When spending time outdoors, practicing proper trail etiquette helps us to respect others and the trail for more sustainable, kind outdoors spaces! These lessons go alongside the Leave No Trace Principles and can be practiced when hiking, biking, riding horses, and spending time outdoors.
Read on for some quick ways to follow proper trail etiquette!
Being kind to the trails and others makes all the difference in the outdoors! When starting your hike, be sure to check local regulations and signs for use of the area. Typically, this information is accessible on the governing website, at ranger stations, or at trailheads.
Trail Etiquette 101:
- Know the right of way. Always yield to uphill hikers. If you’re traveling downhill, step aside for those walking uphill! On trails with multiple use, bicyclists yield to hikers and horses; hikers yield to horses & pack stock. When passing others, use your voice to make your presence known!
- Stay on the trail and follow Leave No Trace Principles to protect nature. Especially when the trail is muddy, be sure to walk through puddles and mud to prevent unnecessary trail erosion and protect fragile vegetation.
- Do not disturb wildlife by keeping a safe from wildlife. Do NOT feed wildlife! No matter how tempted you are for that cure Instagram pic of feeding the birds. Feeding wildlife does NOT follow Leave No Trace principles and can be quite harmful. To learn more about how to respect wildlife, read the National Park Service’s 7 ways to safely watch wildlife.
- Minimize noise by limiting use of electronics to respect others and take time to listen. Blasting music may be motivational to you, but disturbing to others on the trail. If you’re choosing to listen to music, try using headphones instead of a bluetooth speaker.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Be mindful of other hikers and wildlife, especially in bear country. To stay aware of other sounds on the trail if using headphones, try bone conduction headphones! These allow you to hear your music AND your surroundings. REI sells Shokz headphones – check them out here!
- BONUS: Be bear aware in bear country. Read more here!
Please note this post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase an item linked in this post, I may make a small profit at no additional cost to you! Thank you for your support!
Post Updated: April 22, 2022