Hiking 101 (During COVID-19)

Now, more than ever, we need nature. Spending time outdoors can help to reduce stress and anxiety, and increase positive feelings. Physically, blood pressure can drop, as well as heart rate, and muscle tension. During trying times, nature can help to ground us and make us feel more at peace.

For many, nature is already a part of our daily lives. Others are using this time of “social distancing” to discover outdoor places.  Overall, many trails are seeing an increase in visitors.

Your thoughtful actions on the trails and the financial support of our members has allowed DNRT to keep our trails open (under current state and federal guidelines).  Please carefully read below – and if you are not a current member/supporter of DNRT, please consider donating here.


  • Dress appropriately. Make sure that you are dressed properly not only for the weather and temperature, but also terrain. Most DNRT trails are wooded and feature rocks, roots, leaves, and uneven patches. A sturdy pair of sneakers is usually acceptable for most trails. Others, like those at the Star of the Sea Reserve, can be quite muddy, and are best enjoyed with a pair of waterproof boots. Dressing in layers also helps you stay comfortable, as you can shed top layers if you get warm while walking.
  • Familiarize yourself with the Reserve before heading out. Take a look at the map of the property you plan on visiting at dnrt.org/reserves. How many miles is the trail you are looking at? Knowing your distance can help you plan accordingly. You don’t want to get stuck in a large reserve as the sun is setting.
  • Bring snacks and drinks. Planning on an afternoon out? Bring a backpack with snacks and drinks to keep yourself energetic and hydrated. Nuts and fruits are a healthy choice that keep you feeling full. Water is always your best option for hydration.
  • Carry out what you carry in. If you do bring snacks and drinks, please carry your trash out of the Reserve and dispose of it off property.
  • Be “restroom aware”. There are no restrooms at DNRT Reserves (and limited available restrooms nearby). Please plan accordingly.

At the Reserve

  • Observe all posted rules. Our Reserves all have rules specific to that property posted in each kiosk at the trailhead. Be sure to read all rules before hitting the trails.
  • Stay on the trails. This is an easy one! Remaining on the trails will help prevent you from getting lost and will help minimize damage to sensitive habitat. Staying on marked paths can also help you avoid (but not eliminate) exposure to ticks and poison ivy.
  • Be a good dog guardian. At this time, please keep your dog on leash. Make sure your dog stays close to you and is under your control. Pick up your dog’s waste and dispose of it off-property. Remember, “biodegradable” poop bags don’t actually biodegrade unless they are brought to a high heat composting facility. It will not break down on the side of the trail; please remove it.
  • Be mindful of ticks. Ticks are active! Lyme disease is a serious disease, and precautions should be taken to make sure you do not get bit. If weather allows, wear long sleeves and tuck your pants into your socks. Apply insect repellent with DEET or treat clothing and shoes with Permethrin. After being outdoors, carefully check your entire body for ticks. Change your clothing and machine dry your hiking outfit for 20 minutes at high heat when returning home.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. It is important to pay attention to where you are walking. Note the trails that you take, be aware of roots and rocks, and notice other hikers. Please be considerate of others and try to maintain social distancing, staying at least 6 feet from others, when crossing paths.