Riverside County Parks are a beautiful recreational resource. Some common-sense precautions will help make your park experience a pleasant one. It is your responsibility to exercise caution and to ensure your own safety while using trails. This includes knowing the limits of your own abilities, wearing a helmet when bicycling and following the rules specific to the trail you are on.
Avoid conflicts between different types of trail user. By design, Regional Trails accommodate a variety of trail users. While this is generally one of the many benefits of Regional Trails, it also can lead to occasional conflicts among trail users. Everyone should take responsibility to ensure trail safety by following a few simple trail etiquette guidelines.
- Travel in groups of two or more. Two of more people can assist each other in the event of an accident or emergency.
- Keep your speed down. Pass with care, and yield when appropriate. Approach each bend as if someone were around the corner.
- Be prepared for weather. Conditions and temperatures can change rapidly. Dress accordingly, carry adequate water and sun protection.
- Stay on approved trails. Going off trail can damage park resources, accelerate erosion, and threaten other park users and wildlife. Respect the property of the land owners adjacent to trail boundaries and the vegetation that grows there.
- Always carry water. Two quarts per person per two hour hike is recommended.
- Dogs must be under control at all times. They must be leashed on paved, multi-use trails, in parking lots, and in developed areas. Loose dogs can be hazardous to bicyclists runners, and equestrians. Please dispose of your dog’s waste by placing it in a garbage can.
- Obey all trail-use rules posted at trailheads. You are responsible for knowing and following park rules and regulations.
- Do not litter. Carry all trash with you, if you bring it in, you should bring it out. If you see litter along the way, take a moment to pick it up as well, you will be leaving the trail a nicer place than you found it.
- Do not drink or contaminate water sources – Wash 100 feet away from any water source. Never drink from streams without properly filtering water.
- Use provided toilet facilities – If you are unable to find a facility, dig a hole six inches deep at least 200 feet from any open water.
- Do not make fires. Use picnic areas and grills if provided.
- Respect park resources. Remember that all park resources – fossils, plants, animals, artifacts, and rocks should remain as you find them. Each person is entitled to the same sense of discovery you experience when traveling our County’s Regional Trails. Do not harass and wild animals or remove and plants for the trail area. This is some creatures home and you are the visitor.
- Motor Vehicles. No motorized vehicles are allowed on trails (wheelchairs excepted).
General Safety News
- Lock valuables in the trunk of your car or take them with you.
- Hiking shoes or boots are recommended for most trails, especially the more strenuous ones.
- Steep and rocky areas and slippery stream crossings require extra attention and careful footing.
- Even for trails marked “easy,” it is advisable to wear flat or rubber-soled shoes for comfort and good traction. Wearing sandals, “flip-flops,” or high heels can result in accidents.
- Listen for other trail users and pass equestrians with caution. Hikers and should step to the side of the trail when meeting or being overtaken by cyclists or equestrians.
- Be prepared for weather changes by bringing along suitable clothing. Sudden changes in weather are common to these mountains. Even in mild seasons, rapid dips in temperature and unexpected thunderstorms frequently occur. And, at higher elevations the wind and temperature can carry a surprising chill.
- Stay on established trails, for your safety and the protection of resources. Shortcutting at switchbacks causes soil erosion, disfigures the trail, and makes it difficult for other hikers to find their way. Take advantage of log walkways, steps or other trail construction. They are there to minimize human impact on the natural environment.
- Do not drink the water in streams and springs. Bacterial diseases can be contracted by drinking untreated “wild” waters.
- Lost and found articles should be reported to a Park Ranger.
- Use safety equipment. Nearly 75% of all bicycle related deaths are the result of head injuries.
- The use of helmets would prevent many of these fatalities.
- Gloves provide protection for hands in case of a fall.
- Cyclists yield to all other trail users, and hikers yield to equestrians.
- Be sure your bicycle is in good operating condition.
- Carry a spare tube and tools for minor repairs.
- Wear high visibility clothing. It sets you apart from the scenery and makes you more visible to motorists.
- Safe drinking water is available at all picnic areas, campgrounds, concession operations, and visitor centers.
- Water from streams and springs is unsafe for drinking unless you purify it.
- When cycling in a group, adjust your spacing to allow motor vehicles to pass safely.
- Always yield, pass with care and keep your speed to a slow, safe pace.
- Do not exceed the 15-mph speed limit. Approach each bend as if someone were around the corner.
- Hikers and particularly horses are easily startled.
- Calling out or ringing a bicycle bell to get the attention of other trail users can prevent accidents.
- Being sensitive to how others perceive you will assure a positive image for your sport and minimize the restrictions that follow confrontations and negative encounters.
Bicycling Safety Tips
- Travel at a safe speed. Be especially careful when visibility is limited.
- Communicate. Let other trail users know if your horse is safe to pass.
- Don’t take short cuts. Stay on trail.
- Don’t ride in the rain. If the trail is muddy, use an alternate trail. Deep hoof ruts are difficult to repair and make the trail hazardous for other trail users.