Hiking and Camping | Off-Road Vehicles, clubs, trips... | Jeep Trails

Tread Lightly! is dedicated to protect public and private lands through education. Emphasis is placed on responsible use of all forms of backcountry travel and low impact principles applicable to all recreation activities.
Their mission is to empower generations to enjoy the outdoors responsibly through education, restoration and research.

The following is a shortened version for Four Wheelers from (www.4x44u.com/pub/k2/treadlightly!/)
Note: See treadlightly below for links for other forms of outdoor recreation.

Travel only where motorized vehicles are permitted. Never blaze your own trail.
Respect the rights of hikers, skiers, campers, and others to enjoy their activities undisturbed.
Educate yourself by obtaining travel maps and regulations from public agencies, complying with signs and barriers, and asking owners' permission to cross private property. (See maps at the jeep trails page and regulations below.)
Avoid streams, lakeshores, meadows, muddy roads and trails, steep hillsides, and wildlife and livestock.
Drive responsibly to protect the environment and preserve opportunities to enjoy my vehicle your wild lands.

Tread lightly also means leaving no trace of your visit.
  • Pack it in... pack it out! Leave only your tracks.
  • Leave what you find - Picture and trash are the only things you should take.
  • STAY ON THE TRAIL: Don't drive off through "untracked" wilderness trying to be the first one to ever drive your rig "where no man has gone before." Don't make your own short cuts on the trail.
  • If you go through a gate, leave it as you found it. Nothing makes a landowner more upset than when a gate's position is changed, cutting off livestock from food or water, or allowing them to escape.
  • If you are about to enter or need to enter private land, be sure to get permission first.
  • Take a track down the middle of the trail if you can. Avoid widening the trail.
  • Cross streams only at fording points.
  • KEEP THE NOISE AND DUST DOWN: Both are a form of pollution and you should respect others who are on the trail with you.
  • COURTESY: Yield the right of way to bikers, hikers, and people on horseback. Be especially careful when around animals. Pull to the side of the trail; turn off your engine and be quiet, not making any sudden movements until they pass. Also yield the right of way to drivers on the up hill grade or those who are overtaking you.

See Also:
TreadLightly.org - - Responsible Four Wheeling (pdf)
  Guides for other forms of outdoor recreation ...
and Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
Other Organizations below.

Principles of Leave No Trace

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare
  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  • Dispose of Waste Properly
  • Leave What You Find
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts
  • Respect Wildlife
  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors


  • Buckle up! In some places this isn't a suggestion...it is mandatory that everyone be properly secured in the rig.
  • Travel with a group and preferably with someone who has been on the trail before.
  • Have a citizen's band radio. Establish the "tactical net" you will be using as a group. Having a cellular phone can also be helpful, but the coverage may be very limited.
  • Don't drink and drive. The correlation between consumption and damage or injury is significant. Besides, it's against the law.
  • Build plenty of time into your schedule so that you don't have to drive after dark.
  • Keep a reasonable distance between rigs. Give those around you plenty of room to maneuver.
  • Do not speed or use the trail as a racetrack.
  • Minimize the use of fire. A wildfire can change an area for hundreds of years. Use fire wisely and safely.

Other Organizations promoting ethical motor vehicle use:

  • BlueRibbon Coalition - A National coalition of organization, businesses and individuals which:
    i. Provides leadership in responsible use.
    ii. Promotes balanced resource conservation.
    iii. Is recognized by the general public, the media, and elected officials as a leader in promoting common sense and an equitable approach to recreation and access issues.
  • Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR) - An informal coalition of groups and individuals dedicated to keeping the Rubicon Trail of California open and available to all recreationists.
  • List published in the April 2005 issue of in gear, the magazine of the California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs Inc. (CA4WDC).

Sources of Regulations:

  • Off-Highway Vehicles Areas at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
    California State Office, Sacremnto, California.....(916) 978-4754
    Federal Building, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacremento, CA 95825-1889
  • Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division of Calif. State Parks.
  • Cal/EPA - Emission control regulations for off-highway recreational vehicles
  • Nevada County Recreation Planning Page
    Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park 530 265-2740
  • Placer County
    Foresthill Ranger District.....(530) 367-2224
    Foresthill, CA 95631
  • Placer Mountain Rescue
  • California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs (CA4WDC) 916 381-8300 CA4WDC@aol.com
  • Rubicon Issues - Regional Water Quality Control Board; Lahontan Region See Also: The Natural Trails and Waters Coalition, which works to protect and restore all public lands and waters from the damage caused by dirt bikes, jet skis and all other off-road vehicles.

    last updated 12 July 2005