If you love hiking and exploring nature, chances are you’ve gone to a national park before. Across the United States, national parks are some of the most beautiful places, making them great hiking spots. 

Can you Fly Drones in National Forest? Yes, you can fly drones in national forests. The U.S. Forest Service laws allow for recreational flying of drones in national forests, but there are some rules you need to follow to make sure your drone stays safe and doesn’t damage the environment or wildlife.

Each year America’s national park service receives over 275 Million visitors from all over the world. Because there are so many people enjoying these wonderful nature areas, it’s important to respect their rules to ensure that everyone remains safe. 

Drones fly at high altitudes, there may be some rules for flying drones in National Forests that the average hiker might not know.

Faa Laws On Flying Drones In National Forests

Faa Laws On Flying Drones In National Forests

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that all drones be registered. This means that each drone must have a unique identifier, and it must be visible on the aircraft. Drones must weigh less than 55 pounds, and they cannot fly higher than 400 feet or faster than 100 mph.

Flying drones in national forests is a great way to get a bird’s-eye view of the beautiful scenery, but it can also be dangerous. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has specific rules about flying drones in national forests. These rules are designed to keep you safe and make sure that you stay on the right side of the law.

Register Your Drone

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires all pilots to register their drone with the FAA’s online registry.

When you register your drone, you’ll get a unique identification number that must be marked on each drone. You’ll also receive important safety information about how to fly safely and responsibly.

Only Fly In Daylight

The FAA has some specific rules about flying drones in National Forests. In general, you should only fly your drone in daylight.

If you’re going to be flying at night, you need to get special permission from the FAA and notify them that you’re planning on doing so. 

Here’s why:

  • Night time flying can be dangerous as you might not see other people on the ground or obstacles like trees or power lines.
  • It’s illegal to fly at night without a permit from the FAA and special equipment such as lights and reflectors.

Keep The Drone Within Sight

The FAA recommends that you keep your drone within sight at all times. This is because it’s easy to lose track of a drone if you’re not paying attention, and if it crashes, it could cause damage to people or property nearby.\

Do Not Fly Near Other Aircraft

Do Not Fly Near Other Aircraft. Your drone must not interfere with manned aircraft, whether they’re taking off or landing. If you’re flying in an area where there are manned aircraft, keep your drone at least 5 miles away from airports (unless you have permission from the airport).

Fly Below 400 Feet

The FAA has specific rules about where and how you can fly your drone, which are currently set at 400 feet above the ground. You can’t fly over 400 feet in national forests either, it’s a violation of federal law.

Stay Away From Surrounding Obstacles

Stay away from the surrounding obstacles and make sure that the tree line is far enough away so that your drone won’t hit anything. If you’re flying a quadcopter, make sure that your drone’s propellers aren’t going to get caught on something.

You should also avoid flying your drone near or over any forest fires or other areas where firefighting activities are underway.

Never Fly Near People 

The Forest Service doesn’t want drones buzzing around while people are enjoying their time in the forest. Also, don’t fly near airports or around emergency responders who might be trying to help someone. You can be fined for doing this.

Avoid Flying Near Animals

One law in particular is relevant to flying near animals: it’s illegal to fly near or over animals in National Forests. This includes bears, deer, and other wild animals. If you do accidentally disturb an animal, stop your drone immediately and back away from the animal as quickly as possible.

Flying drones near animals is a great way to scare them, which can cause them to panic and run into things. This could potentially lead to the animal’s death, as well as injury to people nearby.

What Are The Risks Of Flying A Drone In A National Forest?

What Are The Risks Of Flying A Drone In A National Forest?

Flying a drone in a National Forest is risky because of the possibility of causing damage to the forest, wildlife, or people. A drone could get tangled in tree branches, causing it to fall and break apart. The blades could cut through wildlife, such as birds or squirrels.

While flying a drone in the national forest may seem like a great way to capture beautiful photos, there are several risks associated with it.

Hurting People

One of the risks of flying a drone in a National Forest is that you could hurt someone. If you are flying your drone near people, or if you are exposing people to the possibility of being hit by your drone, you could be charged with negligent injury.

Damaging Structures, Or Property

The risk of damaging structures or property is fairly low, as most national forests are uninhabited and there aren’t many structures or buildings in them. However, if you’re flying near a building or structure, it’s important to be aware of the risks.

