Hike Safe: It’s Your Responsibility

It is important that people are fully aware of what dangers are involved when visiting the mountains. In many parts of the region, snow and ice are still major factors on the trail, most particularly when hiking above 3,000′ in elevation. Many hikers will lack the proper gear and knowledge and find themselves in a dangerous situation. The State of New Hampshire and U.S. Forest Service spend hundreds of thousands on rescues annually. Each search and rescue mission averages in the thousands per individual rescue along with thousands of hours and personal equipment are provided by volunteers in order to make these rescues possible. Hikers are able to purchase a Hike Safe card for $25 dollars($35 per family) that excuses any rescue costs involved in the event that they need to be rescued at any time. An individual may still be liable for response expenses, however, if such person is suspected to have intentionally put themselves in a bad situation needing an emergency response.

You can purchase a Hike Safe card only at the N.H. Fish and Game Department’s website.

HikeSafe Hiker Responsibility Code

Educate yourself. Having the proper knowledge and gear is essential to staying safe in the mountains. Learning the terrain and purchasing the right gear before heading out. Always checking up on the latest weather and trail conditions before you start any hike.

Leave your plans. Let someone at home know where you are going, what trails you will be taking, and what time you plan to return.

Hike in groups. Hiking in groups is your best option. Solo hiking poses several major risks that could be fatal. Start as a group, and end as a group.

Use your judgement. Weather changes extremely quickly in the mountains. Under poor circumstances, know when to call it a day and turn around. Fatigue and unexpected conditions are also major factors to consider. Be smart and know your limits when in case an emergency does arise.

Rescue yourself. Learn basic survival skills so that you can help yourself in case of an emergency situation. Even if a SAR mission has been initiated for you, it will likely be several hours before anyone reaches you, so in the mean time know how to rescue yourself.

Share the code. Share the hiker code with other hikers on the trail.

For summer hikes



Base layer


Extra food

Extra water


Waterproof matches

First Aid Kit

Repair Kit


Rain/wind jacket

Rain/wind pants

Knife or multitool

Hiking boots

Extra Socks


Bivvy sack


Trekking poles


Insect repellant


Emergency shelter

Personal locator beacon




Lithium batteries

For winter hikes

Insulated jacket

Glove liners


Insulated boots




Face mask


Snow shovel

Hand/toe warmers

Ice axe (optional)




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