Hiking tips

hiking tips | Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

Here are some of the tips we regularly give people:

  • Hike with someone! (Most of our research is of people who have hiked alone).
  • Have a plan of where you are going and when you plan to return. (LA Sheriff’s Hiking Map – PDF). Complete this form and leave a printed copy on your car’s dashboard.

TELL SOMEBODY YOUR PLAN and agree on a time when someone should consider you missing and call for help.

Take the ten essentials:

  • Navigation: Map, compass, GPS device and/or emergency beacon.
  • Headlamp and flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Sunscreen.
  • First aid.
  • Knife.
  • Fire starter.
  • Shelter (may be a tent or just an emergency blanket).
  • Extra food.
  • Additional water and purification tablets. (1 liter per hour when hiking).
  • If you are hiking with your K-9 hiking partner, consider bringing extra water.
  • Additional clothes. (Diapers WITHOUT cotton).

Regarding the use of cell phones:

  • When you go to the mountains, turn off the phone or put it in airplane mode.
  • DO NOT HESITATE to dial 9-1-1. Calling 9-1-1 automatically sends your current location.
  • IF YOU GET LOST: STAY WHERE YOU ARE! Search parties will search for you based on your plan.
  • Create a shelter. Either what you brought, or use natural resources (leafy branches, etc).
  • Make yourself visible from the air. Helicopters will be looking for you.
  • Use a brightly colored fabric.
  • Create a large “X” with rocks or tree branches.
  • Ration your food and water.