Summer Safety on the White Mountain National Forest

A low falls area on the forest full of people swimming and lounging on the rocks.

While swimming in Lower Falls is a popular activity on the Forest, it must be done safely.

Summer is a great time to get out and enjoy your National Forest.  Whether you are thinking about hiking, camping, or taking a scenic drive forest officials encourage you to plan ahead. We want visitors to enjoy their visit to the National Forest, and planning ahead will help ensure everyone gets home safely.


Water Safety

Every year many people across the country die in water related accidents. The lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams of the White Mountain National Forest are beautiful but realize hazards exist, some hidden and others more obvious.

  • Beware of slick and slippery rocks.  Any amount of moisture and rocks become slippery and provide unstable footing.
  • Respect a rail, fence, or warning sign and don't try to go around or behind it.  The safety precautions are appropriately placed, most likely because of other unfortunate incidents at that location.
  • Water fluctuates rapidly.  If there was a safe stream crossing earlier in the day, it may not be so on the return trip.  Be certain to assess if there are any changes and don't assume the conditions are the same.

Depth, clarity, speed, and hydraulic forces can vary tremendously due to spring melt-off, heavy rainfall, or slower seasonal changes. Always be responsible and assess the hazards and your risks before entering any section of water.

Additional Resources



 Even if you’re just planning a short hike remember to hikeSafe!  Severe weather or a wrong turn could become life threatening, and the weather in the White Mountains can be unpredictable.

  • Check the forecast before visiting and if need be consider postponing your hike - the mountains will be there another day.
  • Bring warm clothing and good rain gear. While it may be sunny and warm where you are, it may be cold in the mountains. 

See our hikeSafe page, a collaboration with NH Fish and Game and the NH Outdoor coucil for more tips and best practices.


Additional Resources



If you’re planning a camping trip remember, these campgrounds are in forested environments and it is important to store food properly in closed/locked vehicles or bear containers. It is vital that you keep a clean campsite to ensure bears and other animals don’t forage for your food. 

  • Put coolers and food containers in your vehicle when you finish your meal.
  • Place trash in the bear proof dumpsters. 
  • If camping in the backcountry, hang your food bag at least 10’ up and 5’ out from a tree limb that will support a bear, or better yet, bring a bear proof canister with you. 

Proper food storage is the best way to protect yourself, other campers, and the bears from the dangers of habituation.

Additional Resources