One of the best things about living in Montana is the wealth and abundance of outdoor activities that we're lucky enough to experience. Hiking and backpacking are some of the more popular ones, and we've got plenty of wooded areas in which to do it. While on your hike you might encounter a tree with an orange X, and if you do, it's best you turn around and stay out.

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You may see more than just orange x's on trees while hiking in Montana, but you should always remember what the orange x means. According to The Healthy Journal website, those orange x's you come across are used by the Forest Service to designate a boundary. That means you're about to enter into an area owned by the government and it'd be a smart idea to turn around.

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I said there are more colors and shapes that you might see on your hikes, like perhaps you've seen an orange slash. Does that mean "stay out" as well? That one actually means those trees have been marked to be cut down.

I saw a white circle, what does that mean?


Well that marking according to a University of Illinois specialist means the tree is home to an endangered species. Thanks to The Family Handyman for that information. They also have a breakdown of what other colors and markings mean on their website.

While colors and markings aren't universal, more often than not, a tree with some paint, or marking on it means you should be cautious. Some markings could mean the tree is a danger and has been marked to be cut down.

To keep safe always check with the authorities if you have any questions as to what each color and markings you see represent.

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[WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter private or abandoned property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing.]

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