Outdoor Recreation

Leave Valuables at Home

Mesa County is a safe place to explore the outdoors. During the summer months, the Mesa County Sheriff's Office sees an increase of thieves targeting parked cars at our local trailheads. Here are a couple of tips to help keep your stuff safe while you enjoy our local trails.

  • Leave all your valuables at home or take it with you on the trail. Even the most hidden items have been stolen. 
  • Don't leave anything in plain sight, even non-valuable items. 
  • LOCK your car. Most thieves are looking for easy opportunities. Make it hard for them by locking your car.  

If you need help out on the trail or see something suspicious, don't hesitate to call 911. 


Hiking Safety

  • Plan your route ahead of time, and make sure someone not in your hiking party knows your plan and expected time of return.
  • Take and drink plenty of water. On hot days, take twice as much water as think you need.
  • You can't always depend on your cell phone. It may run out of battery or you may find yourself in an area with no cell or GPS coverage. Download and print maps at COTREX.
  • Check the weather and dress for it. While it may be warm during the day, temperatures can drop rapidly, especially in higher elevations.
  • Learn more about hiking safety here.  

If You Think You’re Lost….

  • STAY PUT and call for help! It's a lot easier for Mesa County Search and Rescue to find you if you are in one place!
  • Use the last hour of the day to prepare a shelter and build a fire to stay warm.
  • If you have someone with you, never separate from each other!
  • If you must move, travel down a drainage
  • Always be prepared to spend the night!

Planning a River Trip?

River levels and conditions change daily. Check for current conditions before you make plans to enjoy the river.

Hazards During High Water:

  • Swift water, dangerous currents: Not all hazards can be seen from the surface, even gentle stretches of water can have dangerous undercurrents.
  • Debris and Tree snags: It’s creating dangerous undercurrents that can trap you underwater. Debris can also puncture rafts.
  • Cold Water Temperatures: Hypothermia is a very real concern. Water will be colder the deeper the River gets, creating a potentially deadly situation for even the strongest of swimmers.
  • Unstable Riverbanks: Ground can erode underneath, and break away without warning. If you’re standing on it, you can get swept away.
  • Don't Swim at Boat Ramps: Currents can quickly drag someone underwater or downstream.
  • Conditions will change day by day: As the weather heats up or cools down, snow will melt at a different pace creating ever-changing river conditions.


  • Always Wear a Life Jacket: Life jackets save lives! Even strong swimmers should wear one. Life jackets are available to borrow for free at many boat ramps thanks to the Save-A-Life Jacket Program.
  • Use Proper Equipment: Using pool toys and inner tubes on the river are putting your life at risk. Use equipment designed for the river, sub-standard equipment will not protect you from river hazards.
  • Enjoy the River Sober: Rafting impaired puts your life at risk.
  • Raft in Groups: Raft with others, not alone. A preferred minimum is three boats. Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Know your limits: Do not attempt a section of the river beyond your skill level.
  • Pay attention to weather and water conditions: Dress for the water temperature. If the water temperature and air temperature combined total of 100 degrees or less wear protective clothing.

Have an Emergency? Call 911: Search and Rescue services are free.

Stay Informed

Visit the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center for current water levels on Mesa County rivers. 

Riverfront Trails Closures: Parts of the Riverfront trail close during times of high water. Click here for more information and detour routes.


The Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) Card helps pay for the cost of free search and rescue services in Mesa County.  The CORSAR card funds rescue missions across the State of Colorado. Click here to get yours today!