With over 350 miles of trails, there is a hike for everyone--from short easy walks to extensive backpacking trips. Most trails are accessed froom one of the two highways crossing the forest. To the north, Highway 50 follows the American River. Along this corridor many hiking opportunities are fround in the Georgetown, Crystal Basin, and Writghts Lake Areas as well as the Desolation Wilderness. To the south, Highway 88 provides access to Bear River, the Moroman Emigrant Trail, the Silver Lake, Kirkwood, and Carson Pass Areas and the Molelumne Wilderness.
Before adventuring out spend some time preparing to ensure a safe and fun trip. When planning a trip, check with Forest Service information centers or ranger station for updates and information. Use maps, stay on the trails and be prepared for changeable weather and other emergencies.
- Familiarize yourself with the trail you plan to hike. Be sure to always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back.
- Check the weather. What's the forecasted temperature? Might you need a coat? raingear?
- Avoid hiking alone.
- Carry enough water - 1-2 liters per person. More if it is hot!
- Bring snacks and/or lunch. Keep yourself fueled to perform your best.
- Be aware of heat , sun, and potential changes in weather. Wear layered clothing, use sunscreen, hats and sunglasses.
- Wear proper footwear. Your footwear is your most important equipment when you hike.
- Carry a first-aid kit for unexpected emergencies.
- Toilet paper and a plastic bag for when nature calls.
- Keep track of time. Know what time sunset is and plan on being back to your car at least an hour before sunset. Having a headlamp or flashlight is important if you are are later than you planned.
Many popular trails have become overused and show damage to vegetation and wildlife habitats. Help maintain them for future generations of hikers.
- Plan ahead and prepare
"Know before you go." Learn everything you can about the area you plan to visit and the regulations for its use.
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces
Use established campsites and trails where available. Avoid sites just beginning to show impacts. Keep camps small and at least 200 yeards from water, occupied camps, and trails.
- Dispose of waste properly
"Pack it in, pack it out!" Bury human waste in a cathole 6-8 inches deep and at least 200 feet from water. Wash yourself and dishes at least 200 feet from water.
- Leave what you find
Leave natural objects or cultural artifacts for others to enjoy. Don't build structures, dig trenches or alter natural features.
- Minimize use and impacts of fire
Use a lightweight stove, instead of a fire. If you build a fire,use only small dead wood found on the ground and use exisiting fire rings. Check fire regulations and restrictions for the area before you go.
- Respect wildlife
Watch wildlife from a distance and never approach, feed or follow it. Seal food tightly and store it out of reach. Control pets at all times or consider leaving them at home.
- Be considerate of other visitors
Preserve the natural quiet. When you meet horse on the trai, step off the downhill side and speak softly as they pass.