Hiking is one of the best ways to enjoy a Western Slope summer, and our stunning slice of Colorado has plenty of trails to explore. When you’re out on the trails, though, there are a few simple rules that apply to ensure all trail users have a great day outside.
Here are the 10 most important trail etiquette guidelines to follow to keep you, your trail companions, and the environment safe.
If you pack it in, pack it out. This includes your apple cores, banana peels, and pet waste.
For extra trail karma, pick up any trash you find on your hike. Colorado’s trails are becoming more and more popular every year, and respecting the environment is how we can ensure they’ll be available for recreational use for decades to come.
Hikers who are heading up the trail have the right of way over hikers heading downhill. If you cross paths with an uphill hiker while you’re heading back down, let them pass first.
Technically, mountain bikers should yield to hikers. But, that’s not always the most efficient way to handle yielding. Many times it’s easier for hikers to move aside for bikers.
When you’re hiking in Colorado it’s not uncommon to encounter horses, llamas, and other livestock. They’re big and unpredictable, so yield to them.
If you’re going to overtake another hiker, pass on their left. Similarly, stay to the right on wider trails so other trail users can pass you if needed.
There’s nothing quite like watching your pup happily run down the trail, but you also need to obey leash laws. They’re in place for a reason and protect your dog, wildlife, and you.
It’s tempting to create shortcuts or to veer off trail if the path is muddy. However, this damages the surrounding environment and should be avoided. The Leave No Trace principle also applies to your impact on the vegetation.
You might enjoy listening to your favorite tunes, but chances are other trail users don’t quite feel the same.
Hiking provides nature lovers with a chance to quietly connect with the outdoors, so use earbuds if you’d like to play music. Just be sure to keep one earbud out so you can listen for bikers, other hikers, livestock, and wildlife.
If you’re hiking with friends, hike single file line so other people can pass. If the trail is wide, you can typically take up half of the trail.