The Rocky Mountains, a vast and rugged landscape, offer thrilling offroading adventures for 4x4 enthusiasts and overlanders alike. With diverse terrains and breathtaking scenery at every turn, you'll discover unparalleled opportunities to test your vehicle's capabilities and explore lesser-known destinations. From high-altitude mountain passes to dense forests and rocky trails, the Rockies provide a thrilling playground for outdoor adventurers like you.
With a wide range of off-road trails to choose from, Colorado boasts some of the most sought-after destinations in the majestic Rocky Mountains. One such popular destination is the Wagon Wheel Trail System, which spans a massive 250 miles and consists of 13 main interconnecting trails. Another must-visit spot is the San Juan Mountain Range, offering a true Colorado Overlander experience around Durango and Silverton.
Embarking on overlanding expeditions requires preparation, skills, and a passion for adventure. It's important to research each destination and ensure your 4x4 vehicle is properly equipped to handle the challenges of off-road driving in the Rockies. As you venture on these unforgettable journeys, not only will you create lasting memories, but you'll also be part of an ever-growing community of off-road enthusiasts exploring the vast beauty of the Rocky Mountains.
A Beginner's Guide to Offroading
Embarking on an offroading adventure in the Rocky Mountains is an exciting experience that offers thrilling outdoor recreation for 4x4 and overland enthusiasts. Before you hit the trails, it's essential to prepare yourself and your vehicle for the challenges that lie ahead. In this guide, you'll learn the basics of offroading to ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure.
First and foremost, equip your SUV or pickup truck with proper 4-wheel drive capabilities. This will improve traction and allow you to navigate through rough terrain more easily. Ensure your tires are well-suited for off-road exploration, and consider investing in recovery tools like a winch, recovery straps, and a shovel for potential sticky situations.
Before embarking on your off-road excursion, take the time to research the various trails and destinations within the Rocky Mountains. Familiarize yourself with trail difficulty ratings and choose paths that align with your skill level and vehicle capabilities. For beginners, starting with less challenging trails can be a wise decision to build experience and confidence.
Colorado Off Road Trails and Utah's Moab are excellent starting points for overland enthusiasts looking to explore the Rocky Mountains. Remember always to respect the environment, abide by trail regulations, and practice responsible off-roading.
When navigating the trails, don't be afraid to ask for help or advice from fellow off-roaders. The off-road community is known for its camaraderie and willingness to offer assistance when needed. Use this to your advantage and learn from other experienced drivers.
Additionally, it's crucial to prioritize safety while offroading. Always wear your seatbelt, maintain a reasonable speed, and avoid taking unnecessary risks. Off-roading is intended to be a fun and exciting adventure, but it's essential to balance that enthusiasm with responsibility and preparedness.
Finally, don't forget to pack essential items for your trip. This includes a basic toolkit, spare tire, food, water, and necessary clothing to accommodate changing weather conditions. Being prepared can make all the difference between a successful off-road adventure and a challenging experience.
By following these guidelines and taking the necessary precautions, you'll be well on your way to enjoying an unforgettable off-roading adventure in the Rocky Mountains. Happy trails!
Understanding Offroading Terminology
Before embarking on your offroading adventure in the Rocky Mountains, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with some essential terms. This will not only help you plan your trip better, but also aid your understanding of the offroading community.
Overlanding is a form of offroading focused on self-reliant, off-grid travel over long distances, typically using 4x4 vehicles. It's about enjoying the journey, exploring the terrain, and immersing yourself in nature. Offroading, on the other hand, emphasizes conquering challenging terrain and navigating obstacles for the thrill of it.
4x4 vehicles are a popular choice for both offroading and overlanding, offering enhanced traction and ability to navigate a variety of terrains. They are designed to endure steep inclines, rocky trails, and muddy paths, providing better control and stability during your adventures.
When planning your trip, understanding different routes and their difficulty levels is essential. Researching trailheads can help you determine the most suitable paths for your skill level and vehicle type. Trailheads serve as starting points for your offroading excursions, and can often provide valuable information on trail conditions, required permits, and safety guidelines.
Below is a quick overview of some common terms you might encounter:
- Rig: A term used to describe the vehicle you'll be using for your offroading or overlanding adventure.
