The San Jacinto Ranger Station is located at 54270 Pine Crest Ave., Idyllwild. Photo by Melissa Diaz Hernandez
Hiking season is in full swing! Here are some safety tips from the San Bernardino National Forest-San Jacinto Ranger Station to help keep you and your loved ones safe while hiking. 
  1. Contact your local ranger station for permits, maps and weather.
  2. Plan ahead. Tell someone where you are going and when you will return
  3. Stay together in your group, so people do not get lost.
  4. If you get lost, stay put and do not wander (Hug-A-Tree). Use your whistle and signal mirror.
  5. Stay on the trail to alleviate getting lost and creating unnecessary erosion.
  6. Use “Leave No Trace” ethics.
  7. Do not cut switchbacks (a zigzag trail for climbing a steep hill or mountain) to alleviate unnecessary erosion. Do not make new trails that do not coincide with trail incline requirements. You can receive a citation and/or fine for cutting switchbacks.
  8. Pack it in and pack it out.
  9. Get settled before it gets dark.
  10. Treat water with a filter, tablets or boil for 10 minutes.
  11. Be careful with fires if they are allowed. Use stoves that can be turned on and off and burn only small fires (if permitted) for heating food.
  12. Pack your 10 hiking essentials (below) and be prepared for weather changes. Hypothermia can even occur in the warm summer months.

10 hiking essentials

  1. Map and compass (optional: GPS and extra batteries)
  2. Extra water and food (optional: water filter or purification tablets)
  3. Extra clothing/jacket, rain gear, hat and foil emergency blanket
  4. Whistle and signal mirror
  5. Sunscreen and sunglasses
  6. Pocket knife
  7. Waterproof matches
  8. First Aid kit
  9. Flashlight and extra batteries
  10. Trowel to bury human waste 8 inches into the ground These items can be found online or at local Idyllwild stores. If you have any questions, you can stop by the San Jacinto Ranger Station located at 54270 Pine Crest Ave., Idyllwild.