Outdoor Safety & Ethics

General Safety Tips for Visitors to Lake Tahoe

The most effective way to prevent mishaps is to adequately prepare for your trip. Knowledge of the area, weather, terrain, limitations of your body, plus a little common sense can help to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

  • Travel with a companion. Traveling alone in the forest is never a good idea. If an emergency arises you have a much better chance of surviving if you are with someone else. Always leave a copy of your itinerary with a responsible person. Include exactly where you are going and when you plan to return and stick to your plan.
  • Be in good physical condition. Set a comfortable pace. A group trip should be designed for the weakest member of your group. If you have a medical condition, discuss your plans with your health care provider before departing.
  • Think about your footing while traveling on steep trails or near cliffs. Stay on developed trails or dry, solid rock areas with good footing. Trees and bushes can's always be trusted to hold you. Be alert for slippery areas and take your time to avoid tripping.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and sturdy footwear. Dress in layers and always consider the possibility of changing weather conditions when deciding what to wear or bring with you.
  • Check your equipment. Keep your equipment in good working order and inspect it before your trip.
  • Check weather conditions before departing. Weather in the mountains can change rapidly. Know the signs for approaching storms or changing weather conditions. Avoid bare ridge tops, exposed places, lone trees, streams, and rocks during lightning storms.
  • Learn basic first aid. Carry a first aid kit and learn how to identify the symptoms of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, hypothermia, dehydration, and know how to treat them.
  • Make camp before dark. Traveling in the forest after dark has resulted in injury or death from falls. Set up your camp away from the edge of cliffs, and learn the terrain in daylight. If you have to leave camp after dark, stay in areas you have seen in daylight and use a good flashlight.
  • Think before you drink! No matter how clean or pure stream or lake water looks, it's likely to contain water-borne parasites and microorganisms that can cause discomfort and sometimes serious illness. Pack your water in, or purify through chemical treatment or boil for at least 5 minutes.

For more information on recreating in the great outdoors, visit http://www.fs.fed.us/visit/know-before-you-go.


Back Country Safety Tips

The back country is beautiful, but also primitive. You will be on your own. Check with the local Ranger District, Ranger Station, or Supervisor's Office for the latest weather conditions before starting your hike. Human impact can degrade and destroy wilderness resources, as well as detract from other visitors' wilderness experience. Follow the link above to learn more about back country safety.

Tips for Hikers and Backpackers

The Lake Tahoe Basin offers some of the most spectacular hiking and backpacking in the nation. Whether you are going out for a day hike or an extended backpacking trip visit the link above to learn more about trail tips for hikers and backpackers to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

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