- Terrain: The type of landscape you'll be traversing, such as rocky, sandy, or snowy surfaces.
- Tread: The pattern on your vehicle's tires providing traction and grip on various surfaces.
By familiarizing yourself with these terms and thoroughly researching your destinations, you'll be well-prepared for a successful offroading or overlanding adventure in the Rocky Mountains. Remember, always prioritize safety, adhere to local regulations, and respect the environment you're exploring. Happy trails!
Choosing Your Ride: A Look at the Top Vehicles
When planning an offroading adventure in the Rocky Mountains, selecting the right vehicle is crucial. In this section, we'll discuss some highly recommended vehicles that are well-suited for rugged terrain, focusing on the dominant Jeep models, Toyota 4Runner, and offroading-worthy pickup trucks.
Jeep's Dominance in Offroading
The Jeep brand has been synonymous with offroading for decades, and their Jeep Wrangler models, such as the Rubicon, are no exception. These all-terrain champions come equipped with heavy-duty axles, off-road shock absorbers, and specialized tires to handle rough, uneven terrain. With their versatile 4x4 systems and exceptional ground clearance, you can confidently conquer challenging obstacles along your adventure in the Rocky Mountains.
4Runner: Toyota's Sturdy Solution
The Toyota 4Runner is another excellent option for offroading enthusiasts. This reliable SUV boasts a robust frame, powerful engine, and impressive towing capacity, making it a strong contender for your overlanding escapades. Its Multi-Terrain Select system allows you to choose the best traction setting for various surfaces, while the available Crawl Control feature assists in navigating steep inclines and rocky paths.
Some key features of the 4Runner include:
- Exceptional ground clearance
- Advanced suspension systems
- Off-road traction control
Offroading in Pickups
Not to be overlooked, certain pickup trucks are also highly capable in offroad conditions. For example, the Toyota Tacoma is a popular choice amongst adventure-driven pickup enthusiasts, with its durable construction and off-road enhancements. Another excellent option is the RAM Cummins 2500/3500, which delivers immense power, torque, and a rigid frame, perfect for tackling rough terrain.
When considering a pickup for your offroading adventures, keep these factors in mind:
- Adequate ground clearance
- Rugged suspension systems
- Off-road tire options
In summary, make sure to choose a reliable and robust vehicle as you embark on your 4x4 or overlanding adventure in the Rocky Mountains. The popular Jeep models, Toyota 4Runner, and various well-equipped pickup trucks are all strong contenders, each offering their unique combination of offroad capabilities to make your journey a thrilling and memorable experience.
Key Offroading Locations in the Rocky Mountains
Telluride offers some of the most scenic offroading trails in Colorado. Surrounded by the majestic San Juan Mountains, you'll come across breathtaking views and various terrains. Beginners and experienced offroaders can find suitable routes, making Telluride an ideal destination for your 4x4 adventure.
Vail's Mountainous Routes
Vail is not only known for its ski slopes but also its challenging offroading routes. Make sure to prepare your vehicle, as these mountainous trails offer steep inclines and rocky paths. Explore the backcountry of Vail to discover hidden natural wonders, such as waterfalls and high-altitude lakes along the way.
Overlanding in Aspen
Aspen is a picturesque town that lies in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. Overlanding enthusiasts will find a variety of trails suitable for day trips or multi-day adventures. Routes range from relatively easy drives to more challenging paths requiring a well-equipped 4x4 and solid offroading skills.
Adventures in Gunnison
The area around Gunnison provides offroading enthusiasts with diverse landscapes, from alpine meadows to rugged canyons. As part of the Rocky Mountain region, Gunnison offers unique and challenging trails for those wanting to push their 4x4 vehicles to the limit. Take extra caution on these trails, as some can be quite narrow and steep.
Exploring the Rocky Mountain National Park
One of the most iconic offroading destinations in Colorado is the Rocky Mountain National Park. Some trails require a permit and may be accessible only on specific dates. Popular offroading spots in the park, such as the Wagon Wheel Trail System, offer an unforgettable experience in the heart of the Rockies.
Remember to always offroad responsibly and prioritize safety during your adventures in Colorado's Rocky Mountains.
