Trail Etiquette: 10 Little Rules Anyone Can Follow

I’m not much of an athletic person. I’m a writer, which means I like to stay indoors and “research” books and movies more often than not. But I do love to hike. Zion, Arches, Snow Canyon, Wasatch, Uinta, Bears Ears – I’ll trek anywhere.

  

  

That being said, I’ve been on a lot of hikes over the years and have found the same trail etiquettes being violated by a variety of fellow hikers.

So as summer begins, let me share with you a quick list of rules to follow while on the trail:

  1. Be safe and aware of your surroundings. Wear appropriate shoes and pack twice as much water as you think you’ll need, especially on hot days.
  2. Stay on the trail, no matter how tempting. Even in the most barren environments, there is still a delicate balance of microorganisms cohabitating with humans.
  3. Mountain bikers yield to hikers, and equestrians yield to bikers and hikers.
  4. Keep to the right of the trail.
  5. If in a group and passing people from the other direction, move into a single file.
  6. If someone faster is coming up behind you, move off to the side and let them pass.
  7. The hiker going uphill has the right of way. (However, if I notice a mountain biker coming up behind me, I move over and let him pass. Because it’s a lot easier for me to gain back momentum than it is for him.)
  8. If you’re listening to music on speakers, keep it to a low volume. This is not only to be considerate to other trailers who want to listen to the soundtrack of nature, but a loud volume becomes a huge blind spot of your surroundings. Same applies to headphones.
  9. Pack out what you pack in, meaning: don’t litter. (This includes your pet’s droppings.)
  10. And most importantly, smile! All trail sins can be easily forgiven and forgotten with a polite “hello” to fellow patrons.