Part 1: Know Before You Go

North Fork of the Willamette River by Eric DeBord

Getting up-to-date information for your recreation plans

Most people who have ever been to a trailhead knows that road and trail conditions are constantly changing. Weather, fires, and small acts of nature can’t be constantly updated in published trail guides, so it helpful to have some resources for looking up current information so you might be spared any unpleasant surprises like a snow-covered road, or closed campground. 

Recreation site and trail conditions and closures

To find out if a trail, campground, or other recreation area is open or other current conditions, it’s best to visit the website for the state or federal agency that manages the area.

Current condition reports for many trails can be also be found on websites and forums like and

Fire closures and restrictions

Before heading out to a trailhead or camping trip, it’s good to know where current fires are happening, what areas of public lands are closed because of nearby fires, and where to get updates so you can stay safe while you’re out enjoying yourself. 

General fire restrictions and regulations (such as if campfires are allowed) can be found here.

Closures of recreation areas, trails, and roads due to fire can be found on individual National Forest websites. On this page, scroll to the map then click on the National Forest you’re looking to visit. Once on a National Forest website, look for announcements under Alerts and Warnings. Fire closure orders usually have maps with them. (If you’re on Facebook, individual National Forests have pages that often have very up-to-date information on active fires.)

Weather and road conditions

The most accurate weather forecast and conditions can be found at You can enter a specific location, and then pinpoint specific areas on the interactive map for even more accurate information. In Oregon, is a good source of information for conditions of major travel routes. Cameras can show if there is snow, and closures and accidents on these routes are kept up to date.

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Staying informed is the first step to becoming a public lands and native wildlife advocate.

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