Other Recommended Offroading Locations
Moab: Utah's Offroading Paradise
When it comes to offroading, you can't miss Moab, Utah. The red rocks, scenic vistas, and variety of trails make it a premier destination for 4x4 enthusiasts. Popular trails include Hell's Revenge, Fins N Things, and Poison Spider Mesa. Regardless of your skill level, Moab has something for you. Just remember to tread lightly and respect the fragile desert environment.
Rubicon: Iconic Route in Nevada
Another offroading classic is the Rubicon Trail in Nevada. This 22-mile route is a challenging technical terrain, requiring skillful driving and a well-prepared vehicle. The trail takes you through the stunning Sierra Nevada Mountains and offers a variety of obstacles, including the famous Little Sluice. When tackling the Rubicon, be prepared for a multi-day adventure, and always practice leave-no-trace principles.
Alaskan Adventures on Dalton Highway
For an overlanding experience unlike any other, embark on a journey along Alaska's Dalton Highway. Spanning over 400 miles from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay, this remote and rugged route offers unparalleled views of the Arctic tundra, majestic mountains, and abundant wildlife. Scenic camping spots are abundant, but remember to be prepared for unpredictable weather and always carry essential supplies.
North Carolina's Offroading Surprises
North Carolina may not be the first place you think of for offroading, but it offers some hidden gems. One notable location is Uwharrie National Forest, featuring a network of offroad trails catering to various skill levels. Rich with lush forests and challenging terrain, it's an enjoyable destination for those looking for adventure on the East Coast.
Baja's Magnificent Routes
The Baja Peninsula in Mexico is a spectacular offroading destination. The vast deserts, rugged coastlines, and lush oases offer contrasting landscapes, perfect for exploring by 4x4. Some notable locations include Mike's Sky Ranch, Coco's Corner, and the Baja 1000 race route. Remember to adhere to local laws and customs when crossing the border into Mexico, and always use established trails to minimize environmental impact.
Canada's Offroading Sites
Canada's vast wilderness presents countless offroading possibilities, from the rocky terrain of the Canadian Shield to the coastal trails of British Columbia. Whether you're conquering the Whipsaw Trail in the mountains or venturing through Ontario's Madawaska Highlands, Canada offers a diverse range of offroading landscapes. Be aware of local regulations and wildlife, and always leave nature the way you found it.
Planning Your Route with 4x4 Trail Maps
Planning your offroading adventure in the Rocky Mountains is an exciting process, and having the right tools and information will ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. To find the best 4x4 and overlanding destinations, you'll need to start by researching the available trails and trailheads in the area.
One of the best ways to discover offroad trails is by using dedicated navigation apps that are specifically designed for those looking for 4x4, ATV, and overland adventures. Apps like Trailsoffroad and onX Offroad provide users with detailed maps, trail previews, and valuable information about trail difficulty, length, and elevation changes.
As you explore various trails, make note of the trailheads, waypoints, and any important landmarks you might encounter along the way. Having a clear understanding of your route will not only help you stay on track but also ensure that you make the most of your adventure.
Next, you will want to download an app like iOverlander for your offroading adventure. This platform provides helpful information about campgrounds, dispersed camping spots, and places to fill up on water, gas, and other supplies. Cross-reference this data with your chosen trail map to ensure you have adequate resources along your route.
When it comes to the actual navigation during your trip, consider using a dedicated GPS device or a smartphone app that provides offline maps. Apps like maps.me offer offline vector-based maps, so even if you're out of cell service, you can still see your location and navigate with confidence.
Lastly, always check for weather conditions, potential road closures, and any other updates related to your chosen destination. Being well-informed will not only help you plan a successful offroading adventure but also ensure your safety.
In summary, researching and planning your route using 4x4 trail maps, navigation apps, and up-to-date information will help you have the best possible offroading experience in the Rocky Mountains. So, embark on your next adventure and explore the beauty of the wilderness with your 4x4 or overlanding vehicle.
Navigating Various Levels of Difficulty
When embarking on an off-roading adventure in the Rocky Mountains, it's essential to know that trails come in various levels of difficulty. Regardless of your experience, you will find a trail that suits your skill level and offers a thrilling adventure.
If you're a beginner seeking a less challenging drive, start with the Wagon Wheel Trail System. This network of 13 interconnected trails spans over 250 miles and offers a diverse range of terrains, perfect for easing into the off-roading experience. Take it slow, familiarize yourself with your vehicle, and gradually progress to more challenging trails.
