Camping Safely Step 2 - Upon Arrival

A park rangers talks to visitors in a car
Upon arriving at the park, talk to a ranger about possible park alerts or conditions, as well as regulations that may affect your trip.

NPS Photo / Jay Elhard

For more information about camping in the National Park Service, please visit the Camping website.

Re-Assess Group Health

Before you head out, check in with your family and friends to see how they feel. Any activities you may have planned will depend on your group's ability to do them. Don't push yourself or your group members on a hike or other physical activity if they aren't physically capable of doing it. Similarly, if someone is sick, take it easy and take care of that person. Don't do anything just because you planned to. If your group isn't prepared or physically able, there are plenty of fun activities to enjoy at camp.
Sketched illustration of a pine tree

Ask a Park Ranger

Depending on where you camp, you may be able to talk to a park ranger or a campsite host. They'll likely have current information about the park's outdoor conditions, regulations, and possible alerts. Be sure to ask the ranger or host about these topics:

  • Environmental Hazards - For example, are there any rock falls, fire, wildlife, high water in streams from recent rainfall events, or other conditions to be aware of?
  • Weather - Is there any rain, wind, snow, or extreme temperatures forecast that could affect your planned activity? You can also check the local newspaper, weather-related website, or radio station for the weather report.
  • Park Regulations - Does the park have rules about open fires? Depending on the park, season, and climate conditions, fire bans may be in effect. Also, ask about proper disposal of food and other trash. Many parks require the use of food storage containers to keep wildlife out of the campground.

Previous: Before the Trip | Next: During Your Stay

Part of a series of articles titled Four Major Steps to Camping Safely.

Last updated: April 21, 2017