Larimer County has some of the most beautiful open lands in the entire state. To enjoy these natural resources responsibly, follow these simple tips. This way, you and those around you can have a memorable and safe experience while minimizing the impacts on our natural resources. 

Safety Starts With You


Know Before You Go

  • Before leaving, check the weather and make sure you are bringing the right equipment for the day. Colorado has variable weather conditions. On hot days, bring enough water, sunscreen, food, and a hat. On colder or stormy days, bring enough layers to stay warm.
  • To avoid disappointment at the trailhead, check COTREX for live trail conditions and updates.
  • Larimer County webcams also provide a real-time look at parking conditions at popular destinations.

Prevent Wildfire

  • Know the current fire restrictions and regulations of the area you are visiting, and follow them. 
  • Create a plan. Know where you are going and determine ways out in case of an emergency. Look at the weather forecast. Download a trail map and create a backup plan for adverse weather or emergencies, such as fire and flood. Tell people where you’re going.
  • Charge your phone in case you need help or if there is an emergency. Cell service may be extremely limited in mountain locations.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Always stay focused on what’s in front and around you as natural hazards may be present.  
  • Use a backup plan. Colorado weather is highly unpredictable.  During hot, dry, and windy conditions, know your limit on the trail.

Too Hot to Hike

  • When temperatures spike in the summer months, heat injuries are common and serious! 
  • Avoid the hottest part of the day. Hike early or late.
  • Leave your dog at home.
  • Stay hydrated. Bring extra water, wear light clothes, a hat, and sunscreen.

Go early/late to avoid crowds 

  • To avoid crowds, parking trouble, and disappointment at the trailhead, try to go to Larimer County open spaces during non-peak hours.
  • Head to your destination earlier (before 9 am), or go later in the afternoon (after 3 pm). The middle of the day (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) is the most common time people are turned away. 

Have a back up plan

  • When you reach the trailhead, and the parking lot is full, have a back up plan in mind.
  • Consider other areas close by that might not be as busy.

Stay on trail

  • The vegetation that is along the trails is an important part of the ecosystem.
  • Stay on the trail to avoid trampling new growth.
  • Walk through the mud - not around it. 
  • Lightly step off the trail while others pass to avoid widening the trail.

Rattlesnakes Happen 

  • During the summer months, rattlesnakes are common around Larimer County open lands.
  • Be aware and on the lookout for them, and give them a lot of space if seen.
  • If you share the trail with one, give it a wide berth to move along. Do not throw rocks or sticks at it.
  • If you are bitten by a rattlesnake, elevate the wound, slow the heart rate, and call emergency services.

Keep Wildlife Wild

  • Encountering wildlife is an exciting experience that many visitors in Larimer County get to have.
  • When you come across wildlife in the open spaces of Larimer County, view them from a respectful distance.
  • Never try to approach, touch, or feed wildlife.


  • Whenever you bring your dog along hiking with you, make sure that you are coming prepared with waste bags, plenty of water, and a 6-7 ft leash.
  • Check the temperature of the pavement to make sure the ground is not too hot for their feet.
  • Bag it, Pack it, Can it! Dispose of dog waste in appropriate trash receptacles at the trailhead. Do not leave alongside to "pick up later."

Wear it

  • Wearing a PFD is one of the best ways to keep yourself and those around you safe while on the water.
  • Wear your PFD at all times when you are out on the water.
  • Children 12 and under are required to wear their PFD at all times with a penalty of a fine. 
  • Other boating safety tips courtesy of National Safe Boating Council.

Trail Etiquette

  • Know the rules of the trail. Stay on the trail, and always yield to traffic coming down. 
  • Be courteous of others' experience. Keep your dog within control, and don't blast music as you hike.


  • Fishing is a fun, relaxing pastime enjoyed by a number of Larimer County residents.
  • Whenever you are out fishing, make sure to dispose of fishing lines in designated areas.
  • Loose fishing lines get tangled with wildlife and can cause harm to the ecosystem.

Be Bear Aware

  • Bears are common in Northern Colorado. To avoid an encounter, always put scented food into a bear proof container and lock it up.
  • If you encounter a bear on the trail, make yourself as large as possible and back away slowly. Never turn and run. 

Bring cell phone

  • In case of an emergency, to stay up-to-date on the weather, and check trail conditions, always bring a charged cell phone with you.

Leave No Trace

  • It is the responsibility of all visitors of Larimer County open spaces to do their part to keep our spaces litter free.
  • Pack it in, Pack it out
  • Dog waste - Bag it, Pack it, Can it!

Electric Motorized Bikes (E-Bikes)

  • Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are allowed on all paved surface trails managed by Larimer County
  • Individuals with a mobility disability can use a Class 1 or 2 e-bike on natural surface trails managed by Larimer County where bikes are allowed
  • For more information, visit this page

Other stewardship tips