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Planning on going for a hike in Colorado? What you need to know before heading out


EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- Whether you’re hiking or biking this summer, there are a lot of things to keep in mind before you hit the open trail.

One of the most important pieces of advice, according to one local expert, is to simply know where you're going.

Bob “Hiking Bob” Falcone says, “You may not realize you went this way, or that way and then on the way back you might get lost. Pay attention to where you are making turns, I recommend to take a picture, when you turn, of the signs so that you can remember which way you went.”

Hiking Bob said he packs everything he needs to get him through a hike right on his back.

“A GPS is always handy, so you can track where you’re at, where you’re going and find your way back if you have to. Extra layer of clothes especially right now, we are starting out early in the morning, it’s a little cool, so you probably want to have an extra set of clothes something light weight that you can take off, and then throw back in your pack as it warms up and then have it again in the evening if you are coming back later. Rain gear is always essential.”

And with Colorado’s weather able to change rapidly in the day, for example monsoon season or snow in June, being off the top by noon are words to live by.

“No matter where you’re at, if you can hear thunder know that lightning is going to follow it and it’s time for you to head back to safety and to shelter,” said Hiking Bob.

And before you leave to go anywhere, make sure you let someone know exactly where you’re going and what time you plan on getting back.

“Tell them you are going to Cheyenne Mountain State Park, for example, but what trails you think you are going to be doing. If you got to make a change, call them and tell them you are going to do this trail.”

But if nothing else, Hiking Bob says make sure you at least have water, food and a map.

If you do get lost or disoriented when out on a hike, don’t keep wandering. It’s a lot harder for search and rescue to find your location if you keep moving.

Author Profile Photo

Kolby Crossley



  1. Most of these articles fail to provide a good sample list. Here’s one, from decades of hiking, backpacking, and lessons learned from USAF Survival School:

    Back when I was doing 14ers I always carried a Camelback H.A.W.G. The original water bladder was only 70 oz, but it holds a 100 oz bladder just fine, and it’s two main pockets, side pouches, and tie pads afford enough room to carry the following ABSOLUTE ESSENTIALS in a pack that weighs, loaded, less than 15 lbs. It’s outstanding waist belt really helps distribute the load, too. In fact, in Aug, 2009, I was caught in a blizzard atop Mount Belford, but I was toasty in my gear. Just another walk in the park.

    hat, cold-weather (fleece watchcap), Pack,
    hat, floppy (sunshade), Worn,
    jacket, fleece, Pack,
    jacket, wind/rain-proof, breathable shell, Pack,
    pants, fleece, Pack,
    pants, shorts, hiking, lightweight, stay-dri, Worn,
    pants, wind/rain-proof, breathable shell, Pack,
    shirt, longsleeve, fleece, Pack,
    shirt, stay-dri, Worn,
    socks, cotton, hiking, Worn,
    socks, fleece, spare, Pack, Optional
    underwear, Worn,
    underwear – spare, Pack,
    Camelback 100 oz bladder, Pack,
    Camelback H.A.W.G., Worn,
    fire pit, titanium (for twigs), Pack, Optional
    Food – granola bars, chocolate, raisins, jerky, box of Mac and Cheese, can tuna, Pack,
    pot, small, titanium, Pack, Optional
    bandana, Pack, Optional
    camera, pocket, + case, Pack,
    notepad, small, hiking + pen, Pack, Optional
    TP, 30 squares, ziplock, Pack,
    wipes, 5, ziplock, Pack,
    Colorado Rescue Card, Pack,
    credit card, Pack,
    drivers license, Pack,
    military ID card, Worn,
    antibiotic – small tube, Pack,
    roll of medical tape on plastic spool, Pack,
    small orthopedic self-attaching wrap, Pack, Optional
    ziplock of 3 aspirin, 3 800mg ibuprofen, 2 500 mg tylenol, 2 immodium AD, 4 amoxicillin, Pack,
    ziplock of 3 gauze pads and 3 bandaids, Pack,
    SPF 30 lip balm, Pack,
    SPF 50 sunscreen (small bottle, lotion) – often slathered on then left in car, Pack,
    sunglasses, Worn,
    sunglasses lanyard, Worn,
    2 AA batteries, spare for the GPS, Pack, Optional
    BIC lighter, Worn,
    BIC lighter, Pack, Optional
    blanket, space, aluminized mylar, Pack,
    fully charged cell phone in OFF position, Pack, Optional
    handheld GPS in OFF position, Pack,
    lightweight knife (titanium blade, zytel handle), Pack,
    mirror, signal, plastic, lightweight, Pack,
    boots, hiking, Worn,
    boots, laces, spare pair, Pack,
    car key, primary, Worn,
    car key, spare, Pack, Optional

  2. My kids and grandchildren were taught more than this before the age of 10. I also taught them that if they are lost and find a stream to follow it down stream. I also carry a fire arm with me.

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