Safe Travels

There are plenty of ways to see some eye-popping scenery as well as wildlife in Colorado from the comfort and safety of your car. (See our write up on Trail Ridge Road.) Alternatively, you could also spend a week in either Granby or Breckenridge without getting a single scuff of dirt on your shoes, and have an excellent vacation. But for those travelers who want to go a little further, and get a little more off the beaten path, Colorado is one of those states that will certainly reward a little adventurous spirit with majestic vistas and tucked away valleys teeming with flora and fauna. (See our write up on best hikes.) But as with anything, if you don’t take the risk, you won’t get the reward. With these safety tips provided by the United State Forest Service, you can be prepared for any adventure, in any season.

Colorado11Plan Ahead
If you’re going out on a hike, even for a few hours, tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to return. Don’t rely on cell phones for emergencies, they may not work in remote areas.

Unpredictable Weather
If you don’t like the weather in Colorado, wait 20 minutes, it’s unpredictable out here. Check the report before you head out and make sure you layer up with raincoats, jackets, and wool in cooler temps. Head out early if you’re hiking a peak, this will ensure you can be on your way down before afternoon thunderstorms form.

Stay Hydrated
Especially at altitude, but in all seasons, it’s very important to drink plenty of water. Reduce the chance of altitude sickness by letting your body acclimate slowly and avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals. Ultraviolet radiation is also increased two-fold at 10,000 feet compared to sea level. Wear sunscreen in all seasons, and cover up exposed skin.

Winter-Ready Driving Tips
The National Park Service gives Trail Ridge Road back to Mother Nature in the winter, but other mountain roads stay open to give access to ski resorts. There are numerous pull offs for applying tire chains as you head up into the mountains from Denver. If you have to drive in a storm, make sure you have plenty of fuel and are dressed warm. It also helps to have a shovel and blanket, and don’t forget, you can use the floormats of your car for traction if you get stuck in light snow.

Pets In The Wilderness
There are many trails that are pet-friendly, however, you need to be extra mindful of keeping them on their leash to make sure they don’t get lost, or have dangerous run-ins with snakes, mountain lions, bears, or moose. Bring plenty of water for your dog, and protect their feet on rocky trails. They might love adventure as much as you do, but they also rely on you for their needs.

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as staff writer and photographer for RTX Traveler Magazine, based in Asheville, NC. In his spare time he enjoys photography, astronomy, hiking, hanging out with his family and dog, and of course, traveling! His favorite RTX spots to visit are Orange Beach, Alabama, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, but he's visiting new places all the time. .

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