire restrictions


Learn tips on how to help keep our forests healthy by Leaving No Trace.