For those with more experience and looking to push their limits, a demanding 4x4 roughshod challenge awaits at the Fawn Creek to Dead Horse Loop. These steep, rocky trails will test your vehicle's capabilities and your driving skills, as some sections are narrow and require extra care when navigating.
While planning your off-road adventure, be sure to prepare for the unexpected. Equip your vehicle with recovery gear, ensure it is well-maintained, and carry essential supplies like food, water, and tools. Familiarize yourself with the various trail and weather conditions in the Rocky Mountains, as they may change rapidly, impacting your overall experience. Staying informed and prepared will make tackling different difficulties more manageable and enjoyable.
Remember that off-roading is not just about the thrill, but also about the beauty of the landscape. Take the time to enjoy the majestic scenery of the Rocky Mountains, and don't forget to practice responsible off-roading by respecting the environment and fellow off-roaders. With the right mindset and preparation, you can enjoy an unforgettable off-roading adventure, no matter the difficulty level.
Optimizing Your Adventure with Seasonal Weather
As you plan your offroading adventure in the Rocky Mountains, it's essential to consider the seasonal weather to make the most of your experience. In the spring, many trails become accessible as snow begins to melt, offering a mix of snow, mud, and emerging wildflowers. This is an excellent time for 4x4 adventures on lower altitude trails. Rain can be frequent during this time, so make sure to pack adequate rain gear and be cautious of sudden weather changes.
Summer brings warm temperatures, extended daylight hours, and fully open trails for overlanding. This is the season where you can tackle some of the most challenging off-road trails in the mountains. You can expect afternoon thunderstorms, which may impact trail conditions. It's essential to carry enough water for hydration and know the best times to begin and end your activities to avoid exposure to potential storms.
As fall approaches, the Rocky Mountains become a spectacular display of changing colors with the aspen trees showcasing vibrant hues. This season provides excellent opportunities to explore scenic off-road destinations like the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway. However, the weather can be unpredictable, with colder temperatures and the possibility of early snowfall. Dress in layers and monitor weather forecasts to stay prepared for changing conditions.
Winter transforms the Rocky Mountains into a stunning, snowy wonderland. While many off-road trails may be closed or difficult to access during this season, it can still offer unique winter experiences for the adventurous overlander. The key is to plan your adventure around lower altitude trails, be knowledgeable about snow and ice driving techniques, and ensure that both you and your vehicle are equipped to handle the harsh winter environment.
By paying close attention to the weather and adapting your offroading plans accordingly, you can optimize your adventure through the breathtaking terrain of the Rocky Mountains and create a memorable experience in any season.
Embracing Nature: Camping and Overlanding
As you venture into the wild, beautiful terrain of the Rocky Mountains, there are endless opportunities for both camping and overlanding. These experiences allow you to immerse yourself in nature, explore remote destinations, and create lasting memories.
Before starting your adventure, always remember to pack essential gear. When camping, this includes a tent, sleeping bag, cooking equipment, and sufficient food and water. For overlanding, a robust 4x4 vehicle, navigation tools, and extra supplies for extended trips are crucial. This will ensure you remain well-prepared and self-sufficient during your journey.
Off-roading enthusiasts will marvel at the legendary Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway in Colorado. This stunning trail navigates through treacherous mountain passes and showcases jaw-dropping views of the Rockies. Various offshoots and side trails present new challenges for different skill levels, so you can always find the perfect adventure.
Car camping is another popular way to embrace the outdoors. Many sites throughout the Rockies offer easy vehicle access, allowing you to park close to your camping spot and enjoy a cozy night under the stars. Remember to practice Leave No Trace principles during your stay, so future generations can appreciate the same pristine environment.
Now, take your experiences to new heights with overlanding, the ultimate adventure that combines off-roading and camping. With the ability to explore remote locations, you have the freedom to discover hidden gems and witness nature at its finest. North Carolina, for example, offers fantastic overlanding trails that take you through diverse terrain and unspoiled wilderness areas.
The Rocky Mountains provide endless opportunities for exploration, so pack up all your gear, hop into your 4x4 or overland vehicle, and prepare to embark on a thrilling journey. Remember to always respect nature, plan ahead, and above all, enjoy every mile of your unforgettable adventure.
