Some general guidelines when traveling the backcountry:
- It is always safer to travel with a companion or group.
- Get in shape before setting out. Good physical conditioning is essential to traveling the rigorous Colorado Trail. Even those in top condition can be adversely affected by the high altitude, however, and should acclimatize, especially when coming from much lower elevations. (See Acclimatizing to Altitude in this Trip Planning section.)
- File a hiking plan with friends or loved ones, and check in often with revisions, so that unnecessary searching can be avoided if something should go awry.
- Learn basic first aid for your own safety and that of others.
- Guard against fatigue. Pushing yourself in rugged terrain invites disaster.
- Long-distance hikers swear by trekking poles, which can aid in maintaining balance and in negotiating steep slopes and tricky terrain.
- Store your food out of reach of wild animals or in bear-proof containers outside your tent or tarp. (See Food Storage in this Trip Planning Section.)