Take a Hike

Welcome to the Great Outdoors!

Connecting Trails Family

Taking advantage of all that nature has to offer is a great family experience with the added benefit of being good for you! While you are enjoying what the forest has to offer, we want you to feel safe and comfortable. Here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of your trip to the national forest.


Outdoor Safety
When venturing out for the day in the woods, know your limitations. Always carry food and plenty of water. Wear appropriate footwear. A hat and sunscreen will help protect against heat and sunburn. Do not hike alone and tell someone your trip plans (destination and estimated time of return). Use maps to identify trails. Should you find yourself in trouble, stay calm—think clearly. Don’t rely on cell phones. Many areas in the Forest do not have coverage, so service is not always available and batteries wear out.


Day Hike Essentials 


Benson Ridge

  • Extra food/water 
  • Extra clothing 
  • Map/Compass/GPS 
  • First aid kit 
  • Headlamp/flashlight 
  • Extra Batteries 
  • Knife 
  • Sunglasses 
  • Matches/Fire starter 


Risk Assessment for the Outdoor Traveler 
Identify known hazards and risks (burned trees, large boulders, washed-out trails) 
Come up with control measures to mitigate hazards and reduce risk. Once they’ve been identified, develop a plan to reduce your exposure. Perhaps choose another trail, go around or away from the hazard. 
Identify trigger points for reevaluating operations. If wind speed or threatening rain clouds build and continue to increase, this could be a set trigger point to turn around. 

Old Man

Hazard Trees 
Safety awareness about hazard trees is crucial to outdoor safety and enjoyment. Strong wind events can accelerate tree failure. Persistent observation will aide in overall hiker safety. Below, are observation tips to keep in mind when hiking and choosing a campsite. 
  • Look up, Down, and All Around! 
  • Dead and/or burned trees 
  • Broken Tops and Branches 
  • What direction is the tree leaning? 


Weather conditions 
Weather conditions can change rapidly! Don’t get caught by surprise! Plan ahead. 
  • Obtain current weather forecasts from TV or the internet 
  • Listen to weather reports on the radio 
  • Keep an eye on the sky—pay attention to cloud build-up around your area 


Flash Floods 
More deaths occur each year due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm-related hazard because people underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles that are swept downstream. The best way to avoid lightning, flash floods, and other dangerous conditions is by avoiding the danger! Always research the current weather information right before starting your trip! 
  • Do not camp or park a vehicle along streams and washes, especially during threatening conditions 
  • Avoid camping in a wash or in the bottom of a canyon with steep side slopes. 
  • Be especially cautious at night. Flood dangers are much more difficult to see in the dark. 
  • Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast. 
  • Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. 
  • If flooding occurs, get to higher ground. Get out of areas that are subject to flooding, like dips, low spots, canyons, and washes. 
  • Roadbeds may be washed out underneath floodwaters. Never drive through flooded roadways. 


Thunder and lightning storms occur frequently. If you are caught in a storm, follow basic safety procedures. Start counting when you see the lightning and stop when you hear the thunder. A ten second count means that lightning is two miles away (4-5 seconds per mile). 
  • Turn off and move away from electronic devices. 
  • Take cover indoors. 
  • Avoid trees - move to a low area. 
  • A car provides the best cover - roll up all windows, do not touch any metal parts. 
  • While hiking, carry a 4 foot square piece of polyethylene as an insulator; crouch down on it, knees and feet together. Crouching lessens your chances of becoming a lightning rod. 
  • Groups attract lightning - separate. 
  • Get away from rocks. Rocks don’t hold much water and your body does. 
  • Get off your horse. Metal in horseshoes, bits and rigging can attract lightning. Your horse will be safest if unsaddled and in an area that has brush. 
For more information, please contact the nearest ranger station.


OshaTrestle Recreation Area
Willie White Area TrailsGrandview Trail Complex

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