Trail Safety Tips

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Here are tips to stay safe while enjoying the citywide trails system.

Personal Safety Tips

  • Walk confidently. Never walk alone and always let someone know where you are going.
  • Be very observant of your surroundings and of other people.
  • Do not wear head phones while exercising. Being able to hear will allow you to sense someone that you may not be able to see.
  • Wear reflective material and carry a whistle or noisemaker.
  • Don't leave valuable items in plain view inside of your car. Leave them at home or lock them in your trunk prior to arriving at your destination.
  • Trust your instincts. Don't walk where you feel uncomfortable.
  • Park in well-lit, heavily traveled areas if possible.
  • When you approach your car, have your key ready and check the floor and the back seats before you get in.
  • Remember that pedestrians have the right-of-way. All trail users should stay to the right on the trail. Pets must be kept on a leash, and owners must clean up after their pets.
  • Be sure to carry identification (which includes name, phone number, and pertinent medical information), and record your bicycle serial number.
  • Take a cell phone along (completely charged). Call 911 in an emergency. Program the number for police dispatch into the phone: 760-931-2197.

Coyote Safety Tips 

  • Never feed or attempt to tame coyotes.
  • Keep your dog on a leash under six feet long. Never leave small children or pets outside unattended or let them wander far ahead of you while hiking.
  • Don’t hike alone and stay on the trail; don’t wander into tall grass.
  • At home, install motion-sensitive lighting around your house and trim ground-level shrubbery to reduce hiding places.
  • If followed by a coyote, make loud noises. If that fails, throw rocks in the animal’s direction.

Prevent Insect Bites

  • Dress in light colored clothes to discourage mosquitoes and help spot ticks more easily.
  • Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dawn and the first two hours after sunset.
  • When outdoors, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
  • Apply insect repellant containing DEET, according to label instructions.
  • Avoid heavily wooded, high grass areas and standing water.
  • If bitten by any insect or tick, treat with a topical antibiotic. If rashes or flu-like symptoms occur, seek medical attention immediately.


Hikers are more likely to see rattlesnakes when the day is getting warmer. But when it gets too hot, snakes retreat into cool spots. Avoiding an encounter with a rattlesnake simply requires using common sense and keeping in mind these tips:

  • If you see a rattlesnake on the trail, back away from it.
  • Be sure to see where you’re putting your hands and feet. Don’t reach into shaded crevices or step in between rocks. Walk in the center of the trail if there is brush or grasses hanging over the sides.
  • Wear boots or gators to protect your lower legs.
  • If bitten, stay calm and seek medical attention. Try to remember the type of snake that bit you so doctors can treat you accordingly.
  • While rattlesnakes can be frightening, they should not be harmed. They are an important part of the ecosystem and control the population of rodents.

Source: County of San Diego