Basic day hiking tips

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The hiking trails at Ramapo Reservation, like many in our area, will see more and more people as the weather continues to warm.

Ed Goodell, the executive director of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, explains being safe should start at the bottom: wear good-quality athletic shoes. You can even wear athletic sandals -- just don't wear flip-flops.

Most trees along the popular trails have blazes to keep you on course. But having a map of the area is also a good thing.

But in this age of smartphones, many day hikers rely on GPS technology and map apps. However, Bergen County Parks Director Jim Koth explains why that's not the best approach. He says the cell signal isn't always reliable on the trails.

Anyone bringing food, take it with you because of the risk of attracting bears.

If you see a snake or any other wildlife, just leave it alone.

Pack a portable light in case it gets dark. And make sure to have water and some food for energy.

And a couple of other things to remember: sunblock and mosquito repellent because of ticks and mosquitoes (and check your body for ticks after you are done hiking).

Be safe and have fun on the trails.