Take advantage of the numerous hiking trails offering access to chaparral ranges. Cross-country travel may be allowed in some places, but it is not easy, given not only the tangled nature of chaparral vegetation but also the general ruggedness of the terrain the shrub lands blanket.
Always tote plenty of water when hiking in chaparral, and be cognizant of early signs of dehydration and sunstroke. Chaparral usually enjoys a Mediterranean climate, characterized by mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. Take advantage of the shade proffered by oaks and other larger trees.
Learn to recognize poison oak, which is as well-distributed in chaparral as elsewhere on the Pacific Coast. Poison oak is typically a small- to mid-sized deciduous shrub or a trailing vine, characterized by compound leaves of three lobed or toothed leaflets--superficially resembling those of an oak tree. In the fall, the leaflets often turn red. For most people, brushing against the twigs or leaves results in contact dermatitis.
A number of rattlesnake species can be found in chaparral shrub and woodlands, including the western and red diamond forms. While generally unaggressive and retiring, rattlesnakes--like any wild creature--will take measures to defend themselves if disturbed, and are certainly venomous. If scrambling in chaparral areas, take care where you place your hands. Wear shoes rather than sandals in rattlesnake country. Snakes are most active at night, when they are liable to be cruising the scrub for rodents and birds. During the day, they often hole up in cool, dark places. Seek medical help immediately if bitten.