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Trail Etiquette and Safety

Before you head out on the trail

  • Mark sure you park only on paved surfaces (where applicable). Parking on unpaved surfaces slowly erodes preserve land, generates dust and poses a fire risk to grasses and small brush from hot engine parts.
  • Make sure someone knows where you'll be hiking and when you expect to return.
  • Before leaving your car, make sure your valuables are stored out of sight. The best solution is to leave your valuables such as a wallet or purse at home or secure them in the trunk before arriving at the trailhead.
  • Lock your car and take your keys with you (do not try to hide keys under a tire or car bumper).
  • Report suspicious activity to Park Rangers or to Crime Stop at (602) 262-6151.

Have a hiking plan

  • Know where you are going and know what kind of terrain you will be hiking on. Bring a trail map when possible.
  • Don’t hike alone.
  • Know your limitations. Don’t do more than you are able.
  • Remember, even if you are hydrated, you can still suffer from heat-related illness. If you do choose to hike, consider hiking only in the early morning and on less strenous trails.

Have the essentials

  • Bring plenty of water (One quart per 2 miles; depending on the trail) in a water pack to keep your hands free while hiking.
  • Wear appropriate footwear, preferably hiking boots.
  • Wear light-colored, comfortable clothing.
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen.
  • Cell phone.

Trail Etiquette

  • Hikers can encounter rocky terrain, rattlesnakes and other potential hazards native to the Sonoran Desert. Staying on trails and observing trail etiquette will help to ensure that your preserve outing is a safe one.
  • ALWAYS stay on a designated trail.
  • Learn to share the trails with all other users. Although it is used as a rule (bike riders yield to both hikers and horseback riders; hikers yield to horseback riders), horseback riders should yield to all. However, for all trail users, downhill yields to uphill.
  • Use common sense and courtesy while on the trails. Announce your intentions and slow your pace when passing someone on the trails.
  • Do not litter.
  • Destruction or removal of plants, animals, historical, prehistoric or geological sites are prohibited.
  • Do not chase or harass wildlife.
  • Avoid putting your hands and feet anywhere you cannot see.
  • Remember the 3 C’s: Courtesy, Communication and Common Sense.

What to do when you need help

  • S.T.O.P. (Stop, Think, Observe, Plan). Your brain is your #1 survival tool.
  • If you are lost or injured, do not panic.
  • If you need help, notify a Park Ranger by calling (602) 262-PARK; for emergencies call 9-1-1.
  • Know your location. Look for the nearest trail marker or any noticeable landmark such as a bench, wash or tree.
  • Identify the emergency situation (Be specific regarding the condition of an injured person).