Appreciating Scenic Views Off the Beaten Path
Alpine Loop's Breathtaking Sights
The Alpine Loop offers you an unforgettable off-roading adventure with incredible views of the Rocky Mountains. As you navigate the challenging 4x4 trails, you'll pass through lush green forests, wildflower-filled meadows, and clear mountain lakes. Don't forget to stop and soak in the panoramic vistas available at various points along the way.
Panoramic Views from Black Bear Pass
Another thrilling off-roading experience is available to you on Black Bear Pass. This challenging yet rewarding trail boasts stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Exercise caution, as certain sections of the trail can be narrow and steep, but the views you'll encounter are well worth the effort.
Exploring the Canyons of the South
A more laid-back off-roading option is exploring the remarkable canyons in the southern regions of the Rockies. On your journey, you'll cruise through deep canyons that most travelers don't get to witness. With various trail options available, you can customize your off-roading experience to suit your preferences and skill level.
Ghost Towns: Remnants of the Past
Your off-roading adventure can also take you on a trip back in time. Be sure to visit the fascinating ghost towns sprinkled throughout the Rockies for a unique exploration opportunity. You'll encounter remnants of the past as you learn about the history of these once-thriving communities and appreciate the stories they hold.
The Diverse Landscapes of National Forests and Parks
No off-roading adventure would be complete without exploring the beautiful national forests and parks within the Rocky Mountains. Each park offers its own unique scenic attractions from dense forests, soaring cliffs, and tranquil rivers. As you traverse these diverse landscapes, appreciate the beauty of the natural world around you and cherish every moment of your off-the-beaten-path adventure.
Safety Guidelines for Offroading Adventures
When embarking on 4x4 offroading adventures, it's important to prioritize safety above all else. By following some simple guidelines, you can ensure a fun and secure experience in the Rocky Mountains.
First, always assess the difficulty of the route before you hit the trails. Ensure that your 4x4 vehicle is equipped for the terrain you plan to tackle. If you're a beginner, start with less challenging paths and progress to more difficult ones as you gain experience and confidence in your skills. You can research the specific challenges of a particular route, such as steep inclines, deep mud, or rocky terrain at WildSide 4x4 Tours or Off-Roading 101.
Next, equip your vehicle properly for the offroading adventure. This may include:
- Skid plates to protect the underside of your vehicle
- Suspension upgrades for increased ground clearance
- Locking differentials for improved traction
- All-terrain tires for better grip
It's also crucial to carry the appropriate safety gear, such as:
- A first aid kit
- Recovery equipment like tow straps and a winch
- A spare tire and the necessary tools for changing it
- Extra fuel and water
- A reliable communication device
When offroading, always travel with a partner or in a group. This not only provides assistance in case of an emergency but also adds to the enjoyment of the experience. Maintain good communication with your fellow offroaders and use hand signals or a two-way radio to convey any important information.
Lastly, practice responsible offroading by staying on established trails and respecting the environment. Tread lightly by keeping your vehicle on hard surfaces, avoiding sensitive vegetation, and packing out all trash.
By adhering to these safety guidelines, you can confidently embark on your offroading adventure, enjoying the beautiful Rocky Mountain scenery and thrilling 4x4 experiences.
Offroading Trails and Land Management
When planning your offroading adventures in the Rocky Mountains, it's essential to know which trails to explore and the role of land management organizations like the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Rocky Mountains offer an extensive network of 4x4 and overlanding destinations for diverse skill levels and vehicle types.
In Colorado, you can start your adventure with the Wagon Wheel Trail System, which spans 250 miles and has 13 main interconnecting trails in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. If you're up for a challenging route, consider riding Fawn Creek to Dead Horse Loop, known for its steep, rocky terrain and narrow passages.
Utah is another fantastic destination for offroading, with landscapes ranging from sandstone formations in Moab to the dunes and trails of Sand Hollow. Other popular trails in Utah include Cliff Hanger, Poison Spider, and the Fins & Things.
The BLM plays a significant role in managing these offroading trails, ensuring that they remain open and accessible to the public while preserving the natural resources. Familiarize yourself with BLM's regulations and guidelines for responsible offroading, which include staying on designated routes, obtaining necessary permits, and practicing Leave No Trace principles.
