10 Most Important Trail Etiquette Tips | RMHP Blog


10 Most Important Trail Etiquette Tips desktop

10 Most Important Trail Etiquette Tips

How to Hike: Common Courtesy on Colorado’s Trails


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.


1. Leave No Trace

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.


2. Uphill hikers have the right of way

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.


3. Right of way for mountain bikers: it’s a bit tricky

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.


4. Always yield to livestock

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.


5. Pass on the left

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.


6. Pay attention to leash laws when hiking with your dog

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.


7. Stay on the trail

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.


8. Keep the music down

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.


9. When hiking with a group, stay in a single file line

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.


10. Don’t forget to say hello!

We Coloradans are a friendly bunch. A smile, wave, head nod, or quick hello to other hikers is the perfect way to spread some good cheer along the trail. Who knows, you could even make a new friend.