Choose a trail—There are many options for hiking. Select a trail to match your physical condition, grab a friend and go! Go to the United States Department of the Interior’s Web site at www.blm.gov/ca/st/en.html for trails throughout California ranging from easy to strenuous.
Dress appropriately—Wear sturdy hiking boots (or shoes with treads on the soles) and clothing that can be layered, including moisturewicking tops that dry quickly, a fleece pullover for added warmth and a windbreaker. Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen are especially good for warmer summer days or higher elevations.
The 12 Essentials—map, compass, cell phone, flashlight, extra food, extra clothing, rain gear, first aid kit, pocket knife, matches, fire starter and identification. Always carry the 12 essentials no matter where you hike.
Food and water—Carry one quart of water per person per hour, especially in warmer weather, and remember to have fluid for any canine pals, too. Trail mix, apples, protein bars and peanut butter sandwiches travel well in a day pack and provide good energy.