The most common way that drones can damage structures is by hitting them with their propellers. So if you are flying near a building or structure, make sure that you keep your drone at least 50 feet away from any structure. 

This will protect your drone from being damaged, as well as protect any buildings or structures from being damaged by your drone’s propellers.

Getting Lost In The Forest

The biggest risk of flying a drone in a National Forest is getting lost in the forest. When you enter a National Forest, you’re entering an area with trees that are very tall and thick. 

Drones are small and easy to lose, and they can quickly get lost in the trees or brush of a National Forest. If you fly your drone and lose sight of it, you may never find it again.

Not Finding A Place To Fly

While drones are technically allowed in national forests, they can’t be flown within five miles of any airport or within five miles of a forest boundary. They also cannot be used for commercial purposes (i.e., you can’t use one to film footage for your next TV ad).

If you’re planning on flying your drone in a national forest, make sure you do some research first: find out if there are any restrictions on where and when you can fly. 

You can find this information on the website of the organization that manages the forest or by contacting them directly.

Adverse Weather Conditions

Drones can be damaged by adverse weather conditions, such as rain, wind and snow. While some drones are waterproof or water-resistant, they should not be flown in heavy rain or snow due to the risk of damage and battery drainage.

The weather can change quickly, and if you’re flying a drone, that means you have to be able to react quickly. If you’re not prepared for adverse weather conditions, then it may be best to wait until more favorable conditions before flying.

Wild Animals

It’s important to keep in mind that National Forests are home to wild animals, and they may not appreciate having a drone flying around them. If you come across a bear or other animal in your travels through the forest, it’s best to avoid them.

Wild Animals, while they might seem harmless, can be extremely dangerous if they’re startled. They might attack you or your drone, or they might just take off running and become disoriented and unable to find their way back home.

Other People Flying Drones

You might come across another person who is also flying their drone. This can be dangerous, because you don’t know what their intentions are and they may not realize that they’re sharing airspace with you. 

You need to be careful about where you fly your drone, so you don’t collide with someone else’s.

Do I Need Permission To Fly A Drone In A National Forest?

Do I Need Permission To Fly A Drone In A National Forest?

Yes. You may need permission to fly a drone in a National Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service has made it clear that all unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, require a permit to be flown in any national forest. This includes public lands, as well as privately owned land within the boundaries of a national forest.

Aircraft are defined under federal law as “any device used for flight in the air.” This means that even if you’re flying your drone recreationally or for hobby purposes, you still need to get permission from the U.S. Forest Service before flying it in their jurisdiction.


Yes, you can fly drones in national forests. Drones are regulated by the FAA’s Part 107 rules, which allow for commercial use of drones at altitudes up to 400 feet above ground level and within the pilot’s line of sight.

Before you fly your drone in a national forest, please check to see if there are established drone-friendly areas within the park you want to fly in. Depending on the size of the park, this may still be illegal. 

However, there are some parks or forests which have designated areas for people to use their drones as a way to promote tourism and get more views of the surrounding areas.

Frequently Asked Questions (can You Fly Drones In National Forest)

Can You Fly Drones In Us National Forests?

You can fly drones in US national forests. National forests are administered by the United States Forest Service and are considered special use areas. This means that you may not always be allowed to access them, but they do allow drones.

The most important thing to remember is that you should always check local laws when flying your drone. You can usually find this information on the website of your state’s Department of Natural Resources or Department of Forestry.

Why Can’t Drones Fly In National Parks?

Drones have been banned from National Parks because they are considered a safety hazard. Drones are so small and light, the wind can easily blow them into trees, where they could get tangled and cause damage to the tree or even fall out of the tree and hurt someone below.

Also, drones can be dangerous if they crash into someone or something, and there’s always the possibility that someone could fly their drone near a person who is climbing or otherwise doing something risky on the side of a mountain, which could put both people at risk for injury.

Can Drones Fly In The Woods?

Yes, drones can fly in the woods. Drone pilots must be aware of their surroundings and the capabilities of their drones. While flying in a wooded area, you should check for obstacles like trees before take-off. You should also avoid flying over crowds or near people.

Can You Use Drones In Wilderness Areas?

Yes, you can use drones in wilderness areas. Drones are becoming more and more common in the wilderness areas of the world. As long as you’re following the rules and regulations set out by the relevant authorities, you should be able to enjoy your drone in these areas.

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