Always check the BLM's website for updated information on trail closures and conditions before heading out. Make sure your vehicle meets the BLM's requirements, such as having a proper off-road license, current registration, and safety equipment like fire extinguishers and first aid kits.
By understanding the offroading trails and the role of land management organizations, you can create a memorable and responsible adventure in the Rocky Mountains. So, prepare your vehicle, gather your gear, and hit the trails to explore the breathtaking beauty these mountains have to offer.
Online Resources for Offroading Enthusiasts
As an offroading enthusiast, you'll love exploring the Rocky Mountains with the help of some top-notch online resources. These tools will make your 4x4 and overlanding adventures more enjoyable and accessible. Let's dive into some of the best resources available for you.
Firstly, consider trying out offroad-specific apps, such as Trailsoffroad and OnX Offroad. These apps offer detailed information about trails, difficulty levels, obstacles, and more. You can plan your trip, save offline maps, and even track your progress. They are essential tools for any offroad adventure.
Next, don't overlook websites like Ioverlander, which provide a wealth of information on campsites, points of interest, and other important details. You can read user reviews, get tips on where to find water, and learn about local laws or regulations that may affect your trip. This will help you stay informed and ensure your overlanding adventure goes smoothly.
There are also online offroading communities and forums where you can connect with other enthusiasts, share experiences, and ask for advice. Websites like Expedition Portal and social media groups focused on offroading offer a wealth of knowledge and inspiration. Don't hesitate to join the conversation and learn from fellow offroad lovers.
In addition to these resources, be sure to consult official sources like National or State Park websites for information about permits, trail closures, weather conditions, and safety guidelines. This will ensure you stay compliant with all regulations and avoid any legal or safety issues during your adventure.
With these online resources in your arsenal, you're well-equipped to embark on an unforgettable offroading adventure through the magnificent Rocky Mountains. Enjoy the ride, and always stay safe!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some beginner-friendly off-road trails in the Rocky Mountains?
If you're new to off-roading, there are a few trails in the Rocky Mountains that are perfect for beginners. One such trail is the Loch Lomond Trail in Colorado. With a length of just 4.6 miles, it's a manageable route that showcases breathtaking views and vibrant wildflowers. Take it slow, and remember to always prioritize safety while having fun.
Which off-road trails offer the best scenic routes in Colorado and Moab?
In Colorado, the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway is renowned for its incredible views and historically significant mining structures that dot the landscape. Moab, on the other hand, boasts the White Rim Road, which takes you on a unique journey through Canyonlands National Park. Both trails are captivating and picturesque, making them ideal choices for off-roading enthusiasts in search of scenic routes.
How can I find up-to-date information about trail closures and conditions?
Before venturing out on any off-road adventure, it's crucial to obtain the latest updates on trail closures and conditions. You can typically find this information by visiting the official websites of national parks, forests, or state recreation areas. Additionally, consider checking local off-roading forums and social media pages where fellow adventurers often share updates and firsthand experiences.
What is the most challenging 4x4 trail in the Rocky Mountains?
Arguably, one of the most challenging trails in the Rocky Mountains is the Black Bear Pass in Colorado. This narrow, steep, and rugged route demands expert-level driving skills, as it features sheer drop-offs, switchbacks, and other natural obstacles. It is not a trail to be taken lightly, so make sure you have the experience and preparation necessary before attempting to tackle it.
What are the top off-road trails in Moab and Colorado for experienced drivers?
If you're an experienced driver looking for a thrilling adventure, Moab's Hell's Revenge is an iconic, heart-pumping trail that will push your skills to the limit. Colorado's aforementioned Black Bear Pass also ranks high among seasoned off-roaders, as it presents a serious challenge complete with stunning vistas.
What essential gear should I bring for a safe and enjoyable offroading adventure?
Safety and preparedness are the cornerstones of an enjoyable off-roading experience. Some essential gear to pack includes a first-aid kit, robust communications equipment such as a CB radio, basic tools for repairs, a tire pressure gauge, a tire repair kit, spare tires, a portable air compressor, extra fuel, tow straps, and a shovel. Also, consider packing plenty of water, food, and extra clothing for unpredictable weather. Most importantly, always let someone know your planned route and estimated return time.