Open Carry in Wilderness Areas


New member
I've searched as much as I can on the Forest Service webs and can't really find if it's legal to open carry in wilderness areas. Living in Texas, I have no experience with this but may be doing some hiking and camping in wilderness this spring.

Anyone know for sure? Or is it area-specific?


New member
I guess I should have explained further. I will be visiting wilderness areas in New Mexico and Colorado. I was wondering if there was some type of blanket-type permission for wilderness areas and national forests.

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Gentleman Adventurer
There are two good apps to put on your phone, Legal Heat and CCW. Also make sure your CHL is accepted by the State you are traveling in.


Never been a problem in Colorado. I've come across park rangers on trails and they didn't say anything about my open carry.


Active member
I suggest picking up the phone and talking to someone in the state of interest.

I was speaking with the department of the interior regarding land use (DC and Nevada) and they were quite cool and helpful.


Gentleman Adventurer

If you are planning on visiting a designated Wilderness Area, the Regional Forester or Forest Supervisor has the option to implement a special local order which additionally prohibits the mere possession of a firearm within that Wilderness Area. Although this prohibition is not common, you should contact the Forest Supervisor's office to find out whether such a restriction has been imposed.


Gentleman Adventurer
I always carry concealed but when in Alaska and Montana bear country I would "open carry" my .44 mag pistol in a chest holster.

Just for fun , I wore my .44 mag to Walmart in Fairbanks and not a single person batted an eye.

Generally , when camping , I will switch from my usual appendix carry to a belt holster for comfort. I usually have a shirt over the pistol when not in camp.

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Question: Why the need to open carry?
If your licensed to carry and it's accepted in the states your planning on going too, why the need to open carry?
Aside from the fact that a license to carry is a joke that should never happen, open carry is far simpler and makes the firearm easier to access. I carry my revolver in a chest holster when outside of town doing stuff.


So since the discussion has plenty of ample resourcing put to it already, I'll ask if we're talking pistol vice long gun.

Mostly b/c I tend to think of a pistol as something to get to a rifle; and when we're talking wilderness areas that very much is long gun work vice short.

I know this bleeds somewhat into the truck gun convo and such but it just struck me that folks immediately seemed to gravitate towards pistols. I'm finding myself playing with PDWs more and more to bridge the gap a little without having a full blown long gun readily at hand.